Sunday, May 04, 2008


Jim: Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania and we've got a roundtable. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and, and me, Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!,Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Wally of The Daily Jot, and Marcia SICKOFITRDLZ. Wally and Marcia will be calling in on another line and we'll put them on another speaker phone when they do. This is a rush transcript. The illustration is by Betty's oldest son and, let me say "illustrations," because we're also hoping to include an illustration he did of his mother and Kat in this. If it's in here, we'll include it by Betty and Kat and he did that back in September. As usual, Ty has some e-mails and we'll try to get to as many as we can. I'm still working on revamping the format so that we can do roundtables in a workable time. Last week, Betty and Cedric had a topic that we ran out of time for so let me toss to them.

Betty: Well I waived the topic because I wanted to weigh in on C.I.'s piece and was honestly shocked anyone with a functioning brain could object to it. But the thing on hold was this nonsense about 'racism.' Whenever Barack's in trouble, it's time for the race card to be played and he was obviously in trouble last week so we saw it deployed repeatedly by his surrogates. He's played himself and he's never apologized for that or for the actions of his surrogates. As a Black woman, I'm getting real tired of his campaign screaming "racism" every time he tanks.

Cedric: I would agree with that and the thing Betty and I had wanted to do was provide a heads up last Sunday because we both knew the card was going to get played heavily last week. When he's doing poorly and when he's facing an area concentrated with African-Americans, it's time to play that card. I think it's better that we waited because it allows me to talk about e-mails. Jess may want to talk about this in more detail but I'm going to focus on one of last week's e-mails. I've been doing my own site for several years now. Early on, I largely focused on Vern, who passed away, and Three Cool Old Guys who are, thankfully, still with us. I focused on them because they were interesting and because I got to know them thanks to an outreach my church was doing with older church members. I've been doing joint-post with Wally since at least September 2006 when we were both working on voter registration and getting the vote out for the November 2006 elections. So, since then, we've done humor posts. Prior to that, when I solo-ed, if it wasn't Three Cool Old Guys, I was writing about the wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, or about issues that interested me as an African-American. I say all that to make it clear that I know who I've highlighted and who I haven't. A cadre of what I call White Mamas, after the Bette Davis movie, have been showing in all of our inboxes, claiming that we've highlighted them before, asking us to trade links and suggesting we link to their latest garbage. I call them White Mamas because they're all so terribly concerned about 'racism.' This year. I don't need a White Mama showing up telling my Black ass what racism is. And I'm getting real sick of their lies about racism and their lies that I've highlighted them before. I never have. I'll highlight strong women, and I've done that with Gloria Steinem for years, but these White Mamas are not strong women, they're weak ass writers and I'm getting damn tired of them lying to me in order to get their pro-Barack bad writing highlighted.

Jess: I like it, White Mamas, and they started showing up four weeks ago at the public account of The Common Ills. I'll do a quick fill-in and note that I may or may not reply to them. They are smug and smarmy and depending upon how much they piss me off, I respond or not. When they first started showing up, I mentioned them to C.I. who responded, basically, "Jess, you know the women I respect. If a name pops up that you don't recognize or it's someone you've never heard of let alone met, they're not feminists. They're just women who write and sometimes try to pose as feminists. Ignore them." And I passed that on to everyone. But what Cedric's talking about, to be specific, on Monday another one showed up and she really pissed me off because she's one of the White Mamas trying to play the racism card. I didn't recognize her name and C.I. happened to call so I mentioned her name. C.I. said she was linked twice in 2005 and she's a lousy writer. I should add that they don't quote their writing, they provide you with the link you're supposed to link to. I should also add that these aren't bloggers, these are professional writers. So Monday there were six White Mamas whining and I responded to two. The one who pissed me off the most, and they all pissed me off, was saying her drool over Barack needed to be highlighted because there was no 'balance.' Apparently, she doesn't get MBNBC, The Nation or the many making up the choir of Barack Love. I also loved her "thank you, by the way," for having highlighted her in the past -- C.I. says it was 2005. But there really is an orchestrated effort on the part of the White Mamas to subvert community sites.

Cedric: And they're such liars. I know what I've highlighted and what I haven't. Like Jess was saying, the woman who wrote me just included the link she wanted me to post. I had to google to find out what she was writing in it. White Mama saw racism! White Mama saw racism in the Hillary campaign! She included a bunch of lies to 'back up' her claim. And it was so insulting and I was really furious with her e-mail because (a) I don't like liars, (b) we don't need to lie to create more divisions in our society and (c) this African-American doesn't need a White Mama to tell him what racism is. But that's the card, the lie, the Obama camp wants played and all the usual 'journalists'-for-rent are happy to peddle it. It's offensive.

Dona: I love how they claim, I've seen the e-mails to the public account of The Common Ills, to be feminists while wanting a link to their piece tearing a woman apart with lies. As C.I. said, they are not feminists, they are women writers. Bad writers at that. But this really is an orchestrated event. The woman who wrote Cedric had been shot down two weeks ago when she wrote C.I. Elaine's getting them, Rebecca's getting them, Marcia's getting them, go down the list, it is a very orchestrated scheme to subvert websites that tell the truth about Barack. Lie in an e-mail to the public account and it's no longer private. Jess has been printing those e-mails up and we may go out with them here when this site goes dark. So everyone can laugh at the whoppers these non-feminist White women were telling in private.

Betty: It really is pathetic how many women are working overtime to build up a man and tear down a woman. We've seen it throughout the campaign with a lot of men and some women but now you've got all these White women and, let's be honest, most of them are closeted Communists, showing up with their e-mails crying it's not fair to women that they're not getting highlighted. I've shown the ones I receive to my father and he's identified them as closeted Communists when they are. I thought that was very funny because when I show him one, if he makes that call, we get on the phone to C.I. and open with, "____ ____, closeted Communist?" And every time Dad's guessed correctly. Dad can tell by their talking points. Like Cedric, I know what I link to, who I link to. And these lies of, "You've linked to me in the past, and thank you for that, . . ." If your name isn't Thomas Friedman, you probably haven't been linked to. I mean my cite is about Betinna, married to Thomas Friedman. More than anyone else, I know what I link to and what I don't because it's very rare that I link to anything other than something in The New York Times. So Barack's doing poorly and it's time to play the race card. I find it offensive and am appalled at these White Mamas trying to stoke divisions in this country, trying to create new ones via lies and pretending to give a damn about Black people.

C.I.: Or for that matter, people of color. Let's remember Betsy Reed suddenly cares about race -- 'cares' enough to lie about it, but this is the same woman who has repeatedly shot down articles about race including, most infamously, an examination of the current discriminations Native Americans face. And to be clear, White Mama was a TV movie starring Bette Davis.

Jim: We're hoping Ava and C.I. will take on The Nation's liar supreme Betsy Reed this week so let me ask that comments on her be tabled in the hopes that we'll have that piece. Betty, what is it about the lies that offend you the most?

Betty: Using Black people as props. That's all the White Mamas are doing. They want Barack in the White House and they're willing to lie and cry "racism" where it doesn't exist. They're willing to pretend, for the election cycle, that they care about racism but they don't care and I've examined the writing of every White Mama that's e-mailed me and found that, year after year, they have ignored race. They're also not feminists, reading their body of work makes that very clear. They're women who write and now it's time to pose as something they aren't to try to push their candidate and, as usual, Black people will be the ones lefting hold the bag when it all explodes. I'm sick of it and I'm sick of their psuedo-concern. They're as bad as the young White men trying to sound like rappers because they think it makes them hip. Actually, they are worse because young kids are growing and trying to find themselves. Middle-aged White Mamas should know who they are.

Cedric: And they do, and they hate who they are, that's why they're in the political closet. And the way the e-mails from them have soared -- all pleading for links to their Barack crap -- indicates how badly Barack's campaign is doing. So it's time for another wave of false charges of racism and the campaign went so far as to doctor a video clip of a documentary from 1992 last week. It's past time for the Real Press to start calling this out and to start noting that the race card has been repeatedly played by the Obama campaign throughout this election cycle. And, to get back to Dona's point, there's something really pathetic about White women tearing apart Hillary with lies to prop up Barack -- even before you get to the point where these White Mamas are claiming to be feminists.

Betty: If I could add one more thing before we go on, I filled in for Ruth last Wednesday, and Bud Johnson was airing the usual stereotypical fears as he worried that Condi Rice being John McCain's running mate might mean Black women would dump Barack -- and we're anot all supporting Barack, Bud -- because "sisterhood overrides Black pride." That's the kind of crap Black women have to put up with in the Black community and no White Mama is ever going to tell you that. She's too busy playing like the Black community is kind savages that just need her help. The reality is that the Black community has the same attributes as the White community and that includes positives and negatives. One of the biggest negatives is the misogny. Sexism exists across the board in all communities. And the idea that Bud's going into a panic, and just knowing the Black sisters are going to bolt to the Republican party if Condi gets on the ticket, demonstrates just how vile the sexism is. There is a very real undercurrent of sexism in the Black community and people want to act as if it's just in trash rap where we're called disgusting names and slurs -- one of which is "Hood Rat" which is as offensive as "Welfare Queen" and means the same thing. Those slurs are successful because they go to a very real hatred and anger at Black women. Historically, we have held the community together, Black women, and our thanks for that is a covert hatred that frequently becomes overt. The Black woman is expected to bring home the money, then wait on a man all damn day, then hop on the bed, spread her legs, let him have his two minutes of fun and then rush to the kitchen to fix him dinner. There is little acknowledgement or pride in Black women's accomplishments. Look at the response to Terry MacMillian, our community's Jackie Collins, she ends up married to a closeted gay man and instead of sympathy for her over what was obviously a very shocking development, there's ha-ha and 'she got what she deserved!' 'She got what she deserved' because she dared to imagine a world where Black women mattered. And not every Black male is a sexist. A large number aren't. But that is a very real attitude and the larger, White community amplifies that. Think of Amy Goodman and all her crap 'celebrating' the Black man. Sometimes I wonder if women like her are as threatened by Black women as some Black males?
I have no idea but this Black woman is damn tired of my community's women regularly being insulted, degraded and undercut.

Cedric: And what Betty's talking about is very real. Look what happened to Alice Walker for writing The Color Purple. In terms of the larger culture, look at all the White men penning their love letters to Ike Turner when he died and treating his decades of beating up Tina Turner as something to be overlooked or, worse, suggesting that Tina needs to or has forgiven him. That came from some African-American males and it's sexism, to be sure, but when White men were writing it as well, in my eyes, I saw the same sort of 'logic' that justified slavery for years. Tina, whom my grandmother loves, let me put that in, Tina's her hero, wasn't beaten once, she was beaten before she married Ike and throughout her marriage. But White men show up minimizing that, the same way slavery was minimized. In both cases, it goes to a need to tell youself that one group is less more. In the most recent case, a Black woman is worth so little that who cares if she's beaten for years? It's rooted in a sense of entitlement and a sense of fear and those are the same things that allowed slavery to continue in this country.

Ty: Like Cedric, my grandmother loves Tina and I think that's a really good example because Tina's first and foremost a very talented artist. But she's also a symbol of a strong, African-American woman. One who endured decades of abuse and triumphed. So it really was insulting to see those White men showing up to justify and minimize Ike Turner's crimes. Cedric's correct that these crimes have the same 'justifications' as slavery once had. And I understood Betty's guest post because it is true that an African-American woman who just keeps her head above water, forget succeeding, is going to be targeted by the community at some point as someone who didn't know her place. I see that in the anti-Whitney, pro-Bobby Brown nonsense that's going on currently. How many times has Bobby Brown been arrested now? He was a 'success' before I was in school and he's 'charting' since then has only been on his rap sheet. Smartest thing Whitney Houston could have done was leave him. He's the perfect example of a man who does nothing and expects a woman to pull the weight only to turn around and then slam her for doing so.

Betty: I heard non-stop insults to Whitney on the radio last week. I didn't realize it was a national thing, I assumed it was regional. But, yeah, it is offensive. How many years was Whitney supposed to carry his lazy ass? Just the fact that a Black woman is expected to do so goes to the hatred of Black women. If Julia Roberts' husband wasn't working, it would be a big deal. But how many Black women have to bust their asses, I'm talking celebrities, while their men live off it and no one ever says a word until the woman leaves and then it's a bunch of slurs aimed at the woman. There is no excuse for Bobby Brown. He's the perfect example of a lazy man who is comfortable to live off a woman and you better believe when Whitney was feeling proud of something, he was there to tear her down.

Cedric: I know we've gone on longer than intended but if I could add one more thing, the White people who repeat this, the 'good' folk, are only demonstrating their own sexism. And I think Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan see it a lot more clearly because they have worked for all women, a lot more clearly than some of these 'helpful' folk. I would say sexism is more prevalent than racism. That may be skewed somewhat by the fact that a lot of people are pretending to care about race because they're for Barack, who is bi-racial and not Black. Another big complaint on Black radio this week was Fred on Saturday Night Live playing Barack and all these whiners saying, "Why can't they have a Black man playing him. It's so offensive." Well, if a White man's playing Barack, they're half-right because Barack's not Black, he's bi-racial. But I hear that, and have heard it all week, and yet when David Spade and Adam Sandler were doing their insulting skits in drag, I never heard people raise objection to that.

Kat: I'm jumping in because I just finished my review that will go up today of Carly's new CD. Absolutely sexism is permitted in this culture. Can you imagine, using just David Spade, if he were allowed to make the kind of jokes about African-Americans as he does about all women in Rules of Engagement? It's considered funny when it's aimed at women. Michael Richards had a racist meltdown and it was news. Comedians spewing hatred aimed at women is considered fair game and not worthy of coverage let alone calling out. If Barack Obama had gotten one half of the discrimatory coverage Hillary has, there would be non-stop protests --

Ty: There would be riots in the streets.

Kat: but it's no big deal when it's sexism. It's 'cute' and 'funny.'

Betty: And, like Marcia's said before, she's been discriminated more for her gender than the color of her skin. I've seen the same thing myself. There's this pot-bellied pig who works in the building next to me. He's all of five feet, two inches, with a big gut hanging out. He talks like Fog Horn Leg Horn. And it seems like anytime I'm going to my car at the end of work, he's rushing after me on his bow legs. "Hey, Pretty Mama, hey Little Sister, slow down. Why ain't you smiling? Smile." I'm not smiling if I see him, for sure. He's the most vulgar, I mean sexual advances, person in the world and he's married and I've told him repeatedly to get lost but he thinks that's 'cute' I guess. So day after day, five days a week, I have to put up with his crap. I'm getting real close to taping him and playing his vulgar words to his wife. I have a professional job, I work in a professional setting and yet I can't even make it to my car these days without having to hear his sexual talk and my father's going to read this and hit the roof. He's going to know who I'm talking about by my description and that's going to be the end of it. He'll put an end to it. But the point is, I have told him to get lost, I have told him not to talk to me, and he still thinks he can. He still seems to think the highlight of his day is going to be talking to me about how "what's between your legs is hungry for me" and that's the nicer thing I can repeat. He's trashy, he's vulgar and, yes, he's married. Why the hell is he talking to me or any woman like that and where the hell did he get the idea that it was okay?

Ty: I'm assuming he's African-American.

Betty: Yes, he is. And that's the sort of crap I have to deal with, in the community, while leaving work and trying to get to my car to pick up my kids. Some disgusting pot-bellied pig who thinks he's God's gift to women and that I'm dying to hear all his graphic talk even though I've told him to stop, even though I have screamed, "Get the hell away from me!" For four weeks, I have had to put up with this. And, after my father sets him straight, he'll move on to some other woman who'll have to endure his verbal assaults. Where in the world did he get the idea that his talk was wanted or desired? A sense of entitlement. And, I mean, we have to put up with this crap, all women but I've been talking about this to women at my church and at work, and Black women have to put up with this crap all the time. I wonder about the movies I grew up on, like Mahogany, where Billy Dee Williams was the ideal and how these days 'breakthrough' has largely meant a bunch of smut merchants plus Denzel. Take away Denzel and Black women aren't left with much on the big screen despite the fact that there are so many more Black males in movies now.

Kat: I'm really sorry that you've had to put up with that. I know it happens to a lot of women. We can make a trip through Georgia next week, if you need.

Betty: I appreciate that but my father will set him straight. The thing that really makes me mad is I've told him not to talk to me that way, I've told him to get lost. But he just ignores it and I don't have the time to really tear into him. I've got three kids to pick up and that's three sets of late charges at daycare if I'm not picking them up by six o'clock. I don't have time to deal with pot-bellied pig on a good day, and shouldn't have to, but to have him turn my trip to the car into an obstacle course each day is really making me sick.

Ava: And it should. It's disgusting. And I'm glad you brought this up because I'm sure many women have dealt with something similar -- I know I have -- in their lives. It's one of those things that really drives home how far from equality we are.

Betty: Well thank you. I really didn't mean to unload on it here.

Jim: Don't complain, it will be the most cited thing from this roundtable in the e-mails. Okay, Ty, e-mail?

Ty: Lori e-mails to thank Ruth for calling out the nonsense of Diane Rehm. Lori writes, "The Diane Rehm Show used to be the one place I could turn to for a semi-intelligent conversation. It was titled to the right, but it was based in reality. I can't believe what's happened to the show in the last weeks and I'm glad Ruth's hearing it as well so I know it's not just me."

Ruth: Like Lori, I loved the show. I have listened for years. But if it does not improve quickly, it probably needs to end. By Friday when Ms. Rehm was offering that the gas tax holiday was a bad idea and that the proof was she had three guests on the day before and they all thought it was a bad idea, it was obvious Ms. Rehm had become trapped in an echo chamber of her own making. Politically, like so many other programs, when addressing the Democratic primary, it operates from the premise that Senator Barack Obama has the nomination and any thing Senator Hillary Clinton does is evil and a threat to his coronation.

Elaine: I find it interesting that he accused Hillary of "pandering" last week and if she had said that about him, the 'left' press would have been in an uproar over it and claiming that the Republicans would use it against him -- if he got the nomination -- in a general election. He can do or say anything against Hillary and it's okay but when she critizes him, the 'left' goes into convulsions. Ruth's exactly right that too many programs act as if a race that is tied is actually his coronation.

Jim: Rebecca, you've been quiet.

Rebecca: I had a lot to say about Betsy Reed but that's been tabled. Also Mike and I are plowing through some queso and chips. In terms of the gas tax holiday, the point appears missed by most commenting. I don't mean in the roundtable, I mean on the radio and in the paper. The point isn't "This will fix the economy!" We need a new economic policy for that. The point is that this will ease the burden on Americans already struggling. People seem to be confusing the point of measure, intentionally, I'd argue, and saying, "This won't fix the economy!" Hillary, or for that matter John McCain, never claimed that it would. It's not a "fix," it's a temporary measure for Americans trapped in a bad economy and already stretched to the limit. I was talking to my friend T about this and we figured out that she would save about ten dollars a month if it was enacted between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Ten dollars isn't a huge amount, another friend who drives more would save close to fifty-two dollars a month, but at a time when people are already stretched to the limit, ten dollars not spent is ten dollars that can help them stay afloat.

Mike: I'll jump in before Jim calls on me and say I agree with Rebecca. I think too many writing and talking on the radio don't have to travel. I don't either. But I'm remembering when we all went to Texas in March 2007 and I'm thinking about how many people have to drive there, how little public transportation there is, and how the people living in small towns are usually traveling forty minutes, an hour, or more to work each morning. I think the coverage has been very elitist and very out of touch and that they have no grasp on what many Americans go through. It's like they live in a different country and can't even relate to anyone who's not like them. I think Ruth and C.I. have done a strong job covering it and didn't touch the subject last week because I really didn't have much to add other than "See what they wrote."

Cedric: I would agree with that and think they did a great job, Ruth talking about seniors, C.I. talking about the impact on the cost of food, etc. But one thing I'd add to that is that my church has several vans. We pick up the elderly Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening, as well as drop them back off. My church isn't going to under without the gas tax holiday, but it will be felt if it's not enacted. Like Rebecca said, this isn't a plan to fix the economy. It's a measure to ease the burden and it's needed. There's not going to be any plan to fix the economy until the occupancy of the White House changes.

Ava: The biggest point being made by everyone speaking is that the proposal is being shot down by some for something it's not so I want to repeat: This is not an economic policy. Like Cedric pointed out, that's not coming under the current White House. This is a temporary measure that will aid a lot of Americans and will come as many would normally be taking summer vacations of some form. Whether an individual saves ten dollars a month or fifty, it is money they are not spending and, being on the road every week, we see a lot of people who are already stretched to the limit. When people are already buying plain label foods and doing without, ten or fifty dollars less a month will be strongly felt. Each year of the Bully Boy economy, Americans have had to tighten their belts and economize. At this rate, what else is there for many? They've stopped buying this or that, and downgraded to something else, and I think it really shows an arrogance to suggest that a gas tax holiday is unneeded.

Jim: One of the talking points is that if a gas tax holiday is put in place, people will just buy more gas.

Ruth: That is just nonsense. A holiday is not putting new money into someone's pockets. It just means that more money will not be leaving their pockets.

Mike: I think we're also seeing the same sort of press reaction we saw with John Edwards' proposals. Notice how many are decrying Hillary's plan for a windfall tax on Big Oil? It's the same sort of pro-business slams that Edwards suffered for his policies. As usual, Barack's on the side of Big Business. But remember, he was for gas tax holidays before he was against it. I think it's also interesting to note the silence that Hillary's call for breast cancer funding received compared to the press' boos and hisses over the gas tax holiday. I guess they thought writing about breast cancer was 'niche' reporting but a gas tax holiday is universal. Goes to the sexism at play in the media throughout this election cycle.

Betty: Well, as a working mother with three kids, let me point out one more thing. The summer expenses are about to leap for me as they do for many parents this time of year because school will be out and my kids will be in day care all day. Ruth's right that it's not money being added to my pocket, it's less being taken out. And for a lot of us, these are the most expensive months. So, yes, any relief at all is appreciated.

Jim: Okay, Ty, another e-mail?

Ty: Jenn writes wondering why Rebecca's not on the road with Ava, Kat and C.I. speaking out against the illegal war? She says, "I thought Rebecca said she was doing that in April."

Rebecca: That was the plan. Flyboy, the baby and I join them next week. We were supposed to have started two weeks ago but Ava and C.I. asked me not to due to the fact that they had caught the nasty cold from Jim. They didn't want to pass it on to the baby. They were still sick at the start of last week. So that's the reason for the delay. I thought I had discussed that at my site but I guess I didn't make it clear so I'll mention it again next week.

Jim: I wanted to note Adolph Reed Jr.'s "Obama No" at The Progressive website. Gillian e-mailed Friday noting it and our "The truth about Panhandle Media" from last week. She writes, "That really did prove the point you were making because The Progressive these days is lucky to get ten comments to an article and Reed's already gotten over sixty." And it does prove the point, it's good business to cover both candidates, it's good business to grasp that in a race that's a tie, you're running off half your potential audience if you're offering only drools for Bambi. Ty?

Ty: I've got two and one is really for Elaine and C.I. and the other's just for C.I.

Elaine: Go with the one just for C.I.

Ty: Okay, I can't figure out the guy's name. He didn't sign his e-mail and his e-mail address is gibberish. But he writes that The Common Ills has dropped the ball on the coverage of Iraq to support Hillary.

C.I.: I've never heard anything more ridiculous. I've been sick for the past two weeks and I'd argue that even with that we still had more Iraq coverage than any other site. We're the only ones covering war resisters regularly, daily. Congress had no hearings on Iraq in the last two weeks. There was a rah-rah hearing, a hearing composed of 'good cripples' -- that's the description a wounded vet used for it -- that we skipped. Other than that, I don't think we missed anything. There's a push in the mainstream media for war on Iran and we're not promoting that which actually eliminates a lot of media stories on Iraq. Did he have a specific complaint because I don't see any problems.

Ty: He used Turkey as one example, noting that it didn't appear in the Thursday snapshot but did in the Friday. He wrote that Hillary coverage prevented that from being addressed on Thursday.

C.I.: He's wrong. Two things on Turkey and northern Iraq. Both regions differ repeatedly on whether an assault took place or not. It's rare that one doesn't take place at least once a week. We're not dealing in hypotheticals so we generally wait for some confirmation -- from Turkey's government or military, from the Kurdish region of Iraq, from the puppet government in Baghdad, any one will do -- before we note an assault. Not only did that confirmation not come until Friday, the assault took place Thursday night. It would be very difficult for it to be included, confirmed or not and it wasn't confirmed at that point, in a snapshot dictated Thursday afternoon. It would have ended around three o'clock in the afternoon EST and it wasn't confirmed and also wasn't being reported. He'll have to find a better example. Last week also saw a lot of 'human interest' feature articles passing for reporting -- I'm thinking of an AP story that hit the wires on Thursday and was being rewritten by several papers on Friday -- and we weren't interested in that either. The snapshot's dictated around two or three p.m. EST. Depending upon who takes the dication, it's either typed as I dictate or taped and then typed. So there's one potential delay. Another is that when it's e-mailed, it doesn't always hit the site right away. Sometimes it takes hours. There are days when I've gone in, four hours after it was dictated, and copied and pasted it into Blogger/Blogspot because it never hit.

Rebecca: I want to add something here, C.I. has said, week after week, this is the week I make the snapshots shorter. I'm hoping that's going to happen this week. Not because I don't enjoy them but because I know how time consuming they are. If and when that does happen, I'm sure someone will feel like the guy who e-mailed feels. But I think C.I.'s given more than enough on Iraq and more than anyone else. Certainly more than anyone participating, but I'd argue more than anyone writing about Iraq.

Kat: I'd agree with that and also add that in the two week period we're talking about, there was one day where Ava and C.I. just slept in the car between every speaking gig. They were that sick. They shouldn't have been on the road, they should have been home in bed. But they were on the road and when C.I. woke up, the first thing was, "I know nothing about what's going on in Iraq!" C.I. was listening to voice mails and returning calls and doing so in a quicker time period, a frantic time period, than usual.

Jim: Well I'll just add that I think we all grasp that the illegal war's not ending in 2008 and that we could offer lies, the way many are doing, and pretend otherwise. But we're not in the mood.

C.I.: I want to bring in Dallas on this to talk about war resisters.

Dallas: Okay. Well, Thursday night, in the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin, the issue of April is over and the Canadian Parliament never voted on the measure to grant war resisters safe harbor. C.I. said, "I'll call tomorrow to find out what the deal is on that." So I grabbed the initiative and made that call myself Friday morning and then called C.I. with the feedback I received. I spoke with a person at the New Democratic Pary of Canada, which has been the party leading on this issue. I actually spoke with two people. The first referred me to the second guy. I explained I was calling from the United States and trying to figure out what the deal was. He took my number and called me back. I may also get a call on Monday with more information. But what's going on is it's a measure, not a bill. It's not been addressed on the floor of Parliament in April due to a focus on other issues. Immigration being the big one. Everyone should continue e-mailing because it keeps the pressure on and that includes e-mailing the New Democratic Party because they can say, "We've received X number of e-mails on this." After I got off the call, I phoned Kat and gave her the basics so C.I. would be able to include it in the snapshot.

Jim: Did you feel you were getting the runaround?

Dallas: No, he seemed genuinely helpful. I would name him but I'm not sure he was authorized to speak, I would assume he was, but he was helpful and I don't want to get him into any trouble. He was actually very helpful and I wrote a longer thing on this that's in Polly's Brew today.

Jim: Okay. Thank you, Dallas. And note, Wally and C.I. are the only ones that can ever get Dallas to participate in transcript pieces. He helps out every week and we thank him for that. I owe Roland an apology, he and others. Every week, e-mails come in on Ava and C.I.'s TV pieces. Their commentaries are the topic of the bulk of all e-mails. And Roland pointed out that with "Mailbag" not being done, those e-mails never get mentioned. He writes, "There seems to be an attitude in the roundtable that Ava and C.I.'s writing is less important and their writing is not just the first thing I read each week, it's how I discovered your site and why I've always kept coming back." Obviously, I value their writing, we all do. They are our calling card and we all know that. But Roland is right that when topics are being discussed or Ty's going through e-mails before the roundtable, I do dismiss TV things. That's not fair and I apologize to our loyal readers for that. Roland wanted it pointed out that he's disagreed with only one piece Ava and C.I. have ever written." That was "TV: The Urine Stains of David Mamet." He writes that he was a big fan of David Mamet and felt it was unfair for them, as lefties, to treat another so harshly. "Maybe because I really thought Mamet was the man. But last month, he went public with the fact that he'd switched over to being a conservative and watching The Unit now and reading back over the review, I think Ava and C.I.'s call was correct."

Ava: It was obvious that though he hadn't made the announcement, he had already switched over. However, Ty frequently brings up a point from e-mails he's replying to so I'll grab it here. There's a mistaken belief on the part of some that we trash every Republican and praise every Democrat. That's not correct. First off, many aren't public about the politics. Second, we have had kind words for Kelsey Grammar, Shannen Dougherty and Drew Carey who are all public about being a Republican. Believe it or not, it's not like we're saying each week, "What Republican actors can we go after!" In fairness to Rolando, let me note that some Democrats we've gone after have felt as he did, that the last thing we should be doing is critizing someone who's a Democrat. To that, my response is, we write a piece every week and we call it as we see it. We have no idea what we're going to write about tonight, we have about three possibilities, and we're not planning out ahead of time that __ receives praise while __ receives hisses. Our primary criteria, the big test, is can you sit through it and find anything of value? How hard we hit generally depends upon how bad it was. I don't even remember watching The Unit, let alone writing about it, that's how forgettable and what a time waster that show was. I'll assume we hit hard.

Jim: If I can toss out a question that pops up over and over, what's the deal with the entertainment reviews?

Ava: Well, to honor the writers' strike, we moved over to non-scripted fair. We're not fans of reality TV so that left public affairs and 'news' programming. The writers' strike ended but it's only recently that you could tell that on your TV. We did extensive prep-work in the fall so we'd be ready to turn out reviews in the snap of a finger. All that was lost when the writers went on strike. So now, in some cases, you're asking us to go back to month old notes to write a review. It's been that long since we saw the programs. In other cases, there's the fact that very few of the shows we wanted to review are on now. Either they were cancelled or they're being held. Chuck was the best thing on TV last fall and we sounded out friends at NBC in programming to be sure that it had solid support. When we found out it did, it moved to a spring review at the earliest because it wouldn't need the support. Remember too that we've been reviewing since January 2005 and a lot of the shows that have returned, entertainment shows, to broadcasting are ones we've already reviewed. Besides, the most prevalent script has been in 'unscripted' shows, the trashing of Hillary. So that's generally been our focus. And will likely be our focus this week. As two feminists, we can't imagine any TV topic more worthy of exploration. And we're fully aware of how outrageous it has been and how the Barack loving non-feminists are churning out pieces this week claiming they are appalled by the sexism -- sexism they never bothered to comment on before this week -- but -- "But." They're not feminists. They're women writers. Bad writers. Bad women. Gender traitors one and all. They're trying to defuse the very real anger over the sexism targeted at Hillary because they're convinced that's the only reason she remains in the race. As usual, they understimate her. But it's also true that we're pretty sick of all the liars. Jim's mentioned Betsy Reed and if we take her on, we may or may not do a TV piece this week. I know some will be upset if we don't but we've now done about 200 TV pieces, we're still sick and we want to get to bed before noon.

Jim: I thought we'd have Marcia and Wally calling in by now but they haven't. So Ty, why don't you do your e-mail question for Elaine and C.I. and we may wrap up then.

Ty: Okay, Gerry e-mails noting a piece by Susan UnPC at No Quarter on one of the victims of Weather Undergound and wonders what your reaction to that is?

Elaine: I haven't seen the post or heard of. I know Mike and C.I. both think Susan usually nails down everything before she writes so I'm not questioning the accuracy, I'm just stating I need something more to comment. What's Gerry wanting?

Ty: He's pointing out that John M. Murtagh was a victim of Weather Underground because his father was one of their targets, a New York State Supreme Court judge.

Elaine: I wasn't a member of Weather Underground. As C.I. and I explained last week, during that time period, we were on the road speaking out against the war, helping war resisters get to Canada, etc. Either last week or the week before, the point was made, by both of us, that it's one thing to provide context for Weather's actions and it's another thing to pretend that the actions were, as C.I. put it, done by cuddly characters in a Disney animated film. I'm not familiar with the targeting of a judge -- I'm not surprised because a California prosecutor was also targeted -- but that's a reality. And when a victim comes foward, it's a slap in the face to all those who have minimized the actions. A slap in the face that the likes of David Corn need.

C.I.: As Elaine points out -- again, we've gone over and over this topic -- we're happy to put the actions into context. But we're not going to play the game that the likes of David Corn and Diane Rehm do -- and Diane's worse than David on this topic -- which is to act like Weather Underground pulled some pranks. We have never shied from using the term "crime" or "criminal" to describe their actions. It was probably two weeks or three weeks ago, at The Common Ills, that the point was made that when some of the victims start coming foward, it's going to be a lot harder for Obama Lovers to keep treating Weather Underground as if it was a one-year action of pranks. It wasn't. Victims have every right to tell their story and when they're insulted, they will come foward. Treating Weather Underground as hijinx is insulting the victims. I do read Susan UnPC and Larry Johnson and Bud White and others when they're e-mailed and if Susan's writing about something, she's not making it up. Like Elaine, I haven't seen the post but Susan UnPC is a meat and potatoes, down to basics writer. She doesn't get 'creative' with the facts. What's ironic is that David Corn used to fit that category and, like Larry Johnson, he was a law and order type. So to read his minimization of Weather Underground's actions was especially appalling and goes to just how far someone will bend the truth to promote their candidate. Ruth pointed out that Diane Rehm was justifying the Weather Underground and excusing them and she was doing that. I am comfortable sketching out what the government was doing during that period and how Weather Underground was one response to that but I always note that it was a violent response and don't try to minimize it or act as if it was pranks. I would add that members of Weather Underground -- whether they still support the actions they took or not -- also don't try to minimize it. So it's amazing that so many allegedly 'respectable' people such as Corn and Rehm have bent over backwards to create a fantasy version of Weather Underground. I'll also add that when people lie like that, they create a strong backlash and that's something that both Corn and Rehm are old enough to know. What they did was insulting and I know Diane's program heard from police officers complaining about her 'condensed version' of Weather Underground. It's like with Jeremiah Wright who was offensive from the minute Good Morning America aired those videos. You got a lot of liars coming forward to justify his remarks. There's never any justification for crackpots. They thought by all sticking to the same script, they were defusing a bad situation for Barack. All they did was create the makings of a huge backlash that flared up last week. I actually think the response was a healthy one in many regards, primarily in that the people of the United States were saying to all the press that insisted Wright was normal and completely mainstream, no he isn't. They've done the same thing with the Weather Underground. And while I'm perfectly happy to have a discussion of their pros and cons and the context of their actions, you can't vanish their actions, you can't vanish the criminal records. When you do that, you're lying and people grasp that. The backlash on Weather is going to be much more intense than the one on Wright and I don't think one or more victims coming forward last week will even be the tip of the iceberg. "Oven Jew," Bernardine's term back then, was controversial at the time. There are many other actions and words that will dismay most Americans. Suppressing the truth never defuses it, it only creates the stage to launch a huge backlash and, I'd argue, that's the next big thing coming, the next nightmare Barack's going to have to address. I'm sure he'll minimize it and sidestep it but I think it will turn even more people against him.

Elaine: C.I.'s choosing words carefully and I understand that. There's a natural response we'd make right about now but we're both avoiding it because the realities are being hidden and they need to get out. So we won't offer the context now. And, as I've said before, the context wouldn't mean much to some people. I'd argue it would mean even less now because so many have spent the last weeks trying to distort the reality of Weather's actions. Your average person who's not old enough to have lived through that time period has a very distorted picture of Weather thanks to Bambi supporters and when the reality emerges the reactions will be intense because people do not like being lied to. It's equally true that Barack is much closer to Bill and Bernardine -- Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn -- than the press has let on.

Jim: I was hoping that we'd have Wally and Marica with us and, honestly, stalling for time. Any story coming out we should pay attention to.

C.I.: I'll throw this out. A Barack supporter was almost news. The supporter gave money to a school in the US. The lie is that they were helping victims of Hurricane Katrina. If you're helping them, you don't lodge them at a school without a working kitchen. But that's what happened. That was going to be a major story -- a two-parter -- in one daily paper but the man in charge of the school was no longer available for comment and, when the reporter tried to locate him, found that he was at a hospital where his mother was having brain surgery. As I understand it, the tumor burst just as they went in. So that killed the story but it will come back up, the woman's improving. But the point here is that there are many stories being worked on and, if even half run, we'll be seeing a difficult period for Barack.

Jim: Phone's ringing. That should be Wally and Marcia. Hello?

Marcia: We're late. Sorry. We probably spoke for two hours one on one after we were done speaking the last time tonight.

Jim: And you're in Indiana, trying to help the Hillary vote. What issues are playing out?

Marcia: The biggest theme is "Barack's not like us." That's the theme that's been out there all during last week but really came home on Saturday. People keep saying that and they're really adament about it. I know we're late so I'm going to hand the phone to Wally so he can talk.

Wally: I'll try to be brief too. Like Marica said, the feeling is Barack is just too distant from them. His position on the gas tax holiday -- do I need to explain that?

Jim: No, we've talked about it.

Wally: His position on the gas tax holiday is something that's really hurt him because people do see it as something that would provide them some help and he's opposed to it. He's offered nothing to most working class Americans and, with a specific like the holiday, he's loudly against it and that's really created this cycle of feeling that Barack's not speaking for them and doesn't represent them. It was a really bad position to take and, having taken it, it was really wrong to give his speaking down to people answers. I'm passing the phone back to Marcia.

Marcia: And that really does capture it for a lot of people and then they connect it to Jeremiah Wright and how he sat through all those sermons and now wants to act like he's shocked. They're not buying it. They think he's trying to trick them and that he'll say anything to get elected. The most common comment on Saturday was, "He doesn't share our values." Followed by, "He doesn't understand us." That's a huge barrier for a candidate to try to overcome.

Wally: Marcia handed me the phone and I'll just add that there's a lot of anger and frustration over the national media and what people see as them trying to force Barack down their throats. I hate to make predictions but I really think Indiana's going for Hillary. Marcia's nodding so we really think Indiana's going for Hillary.

Jim: Okay and we're going to wrap up on that. To return briefly to C.I.'s point, the story that got killed was on a big Barack supporter with an image of doing wonderful things. Wonderful things were not done and the supporters judgement will be questioned should the story run which would include the judgement to support Barack. If it runs, it's the sort of story that will dominate the cable 'news' due to the scandal and the participants.
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