Sunday, August 09, 2009

Truest statement of the week

I see signs of this country coming out of the 'Hope'-nosis of Obama as positive change is not even in the forecast but the reawakening is not happening fast enough and we really need everyone to walk towards the light of truth and peace if we ever want to see any of my dreams become reality!

-- Cindy Sheehan's "Peace, Finally: Reflections on the Fourth Anniversary of Camp Casey" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.

Along with Dallas, the following helped write 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),
Trina of Trina's Kitchen
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

We thank them all.

Truest statement of the week -- Cindy Sheehan earns it hands down.

Editorial: When you've got nothing to sell, attack... -- Just say no to ObamaCare. Don't be intimidated into silence. This edition, we were all face to face and able to bounce off each other. So that was a nice change.

TV: He puts the cess in cesspool -- Ava and C.I. dashed this off in the final minutes of this week's writing edition. They did a wonderful job.

Idiot of the Week -- Barbara Boxer earned it hands down. Marvel at the extreme stupidity.

Hate Speech Radio (Ava and C.I.) -- Ava and C.I. covered this topic and, in doing so, were able to grab several topics on our list. This is a powerful piece.

The Proposal as a feminist statement -- And this is a great roundtable. I (Jim) have high praise for all the particpants in this. I argued that it should be high up in the mix and did so because I was really impressed with what they did.

Roundtable -- This is my pity party. And thanks to everyone who made it work as a roundtable. That's Dona who rescued it at the end and that's everyone who participated in any part.

How to ensure that your party is seen as a joke -- Our Green party feature.

Week three -- The role of the press is to hold the powerful accountable. In this lop-sided narrative, the press has decided to go after the people.

Why the left shouldn't recruit right wingers -- A lesson to be learned if you[ll pay attention.

Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Kat, Betty, Cedric, Stan, Marcia, Ruth and Rebecca wrote this and we thank them for it.

And that's the edition. We're hoping to finish the American Dad feature next week. We'll see you then.

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

Editorial: When you've got nothing to sell, attack

Did you hear?

Object to ObamaCare and you're racist.

It's really the only trick the Cult of St. Barack ever had and, oh, it's grown old.


Reality is that there is no plan. The House has proposals, the Senate has a proposal, the White House has a wish list. Nothing's been passed.

That hasn't stopped Barack from hitting the campaign trail to try and sell ObamaCare, the non-existent ObamaCare. Any decent sales person can tell you it's much easier to sell something that actually exists.

To distract from the lack of a plan and the fact that no one is proposing single payer, it was necessary to yet again demonize the people.

The people are just so rude. The people are so loud. They shout. And politicians have a hard enough job representing the corporations without also having to deal with the public!

Do these whiners know anything about our history? Do they think America has gotten to where it is today, where ever that is, without using their angry words?

What a bunch of losers.

We mean our members of Congress.

And they better grasp that it's backfiring on them, blaming the people.

Rasmussen's latest poll finds, "49% believe town hall protesters genuinely express concerns of their neighbors ... 37% think protests are phony." And "41% have favorable view of town hall protesters ... 35% unfavorable."

Pelosi and company better grab a clue: Forcing the public to choose between politicians and citizens isn't a difficult choice: They'll choose their own every time.

Why the demonization?

We're back to the start: There is no plan.

So they're playing a shell game, trying to distract you.

Reality: Barack promised ObamaCare would pass before the August recess. Reality, the August recess is now and ObamaCare has not been passed.

They can hit the road trying to sell their empty basket and they can demonize all they want but the problem is not the American people or the democratic process. The problem is the politicians.

Full On Federline

And, reality check, Barack's diving in the polls and has far less political capital to spend.

Illustration is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Full On Federline"

TV: He puts the cess in cesspool

Last week, we explored PBS' The NewsHour and the word which sums up the reaction from PBS friends is: Begrudging. And we heard about it all last week with one telling us Thursday that maybe we should consider "the alternatives. Like 20/20." 20/20? We'd just had an ABC News friend hype us on this week's program which was going to be about "health care." We rushed Friday evening to the TV sets to see if The NewsHour explored health care and, if so, planned to compare its work with that offered by a commercial broadcast network, ABC.


PBS' broadcast began with a report from Jeffrey Brown on the number of job losses which was then followed with headlines, the possible death of a militant (report), followed by a discussion of that topic and then health care.

It was a report by Betty Ann Bowser. In the report, she actually mentioned single-payer, she actually spoke to a single-payer advocate. She also explored the town halls and the reactions people encounter there. We saw Nancy Pelosi stating this was democracy and thought (a) good for, Nance and (b) too bad she's like Batman's Two Face and changing her message day to day.

Then came Shields & Brooks, picking up on health care and Mark Shields fretted over civility. How very sad. He did note that there were 'legitimate and authentic concerns about the plan and questions about the plan" and David Brooks was left to raise the issue of "the Code Pink ladies" who used to show "up at every hearing during the Iraq War and start shouting people down and have to be arrested and carried away."

Are you thinking, "What??????????"

We were too.

Mark Shields attempted to wade in stating, "The Code Pink ladies David mentioned would speak -- would shout at the congressional hearings, but then they'd be quickly removed."

Sorry, Mark, we're still puzzling the section of David's remarks about "during the Iraq War" because we weren't aware it had ended.

We'll note this part of the discussion:

DAVID BROOKS: Let's not pretend this just started. I mean, every time we have a major issue, this happens. I mean, just go back to the Iraq war. There were people claiming there was the Project for the New American Century and Richard Perle was part of a big neocon conspiracy. There's ugliness that goes on. There's ugliness that went on in those rallies. And...
JUDY WOODRUFF: You're saying it's the same kind of thing?
DAVID BROOKS: I'm saying -- I think every time, if you look through American history, every time there's a major issue -- and this a major issue -- you get people who are totally over the line and spreading misinformation. And that doesn't justify it -- believe me -- but we shouldn't pretend it just started from one group.
MARK SHIELDS: No, but this is -- I think this is organized in a way that the others weren't. I mean, when any of us gives a speech, we are asked almost semi-regularly about, "What about 9/11? And wasn't that, in fact, organized? And the planes could not have knocked down the Twin Towers."
I mean, that is a regular -- and it's usually somebody -- but this is not something where somebody is shouting you down and denying you. The Code Pink ladies David mentioned would speak -- would shout at the congressional hearings, but then they'd be quickly removed.
This stops the debate. That's what's going on right now. That's the difference.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So when the fellow Betty Ann interviewed, one of the gentlemen at one of the rallies, said, "This is not good for the democratic process."

Really? Because the man we remember Betty Ann interviewing was the same one and what we remember him doing was whining to Betty Ann that the people showing up needed to stop shouting but they could ask questions.

They could ask questions?

What was this? Elizabeth Taylor promoting White Diamonds?

We both love Elizabeth Taylor and she'd be the first one to tell you, that when you're on the campaign trail, you better have an answer to any and all questions and you also better be prepared for the fact that people will share -- and yes, shout -- their opinions.

See, Elizabeth knows that because she married John Warner before he (successfully) ran for the US Senate. Elizabeth was there at his side, at one campaign event after another, one meet-and-greet after another. And she knows exactly what's expected.

And citizens aren't present to ask questions and then sit down and await the response. Citizens can protest. Citizens can shout. This is a democracy. A fact that Mark Shields seems to forget as he frets about tone.

A fact that escapes the man both Judy Woodruff and we noticed -- but noticed for different reasons. We noticed that he felt the public's role at any townhall was nothing more than asking questions.

That's not the public's role. We're not Oprah Winfrey to their Tom Cruise.

Lloyd Doggett and the other whiners (disclosure, one of us, C.I., has given money to Lloyd's campaigns) seem to be saying, "You know politics would be great if we could just figure out a way to cut out the public."

The public is loud. That's America for you. That's the spirit that led to the Revolutionary War. It's the spirit that prevented a monarchy being established to replace the British one. Democracy includes shouting. Democracy includes stamping your feet. Political speech isn't pretty and that's why it needed to be Constitutionally protected.

There was nothing in the responses from Shields and Brooks that appeared to acknowledge that; however, David came closest to the mark by comparing it to the left when Bush was in power. He's not wrong about the reaction. He's wrong, our opinion, to dismiss what outraged so many of us on the left. But he's correct that our responses were far from genteel. And there was no reason they should have been.

ObamaCare will come and go, it's a real shame we're not seeing some honest debate about political speech -- as opposed to silly fretting over tone.

But The NewsHour had some actual reports, some discussions and even sections of David and Mark that you could enjoy and that, yes, could make you think. It might not be so hard for The NewsHour to beat ABC devoting an hour to health care.

And then it started. And PBS need have no fears.

Health care? This is what ABC News thinks passes for health care coverage?

"Medical mysteries"?

It was rarely a notch above Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

During one hour's time, we learned very little.

We learned that people born with their heart on the outside of their body could live. Or at least, one man had. There was no real effort to talk about others or to say how common the condition was so we'll assume it's not very common and not anything most of us will ever file an insurance claim on.

We learned that a cesspool stunk, even through one's TV screen.

Which is how we got a 'report' on how a couple's bedroom could become "a torture chamber."
After the Sex In The City clip, we learned that "even contact from their blue jeans can be unbearable to bear" for three women. So if contact from their own clothes could cause them so much pain, was it any surprise they didn't want to have sex?

Apparently it was to 20/20.

Our notes on this story includes a lot of "he says . . ." And that's due to the fact that for this ailment supposedly effecting women, women were rarely heard from except as victims, as sufferers. The reporter was male, the experts -- including doctors -- were male. Finally a female physical therapist pops up. For two sentences. Then she's gone. (Like Elizabeth Vargas whom John Stossel said was off this week.)

From those female victims we went to a story on a female dancer whom, Stossel informed, is "unable to move without help from her fiancee." After the commercial break, Stossel feels the need to remind that the vows say "in sickness and in health" but wonders if you had to carry your wife around, would you stay?

Yet again, another male reporter (actually the same reporter). Yet again, another female victim.
It was like Queen for a Day.

The same male reporter is then interviewing an autistic child (we were told this would be "an important segment" -- we were lied to) who wisely refused to talk to the reporter. She spoke through a keyboard. She can communicate in sentences via a keyboard. She writes online. Asked why some autistics bang their heads against things, she explained that there is so much going on inside that it feels like the only way to avoid the whole body exploding. This could have been a full hour segment. It was the only thing remotely helpful.

Instead it was a blink and you missed it and the main take away for most viewers was, "Why didn't the mother speak?" You heard constantly from the father. Did the mother not want to speak or did the male reporter not feel she had anything worth sharing?

JuJu Chang filed the report on the boy born with his heart on the outside of his body. Maybe because she's a woman, she actually found other women who could speak -- including experts such as a nurse present at birth and a female doctor -- yes, 20/20, women can be doctors!

But they can't intone like John Stossel who offered one creepy tease after another. "They're eating while sound asleep . . . the sleep eaters." So said John sounding like the little girl in Poltergeist.

After the break, he will try to get you frightened by the thought of candy wrappers on your pillows and then we'll be off to a report on more female victims, this time ones eat in their sleep.

And that was really the program. No health care. This wasn't even news. This was sad and freaky with a message of "Women is victims of the world, yes, she is." The NewsHour shone by comparison but, the more we thought about it, we realized that it sparkled like a gem mainly for one reason.

It's the same reason 20/20 sucks. And viewers were informed of where the problem was at the top of the show when an announcer declared, "What lies behind these medical mysteries? Here's John Stossel."

Idiot of the Week

In her 2004 re-election, Senator Barbara Boxer received a record number of votes leading many gas bags to point out that Boxer was the one who could claim a mandate from the voters, not George W. Bush.

So, as she approaches the re-election run she swore she wouldn't make, it's rather surprising that she's polling so poorly. In March, PDF format warning, The Field Poll found 43% of respondents supporting her re-election and 44% "not inclined to re-elect her." It's a rather steep drop for the once popular Boxer.

How did it happen?

For one thing, people stopped focusing on Senator Dianne Feinstein long enough to note the 'liberal' Boxer wasn't. They began to notice that Boxer did nothing on the Iraq War. (A September 2007 press conference, organized by other senators and which required strong arming Boxer to get her there does not count as 'leadership' against the Iraq War.) They began to grasp that a politician who should have been a leader, who had been given a mandate, elected to ignore the voters, to ignore the will of California.

Boxer and Schwarzenegger

And they also began to notice, frankly, how frequently Boxer made stupid, uninformed statements.

Wednesday, Boxer was exposing her ignorance in public yet again as she appeared on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show to promote her latest attempt at pulp fiction, Blind Trust (co-written as all the good page turners are!!!!).

In the course of the conversation, the issue of regrets came up (the lead character in Boxer's new book has no regrets) leading the senator to declare, "I regret that even after voting 'no' on the War on Iraq, I should have been down there every day making my voice louder and stronger."


How sad.

Boxer regrets offering no leadership against the war on Iraq.

Diane Rehm asked her why that was, prompting Boxer to sigh heavily and respond, "I thought that I said enough when I voted 'no' and I continued to speak but not loudly enough and not clearly enough" [she goes on to plug her book again].

Boxer voted "no" in 2002. How very sad that she's got nothing to point to afterwards with regards to the Iraq War which passed the six year mark last March.

It's a deep regret for Boxer.

But apparently not one she intends to work on.

In other words, she'll offer mealy mouth words but take no action to change her behaviors.

That became apparent when a caller asked about Nouri al-Maliki's recent comments that the US might stay in Iraq beyond 2011.

Barbara Boxer: First of all, I have never heard Nouri al-Maliki ask us to stay so I don't know what particular speech he [the caller] was referring to. He said for a long time it's time for Americans to leave and I think it is. And what will guide me, obviously the reports on the ground from the military but my overwhelming belief that we have bled so much and done so much that I already say and I said a long time ago we gave the Iraqi people the chance to govern themselves, to rebuild and anyone who served there or any of the families who lost people there or any of those who were wounded there should know they gave their all to give the Iraqis a chance and now they have to take that chance and run with it.

Barbara Boxer defines her biggest regret as not doing more on Iraq and yet this sitting senator is unaware of remarks the prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, made in DC -- not in Iraq -- while visiting last month.

That's very telling. And it goes a long way towards explaining why Boxer's popularity in the state has nose dived.

Reading list for the failed and failing author, Margaret Talev's "Iraq's Maliki raises possibility of asking U.S. to stay on" (McClatchy Newspapers), Barbara, Anne Gearan's coverage of al-Maliki's remarks for AP, the July 23rd snapshot and Aljazeera report noting, "The Iraqi prime minister has admitted US troops could stay in the country beyond 2011."

Hate Speech Radio (Ava and C.I.)

Kris Welch

Friday, Kris Welch fumbled through her (written) introduction at that top of her show, KPFA's Living Room, "Coming up we're going to spend most of the hour on uh GOP and race politics, from uh calling Sotomayor uh racist to now calling Obama Hitler it's uh breaking out all over. And what will this do to the party's chances in further elections we're going to discuss-discuss this with a bunch of folks."

In "further" elections? We believe you mean "future," Kris, or, as you might put it, "Uh, future, uh elections." No time to consider that for long because, after Andrea Lewis flubbed reading cribbed (meaning she didn't credit them despite reading them word for word) AP stories passed off as headlines, Kris and her flat and nasal tones were back to explain, "Welcome back. With a piece in Huffington Post entitled 'For The Modern GOP It's A Return To The White Voters Strategy' uh we're going to look into exactly that and what recent developments uh from everything from even as we speak uh people wearing t-shirts and carrying signs that call President Obama, Hitler to the very lopsided party line vote for the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor discuss the racial politics and the new GOP turning Whiter and Whiter and the country turns more colorful." No, it's not really a sentence by any grammarian's standards.

Are you laughing at Kris Welch's stupidity yet? You should be. But let's hurry you along to the first punch line. One of the topics is whether or not bigotry ("racism," Kris ignorantly called it) was shown by the GOP during their interaction with Sonia Sotomayor during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Sotomayor is a Latina, as she herself defines. We realize it's hard for some people but the race classification is: White. And, here's the thing, if Kris had booked one Latina or Latino on her program, we might have found that out.

Instead it was part of KPFA's continued pattern to render Latinos and Latinas invisible. Not unlike when African-American Andrea Lewis decided to broach the same topic with White Anglo Phyllis Bennis. At KPFA, everyone gets to weigh in on Latinos and Latinas . . . except Latinos and Latinas. No one's supposed to notice. They toss in an African-American or two and, in their Anglo White smugness, don't grasp just how damn offensive that is.

So let's explain it to KPFA, if the topic is the first Latina nominated to the Supreme Court (she was confirmed last week) and you want to discuss her heritage, America doesn't need to hear a bunch of Anglo Whites or African-Americans -- who don't know the first damn thing about being a Latino or Latina -- gas bag over what a huge moment it is.

It just underscores how in the KPFA world -- despite the demographics in the Bay Area KPFA allegedly serves -- it's all White and African-American hosts and guests and the only grouping that ever had to 'rise up' was African-Americans. It's an ignorant and, yes, racist view of things but KPFA's run by a lot of White racists these days.

There's a lot to cover here and you're going to have bear with us as we break it down for you. Before her segment even starts, Kris Welch needs tremendous correction. For example, the Huffington Post piece she mentioned? Written by Thomas B. Edsall.

Now such a piece would require a poli sci major to have any serious currency at all. It would require someone who knows poli sci, who studied poli sci and, even then, even appearing in a peer reviewed journal, it would be a hypothesis. 68-year-old Thomas B. Edsall did not major in
poli sci. He writes for the opinion-journal The New Republic. He did a two-month stint as a columnist for The New York Times, and he floundered for years as a reporter at The Washington Post.

He's a reporter who got lazy and just wanted to opine. He lacks the training to tackle emerging political trends and can only comment on them with any degree of knowledge (however tiny) after the trends have made themselves present in an election cycle. But he writes to the tribal beat of We-Are-So-Much-Better so he can find work at the partisan Huffington Post, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The Nation, The Washington Monthly, The American Prospect and any other Democratic Party organ posing as a legitimate outlet.

Ignorant, elderly and White Anglo, Edsall wants you to know that the GOP (Republican Party) has no chance of finding any gains among "Hispanics". That's based on some social science? No, that's based on his own ignorant musings and his own personal bigotry whereby economics don't mean a thing to non-White Anglos. Edsall believes it's all about identity politics for those who aren't White Anglos.

Yes, it is offensive for him to stereotype like that and, yes, it does feed into the Anglo White egos of Arianna Huffington and Kris Welch, who lap that uninformed bigotry up like mewing kittens. Ignorance is the only reason anyone would cite Edsall's 'study' which contains nothing that reveals current trends by the GOP. To round out his unsupported musings (which can be boiled down to "All Republicans are bigots"), he finally gets a sports numbers cruncher to drop back to the 1980 elections and number crunch those. Yes, it is laughable to anyone who has ever taken a research & methodology class. (No, Edsall never has.) Yes, it is half-baked, junk science and exactly the sort of 'trend' story that Susan Faludi decries in Backlash. Search in vain for any Republicans Edsall's spoken to about his 'thesis' and you'll find none. You'll find no supporting evidence -- no matter how weak. You'll just find an elderly man, who probably should have retired long ago, pounding the tribal drums and a lot of idiots for whom thought is but an aspiration grunting along in satisfaction.

Kris Welch twice mentioned Barack being called "Hitler" before the segment ever began. According to her presentation, that has to do with "race." Really? Because when George W. Bush was compared to Hitler, not only did Kris never object, she frequently made the comparison herself. She was far from alone on the left. Indybay Media originates from the same area KPFA does. Back in the spring of 2007, an article on Sasha Lilley's attempts at censorship at KPFA attracted the following non-unique comment:

I am surprised to hear that KPFA has a program director because what we hear on KPFA's news and the Morning Show is not programming. On the 6 p.m. news on 3/20/07, we heard a good 15 minutes of the latest Hitler in the White House telling us his in his 8-year-old child babble his view of the firing of US attorneys. We NEVER need to hear the voice of this American Hitler in order for the news to be conveyed to the listeners. We also do not need to hear the endless promotionals and interviews of Democrats, equally despicable as the Republicans. The latest round has been with the utterly reactionary senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, a proud supporter of bombing Iran, of torture at Guantanamo, of the death penalty and of Israel. He is another Elmer Gantry and KPFA should teach its audience who the character of Sinclair Lewis' novel, Elmer Gantry, is. Since every single Democratic official and every single Republican official by definition supports Israel, the US military base that exists to protect US oil profits in the Middle East, there is no reason to hear their garbage or promote their million dollar fundraisers for their worthless money machines. The Democrats simply exist to keep the Reds and Greens out of office. Both the Democratic and Republican campaigns are nothing but money machines. We do want to hear from the 2 peace parties on the California ballot, the Peace & Freedom Party and the Green Party. Considering KPFA's news and Morning Show is filled with the Democrat-Republicans, there is not much to listen to on either program. We also need to have Guns & Butter, now heard on Wednesdays at 1 p.m., moved to prime time, namely 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. during the week or 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. This excellent muckraking program covers everything from the 9/11 Inside Job to the economic crises. Since Larry Bensky is finally leaving KPFA at the end of April, we need to have Labor Workweek replace his Democratic Party promotional program on Sunday morning. Flashpoints, heard 5-6 p.m. on weekdays, should be the benchmark program of the kind of news that should be covered on KPFA. Another benchmark that should be included in the evening news is Workers' Struggles Around the World on the World Socialist Website at:

No, Kris never called out comparisons of Bush to Hitler. She did, however, make them herself

so maybe she should try answering why it's okay for her to call someone in the White House "Hitler," but it's not okay for others to?
And Over 40 articles in two years comparing Bush to Hitler (click here for Google cache). Well, Kris wouldn't book the head of for her show then, right? Wrong. Bob Fertik was among her 'knowledgeable' guests booked to spin (and, no, he never mentioned that he and his site had repeatedly compared Bush to Hitler).

There is no explanation for Friday's nonsense except for the fact that Kris Welch doesn't support free speech. She supports hate speech and you were clued into that early on in the broadcast.

Repeatedly. And the segment still hadn't aired. At nearly 20 minutes in, she was teasing again, "Coming up next we're going to talk to a slew of folks who can't wait to get on this story and talk about the return to the what strategy -- that's what it looks like the GOP is doing with Mr. Obama in the White House. Don't go away, it promises to be lively." Yes, she said "what" and not "White." Her promise that it would be "lively"? If you love echo chambers, she was serving you better than David Brock in the late eighties.

Her guests were Anglo White Bob Fertik of, African-American Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report, African-American Jamala Rogers of The Organization for Black Struggle and African-American Ronald Walters of the African American Leadership Institute.

For a panel that allegedly had the expertise to weigh in on Sotomayor's nomination and its meaning to the Latino community, notice not a single person was Latino. Now Ronald Walters
told The Washington Post last year that 70% of the United Stats was White. That's incorrect. The 2006 figure is 74% and doesn't include White Latino. In 2006, Latinos made up 14.6% of the US population and African-Americans made up 13.4%. Remember that the next time KPFA again 'discusses' Latino issues with only Anglo Whites and African-Americans allowed to take part in the conversation. Grasp that bigotry thrives at KPFA and grasp that they still don't get how insulting their slate of guests are.

44.3 million Americans are Latino but KPFA couldn't find one single person to book. Kris did find time to insult a Latino, right-wing Linda Chavez for pointing out that Sotomayor's credentials would not translate into support from the entire Latino community. For the 'crime' of being factually accurate, Chavez was sneered at. It's really important to grasp that. Latinos were shut out of the discussion but, when one was actually quoted, it was time to dog-pile and attack.

Though we're sure Kris enjoyed being bitchy to (the not-present to defend herself) Linda Chavez and that the tribal mentality supported Kris, the facts support Linda Chavez. As Zogby found at the end of last month, Latinos were nearly evenly split on Sotomayor -- 47% supported her and 43% opposed her. That backs up Linda Chavez' statement.

Latinos are a wide ranging classification of people and they are liberal and they are centrist and they are conservative. And a Latino guest would have been have been able to offer that point but Kris didn't want reality, she wanted to serve up propaganda that would ensure any objection to Barack Obama's governance be seen as "racism." The bigotry on display reminded us of when we coined the term Panhandle Media.

Back then, we were on the ground in Texas and happened to catch KFPA's 'analysis' (two hours) of the Democratic Party debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (which they billed as "Obama versus Clinton") and we laughed as one guest after another declared Barry O the winner -- we laughed because KPFA didn't bother to inform you that every guest had publicly endorsed Barack Obama. Yeah, they rigged the outcome of the analysis ahead of time, they fixed the findings. (For the record, Kris Welch noted that Glen Ford did not support Barack Obama in the 2008 election -- she forgot to say he supported Cynthia McKinney and she failed to mention her other guests' support. They all supported Barry O.) But the most hysterical moment for us was when the girlish Clarence Lusaine clicked his ruby red slippers together and, from up north, could see Barack beating Hillary in the primary because Barack had the support of Latino voters. We laughed because, it turns out, castratos aren't psychics. Hillary won the Texas Latino vote. (She also won the primary.) This time, northerner Ronald Walters wanted to explain that Kay Bailey Hutchison (current US Senator, running for Texas governor) was going to lose because of the Hispanic vote.

We're getting really damn sick of people who've never been on the ground in a state LYING. For the record, in November 2008, John McCain won the state of Texas. That alone would suggest that Kay Bailey Hutchison's political party is not going to hurt her. In the general election, PEW found Barack got 63% of Texas' Latino votes. That's when he was a blank canvas and any myth could be painted upon him. He's now hurting in the polls -- and, yes, that includes among people of color (despite Bob Fertik lying otherwise). So it's probably a good idea for Ronald Walters to consider knowing the facts and visiting the state before weighing in. Repeating, John McCain carried Texas just nine months ago. At this point, there is no basis for Walters to claim that KBH will lose.

But for approximately 36 minutes, listeners were treated to ignorance on display, bigotry and Jamal Rogers tossing around the phrase "sexism" in relation to Sotomayor's treatment but the level of discourse was such that Jamala merely used the term as an unexplored buzz word. Was sexism involved? Kris Welch listeners have no idea because no one booked was able to handle the topic -- nor was Kris.

Of White male voters, low income and middle income, Kris added, exempting the wealthy apparently, "they're frightened." If so, of what?

Kris couldn't tell you. It was just racism according to her and her guests. Racism. Racism. Racists White men just didn't like bi-racial Barack because he was "Black." White men, according to Kris, didn't care for Barack because they were racist. It's really reassuring and comforting for the tribe when the elders tell you that all the disagreements you may ever have result from racism. If the other side is just flat out racists, then you're forgiven for not dialoguing with them and, most of all, if they're all just racists, you're forgiven for lying about them as well.

Kris then went into a lengthy rant about Democratic members of Congress holding town halls and the "mob" (Kris' term) they faced. For example, she snarled about the "Texas Democrat shouted down by right-wing hecklers from outside his district." Could we get a name here? We know Lloyd Doggett's been whining. We also know that Lloyd Doggett's townhall will attract a ton, A TON, of people from outside his district. Why is that? It's because of the jerry-mandering. The districts were redrawn in 2003 and Molly Ivins, on KPFA and numerous other outlets, explained what it meant for various reps including Lloyd Doggett. But, hey, she's dead and from Texas and didn't Bob Fertik make it clear that "southern Whites" were stupid and racist? (Yes, he 'explained' that 'fact.:' "southern, racist base.")

Jamala Rogers provided hate and comic relief. Comic relief came as she repeatedly spoke of "Black and Brown folks" and "Black and Brown people." For the record, some African-Americans may enjoy being called "Black" but Latinos don't generally dub themselves "Brown folks." And it's bigotry and ignorance to refer to them as such. But it is comical that Jamala thinks she can speak for Latinos, it's also comical to listen to her struggle with the English language. Jamala, if you don't know the word, don't use it. But bigotry and hate is all Jamala had to offer as she spoke of her opponents as "crazy White folk" and "yard dogs" and declared, "These are the bitter folks who are hanging on their religion and guns. I can say that, I'm not running for president."

No, Jamala, you can say it because you're a bigot filled with hate and rage.

It was cute to hear the panel gas bag over the objections to ObamaCare and call these objections racism over and over. It was cute to hear that it was bad for American citizens to object to proposals, to question and call out politicians, and to hear whining that burning a politician in effigy was criminal and insane. This same crowd which would defend, grasp this, burning an American flag.

What country did these fools grow up in? If it was this country, they don't appear to have learned their history and they also have no appreciation for a lively exchange, for protests (when they come from the other side) or for anything that is political speech -- which, for the record, is Constitutionally protected -- another fact they never acquainted themselves with.

But facts never mattered. Bob Fertik, speaking of Republican US Senator Mel Martinez declared, "You've got Mel Martinez retiring today he was the only person of color in the Republican Congress in the Senate or the House."

What a f**king idiot. And had KPFA the least bit of concern with Latinos, that little lie would have been corrected immediately. You can be damn sure, had a Latino guest been on the panel, Bob's f**king lie would have been called out immediately. Mel Martinez is not the only Republican of "color" n the Senate or House. Latino Republicans in the House? Mario Diaz-Balart (of Florida), Devin Nunes (of California). As for the Senate, Martinez was the only Republican Senator who was Latino. But before you feel as smug as Bob Fertik did, grasp that Martinez' departure reduces the number of Latino Senators to . . . one. (Bob Menendez out of New Jersey.)

If Bob Mendenez retired tomorrow would Fertik spin that as destruction for the Democratic Party? No, he wouldn't.

As a general rule, hate speech is never concerned with facts.

Hate speech is about inciting, angering, creating the "mob" Kris pretended to be worried about.

There was no need for facts, there was no interest in discovery or truth. Your first clue really should have been that Kris Welch booked four guests to discuss the state of the Republican Party and not one guest was a Republican. How can you discuss the state of the Republican Party fairly or honestly without including someone from that camp? You can't.

But Kris and KPFA aren't interested in fairness or interested in informing you. They are interested in whoring for Barack Obama. Barack's is falling in the polls. Bob Fertick dismissed the polling while also LYING that Barack was always above 50% in all of the recent polls. (Quinnipiac's poll last week found Barack at 50% approval rating. Rasmussen Reports have found him at 50% and below in the last week on their daily tracking poll.)

As one lie after another slid by unchallenged, you should have grasped what an echo chamber you were being provided with. KPFA, in the midst of a never-ending pledge drive, has a new banner which proclaims its 'independence.' Someone ought to inform them that 'independence' is action, not sloganeering. But someone also better inform them that hate speech really doesn't advance their cause.

It does, however, tar and feather all Republicans as racists and that was the entire point of the 'discussion.' Any objections to Barack Obama must be racism! That's what they pushed in the primaries, it's what they pushed in the general election and it's what they push today. Note, they do while calling Barack "Black" when he is bi-racial. 6 million Americans claim bi- or multi-racial. Calling the child of a White mother and a Black father "Black" isn't progress but it is in keeping with KPFA's non-stop bigotry.

For more on this topic see Betty's "Sick of KPFA's racism and especially Krish Welch."

The Proposal as a feminist statement

Rebecca: This roundtable is on the film The Proposal and on feminism. You can refer to C.I.'s "Sandra Bullock's Proposal to pass $150 million mark" from last Sunday. I'm Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude and I'm moderating this roundtable. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jess and Ava; 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); Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Ann of Ann's Mega Dub; and Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts. The illustration is by Isaiah. I need someone to give us an overview? I'm going with Jess. Talk about the actress and films.

Sandra Bullock

Jess: Sandra Bullock stars in, and produced, The Proposal. Bullock came to fame with a supporting role in Demolition Man. She followed that with the box office blockbuster Speed starring her and Keanu Reeves. Was she a flash in the pan or someone audiences wanted to see? The romantic comedy While You Were Sleeping and the action flick The Net would prove that Sandra was someone audiences embraced. Her other films include Hope Floats, Practical Magic, 28 Days, Crash, Miss Congeniality and it's sequel, Two Weeks Notice, A Time To Kill and The Lake House. She's become a bankable star and she's also moved into producing, producing several of the films mentioned and also producing The George Lopez Show on TV. Her resume is such that film goers haven't put her into a single niche. My own personal favorites of her films are the comedies.

Rebecca: And The Proposal is a return to romantic comedy. Stan, do you want to give the overview there? Of the genre?

Stan: Sure. As C.I. points out in the entry Rebecca mentioned at the top, women largely vanished as lead actresses in this decade and that resulted from the efforts of society to 'macho up.' Romantic comedies became gross-out comedies with 'jokes' including the male lead has sex with the female lead who is out of it but comes to briefly to vomit and then blank back out. We're a long way from the sweetness of There's Something About Mary. Romantic comedies really fell by the wayside. They were trashed by male critics and by female critics trying to win applause from men. This was most obvious in the non-stop attacks from so-called critics on Meg Ryan who makes many kinds of films but is critically identified with romantic comedies. Briefly, for a few minutes prior to 9-11 and immediately after, Reese Witherspoon appeared to be someone who could play the lead in romantic comedies. But studios weren't interested in women and Reese was cast as one wife after another -- even winning the Academy Award for playing June Carter Cash in what has to be Reese's dullest onscreen performance. Women were shoved into 'wife' roles are shoved into tragedy or disease of the week TV movie plots that, no surprise, bombed at the box office because why pay for what you can see on Lifetime? Julia Roberts returned to films and no one cared and no one paid to see her. She's now starred in two flops, neither of which qualified as a romantic comedy. Once upon a time, she was the biggest female star of film. It has not been a good decade to be an actress. Angelina Jolie remains the only actress who can claim box office success throughout the decade although those are action films and when she tries to do drama, it doesn't matter that she gives a strong performance, no one cares. Witness the box office for The Changeling. Drew Barrymore and so many other actresses just fall out for the bulk of this decade. Into this climate comes Sandra's The Proposal. A romantic comedy at a time when romantic comedies are supposed to be over. A film with a female lead at a time when women supposedly can't carry films.

Rebecca: That's an incredible overview, thank you, Stan. For those who don't know, Stan frequently blogs about films at his site on Friday nights. Now Sandra's film is a huge success. Domestically, it's crossed the $150 million mark. At a time when women supposedly can't carry a film and romantic comedies are supposedly dead. But we're also seeing an attack on Sandra and I thought Elaine might want to grab that.

Elaine: Sure. As C.I. notes, the attacks on Meg Ryan? Just a copy of the attacks on Goldie. Goldie Hawn followed the huge hit Foul Play by deciding to produce as well as act. Her first film doing both roles was Private Benjamin a huge hit. In that film, Goldie's a Jewish princess who joins the military to escape from sadness and ends up discovering things about herself. She followed that with Seems Like Old Times -- a Neil Simon comedy, the what-happens-if-we-marry comedy Best Friends -- co-starring Burt Reynolds, then Swing Shift which she also produced but didn't get credit for -- Swing Shift's a look at women going to work during WWII, romance and friendship. She follows that with the comedy Protocol where she plays a sweet but not so smart character who slowly wakes up to the ways the US government can use you, she produced it and the follow up Wildcats where she played a divorced mother trying to keep custody of her two kids and coach football. After that comes Overboard where she plays a rich woman who loses her memory and her husband wants to live without her making it easy for a carpenter who hates her to convince her that they're married. Now I go over all of that because by Protocal, 1984, Goldie starts getting tagged with "The Goldie Syndrome" --

C.I.: Also around at the time, "The Fonda Syndrome."

Elaine: True. I'll bring that in. But supposedly, following Private Benjamin, Goldie remakes the same film over and over. Now those films aren't the same and even if you stick with the ones she produced -- Benjamin, Swing Shift, Protocol and Wildcats -- they're not the same films. Coach McGrath isn't spoiled the way Judy Benjamin is. Sunny Davis isn't married the way Kay Walsh is. The performances in all four films are fundamentally different and only Sunny qualifies as a dumb blond role. In the early eighties, Jane Fonda was another big box office actress. And, as C.I. pointed out, the same targeting went after her in the early and mid-80s, the same claims that she was making the same film over and over. As if 9 to 5 and On Golden Pond were the same film. But what it was all along was a way to attack actresses. And some women participated. It wasn't just men. Now Clint Eastwood was making the exact same film over and over. Sometimes it was a crime story in the olden days, sometimes it was modern. Sometimes his sidekick was Burt Reynolds, sometimes it was Charlie Sheen, but he always played the same role. And he didn't get called out for it. Now what happens is, the attacks on the actresses start and continue week after week, year after year, to send the message that 'cool people' don't see films starring this or that actress. If anyone went back to the nineties and went over Meg Ryan's reviews, you'd see a huge effort to destroy the woman that had nothing to do with what she was doing on screen. It was the same as with Goldie before. And there's an effort to attack Sandra now. They're already going after her film that comes out in November. They're attacking her, they're saying she does the same thing in every film. She doesn't but it's a concern they don't express about Seth Rogen who does do the same in every film. Or Tom Hanks who gives the same performance in every film whether it's a comedy or a drama about going to the moon. It's the women who get attacked over and over. It's the woman who get torn down. Now when Tom Hanks has enough bombs that he's no longer bankable, suddenly critics will say that he made the same film. But when actresses aren't repeating themselves, they're being tarred and feathered as if they were.

Rebecca: Well --

Betty: Can I jump in?

Rebecca: Sure.

Betty: I agree completely with what's being said. I agreed with it when C.I. rode it and it's something that C.I. and Ava always touch on including somewhere at this site in 2005. But I want to point out that the attacks going on right now, the attacks on Sandra and her latest film, are just what they did with Hillary. Sandra's got a wonderful comedy, she's the lead. She's carrying the film. Women are seeing the film. Analysis of the data shows that. Women supported Hillary. As with Hillary, what's happening is, you're hearing cries from men and some women that it's not feminist enough, that's it's not feminist at all. Just as Laura Flanders and other masculine women stood up and said Hillary wasn't a feminist, you get NPR's stupid John Powers attempting to say the film is anti-feminism. Now I just want to underscore a point here and I don't have to speak again after that but this is an important point. For John Powers to succeed, we all have to forget who the primary ticket buyers to Sandra's film have been: Women. For John Powers' lies to be accepted as truth, we have to believe that prissy little John knows more about feminism than millions of women who bought tickets to Sandra's film. This is just like with Hillary where men and masculine women worked overtime to try to tear women away from her. It's the exact same thing.

Rebecca: That is a really good point. Okay, we haven't heard from Mike, Ann, Isaiah, Kat and Cedric. What I'm planning on doing is playing devil's advocate with Ava and C.I. I'm planning on hitting them with charges of how awful the film supposedly is, how sexist it allegedly is. So before we get to that, I'm tossing to those who haven't spoken yet.

Cedric: I'll jump in. Wally and I were on the ground in Texas for weeks campaigning for Hillary and what Betty's talking about really is accurate. There was this real effort at that time to strip Hillary's female supporters from her. You had the masculine Laura Flanders and the liar Betsy Reed of The Nation, and tired racist Eve Ensler all attacking Hillary and repeatedly claiming she wasn't a feminist. The attacks are an effort to pull the core support away and that is what they're trying to do with Sandra Bullock by calling The Proposal sexist. Ann and I enjoyed the film. This is the only film we'll see this summer and we enjoyed it.

Ann: We really don't have a lot of time to go rushing to the films and you're looking at basically twenty dollars just for the our tickets. I mean, Mike and Elaine rushed out at the last minute last week to see the film again and that's really not something we can do because, if we haven't eaten, we're going to be hungry the entire movie or spending a fortune for bad concession stand food. I'd like to see The Hurt Locker but we both made a point to see Sandra's film. For me personally, my favorite film of hers is While You Were Sleeping followed closely by Murder By Numbers. And both of those films have personal meanings for me. And I'm a fan and see most of her movies. I'm more apt to see her in action than in drama. But that was our film for the summer. And, honestly, we could see it again and I'd be fine. I wouldn't be thinking, "Oh, we already saw that, let's see something else." It's a really strong and funny film. And I'm not surprised that it's pissed off some people because it says something and I think that makes people uncomfortable. If a woman does fluff and is fluff, she never threatens anyone. But if she tries to make a statement, it threatens a lot of people.

Kat: I agree with Ann about the threatening aspect. The film is so far beyond what people think of when they think about romantic comedies. It's beyond it in terms of laughter and in terms of story. There's a really dark side to this film and that's what makes it work. I'm referring to her character. But this is a funny film that makes people laugh. There is huge laughter in the theaters during this movie. I've seen it twice now and it's a solid audience pleaser. I think Betty's point was dead on.

Rebecca: Okay, I'll let Mike and Isaiah close so we can get to the devil's advocate part. Ava and C.I., some men and masculine women insist The Proposal is sexist. They say Sandra's playing a backlash role in a backlash film because, yet again, the career woman's a bitch.

Ava: As C.I. pointed out in the Sunday entry, Sandra's supposed to play what? A college student? A hooker? She's playing a woman with a job and I love how everyone says "career woman" as if it's bad thing. But I don't see her as a bitch. C.I. and I've talked about this. Where is she a bitch in the film?

Rebecca: She fires a man, Bob, because he didn't get an author to go on Oprah. Everyone in the office is scared of her.

C.I.: Her character, Margaret Tate, wants everyone to live up to a professional standard. Is she a bitch? I don't see how and the film plays with this, it plays with this perception and attempts to implode it. But Bob's fired for lying. He's under Margaret, that's why she can fire him. She told him to get an author to go on Oprah. He told her the author said no. She called the author, talked him into it and found out that he'd never been asked by Bob about it. She confronted Bob with that. That is grounds for dismissal. She gave Bob a direct order. He not only blew her off, he lied to her and told her that he'd tried and the author wasn't interested. Bob gets to then call her a bitch and everything else while the office that hates her watches with glee. But why do they hate her? Because she won't play Mommy? A man with the same standards, would he be so hated? He'd be feared but he wouldn't be so hated. I'm tossing to Mike because he wants to say something.

Mike: Yeah. When she enters the office, her first scene, you've got people surfing on the net, joking around, making personal calls. She's coming down the aisles and all the sudden, they're freaking out and trying to avoid getting called out by her. Called out for what? For not doing their job. Why weren't they doing their job to begin with? Where is she a bitch? She's got standards and she's the boss. If you don't like the standards, get another job. But she's called a bitch and she's called a witch, and she's supposedly on her broom, and you name it. And, at the end of the day, their big problem in the office appears to be that despite having a female boss they can't do what ever they want. In other words, the female boss doesn't let them push her around and that appears to be why they hate her and call her a bitch.

C.I.: And I agree with Mike but I'm going by what was in the film and what is now in the film. For example, in the film now, you see Ryan Reynolds spill his coffee and Sandra's when he bumps into a man in the office. Ryan Reynolds plays Sandra's assistant. He now needs a new shirt because his is stained with coffee. In the film playing at theaters, that's how it goes. However, a snippet removed from the film had Ryan, after the coffee is spilled on him tossing the remainder and the cup at the man who bumped into him. That got cut out. It had to be cut out because it's bad behavior. But where is Sandra's character doing that? Now she's telling Ryan that he needs to work this coming weekend and you can claim that's bitchy. Or you can accept the fact that when Sandra asks if that's a problem Ryan refuses to stand up for himself. Now is she a bitch for that reason or is he being little doormat? I'm not trying to make bad behavior acceptable or excusable but I am noting that Ryan Reynolds' character doesn't stand up for himself. He's a little suck up. Who needs to grow up and appreciate himself -- which is what he learns from Sandra when they go to his home. But I want to emphasize again, she's not throwing coffee at people. Ryan did. It didn't go over well with some audiences so the scene got trimmed. But can you imagine how the audience would have turned on Margaret and never got back on her side if she'd thrown hot coffee on anyone?

Rebecca: But she's not a nice character.

Ava: That's not the issue. The issue is whether or not she's the bitch she's being portrayed as by people who work under her. It's perfectly natural for anyone to gripe about their boss. But because the film is supposedly sexist, C.I.'s hitting on that point for a reason. Margaret is no role model and neither of us would argue that. But she's a complex character and she's the way she is for a reason and, equally true, she's being misjudged. Not just by Ryan's character. But he does get a new look at her when they're in Alaska.

Rebecca: Okay, well the film ends with someone shouting at Ryan something like, "Yeah, Andrew, show her who's boss!"

Cedric: Did you just do a spoiler?

Rebecca: If anyone didn't know the two were getting together, I would assume they've never seen a movie. So, what about it, "Yeah, Andrew, show her who's boss!"

C.I.: That's not sexist and that's why I spent so much time setting up how she's seen at the office. That's not the last scene of the movie by the way -- there are interviews after that. But in that scene, Ryan shows up as Sandra's leaving and declares his love for her and the audience watches spellbound with some cheering on the love. But the voice, the voice is a man's voice. Don't mistake that call as an endorsement of the statement being yelled. If that was supposed to be the 'message' of the film or something the director, Anne Fletcher, wanted the audiences to agree with, she would have given it to the African-American male. He's the only employee under Sandra that has any lines. He's the one who gives Ryan his shirt. He's the one the audience knows. But instead some White man, who is not even on camera, is yelling it. And you can see Margaret react by stiffening. And that moment is about what she's had to go through. Even now when some people are happy for her, there's still some asshole who wants to ruin the moment.

Ava: Because this isn't a fairy tale. Sandra's character is very complex, with a complex background. And this isn't an attempt to create a fairy tale. That yelled out sentence is a reminder to her and to all women of how we are judged. Now Sandra's going to continue to be Andrew's boss. Even if she makes him an editor, she will outrank him. So in terms of work, that statement makes no sense. In terms of a man's insecurities? It makes a lot of sense. And that comment goes to how Margaret got the reputation she did. She's not nice. She's not cuddly. She's not going to win My Favorite Boss. But her standards, are they unreasonable? No, they're not. And if a man had them, it wouldn't be a problem. But she won't play Mommy and she'll be called a bitch for it. And the fact that suddenly a few people in the office -- largely the women -- are feeling happy for her won't change the fact that some man can't deal with a woman who has power.

Rebecca: Sandra does stiffen. I'd forgotten that. But the character she's playing does stiffen. But why doesn't she call him out, whoever the guy is, why isn't she yelling at him?

Mike: So she can look like the bitch they keep saying she is? Think about it, think about what happens after Bob yells at her. She maintains her professional attitude in front of the office and then goes into the women's room and cries. She's not going to let them know how they get to her.

Rebecca: That's a good point.

Kat: I think that moment makes the film for me. That 'put her in her place, Andrew!' That's not the quote, Rebecca had it. Show her who's boss, or whatever. I wouldn't have enjoyed the movie as much because I would have been watching that moment and thinking, "Ryan loves her and the same office that made fun of him for agreeing to marry her is now happy and thrilled and they all over her?" That's a fairy tale. There's no way that the office that ripped her apart and hated her can all be on her side now. I found it real and I found it indicating what women have to deal with day after day.

Rebecca: Okay well here's another thing. When Andrew agrees to marry Margaret, he makes her first kneel before him in public and propose. So the criticism is that she has to kneel, to drop before him, in public and isn't that sexism?

Ava: What world do people live in? He doesn't like her, this is at the start of the film, she's telling him he has to marry her for his career, she's blackmailing him basically and he doesn't like her. Who wouldn't make the person kneel. Person. Because if Michael Douglas was playing Margaret and Catherine Zeta Jones was playing Andrew, we'd think nothing of Catherine making Michael kneel to propose. As C.I. points out so well in that entry from last Sunday, a romantic comedy depends upon interaction between the leads and the characters have to take a journey. In The Proposal, Sandra's character learns to open up. She's had to close off to protect herself. She learns to trust Ryan.

C.I.: And Ryan learns as well. Ryan's character is a pushover. He's a simp. He's an embarrassment. Woody Allen could play him, he's the ultimate nebbish. When he's forced into marrying Margaret, he begins to test and grow. He begins to say, "I will do this but I won't do that." He can't do that with Margaret before. Prior to the news that they will marry, he can't tell her, for example, "I will go to my grandmother's birthday party and we will do the work when I get back." In one brief incident after another, he learns to stand up for himself. And he needs Sandra for that -- a point Betty White's character grasps. His father's walking all over him in their first scene together and Ryan's standing up to him, but by hiding behind Sandra. And bit by bit, Ryan's character learns to stand up without hiding behind anyone. They both learn from each other. The roles could easily be flipped and often are.

Rebecca: We have three couples participating: Mike and Elaine, Ava and Jess and Ann and Cedric. Were there any problems couple wise watching?

Ann: Cedric and I didn't have any. We found both characters entertaining. And we rooted for both. C.I.'s point about how weak Andrew was at the start is certainly true. I didn't grasp that while we were rooting for him but that is what was going on. He really was too weak. And there's even a joke from Sandra about how he orders the same coffee she does because he's so nervous he might drop her coffee or something. But both characters grow and I don't know that Ryan would ever find his strength completely if Sandra hadn't revealed that a lot of her strength comes even when she's scared. That really seems to be a surprise for Andrew.

Cedric: And both growing equally and all, I'll just add, that when we saw it, Ann groaned. There was a scene she did not like. Sandra was in the shower and Ann leaned over and said, "Why does the woman always have to be naked?" And I said, "Just wait."

Ann: I don't watch a lot of TV, I hadn't seen the commercials or even the previews. I'd seen the newspaper ad and thta was really it. So I didn't realize Ryan Reynolds was about to get naked and that we'd see an equal amount of their flesh. But that was one more way where the film was about equality. And it was a funny scene.

Rebecca: Betty, what were your thoughts?

Betty: Well, I'm glad Ava and C.I. talked about Margaret because I didn't get her as a bitch. She could be a not nice person, absolutely. But a bitch? I saw that she was seen as such but it struck me as a wrongful conviction and I really do think that's the point of the film. Ryan learns his strength and learns that his impressions of Sandra were all off, Sandra learns that not everyone will use her weaknesses against her and that she can trust some people. I liked the movie because, as Kat said, it was rooted in reality and not a fairy tale.

Isaiah: I'll jump in to continue the issue of strength. Bit by bit, Andrew finds his strength but the film is about him getting to that point. Which is why he misses Sandra at the airport. Betty White's fixed that and if he'd found her then, it would have meant less for Andrew. For him to show real strength, he has to travel to New York and tell Sandra what he thinks. My take on the line about "Andrew, show her who's boss!" was the same as C.I.'s and Ava's. The guy yelling it is faceless, we have no idea who he is. And isn't that the sort of man that attacks a woman to begin with? Sandra stiffens and Ryan doesn't even look over at the guy. She makes a studied attempt to ignore this faceless guy and Ryan does ignore him. They are building a relationship, as the interviews that follow show, and they'll have to do it in the real world where assholes like that faceless man exist.

Rebecca: A very good point.

Stan: There were a lot of them and I'm going to pick up on this at my site this week. It may only be Friday's post or it may be more than that but there's a lot here to think about and discuss.

Rebecca: Agreed. Okay, we've been addressing The Proposal and feminism and actresses and a number of topics. Jim would want me to say that the e-mail address for this site is and this is a rush transcript.


Jim: This is a current events roundtable and we're tossing it together as a scramble as we rush to round out the edition. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, 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; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Ty, why don't you give us an overview of what we've got so far?


Ty: Complete in all ways except typing, we have a commentary on radio by Ava and C.I., we have "Idiot of the Week," we have a lengthy essay on the so-called 'birthers,' we have a piece on Lou Dobbs, a piece on the Green Party and Mike, Elaine, Wally, Kat, Betty, Cedric, Ruth, Stan, Marcia and Rebecca have done "Highlights." That's all we have completed.

Jim: Dona, go over what we'd like to do?

Dona: We want to do a piece on American Dad. We need to do a piece that expands on C.I.'s "Sandra Bullock's Proposal to pass $150 million mark" and focuses on the film Bullock's The Proposal. We need to figure out truest -- if we're going to have any. We also need to figure out if there's time for Ava and C.I. to cover TV this week? Their radio commentary? That came about as a result of Betty's "Sick of KPFA's racism and especially Krish Welch" and Betty asking them to tackle it here as well as five e-mails asking that the issue be tackled. Now, the good news there was that it involves so many topics, that broadcast, that about three features we had planned were suddenly no longer needed because Ava and C.I. are hitting on those topics in their commentary. We don't have our editorial yet and we don't even have a topic at this point -- though everyone would assume it's Iraq.

Jim: Donald e-mailed last week wondering what went into an edition? We need a feature that we can plug a lot of things into so we're doing this roundtable and starting it this way allows Donald's question to be answered.

Marcia: If I can jump in, Friday, I blogged "In California" and, by the way, for a change everyone participating is face to face. We're all at C.I.'s house. So I blogged about Ava and C.I. arriving home, here in California, Friday night, after they, Wally and Kat had missed their booked flight. C.I. stopped to check and make sure we were all fine and then, immediately, Ava and C.I. had to get in front of the TV and begin watching things to figure out what they could review here. They were watching, they were taking notes, they were working the phones. And, as I pointed out then, all of that work, that most of us never witness, might have been for naught because they might show up for the writing edition only to have Jim tell them, "We need you to cover this." Instead.

Jim: Which you're saying happened.

Marcia: No, Betty asked them to cover the radio thing. I'm just pointing out, if we're going to talk about what goes into an edition, there's a lot of work that never gets noted.

Elaine: If I could make a suggestion?

Jim: Sure.

Elaine: A number of us roundtable The Proposal. We break off after whatever question or questions you're wanting everyone to weigh in on and then we go off to another roundtable just on The Proposal. That would include Mike and myself since we made a point to see the movie for the third time last week. It would obviously include Ava and C.I. I believe Betty made a point to see the film for her second time last week in order to discuss it.

Jim: Well, I thought we'd all want to participate, but okay, it probably would save time. Let me throw out a question and everyone can respond quickly and then everyone doing the movie roundtable can leave and we'll stay here and record -- Ty, grab the recorder -- this roundtable. Here's the big question, I'm searching for it, for one, last week, on Iraq what news would you emphasize and why?

Isaiah: I'd go with the news that another Friday saw mass deaths from bombings. I believe the bombing of the mosque just outside of Mosul resulted in 37 or 38 deaths and hundreds injured. This is becoming a pattern and refutes the Happy Talk that violence has gone down.

Jess: We're seated in a circle and we're moving in one. I would go with the continued assaults on Iraqi Christians. Among the deaths reported last week, 2 women, 2 Iraqi Christian women, were killed in their family home. Iraqi Christians continue to be targeted and it is the story that 'independent' media has never been interested in.

Betty: Let me leap over. I want to agree with Jess on that and I want it noted that if it's a mosque bombing, the Amy Goodmans are mentioning it in headlines. If it's a Christian church, they don't care. Now it's happened often enough that it's a pattern of bias and I'd argue that they really need to get over the disdain or hatred of Christianity if they want to pretend they cover the news.

Ava: I would agree with Betty on that. And with Jess, of course. Like many in the Latino community, I'm Catholic and it really does shock me how little play the attacks on Iraq's Christian community -- largely a part of the Catholic Church and that's certainly true in northern Iraq -- receive. But, remember, The Progressive did a 100 year anniversary -- even though it wasn't their 100th anniversary -- and in all the clippings and excerpts from and leading up to WWII, they never included anything on the Jews. You can flip through all those pages on WWII and the ones leading up to it, and you'll never learn one thing about -- or even see a mention of -- the Holocaust. I think there's some huge bias against religion at play.

C.I.: I'm trying to think of one thing. I guess I'd tie it all together, Nouri's attempts to curtail freedoms and to prevent criticism of him. This includes a proposed draft law that no US outlet has reported on -- even though they've all noted Nouri's attempts to censor the internet and books -- that would lead journalists to be legally punished if they reported the truth and it happened to harm or embarrass the government -- meaning Nouri. Let me point out, he has several lawsuits against journalists and news outlets currently. Most Americans have no idea because while you can discover this in the Arab media, in the US they tend to ignore it. Partly out of fear of being kicked out of Iraq. Just yesterday, Charles Levinson (Wall St. Journal) reported on Nouri's latest assault on freedoms, the creation of the State Ministry for National Security which would monitor other political parties and NGOs.

Wally: Every one's covered some really good things but I'd also add that, and C.I. made this point last week, we keep hearing that things are better. But if they're better, where are the human interest stories. If Iraq's dramatically safer, why is it the remaining reporters aren't going out and collecting human interest stories? If violence is raging, then reporters have an excuse to hide out in the Green Zone. But if it's 'safer,' where are the human interest stories that they should be able to report now?

Kat: For me, it's just the never ending lies. I'm so sick of the waves of Operation Happy Talk. I'm so sick of reading how things are better and knowing that if we did around, we'll find out that the reporters fudged reality. For example, NPR was all over a concert in Baghdad and how it was proof that things were better. But, and C.I. found this out with one phone call, that concert took place during the day. They wanted to hold it at night but it wasn't safe enough to do so. So for me, it's the never ending attempts to spin us all.

Marcia: The spin and the silence. I'm appalled by the silence. And I'm appalled by the ignorance. How dare Amy Goodman have Camilo Mejia on for a segment -- a wasted segment at that -- when she doesn't even know he's the chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War? And does not that demonstrate how little work she and her staff do? She's sitting there telling him he's the chair of Veterans for Peace and he has to stop her and tell her, no, he's the chair of IVAW. How does Amy Goodman miss those basic facts?

Stan: Oh. That sets me up for Jeremy Scahill and his ranting last week. If he was so damn determined to attack Christianity, he might have interested a few more people in his story. But I find it interesting that Jeremy goes on WBAI's Law & Disorder and says what the peace movement needs to do is reach out to the African-American community, and then he's filing another story and promoting it with his festering grudge against Christianity. I'm one of the many African-Americans or Blacks making up this roundtable and, someone tell Jeremey Scahill, every one of us is Christian. It's not uncommon in the African-American community. And it's hilarious he wants to preach a reach out one moment and push us away the next.

Ruth: For me, it's the realization that either people are liars or they actually think they're doing work on Iraq. I heard that on Pacifica all last week. People who had nothing to offer on Iraq but were convinced they were doing things -- on air -- to end the Iraq War. They're either liars or their delusional. I'm amazed by how little coverage an ongoing, illegal war gets from the so-called left.

Ann: In one of the snapshots last week, C.I. pointed out that Dahr Jamail hadn't been booked by Amy Goodman to discuss his new book. That is troubling. You'd assume that at least Dahr could still get on Democracy Now! to talk about Iraq. But it goes to how little interest Amy Goodman has in the subject. We're hoping, for anyone wondering, to do a book thing on the book next week. There are three of us who are finishing up the book so we can't do it this weekend.

Cedric: I'm going to go with the assault on Camp Ashraf and how it continues and how human rights activists are calling out the blockade of water, food and medical supplies and that's not an issue to our 'independent' media. I find it outrageous.

Rebecca: I think I'll stick with Cedric's topic. You know, Betty put it great two weeks ago. She said it didn't matter. In "Camp Ashraf," she said it didn't matter to her what the residents believed in, it didn't matter to her who they supported. What mattered to her was that this camp, filled with men, women and children, was under assault. And that's really all anyone has to know. I know Patrick Cockburn and others have made their little 'jokes' about the MEK. What good little tools they are for the US government. But the reality is, no one needs the jokes and an assault is ongoing and our supposed 'defenders for humanity' aren't making a peep. It's amazing. Even more so when you grasp this is a self-described Marxist group. You'd assume 'independent' media could make some time to cover the assault.

Trina: But why, Rebecca? As you point out, MEK is self-described Marxist. And Panhandle Media is filled with Marxists who pose as Democrats and 'independents' so why would they want to speak out for the MEK? It might risk them being dragged out of their political closets. They're cowards and their liars and I find very few people who trust them anymore because their little stunts and lies have gotten old.

Ty: My big shocker for last week was that there was a US service member who died of Iraq wounds in July. And the military covered it up until late Monday to be sure that all the July end-of-the-month reports were written and run not including that death. Six or so days after the guy dies, the military finally announces it. I found that shocking and sad.

Dona: It's as if each year, we're supposed to forget what we learned. The press assumes we do. They think they can repeatedly pull one over on us. I'm just amazed by how many still appear to think they can pimp turned-corner and get away with it.

Jim: Okay, now we're going to split. I assume Rebecca will moderate the other roundtable. We'll also be losing Ava, C.I., Betty, Elaine, Mike and I'm guessing Isaiah and Stan. Anyone else?

Cedric: Actually, Ann and I are going to that roundtable. I've written about Sandra Bullock at my blog from the days before joint-entries and The Proposal is the film, the only film, we've had time for this semester.

Jim: Okay, so as I understand it, we have Ty, Dona, Trina, Ruth, Wally and Marcia. Is that right? Jess is walking off with Ava.

Ty: Yeah, you want to explain why you sound so dejected?

Jim: It's just so rare that we're able to all be together for a roundtable. Okay, what's the biggest story of last week, domestically, that you feel didn't get coverage.

Trina: For me, it comes back to what I was writing about in "Zesty Potatoes in the Kitchen." Three banks were closed last week by federal regulators. Three US banks failed. Bringing the total to 72.

Wally: I had a question about that, sorry. That was 72 for the year, correct?

Trina: Yes. 72 banks have been shut down by federal regulators so far this year. We're in the eighth month so that averages out to nine banks a month.

Jim: That does seem like a large number. But is it? Does anyone know? What's the standard or the baseline?

Ty: First, here's info on the three closed this month:

Community First Bank, Prineville, Oregon, with approximatley $209 million in total assets, was closed. Home Federal Bank, Nampa, ID, has agreed to assume all deposits, excluding certain brokered deposits (approximately $182 million). (PR-141-2009)
Community National Bank of Sarasota County, Venice, Florida, with approximately $97 million in assets, was closed. Stearns Bank, N.A., St. Cloud, MN, has agreed to assume all deposits (approximately $93 million). (
First State Bank, Sarasota, Florida, with approximately $463 million in assets, was closed. Stearns Bank, N.A., St. Cloud, MN, has agreed to assume all deposits, excluding certain brokered deposits (approximately $387 million). (

Dona: We're on the same page, literally. This web page, FDIC. In 2008, 24 banks were closed.

Ty: I'm counting 3 in 2007.

Dona: I'm quoting, "There were no bank failures in 2006."

Ty: And you see the same message on 2005 and four were closed in 2004. 3 in 2003.

Dona: 11 in 2002. 4 in 2001.

Ruth: According to my math, that's 49 banks shut down by the feds in the US from 2001 to 2008 and 72 so far this year. Which means the previous eight years all combined doesn't equal what we've seen this year. That should be very worrisome. I agree with Trina that this is a story that is not getting enough attention.

Jim: Okay. Cash for Clunkers got an additional two billion dollars. Marcia, you covered that some last week so do you want to explain that?

Marcia: Sure but I was barely blogging last week so the basics are that if you have a clunker, you can get a discount of approximately $5,000 towards the purchase of a new car. People are buying domestic and foreign models. Ruth and I were talking about how Senator Barbara Boxer wrongly said people were buying a lot more domestic models. But the money is going to the people -- at least the people who can afford to buy a new car -- and for that reason I am supporting it. Meaning, we've had bank bail outs and what have you, it's about time some bills got tossed at the people.

Jim: And car sales were up for July. That's why the program got more cash.

Marcia: Yes, they were. In fact, it's apparently so successful that NPR was saying early this morning that some dealers are fearful they might run out of cars. Let that be their biggest problem, that they sell out their lot.

Jim: Historical note, 35 years ago today, Richard Nixon resigned the US presidency in disgrace. What, if anything, did we learn?

Wally: I'll certainly go along with Ruth and Trina if they disagree, because they can remember it, but as someone born after Watergate, I really don't think the country learned a thing.

Trina: I wish I could say that I disagree with Wally. But I don't. In part because we saw Bully Boy Bush break one law after another -- including the illegal spying on American citizens -- and we saw no accountability. He was not impeached by the House. He certainly was not tried by the Senate. Like Wally, I don't see what we learned. Maybe people learned how to avoid being impeached? Maybe they learned how to bully and intimidate Congress?

Ruth: Or maybe Congress is just full of too many chickens? Look, Mike Gravel filibustered in the Senate to end the draft. When did you see a senator this decade willing to filibuster for anything? I did not see any. And I think the character of our Congress is much weaker. Even when there was enough support for impeachment, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi refused to put it 'on the table.'

Marcia: And John Conyers. Don't forget him. Pelosi can say it's 'off the table.' But Conyers headed the committee it would have come out of and he refused to buck Nancy even though, if he had, there would have been so much party support that Nancy couldn't have touched him without creating a huge uproar. John Conyers was chicken s**t. And then he lied to us and said Bush could be impeached when he left office. He left office over six months ago, where are those impeachment articles, John Conyers, where?

Ty: There's a -- in our journalism classes, Dona, Jim and I learned about Watergate being seen as an incident that led to distrust in the government. I'd argue that what took place this decade with the refusal to impeach Bush really rooted distrust even deeper. And like Wally, I don't believe we learned a thing from Watergate. As a country, we learned nothing. We've had one impeachment since, Bill Clinton. He was impeached by the House for lying about sex. That tells you what a joke our Congress is.

Jim: Okay, Ava and C.I. have repeatedly addressed how The Progressive did not celebrate 100 years this year. There are e-mail on that. Our e-mail address is Who wants to tackle that?

Dona: I will. In 1909, La Follette's Weekly magazine is started. In their 100th anniversary issue, this appears on page 30, from the December 7, 1929 issue of La Follette's Magazine: "New weekly launched; Company with $25,000 Capital Succeeds La Follette's. The Progressive Publishing company is the name of a new organization which has been incorporated with a capital stock of $25,000 and which will publish a new weekly to be called The Progressive." So The Progressive does not continue La Follette's Weekly. The magazine didn't change names, one ended and another began. The Progressive will hit 100 years in 2029.

Wally: That's really clear and no one should be confused. It's a shame Matthew Rothschild and others had to distort history while claiming to honor it.

Jim: Does anyone have a problem with health care and surrounding issues becomes the editorial because, if so, we can go ahead and wind down the roundtable. I want to thank everyone who stayed and participated it. I think we had some solid information about the banks and a nice discussion on Watergate and on Cash for Clunkers. But a number of the topics I'd selected depended on, for example, Kat or Betty and both are gone. So we're going to go ahead and stop the roundtable here and begin typing. This is a rush transcript.

Dona: I'm jumping in real quick to explain that there were a number of topics. Now one can't be addressed at all because Jess isn't here. It was about the Green Party and, specifically, about a Green who supposedly wanted to have a dialogue but when Jim replied back last week that anything said by either could go up at our website or their website or both, suddenly no dialogue was wanted. In other words, Jim could shut up publicly -- Jim and others, Jim really wasn't leading the charge against the fraud -- by having a private conversation. He wasn't interested no one would be.

Marcia: Without you saying the name, I already know who we're talking about. I think it was chicken s**t of her not to engage in a dialogue that could be made public. Let me guess, she wanted to hide behind Bob Barr for her bad racism call?

Jim: Yeah, you got it. She wanted me to read her bad column by Bob Barr. I don't send her reading materials. If she wants to have a conversation, let's have one. But I'm not going to do it off the books. I'm not going to be engaged in a conversation about topics we've addressed here -- including the one Stan has covered the most followed by Betty and both are in the other roundtable --- in private when the whole point of a dialogue is not, "Oh, I like you, you like me." The whole point is supposedly to increase understanding. So she was a chicken, yes, Marcia. And she seemed to think I'd want to read a Bob Barr column. Why? Am I Republican? No. Am I libertarian? No. Why would I give a damn what Bob Barr has to say? I know Adam Kokesh's opinion of Bob Barr and it's even lower than my own. So why the hell do I need to read a piece by Bob Barr.

Wally: Who is she to give reading lists anyway? She's called Sgt. Crowley, sorry, I don't know his first name, Cedric and I really didn't post on that topic, a racist. When that backfired on her -- and it did on all the ones screaming racism -- she suddenly wanted to say it was the police overstepping their bounds. She failed in her first attempt so she wanted a redo. Not interested, not interested at all.

Ruth: James Crowley is the sergeant's name.

Marcia: Thank you, Ruth. Um. Yeah. Let me make something clear here. For all the White lefties as well as for idiots of my own race. The party line coming down is that it's different for African-Americans. And that we all need to understand that. Well, by the same token, I and others need to understand it's different for Whites. And certainly people should have understood that before they tried to play the race card. If they had, they wouldn't be surprised that they stand so alone. They wanted to play the race card and the bulk of Americans -- including a large number of my race, African-American -- didn't see it as a race issue. I love how sometimes a minority matters to these people and other times it doesn't. In the case of the police, the minority of African-Americans matters. In the case of objections to health care, Nancy Pelosi and others keep insisting that they're not going to let a minority speak for the country. So which is it? Why does the minority opinion matter sometimes and not at other times. And, someone remind these White people, we don't live in "majority rule." There are a number of safeguards that exist for my race and others in the minorty.

Trina: So Jim -- I'm limited in what I can say here. I have relatives serving on the police force in Boston and Cambridge. I have a number of police officers in my family and retired police officers. Maybe making that disclosure means I can cut loose?

Jim: I would say you could, everyone else has been happy to cut loose and few have bothered to disclose anything before doing so.

Trina: Well one of the points Stan and Betty repeatedly emphasized was if Henry Gates was telling the truth about how Sgt Crowley had lied in the report and had victimized him and how there was all this stuff that the American people didn't know about yet, why did he end up having a beer with the guy? If I accused someone of all of that -- and I was telling the truth -- I wouldn't just not want to be around them, I'd be scared to be around them. It makes no sense but it's never made sense, Henry Gates' constantly changing tale.

Ty: Trina, you raised the issue of the working class early on. Did you want to touch on that?

Trina: Police officers are predominately working class in terms of their roots and, in terms of what they make, they remain working class. I was yet again amazed to see the left attack the working class it is as if these 'progressives' can't pass up any chance at scorning the working class. It's ugly and it needs to stop. And I'll further add that Henry Gates supposedly is considering moving not because of threats but because there have been so many complaints that a professor who is described repeatedly as "wealthy" has been provided with public housing. Harvard owns that home, not him. That's how it works in this country, the rich get public housing and the working class is usually one pay check away from being out on the street. As for Kimberly Wilder, she can kiss my ass. That piece of trash owes me an apology because she stereotyped all police officers as racists. Why did the little piece of trash do that? She explained she was mistreated once by a police officer. So she knows, she really, really knows. She knows nothing, she's a stupid ass moron. My opinion, I said it, don't go whining to C.I. I'm a grown woman and I'm responsible for my own remarks.

Wally: I agree with Trina. And I'm so damn sick of every chance the so-called left has, they go against the working class. Now idiots like Kimberly Wilder were telling you that Kentucky or whatever state was racist for supporting Hillary during their primary and not Barack. Even though the Kimmy Wilders had never visited those states. The Kimmy Wilders just knew those states were racists.

Ruth: Well maybe that police officer she had the run in with was from Kentucky? She seems to believe she can take one incident and stereotype. That is the heart of bigotry.

Marcia: Amen. Wally and I went to Kentucky, Wally and I went to state after state campaigning for Hillary and I don't want any Kimmy Wilder telling me about "those people." I was on the ground there. An African-American lesbian. I didn't hide my sexuality and I couldn't hide my race. I experienced no problems, I experienced an outpouring of warmth from Democrats and the reason for that is the Democrats aren't racists. But it was a nice little fairy tale to serve up every time Barack lost to Hillary. You just muttered "Damn racists!" and you didn't have to examine or explore because you had your easy answer.

Jim: To me, and we can wind this down, that's fine. I think this last section has been strong enough to go out and I thank everyone for their participation. But to me, this is the most important issue for the left today. We're not going to get anywhere if our objective is to feel superior to everyone. These non-stop attacks on the working class, this repeated hissing of 'racist' everytime there's a disagreement needs to stop. And all it's doing currently is ensuring that a lot of people are insulted and they're not going to listen to anything from the left as a result.

Ty: Quickly as we close, Betty's kids did the illustration.
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