Sunday, May 17, 2009
-- Tina Richards, Tuesday, May 12th, on KPFK's Sojourner Truth.
Second, we see a re-creation of the same kind of ad hominem defense that existed among Bush’s followers now for Obama. Among some of these Obama fans (a small minority) we find, when you scratch the surface, a startling degree of vituperativeness and ruthless dishonesty (including attempted character assassination) directed against anyone who dares to deliver the bad news that Obama is not doing what so many hoped that he would. This subgroup of Obama fans finds itself bedfellows with GOP reactionaries who have common cause with them in trying to prevent the Bush criminals from being prosecuted (tactical unity, for now at least) and preventing or discounting exposes of the illegal war crimes being committed, the predations of the national security state, and enlarged executive powers (present under Bush and now being carried forward under Obama.)
-- Dennis Loo, "The Impossibly Bad Policies of the Politics of the Possible" (World Can't Wait).
Along with Dallas, the following worked on this edition:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
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,
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ
and Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends.
And what did we come up with?
Truest statement of the week -- Tina Richards. When we all read this quoted in Tuesday's snapshot, we knew Tina Richards had nailed it.
Truest statement of the week II -- Dennis Loo also had garnered a truest for obvious reasons.
Editorial: The Cult of St. Barack -- This was a working title and it doesn't really work as a headline to this, which I (Jim) just noticed. I picked it and wasn't paying attention. We had two other articles this would have gone with if we'd been able to make them presentable. Didn't happen. This was an awful writing edition.
TV: Pull the plug and rejoice -- The easiest piece may have been this one by Ava and C.I. If not, it just seemed easy to the rest of us because we didn't have to do anything except enjoy it after it was written.
TV: Bill Moyers Locker Room -- Did Ava and C.I. have anything else? Nothing was working this edition and if they had anything else and could write about it . . . They came back with this.
The Political Whoring of Naomi Wolf -- Accepting that we would never write the conclusion to this which would make all of us happy allowed this to move from the scraps pile into 'publishable.' Which is a good thing because everyone worked on this and it was one of the few pieces that made it.
Steven D. Green roundtable -- The edition had crashed and burned. We asked everyone for 10 more minutes to do a quick roundtable. Our story on last week's hearing just would not come together and we really needed some piece on this topic.
The Shirely goes to . . . -- I had an idea for two short pieces and Dona told me, "You can't stand that we won't have 14. Just get over it. We're all tired and ready to go to bed." I was tossing extras because we barely had anything. C.I. and Ty proposed that if we do any short feature we needed to do something to note Evan Bright's strong reporting of the trial.
Where is the love? -- This should have run last week. This is the piece that Isaiah joined us to work on and then it didn't even go up, after he was up the entire night working with us.
Network news coverage of the shooting -- Jess oversaw this piece in the final moments of the edition.
Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Betty, Kat, Marcia, Ruth, Cedric, Wally, Stan and Rebecca wrote this and picked out the highlights unless otherwise noted.
And that's it. That's all we got. We'll see you next weekend.
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
Then came the news that there would be no release of torture photos. Barack felt, deep in his heart of hearts, that releasing them would harm US service members. He hadn't felt that way before. But when it was time to do what he stated he would and release the photos, the Big Tease suddenly had a change of heart.
Naturally, the media worked over time to find someone else to blame. It couldn't be Barack, after all, it had to, had to be someone else. The Los Angeles Times looked like major media whores as they praised Barack's selling out of his base and his move to the right (see "No spine" and "THIS JUST IN! SPINELESS!").
Thomas E. Ricks came off like half a journalist and half an idiot in "Obama: twice rolled by his generals" (Foreign Policy).
I am surprised by Obama's reversal. I wasn't so taken aback in February when he went along with his generals and abandoned his campaign promise to withdraw a brigade a month from Iraq this year, and instead endorsed a plan that kept troop levels there pretty steady this year.
I know he is trying to do the right thing but at some point he is going to have to say, My way or the highway.
No, Thomas E. Ricks, you do not KNOW he is trying to do the right thing. You may believe it but journalists KNOW to use KNOW only when they truly KNOW something.
The week ended with the news that military tribunals were going to be the all the rage this fall. Barack's going to monkey around with the hemlines a little, but don't worry, it's the military tribunals, the genuine articles.
While the ACLU worked overtime alerting people (see "Obama Admin Reverses Promise to Release Torture Photos" and "Obama Administration To Revive Fatally Flawed Military Commissions"), there really is only so much one organization can do.
Which is how they appeared to miss John F. Burns' "U.S. Again Warns Britain on Detainee Memo" (New York Times, May 15, 2009):
Renewing a warning given to Britain while George W. Bush was in office, the Obama has threatened to curb the exchange of intelligence information between the countries if a British court makes public the details of the interrogation techniques used against a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who claims he was tortured.
The prisoner is Binyam Mohamed who was imprisoned by the US for seven years in secret prisons -- Pakistan, Morocco, Afghanistan and then Guantanamo. The British, looking at the 'evidence,' "released [Mohamed] from custody hours after" he was turned over to them.
While some play dumb and others excuse Barack's blantant embrace of torture and military tribunals and homophobia, you can say no. No to Barack and his third term of Bush. How?
World Can't Wait has called for "Thursday MAY 28 National Day of Resistance to U.S. TORTURE!:"
Weeks after 4 more torture memos revealed the detail with which George Bush's lawyers managed the torture of individual detainees, calls to prosecute those responsible -- from the White House principals, to the legal torture team, to the CIA agents who tortured -- have met objections from Washington. Cheney and the open advocates of torture scream that they must be able to use "harsh methods" to win the global war on terror. The Obama administration, after deciding to continue indefinite detention, CIA rendition, and Bush's executive powers, says prosecution would stop them from "moving forward." Democratic party leader Nancy Pelosi knew about the torture and waterboarding since 2002, saying and doing nothing to stop it..
It's up to the people to act! World Can't Wait and other groups are planning non-violent civil resistance protests, programs digging into the substance of the charges, waterboarding and rendition re-enactments, and film showings in communities around the country to demand prosecution of the Bush era war criminals. More information, listings, posters, flyers & background on the war criminals at warcriminalswatch.org.
Wherever the Bush era war criminals are appearing this month, raise the cry "Torture is a War Crime! Prosecute!"
Fox's Sit Down, Shut Up was supposed to be the new wave of Sunday anime. We say that sentence sarcastically but we're not joking. We were pressed early on about this show.
It's going to be funny and an animation breakthrough, we were told, and it has everything we always insist on. Why there's a person of color! And there's a gay character even! And, unlike most shows, an equal number of male and female characters!
We were going to love it, Fox friends insisted.
And we so didn't. First off, there was not an equal number of male and female characters. There were nine characters, three were women, six were men. Only in the world of Fox does that equal "equal." But all the claims were bogus.
This wasn't an animation breakthrough. It was a cheaply made show and part of the cheapness was in using photos for backgrounds to save money on the time required to draw, for example, a wall or a book shelf. It was a cheaply made show with such cheap sex jokes that it honestly reminded us of not Three's Company but of the many rip-offs of that show such as We've Got It Made.
Many an animated show gets off a sex joke, in fact Fox shows appear to require them; however, Sit Down, Shut Up offered very little else. So for example, assistant principal Stuart (Will Arnett) takes some pills he finds in a student's locker and ends up with breasts. And then sets himself up as a cheerleader. For the bouncing. As smutty as that was, it was the closet thing to a visual the show ever offered.
Using photos for backgrounds did not 'free' the animators to come up with wonderful drawn characters or situations. In fact, the show appeared to internalize the first half off of its title (Sit Down) while ignoring the second (Shut Up) leading to non-stop scenes of people sitting around tables while yammering on and on.
The whole point of an animated show is that animated characters can do things that real people cannot. So we were always puzzled why the program reminded us of more of a series of faded comics dropping by The Joe Franklin Show?
The show was supposed to be funny and, in its smutty way, it sometimes could rise enough to prompt a smirk from the average viewer but it was never going to promote laughter.
Early on, we asked Fox friends, "Why are you airing an animated show about high school faculty? Do you really think young adults and children will be interested in those characters?" It just flew over their heads with one responding, "Well kids go to school." Yes. Yes, they do. And children also have bedtimes so maybe Fox can next try to capture the 'youth market' with an animated program about all the adventures adults have after children go to bed?
Children's reaction was the first clue that there was a problem with the show. Specifically Betty's three children who found nothing funny about principal Sue Sezno. Sezno was one of the two characters of color (Fox friends had counted wrong there as well), the other being Muhannad Sabeeh Fa-ach Nuabar who was usually called "Happy." Sezno and "Happy" shared something else in common besides being characters of color, they were both voiced by men
Betty's children had a violent and vocal disgust to Sue Sezno as voiced by Kenan Thompson. And they should have because the character was nothing but some White stereotype of African-American women. Sue couldn't get a date, Sue was bossy and controlling (just like African-American women on most 'reality' TV shows!). Sue was overweight.
And then there was the voice.
With so few characters of color in animated programs, shows need to take great care when setting them up. They can be as outrageous and wild as every other character on the show provided they've been set up correctly. Having Thompson 'voice' Sue was not setting the character up correctly.
Thompson used his own voice. The character was already a series of disgusting stereotypes and apparently the White people in charge of the show never stopped to think that having a man voice Sue was implying that the character was manly. 'Those 'overly strong' Black women'," intentionally or not was the kinder message sent by the characterization.
The show wanted credit for Sue and they wanted credit for having a "gay character," drama teacher Andrew (Nick Kroll). But despite the fact that they referred to him as gay, the show called him bi-sexual and had him forever in the midst of quandary about who he wanted more, men or women? In the episode that aired last Sunday, he figured out who he wanted most: Himself. Wearing a dress and make up (because bi-sexuals are trannies?), he spied himself in the mirror and fell in love. So they managed to dust off the old stereotype of gays as 'stunted' and 'narcissistic' adults as well.
American Dad has Roger and Terry, a same-sex couple who are Stan and Francine's next door neighbors, so bi-sexual Andrew could never have been the break through Fox friends kept pitching him as. But he could have been something other than a non-stop insult.
That he wasn't went to the fact that the characters never did anything except sit around talking. They talked in the school cafeteria, they talked in the teacher's lounge, they talked at the students' football games. In the episode last Sunday, they talked through a party. The big 'visual' in that was a slow falling clump of melted cheese. Yes, that could have been done live action and, no doubt, would have been done funnier.
At one point the show was supposed to be a live action one. That might be the only thing worse than what aired.
What aired was a middle-aged White guy creating a show about other middle-aged White men and thinking he could land a young audience with it. You had Larry (Jason Bateman) as the coach and series lead. And he did nothing. Over and over. He was in love with Miracle (science teacher, so badly voiced we're not even noting the actress) and he wanted to ask her out. A lot. And never did. It's annoying when it happens on Better Off Ted and it's only more annoying when it happens with animated characters.
And nothing happened with the characters. Ever. Series 'stud' Ennis (Will Arnett) did not even sleep with Miracle after the plot dictated it and the whole episode revolved around setting it up. Nothing happened.
This wasn't "They didn't do it because Ennis had a Peter like cut-away where he remembered something crazy he did . . ." This was nothing happened.
We mentioned American Dad above and when we were sharing our thoughts on the first two episodes shortly before they aired, Fox friends reminded us how much we hated American Dad and pointed out that it's become "a ratings contender." Yes, it has and that's largely due to Roger the alien. Roger is the show's Stewie and the added emphasis on Roger in the second season and beyond has made the show worth watching. (If they ever noticed that Roger works best with Haley and acted on that, American Dad would really take off.) Sit Down and Shut Up might have, given time, had a break out character in the mix. (Will Forte's Stuart came off the best of all the characters. He was given lines that were as bad as the ones everyone else was stuck with but he made them work with a light delivery.) But so what? If that character emerged, the show would either have to drastically change or else the character would be sitting around sipping coffee like every one else on the show.
In the end, the network whose animated shows live to mock CBS' demographics provided an animated program which made CBS' bran and depends set appear like lively clubbers by comparison.
We'll do anything we can to avoid writing about the show at this point. And sometimes we'll call it out here or at The Common Ills without naming it as the show we're calling out such as in the April 3rd "Iraq snapshot." So what generally happens is we ask ourselves, "Can we just ignore that?" And we do. Until it just gets out of hand.
And it has really gotten out of hand. Yet again.
Michael Winship is the senior writer for Bill Moyers Locker Room and sitting around the sauna with Bill isn't fun-time enough so he's made it his life's goal to ridicule women non-stop with the hope that they will go into hiding as a result.
Apparently, if women go into hiding in the United States, Bill Moyers Locker Room will finally have an excuse for booking so damn few of them to appear on the program.
Friday night saw Bill stroking it in another 'manly' circle-jerk and it also saw Michael Winship -- alleged 'writer' (but remember, the WGA East is a joke and a man whose entire 'writing' career is PBS 'public affairs' programs isn't much of a writer) -- show up with yet another insulting essay. This one was entitled "What's So Funny about Washington?" and it included this 'sentence':
Now, the late night shows are affecting traditional journalism and mainstream coverage of events, and influencing public opinion, more than ever, whether it's John McCain dissing Letterman and appearing on Katie Couric's newscast instead, President Obama on Jay Leno, or Tina Fey imitating Sarah Palin to devastating effect on Saturday Night Live.
No, that really doesn't cut it as a sentence (not even as a run-on) but remember, Writers Guild East.
Say it soft and it's almost like hissing.
Why would John McCain appearing on The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric fit into whatever Winship thinks he's created? Political candidates have always appeared on the evening news. Or is he attempting a slam on Couric?
If it's the latter, it's certainly in keeping with his bitchy little attacks on women. Note he praises Tina Fey. By ridiculing the women 'liberal' men love to hate -- Sarah Palin -- Fey earned his love. He concludes by informing that he couldn't actually make it into the White House Correspondents dinner (the president of the Writers Guild West is never shut out) but he did go
to a party held at "at the Corcoran Galley of Art" -- most will probably be more familiar with the historical locale as the Corcoran Gallery of Art. There, he reports:
We met a berobed Arabian prince who had two of the most formidable body guards I'd ever seen, big and impassive, like the statues on Easter Island. Then we were straight-armed aside by an even larger phalanx of black-suited security men. Who's coming through, we wondered - a cabinet member, Joe Biden, the President?
No, it was Eva Longoria, the diminutive but self-important star of Desperate Housewives.
Why, at an art gallery, would a cabinet member travel with security? Is the Hair Club For Men pursuing Arne Duncan? Really, come on. And then note the last sentence.
Eva, disclosure, is someone we know and would include in our top thousand circle of close & personal friends.
What the hell did she do to Michael Winship to get described as "self-important"?
What did she do?
She was born with a vagina.
That's really all it takes. And, of course, Winship will never forgive Eva for supporting Hillary Clinton, for campaigning for Hillary during the Democratic Party primaries.
So he slams her. He calls her, a woman he does not know and has not spoken to, "self-important." A woman he so does not know that he can't even get her name correct: Eva Longoria Parker.
Now unlike Arne Duncan, Eva needs bodyguards. And, in fact, we would recommend that every woman within 90 yards of Michael Winship be provided with body guards.
Trashing Eva had nothing to do with his alleged essay topic. It did fit in with the trashing of women and, of course, with Bill Moyers disinterest in Latinos (a disinterest which can be traced all the way back to his Texas days -- want to go there?).
Women of all sizes and beliefs threaten Michael Winship. It can be an accomplished artist like Eva, it can be an accomplished politician like Hillary or it can be a beauty queen. Take April 3rd's "Miss Universe's Excellent Adventure."
A beauty queen.
Michael Winship, with all that's going on in the world, contributes an essay on a Miss Universe. Winship writes:
But if you needed further proof that the Earth is off its axis, spinning toward the sun, there came the news that another crowned head, Miss Universe, had paid a visit to Guantanamo Bay. Yes, courtesy of the USO, Venezuela's Dyanna Mendoza hit the beach for her personal remake of "Baywatch," visiting the no doubt startled troops there and touring the Gitmo facilities.
Fear Of The Vagina wafts off Winship. "Startled troops"? Right. Because they don't promote celebrity visits, right? (Wrong.) "Her personal remake of Baywatch"? Baywatch is considered an air head show so he has to work that in even though it has nothing to do with Dayana Mendoza. Yeah, that's the other thing. Dayana.
While mocking Mendoza as an air head and stupid, the 'professional' journalist, the president of the Writers Guild East, can't even get the woman's name right. A woman he elected to base an entire column on. Who's the real idiot?
In the last six episodes (April 10 - May 15), Bill Moyers Locker Room has featured 13 guests.
How many were women?
Go ahead, make a guess. Of the 13 guests on the last six episodes, how many were women?
Do you need a hint?
Here's you hint: It's the loneliest number.
One woman. Twelve men and one woman.
With that lousy record, you might think Winship would be encouraged to reign in his frequent attacks on women. But that's not been the case because, let's face it, Keith Olbermann's not the first huckster to make it on the air posing as a 'news man'. No, Bill Moyers precedes him by many, many years. Both men have an itch to scratch, hatred of women. And no matter how often they scratch it or how furiously, they never find relief.
You could deliver six crates of Gold Bond Medicated Powder to the set of Bill Moyers Locker Room and it would still do no good.
The only thing that might would be calling the sexism out.
Wolfie announced she was stepping out of her closet and who knew, like some cheap sheitel, she left her brains in the closet?
Her ego, apparently, is harder to detach.
* I just flew back
* Believe me
* Me neither.
* gave me chills
* when I first started
* I pointed out
* I should say
* I ask you to consider
* I raise
* I participated
* I have heard
* I have highlighted
* I have to report to you
* I am sure
* I have noted
* When I went to see it in a theatre
* I am formally coming out of the closet
* I am very VERY sorry
* I say this
* I know her
* But to me
* my vote
* I hear
* I am likely
* I will gladly
* I am certain
As you can see from her use of I, me and my, Naomi's argument for you voting for Barack (she'd already voted in her state's primary, hence her title) was all about herself and her 'wonderful' judgment.
Of all the candidates running now, he is the leader on understanding the threat to the Constitution and actually taking action, not just mouthing soundbites, on the need to deny torturers space in our nation and to restore the rule of law.
"Lawyers for Gitmo detainees endorse Obama," read a recent headline on the Boston Globe's political blog. In the article, reporter Charlie Savage notes that "More than 80 volunteer lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainees today endorsed Illinois Senator Barack Obama's presidential bid. The attorneys said in a joint statement that they believed Obama was the best choice to roll back the Bush-Cheney administration's detention policies in the war on terrorism and thereby to 'restore the rule of law, demonstrate our commitment to human rights, and repair our reputation in the world community.'"
The lawyers who signed this letter -- prominent names on the list included Washington lawyer Thomas Wilner, retired federal appeals court judge John Gibbons, and retired Rear Admiral Donald Guter, who was the Navy's top JAG officer from 2000 to 2002 -- applauded Obama for having stood up in 2006 against aspects of the Military Commissions Act. Unfortunately, his fight was ultimately unsuccessful -- which is why we are all still in danger. But unlike other candidates he truly fought and he understood the nature of the danger: "When we were walking the halls of the Capitol trying to win over enough Senators to beat back the Administration's bill, Senator Obama made his key staffers and even his offices available to help us," the lawyers wrote. "Senator Obama worked with us to count the votes, and he personally lobbied colleagues who worried about the political ramifications of voting to preserve habeas corpus for the men held at Guantanamo. He has understood that our strength as a nation stems from our commitment to our core values, and that we are strong enough to protect both our security and those values. Senator Obama demonstrated real leadership then and since, continuing to raise Guantanamo and habeas corpus in his speeches and in the debates."
Did you catch the "he" emphasis? Did you notice that when it was time to provide proof, she 'naturally' (nurture did that, not nature) surrendered to men? All the people quoted and cited? Men. Naomi will later note that she's sure she's upset a "legion of feminists," but that's apparently a-okay with her, because she's standing with the men.
When it's time for Naomi to make a decision, she ignores a "legion of feminists" and instead asks, "What are the boys doing? Are they playing touch football? Do you think they're doing shirts v. skins? Skins. Ooooooh. You think they'd let me watch? I could cheer them on and then, after, rub my nose in their springy, sweaty pit hairs. Ooooooh. The smell of it!"
This is the infamous column where Naomi declares that Barack's the only one running for president -- this is when the primaries were still ongoing -- who had acted like "a true American." Most of all, it's the one where Naomi reveals how little women matter.
And if you missed that point, she was back in September to put you wise with "The Battle Plan II: Sarah 'Evita' Palin, the Muse of the Coming Police State." Evita is a sexist portrayal of women as conjured up by men. How very nice of 'feminist' Naomi to give the term credence. But wait, she wasn't just Evita, she was also "FrankenBarbie of the Rove-Cheney cabal." So on the one hand, she's a sexist stereotype of a woman with power (Evita), on the other, she's a monster-doll controlled by others (FrankenBarbie).
People should have been noticing that Naomi only cited men favorably and that she repeatedly worked over time to tear women apart.
Naomi's just a political whore. A bad one, granted. She harmed Al Gore's campaign by making her stupid remarks "on background" to reporters (which is why they came back and attacked her falsely as a fashion maven for the campaign). But that's all she is: A political whore.
Only a political whore writes the following:
I saw that she was even styled by the same skillful stylist (neutral lipstick, matte makeup, dark colors) who turned Katharine Harris from a mall rat into a stateswoman and who styles all the women in the Bush orbit --but who does not bother to style Cindy McCain.
Not only is Sarah Palin a fake, she's a fake in her make up! And look at how no one wants to style Cindy! Loosen up the bitch bite, Naomi, Cindy McCain chooses her own look and always has. It's called independence, something a whimpering little dish rag like yourself couldn't understand as you stayed home taking care of children you didn't want to care of while your then-husband was having fun.
Naomi will resort to any whoring to put her man in office and, yes, with Naomi it's always a man. She will lie (as she did about John McCain's 'skin cancer' that she and unnamed sources just knew he had and that would kill him in two years!), she will kvetch and, most of all, she will claw like the lowest and horniest cat in the alley.
She is not a feminist, she is a disgrace. And that's why little Naomi couldn't be bothered with calling Barack out for deciding to continue the military tribunals, for deciding to bury the photos of torture and any hopes of accountability. In doing so, he is not, by Naomi's 'logic,' "a true American." Take it up with her.
Betty: I've been clear at my site that I really don't care what happens to Green. Sorry if that offends anyone, it's just where I'm at. As you, C.I., continue covering the hearing -- hearings? -- you are making remarks that I know offend some drive-bys who seem to think you're calling for Green to walk.
C.I.: The trial is over, Green's been convicted. The sentencing hearing is what's ongoing now and it resumes on Monday. I can understand if people are bothered by some of what I've written -- or all of it -- during the sentencing phase. There are a number of reasons for what I'm writing and one would include the fact that I've really been appalled by the job the defense has done. 'Experts' who do not know your client belong in the trial phase, not in the sentencing phase. Quit trying to retry the case and humanize your client or he will get the death penalty.
Dona: And it gets old, I'm sure. Monday through Friday, you have to have something. And when there's nothing in the news, you have to go through the court documents. So that's a factor as well?
C.I.: Well, yeah, and it's also true that, for Abeer, this case needs to be followed through to the end and there needs to be something, each time, something in an entry at The Common Ills, that has someone thinking about the case for a little longer. Even if it just ten seconds more. Evan Bright noted in his latest report that it's gotten a bit routine -- my term, not his -- in the court room and that he could use some Red Bull or something else to stay awake. The trial is over. It's not usually expected that the defense will spend longer in sentencing than they do in presenting their case in the trial itself but that is what has happened.
Wally: I found that interesting because the defense offered two days during the hearing, not even two full days, but in the sentencing, they've already offered four days of witness testimony. But you were talking -- Ava, C.I., Kat and I are on the road each week and fly back on Saturdays -- on the plane ride home yesterday about Evan's post specifically and I was hoping you would put that out here.
C.I.: Evan Bright has done a wonderful job reporting on the case. And if he's exhausted, that's not surprising. He's put in a huge amount of time in the court room, he's Twittered and he's also written these in depth reports about each day in court. So I'm not surprised if he's having trouble staying awake because he's so exhausted or because it's a turned into a chore. I don't know that it has on the latter, but I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case. But what do I wonder is what that means for the defense.
Wally: Spell it out like you did on the plane.
C.I.: The jury has been present each day as well. If the defense's witnesses are making Evan Bright weary, what do you think they're doing to the jury? When I hear what was testified to in court, when I'm speaking to someone present or following the case, I hear an A a C and S worth noting but to get to those points people had to sit through the entire alphabet meaning the defense doesn't appear to be questioning the witnesses properly. They're letting everything spill out and when something spills out that needs to be underlined and highlighted, the defense isn't doing that. And I would fear, were I the defense, that the jury was as weary as Evan Bright is. And all the members of the jury are older than Bright. Remember, he's an 18-year-old high school senior so, presumably, he's got more natural energy than anyone else in the court room.
Kat: I'm glad Wally brought that up because we were talking about it on the plane home yesterday and I was talking about how I was sorry for him, for Evan, because he's going to see this through regardless but it's taken up so much time for him. And I wasn't even thinking, until C.I. brought up the jury, that if he's tired, what's that saying about the jury that's having to sit there? I've been thinking about that since the plane ride and I've got nothing else to add just wanted to underline that.
Stan: Well, I'm the newsest one with a site in the community, and there are days when I think, "I don't know what to write about tonight." And there are evenings when I search and search and I'm talking to others like Marcia or Mike to see if they have any ideas. And I don't have a defined scope so I can grab anything that I find interesting. And yet, point, there are nights when I really have nothing up until I start typing. So what happens when you've got to note the trial and there's nothing there?
C.I.: Generally, that's been when I go through the various court filings and responses and hope there's something that can be used. And I do understand Evan Bright being tired of it because it has become his entire focus and that's a lot to carry around -- for someone of any age. There's the fact that Green may be executed, there are the War Crimes themselves, and he's had to hear all of that in graphic detail and that's a lot to carry around inside.
Ava: You made a joke, to me, this past week about the scope. With the shooting last Monday, you were getting tired of the scope at TCI.
C.I.: Right. The Monday shooting was big and it had to be covered and we have to cover the Green trial because I'm not going to be someone screaming at friends who aren't covering it while I'm also ignoring it. But, yeah, thank goodness for the two Congressional hearings because it was really feeling like a crime blotter between John S. Russell and Steven D. Green.
Ruth: That gives me a question and I didn't think I had one. There's not really an effort by you to use "alleged" with Sgt. Russell. Why is that?
C.I.: A room full of witnesses saw him do it. His own father and his own son, speaking to the press, didn't use alleged. I don't really see the point in using "alleged" on that. If others want to, I think that's great and if I had time to just devote to Russell's story, I might as well. But unless he suddenly has a defense that pleads not guilty, we'll continue to not fret over "alleged." He may plead not guilty by reason of insanity and, should he do so, he would be on strong ground -- my opinion. But I really don't see him denying the shooting itself.
Jess: Jim noted at the top that no one's mad at C.I. in this and no one is. But Betty got very mad at me last week -- she said I could bring this up -- because I was defending Green from the death penalty. We started off with a calm discussion but it quickly went elsewhere. I understand why she felt the way she did and she understands why I do but what surprises me, as someone who works the public e-mail for The Common Ills and the private accounts for members is how community members haven't been bothered by your remarks during the sentencing.
C.I.: Jess' mother is a public defender and a great one. I think Jess needs to talk more about that and both his parents are opposed to the death penalty.
Jess: Yeah. And I could see my mother getting this case though she wouldn't have taken it due to the rape issue. But I know she's defended people who needed a lawyer, as everyone is guaranteed one, but been attacked for defending them and it just surprises me that some of your remarks haven't resulted in angry e-mails from community members.
C.I.: I would guess, and this is just my guess, that most members are grasping that I'm really appalled by the job the defense has done. It's equally true that we didn't pick this up, at TCI or community wide, a few weeks ago. We're all familiar with the War Crimes and have long weighed in on them. So I think I can argue that the defense is doing a poor job and not have someone think, "Wait, is C.I. saying it's okay what happened to Abeer?" I think my position, and all of our positions, on the War Crimes are plainly spoken enough that we don't have to worry about community members misunderstanding. My guess.
Jim: Equally true is that someone who, for example, might be rooting for the death penalty for Green can read your critiques of the defense and think, "Yes! He's not getting off! His attorneys are a joke and he's going to fry!"
C.I.: Yeah, they could think that.
Cedric: I want to get to the death penalty aspect in terms of the jury. You wrote about that on Friday. I want to be sure I'm clear on that aspect.
C.I.: There are 12 members on the jury -- I believe it's nine women and three men, but I'm tired and may be remembering that wrong. For Green to get the death penalty, all 12 have to agree he should be put to death. If they can't all agree, he doesn't get it. Only the jury can sentence him to death. The judge can't.
Marcia: You noted several times that it was both -- that it was better for the defense to have witnesses who knew Green. They are the ones who can humanize him, you've argued, and I agree. But I read over Evan Bright's reporting for the week earlier and your other point came through as well. You'd said that Marisa Ford, the prosecutor, wasn't going to question these personal witnesses. And she really hasn't. She's gone after the 'experts.' What's going on there?
C.I.: The prosecution has to look like they're after justice. I assume that's what they are after and I think Marisa Ford has done a wonderful job on this case. But the defense should have grasped that they can pull out all the stunts with a personal witness. Ford can only go so far with those or she will look vindictive. A witness cries on the stand about how great Green is. Even if Ford wants to question that witness -- and most times, there's no need -- it'll only go up to a point because the jury will be thinking, "S/he just cried and now the prosecutor's tearing into her/him." The prosecution has to look like they're out for justice, not like their mad dogs foaming at the mouth.
Rebecca: What do think the sentence will be?
C.I.: I don't know. If the hearing had stopped Tuesday, I think, my opinion, Steven D. Green would be facing an execution. The defense was much better on Wednesday and Thursday. The may continue that on Monday. But, back to the point about Evan Bright being weary, if he's weary, the jury is. And if the defense isn't hitting the main points with each witness and really nailing home the points made, Green's going to be sentenced to death.
Ty: It really does come down to what he told the arresting officers. Agents?
C.I.: Agents. The FBI arrested him. He told them, "You probably think I'm a monster." That's what the defense should have grasped the jury thought as well. And experts don't impress a jury that's already convicted someone --
Rebecca: On all counts.
C.I.: On all counts correct. Why are these experts up here? What do they say? That's what the jury thinks and I'm tossing to Elaine on this.
Elaine: And I'm completely unprepared. Okay, the convictions have been decided. The guilt's been assigned. The experts are brought in before that. They really don't belong in the sentencing unless they know Green and know him very well. Like Ty pointed out, it's the monster aspect. The defense has to, as C.I. says, humanize Green. That's the only way he's not getting the death penalty. The problem with the 'experts' is two-fold. First, they don't know Green. Second, they're 'experts.' Meaning the defense is putting people on the witness stand to say, "It's not strange. Not really." Well, no, it is strange to the jury. It is strange to the jury that convicted Green without ever hearing from these new found experts. And when they're told it's not strange they're likely to think that they're being told they were wrong. That they were wrong to convict. Any witness who appears to be telling the jury that they are wrong is a witness that's wasted because the jury's not going to listen. In fact, they may turn against the side that put a witness like that on the stand.
Jim: Okay, that's everyone but Mike. Mike?
Mike: Well I don't know. In the lead up to the verdict, I think, honestly, I wanted Green to get the death penalty. He was found guilty on all counts which is saying something and that is a victory. If he gets off now, I'm not going to be mad and, for a variety of reasons, I might even think that was the best thing. Does anyone have any idea when the jury's going to issue a sentence?
C.I.: I belive the thinking is that the jury may be able to begin deliberations on Wednesday. And Betty actually was going to add something completely non-related.
Betty: Thank you. Medium, NBC Monday, Anjelica Houston returns to her Emmy nominated role. And, in terms of what Mike's saying, I do agree. And before anyone wonders, yes, Jess did ask if it was okay to bring up our argument and it was more than okay.
Jim: Okay, NBC Monday night, don't miss Anjelica Houston. This was a rush transcript. Photo used is of Steven D. Green from when he was arrested. C.I. got it from the sherrif's department and declared that copy public domain. Anyone who wants to can use the photo, or our copy of it.
We were very fortunate to be able to interview him (for which we thank him) in "Evan Bright Puts Big Media To Shame." But we were discussing it and thinking he deserved the highest honor we give out, the Shirley, named after Shirley Chisholm, unbought and unbossed.
The sentencing of Green will end soon. There may or may not be future appeals. But when it mattered, when the the gang-rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, her murder, the murder of her parents and her five-year-old sister could've resulted in apathy or disinterest for a high school senior -- the way it did for so much of the press, Evan Bright stepped up. We thank him for that and we thank him for his informed and informative coverage.
The memo went unread and while DC yet again pitting various names against each other (Robin, Night Wing, Huntress, Bat Girl, Black Canary, Catwoman, etc.) in the Battle For The Cowl who knew the country's tensions would spread to Archie Comics?
Josie, Valerie and Melody throwing down against Betty, Veronica, Jughead and the gang for Battle Of The Bands Part 2?
As Roberta once asked Donnie, "Where is the love? Where is the love?"
The attack forced the network news to stop avoiding Iraq, at least briefly, for a brief moment or two.
Monday evening, the three networks all filed a report. The clear winner was ABC World News Tonight (click here for Martha Raddatz and Luis Martinez' text report and the video) which 'got lucky' because Martha Raddatz had, days before, gone to the stress clinic for a tour from Lt Col Beth Salisbury allowing ABC to be the only network with actual footage of the clinic. 'Got lucky' as opposed to got lucky? Reporters know you don't get lucky. You do the work over and over and 1 out of 1,000 times you'll have something you can use for a later story. Raddatz and ABC did the work, no luck involved. They did the work and they had the footage. Nothing prevented any of the other networks from doing something similar ahead of the shooting except for the fact that Iraq wasn't judged a priority by their news teams.
At a time when few facts were known, Raddatz was able to tell viewers that three of the dead were present at the clinic for treatment and two worked at the clinic. The clinic that, thanks to ABC News doing their job, viewers could see.
Viewers of The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric got to see something as well (click here), pure fantasy. Re-enactments are bad enough when they pop up on what is supposed to be news programming (and not an episode of Cops), but David Martin's 'report' topped re-enactment. With no floor plan of the stress clinic and no idea how or what order the events took place in, CBS News created a 'cartoon' that showed someone's idea of the shooting and how it took place. It was not news. It was not realistic and it was insulting to the viewers because it basically said: "We think you're idiots."
Martin's commentary during the report was off as well. That included presenting a narrative that's now known to be false but, even before he reported it, was already in conflict with other reports so it never should have been included. Apparently bored with sticking to what was known about the shooting, Martin took a side trip into military suicides. After that lengthy excursion, Martin did not, "This was not suicide, of course, but murder." A point that viewers at home had probably made some time ago.
As bad as that was, and it was really bad (Bob Orr would file a much better report Tuesday on The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric), it was almost journalism compared to what NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams served up.
Williams is a multi-million dollar news anchor but that's apparently not good enough for him so he rushes to play toy soldier. Appearing across from propagandist and retired Col Jack Jacobs, Brian Williams wanted to pant over "the temple of battle" and draw a thick line between himself and civilians ("folks here") who had never been in the military. Brian Williams has never been in the military. But that didn't stop him from playing soldiers.
It was really something to sit there and think about how much GE pays Williams and how they were allowing him to come across like an eight-year-old boy.
"US military investigators say a soldier at Camp Liberty in Iraq walked into a clinic for treating combat stress and killed five of his fellow soldiers in what is believed to be the worst case of non-combat deaths for US forces since the war started," declared Williams. "With more on this tonight, we are joined by retired US army Col Jack Jacobs a recipient of the Medal of Honor and an NBC News military analyst."
But there was no "more on this" because neither was interested in what had taken place. But there was time for what Williams kindly dubbed "a theory" and Jacobs explained his 'belief' that, "When you're focused on making sure that you and your fellow soldiers stay alive, when people are trying very hard to kill you, when you're trying to accomplish the mission, you're all together as a unit and you watch out for each other. And it's at times when you have lots of free time on your hands, if you're on a base like this, nobody's watching you, those are the times when the stress of repeated deployments and other kinds of things get to you and uh nobody's keeping an eye on you and this may be what happened here."
It wasn't revealed on air that Jacobs is a longtime foe of increasing dwell time. Even though the 'theory' rested on the premise that dwell time was just fine where it was -- research, reports and military doctors be damned.
It also wasn't revealed that Jacobs is a propagandist. For what NBC wouldn't tell you, read David Barstow's Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times coverage of the propaganda mill click here and here.
"Steven D. Green's Defense Team Suffers Setback" -- The most requested highlight. This is C.I.'s Friday morning post. The backstory on this is that Gina asked C.I. during the roundtable (Thursday night) for the gina & krista round-robin (goes out Friday mornings) what happens Friday morning (at The Common Ills) if Evan Bright doesn't post on Thursday's hearing? C.I. replied something will be found to cover Abeer and not to worry. Community members know that story because they read the roundtable. Kat picks up with Friday morning when C.I. was writing the morning entries (both are written at the same time, if one goes up more than five minutes later than the other, C.I.'s dictated the second entry). At one point, on a landline and one cell phone, C.I.'s other cell started ringing. Kat answers and it's a cable news producer saying there's nothing on the Green trial anywhere except the AP report and so pitches another Iraq related topic. Kat passes that on and C.I. says, "I've got court documents I still haven't looked at." And that's how we got the Friday morning entry. So that's your back story to the entry readers of this site picked as the best. And that's also your answer as to why C.I. broke the news and not AP: C.I. was reviewing the court documents. As Trina pointed out ("Steven D. Green convicted of his War Crimes"), C.I. does pour over those court documents and does report on them.
"Iraq snapshot" & "Iraq snapshot" and "Dreams and the House Veterans Committee" & "Senate Armed Services Committee" -- C.I. and Kat report on two Congressional hearings last week.
"Reporting on the Congress" -- to really appreciate C.I. and Kat's work, read this post by Trina.
"Yes, America, Barack is his own trophy wife," "Dennis Loo and other things" and "World Can't Wait, Third" -- Elaine and Mike write about last weekend's writing edition of Third and the problems that ensued. Problems this week too. Nothing is working out. No one's arguing but nothing is working out. Well, one thing. Ava and C.I. review Sit Down, Shut Up and that was great. But things are so bad right now in terms of whether there will be an edition or not, that Jim's just asked them to write a second piece on TV. Which they're supposedly five minutes away from being done with. Hopefully Jim will not then ask for a third piece from them. But this is one of those weekends when nothing goes right. (And, it should be noted that Jim is working this entire edition despite being sick.) We were told to go work on this and then, if we wanted, we could bail.
"Barack's latest lies" and "THIS JUST IN! BARACK STABS AGAIN!" -- Barack lies so much it's hard to keep track. Cedric and Wally cover his cave on Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
"Dreams, Daily Howler," "dreams," "Dreams and realities," "Dreams and the House Veterans Committee," "Romantic dreams," "Nightmares," "The embarrassing Barack and Coward Zinn" and "Dreams, Debra Sweet" -- Last week, we had a theme post.
"Beans and Mac in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers a simple recipe via a reader.
"They should be ashamed of themselves," "like daughter, like dork," "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric streams live," "What's the Whore Melissa Lacewell Harris doing?," "Coward Zinn, Paul Street, Pancake Naomi," "No sympathy, sorry" "Matt Rothschild awakes from his wet dream" and "THIS JUST IN! MATTY ROTHSCHILD HAS STRUCK OUT!" -- some media critiques from around the community.
"Don't Look Back" -- Stan's Friday movie post.