Sunday, January 10, 2010

Truest statement of the week

Obama swept into office, in part, on a pledge to end the US war in Iraq. Almost a year after he entered the White House, more than 100,000 US troops are still deployed in that country (about the same number as in February 2004). Still, plans developed at the end of the Bush presidency, and later confirmed by Obama, have set the US on an apparent path of withdrawal. On this the president has been unambiguous. "Let me say this as plainly as I can," he told a military audience in February 2009. "By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end ... I intend to remove all US troops from Iraq by the end of 2011." However, Robert Gates, his secretary of defense, has not been so unequivocal. While recently visiting Iraq, he disclosed that the US Air Force would likely continue to operate in that country well into the future. He also said: "I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see agreements between ourselves and the Iraqis that continues a train, equip and advise role beyond the end of 2011."

-- Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse's "The Year of the Assassin" (Asia Times).

Truest statement of the week II

And before we begin, let me tell you that we did contact the E.P.A., invite them to take part in the show. A spokesman said that their work with Hobet mine resulted in Hobet being able to gather more coal, it resulted in 50% less impact on the streams. The spokesman stressed that the E.P.A. does not have the power to stop the practice of mountaintop mining. The spokesman also expressed annoyance with our covering the subject of mountain top mining without giving the E.P.A., whom we contacted yesterday morning, sufficient time to respond. And let me be sure to say to all of our listeners, our subject matters for the next day's show are always decided 24 hours in advance.

-- Diane Rehm, NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, January 7, 2009.

A note to our readers

Hey --
A long edition. C.I. and Wally were both sick (Wally at the start, C.I. at the end). .

Mid-week, the illustration for "The Public Account (Ava and C.I.)" changed. Why? Dallas did the screensnap. Ava and C.I. didn't pay much attention to it. It was a screensnap of the public e-mail account for The Common Ills. Mid-week, a few began to e-mail noting that Dallas (who was credited for the screensnap) had some personal info on there: His zip code. We're all sorry we didn't catch that before it went up and our apologies to Dallas for that. Ava and C.I. cropped the screensnap to take out his private information and posted that illustration. When they log in or I (Jim) log in to that account or our e-mail account here, it doesn't give a zip. It does say "San Francisco." I've noticed that but that's about all I've noticed. We do respect privacy and we're very sorry that Dallas zip code was posted here. Our apologies.

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

We thank them all. What did we come up with?

Truest statement of the week -- No, the Iraq War has not ended and saying it does in 2011 is a prediction, not reporting.

Truest statement of the week II -- Diane Rehm explains the EPA's reaction when she informed them she was doing a story on coal mining.

Editorial: Piss off, Aimee Allison -- We've been fairly nice to Aimee Allison when you go down the list of Barack Whores and compare. We think it was her snotty little attitude Friday when she rudely cut off the guest speaking. And then rudely and pompously tried to shame him. The person wearing the shame dress, Aimee? It should be you.

TV: Gary Unwatchable -- I love my title. Let me be Mike ":D." Dona was asking, "What are we going to call Ava and C.I.'s commentary?" I said, "Gary Unwatchable." I still laugh. (Yes, I am easily amused.) This is reporting. As Stan notes elsewhere this edition, Ava and C.I. do a lot of it and are usually months ahead of your news outlets that pride themselves on allegedly reporting.

Roundtable -- This is a quick roundtable. We did it to cover some aspects of topics dealt with this edition that we really didn't get to touch on as much as we wanted to. Special thanks to Wally who kicked off an Iraq section to the roundtable that Kat, Isaiah and Rebecca all participated in.

No, Harry, we don't forgive you -- Ty, Betty, Cedric, Ann, Stan and Marcia wrote this. We thank them for it.

Iraq -- Our weekly Iraq piece and BIG THANKS to reader Lelani who e-mailed to point out that the March 20th demonstration Ava and C.I. promote in their weekly TV commentary could also be used for the illustration of this piece "thereby increasing the awareness of the event." Well said. We'll use it for the illustration up to the big event. Thank you.

Who's in charge? (Ava and C.I.) -- The second of three articles Ava and C.I. wrote this edition. It's noted in the roundtable (and at the top of the note) that C.I. was sick. We didn't realize it at the start. If we had, Dona and I would not have asked Ava and C.I. to do two pieces. We knew Wally was sick (and getting over it) and had offered him time off but he wanted to participate. C.I. had a headache for about half the writing edition. But right before we did the roundtable, she started throwing up. She and Ava joke it was from having to listen to Terry Gross' annoying voice. This article tackles what comedy is supposed to be and what people like Terry Gross try to insist it is. There's a difference.

Why was Barack still asleep? -- A short feature.

Thanks, we'll keep our money -- And another short feature. You know Dona's thrilled and would love for us to do a short feature edition.

Naomi: The continual embarrassment (Ava and C.I.) -- The third article. Weeks ago, Mike thought Ava and C.I. were tackling this because the issue was brought up to them and he heard them riff on it. They were wickedly funny. They take a more serious approach here but still include some laughs.

Targeting Flashpoints -- KPFA thinks they can go after one of the few shows they air that actually matters, one of the few shows that actually makes a difference, one of the few shows that actually lives up to Free Speech Radio. They'll only get away with it if you're not paying attention.

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

And that's what we came up with. We'll see you next week and our e-mail address is
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Piss off, Aimee Allison

Alleged Green Party member Aimee Allison swung it big time on KPFA. She probably thinks she' lucky that the archives have disappeared but, poor Aimee, Ava and C.I. have their notes to this day.

Aimee peddled it repeatedly for Barack in 2008.


The Crazy Ass attacked The New Yorker. The Crazy Ass said -- on air -- that copies of The New Yorker should be destroyed. On KPFA. On "Free Speech Radio." She stated, during a segment she was supposed to be the impartial moderator of, that she found the cover offensive. The cover was satire. The satire was too much for Aimee who will apparently always rush to launch a book burning.

Remember 'impartial moderator'? She was supposed to be that in a debate between PUMA and Norman Solomon. Finally identified on air as a Barack Obama delegate.

Want to explain how that happened, Aimee Allison?

How KPFA featured Norman for months and months -- including on The Morning Show -- and 'forgot' to identify him as a Barack Obama delegate?

No, we didn't think you'd want to explain it.

We doubt that, even now, you want to explain why you were supposed to be moderating the debate but you let Norman scream and yell at the man representing PUMA, you let him attack the man with smears and lies and never asked him to back those up (he couldn't back those up). When you should have stepped in to insist that Norman shut the hell up and let the men respond to the charges being hurled at him, you instead played dumb.

Want to pretend you didn't sell it for Barack?

We're not as stupid as you are.

You made this an issue on Friday when Joseph called in during the second half-hour of the show. Your segment, you stated, was "What are progressives doing wrong or why?"

Joseph (a rare African-American caller to get through on The Morning Show) was explaining that not everyone drank the "Obama-aide" and that the problem was the people who blindly went along including "media types." Did Aimee Allison fear Joseph might name her?

Apparently so because she rudely cut off Joseph (in a manner that has many noting the racist overtones involved in that you're-not-important-enough-to-speak manner she presented).

"Let me ask you, Joseph," she said in her snottiest, most know-it-all voice, "does 'I told you so' make you feel good? Does it make you want to organize more? Does it make you positive or does it make you cynical or demoralized?"

Let us ask you, Whore Aimee, does being a catty piece of trash on air to Joseph let you pretend like you didn't WHORE it all through 2008 and 2009 for Barack?

Let us aks you, Whore Aimee, do you think the left can move forward before those who sold out the peace movement -- that includes you -- take public accountability for their actions?

Let us ask you, Whore Aimee, where the hell do you get off jumping all over (attacking really) a caller, especially an African-American caller -- the very segment of listeners KPFA's most recent station report insisted needed to be increased?

Let us ask you, Whore Aimee, do you realize you have the blood of Iraqis on your filthy hands?

You whored it. No one made you. You chose to be a whore in 2008 and 2009. You whored for Barack. Day after day, you whored it and brought on guests who whored it. Instead of snapping at callers, you might try taking accountability for your actions.

Once upon a time, Aimee, not only would you have done that, you would have done it without being prompted to.

Related: "2009: The Year of Living Sickly" and "Aimee Allison is a WHORE, KPFA needs to fire her."

TV: Gary Unwatchable

In the fall of 2008, CBS began airing a promising sitcom which had all the elements to become a long-running and popular institution. So how did we get to 2010 when the show is unwatchable? The answer can be found in The Class, another CBS sitcom with promise that required tinkering but CBS' 'answers' only destroyed the show.


Gary Unmarried stars Jay Mohr. It used to star Paula Marshall but she's been downgraded in season two. As usual CBS thinks a pig rolling around in his own filth is funny in and of itself, never grasping that most viewers will need non-pigs rolling their eyes to find the s**t flung humorous. Paula Marshall's tremendously talented but she's struggled all season to make Allison, Gary's ex-wife, more than the nagging bitch the scripts increasingly paint her as.

The show started shortly after Gary and Allison divorced. Allison was anal and Gary was lazy so you immediately grasped how the two -- still attracted to one another -- could and would divorce. Both were attempting to get on with their lives as their shared parenting duties (they have a son named Tom and a daughter named Louise) and Allison was engaged to her therapist while Gary was involved with a woman's whose home he'd painted. These lovers are now gone in season two -- apparently for actually adding to the enjoyment of the series. Joining them in the unemployment line is Al Madrigal -- fired as Gary's friend because there's an overabundance of Mexican-Americans on network television?

If you're thinking, "Wait, this second season sounds like a completely different show," how right you are. Like many a dead sitcom not yet taken off life support (Gimme A Break! in it's final year when it relocated onscreen to NYC), no one seems to know what to do with it and it's been in free fall since it lost Ed Yeager and Ric Swartzlander at the end of the first season.

What had been a sparkling, promising and entertaining sitcom quickly descended (via CBS tinkering) into the sort of sitcom that lingers on Fox stinking up the whole network. In retooling The Class, CBS brains always 'knew' the problem must be the women. So that's who got targeted. In 2010, that's still their M.O.

Jaime King being dumped as Gary's first season love interest will be a minor footnote in her long, long career which, many years from now, prompts people to wonder, "What was Gary Unmarried?" As Vanessa, she was funny and she was warm so you knew she was out the door. Season two is all about THOSE BITCHES. And Jaime King's fortunate to be away from this miserable show.

To make Allison one of THOSE BITCHES, the writers have not only made her undesirable, she can't even make a friend. In fact, she's so disgusting that her ex-husband Gary has to get a woman to pretend to be Allison's friend. Paula Marshall deserves better.

Also keening in the kennel is Brooke D'Orsay as Gary's spoiled, bitchy boss Sasha who only has her job because of her father. Jay Mohr's packing at least 15 extra pounds in season two and 'portly' would have been a kind term for him in season one. In season one, the writers -- they had writers then -- grasped that Jay was no sex god and that allowed for classic moments such as when he threw his back out due to repeated sex as he tried to keep up with the sexual drive of a woman over a decade younger than him. D'Orsay's 12 years younger than him and, without writers or the steadying hand of Yeager and Swartzlander, it's taken for granted that Sasha would find him attractive just because he's the one the camera keeps finding.

D'Orsay's playing an insulting role and playing it very badly. It's obvious why she was cast -- not due to talent, but due to looks. Watching her try to walk across a set, it's also obvious why she's had a lengthy career as a voice actress and no accomplishments as a real one: She can't do anything physical in a way that's remotely believable. Since Gary Unmarried airs on CBS TV and not CBS Radio, that's a huge, huge problem.

Did someone say radio?

Gary is a house painter. He has his own business. He and Dennis (Madrigal) made a steady living and were a solid comic team. Dennis is gone and, while painting a radio station, Gary gets a gig as an on air. We believe that's how Rush Limbaugh started -- and certainly longterm exposure to paint fumes would explain Limbaugh's rants.

Yes, folks, the girls just left Milwaukee for Los Angeles. Sasha runs the radio station because . . . her father owns the station. She's an incompetent who can't even stand up to Gary (her latest hire) and we're supposed to find that darling.

The same way we're supposed to find Curtis -- and the actor playing him -- darling. But there's no there there. Instead it's the King of Bland, Keegan-Michael Key. Key's (wrongly) praised for being able to play various races and both genders. We'll agree that he can play those roles, we just don't believe he's ever played one convincingly. There's also something really sad about the show that dumped Madrigal's Dennis to bring on Curtis who is supposed to be African-American (Key's bi-racial). Key was one of the failed performers of Mad TV but he's achieved new infamy here, playing the most neutered Black male character to appear on network TV since Meadowlark Lemon's run on The New Scooby Doo Movies. Translation, Curtis is no Venus Flytrap and Key is no Tim Reid.

In fact, if next week's episode revealed that Curtis was born with a detachable penis he misplaced at a quilting fair, we believe the limited number of people still watching this show would nod along without batting an eye.

Key pulls the show back several decades by playing the "token Black" who exists solely to make the White lead appear 'soulful' and 'with it" and to, like Nathan Lane in the film Frankie & Johnny, root for his friend's romantic life.


In the first season, Mohr managed something resembling a strut, these days it's a waddle. Not only due to the added pounds but also due to the fact that a tight, funny show went the other way. What could have been CBS' new Newhart was retooled into, yes, The Jeff Foxworthy Show and you'd think one stint on that hideous show would have been enough for Mohr. The show has been so dumbed down that it makes The War At Home look like an MTM production.

When the creative team walked after the first season, no one knew from comedy. Comedy became "make the women bitches, nagging bitches." And they beefed up the role of Gary's fat ass brother which took the show into an ugly territory (terrorizing little children is not funny). After all these changes, they were amazed to find audiences cooling to the show.

They thought they had ratings gold and that season two would be about increasing the ratings. Instead season two's found the show coasting on the lead in from The New Adventures of Old Christine and focus groups weighing in on season two showed that the lead character was no longer "likeable." Which is why CBS' will bench Gary in a bit to try Jenna Eflman's Accidentally On Purpose in the slot. See Gary was supposed to be, quoting a CBS exec, "A grower, not a shower." Yes, they really do talk like that and, yes, everything has to do with the male genetalia at CBS. But Gary Unmarried (especially after the fixes) proved unable to grow or, if you prefer, extend. Now the network's singing "Is That All There Is?"


Jim: This is a quick news roundtable. We're grabbing a number of topics and hoping to do so quickly. 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. Betty's kids did the illustration. This is a rush transcript. And let's start with Betty. Betty, there's a topic that's pissed you off. We've done a piece on it this week but you're still upset.


Betty: Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, said some disgusting things and the media's rushing to protect him as is Barack. Barack Obama was not the person insulted. Black people were insulted and that no one in the press is screaming over his use, in 2008, of the word "Negro" is appalling.

Ty: We wrote it as a short piece, the article we did on this for this edition, and that was mainly because it is upsetting. Betty's not the only one upset. I'm appalled. We have a line in it that says something like, if he uses "Negro" when he's feeling happy, what's he calling us when he's unhappy? It's a question worth asking.

Jim: "We" on that article is Betty, Ty, Cedric, Ann, Stan and Marcia. They wrote the article. Ty was originally planning for it to be a Ty's Corner piece and to tackle it himself. Ty, what changed that?

Ty: What Betty and I are talking about, a White man, supposedly a liberal, using the term "Negro" in 2008. When I heard the story, and I heard it on radio, it was about "light skinned" -- Barack being "light skinned" and they didn't really go into the entire story or mention that Harry Reid had used the N-word.

Cedric: I heard it on the radio as well, different station, different area of the country. And I figured it would be touched on here. Maybe in a silly article, something written to get a laugh. And I was tossing around a few ideas for that. Then Betty is just furious and I'm not getting why and Ann's explaining to me what's going on.

Ann: Right. Same radio station, Cedric and I listen to the same radio stations. But I heard an early report and had heard of the word "Negro." Once Barack decided it was okay -- a decision he can't make -- our local radio station dropped the word "Negro" from their report.

Stan: I was different. I saw it online first. And it didn't really register. I think I was just disgusted by Reid's entire remarks. However, around the second or third story I read, I started asking myself, "Why aren't they making an issue of Harry Reid using 'Negro' to refer to Black people?"

Marcia: And that's when my cousin called me. Stan calls me and asks me about it and I've missed the story because it's Saturday and I'm doing my weekend stuff. So I do like a lot of us, I pull up three to five different articles on the same story. And I'm flipping from one to the next and at the end of the five, no one's raised the issue of Reid using "Negro." Hate to break it to White America, but somewhere around the dawn of the seventies, that term stopped being used.
And I do find it insulting.

Betty: We all do. We're not talking about its use by historically Black organization where the "N" in their name stands for Negro. We're talking about someone using it in 2008. What does that say? To me, it's very insulting. And, no, Barack is not Black. It's not about him. It's about us. It's about Black America, we're the ones being insulted by Harry Reid.

Jim: Okay. We're highlighting a statement Diane Rehm made on her NPR show Thursday this week. Ruth, you wrote about it in "E.P.A. pressures Diane Rehm not to cover mountaintop mining." What's going on?

Ruth: The Barack Obama administation has said 101 different things regarding the coal industry. Diane Rehm decided to explore the topic on her show. When her people called the EPA to see if they'd like to provide someone to appear on the next day's show, they complained that 24 hours wasn't enough time for them to prepare and they informed her that they wished she wouldn't cover the topic.

Jim: Which really isn't a statement the government needs to be making to any news outlet -- especially one like NPR which does depend upon government funding. Diane Rehm addressed this on the broadcast?

Ruth: Yes. She introduced her guests and then, before the discussion started, she explained what had happened.

Jim: Okay. There was a lot of media criticism last week. Ann, that includes you.

Ann: Marcia, Trina and C.I. had a suggestion. I gladly grabbed it. I'm following the number of male guests KPFA's The Morning Show books and how many females and it's not pretty. And it hasn't been pretty which is why they suggested I grab it. Some days I'll comment on the show. Most of the time, I'll blog about something else but tell you the guest ratio. Now in my Friday post, I was too mad at that idiot Aimee Allison to do the guest ratio.

Jim: Right and Jess wanted to talk about that. Jess?

Jess: There are a number of things to say and some we'll say in the editorial that we're supposed to do right after this. However, the one thing that Ann and I share that others participating don't is that we're Green Party members. Aimee Allison is supposed to be a Green Party member but her disgusting on air cheerleading for Barack Obama -- in 2008, in 2009 -- indicates otherwise. I'm as sick of it as Ann is. And I'm glad she called it out.

Jim: But no one's as sick as C.I. who three up four times in a row before we started this and she may not speak as a result. She and Ava are taking notes as usual, but if she doesn't speak that's why. Elaine, you're covering an audio as well.

Elaine: Right. I'll be grabbing Connect the Dots with Lila Garrett most Mondays. It airs on KPFK. I don't know how long I'll follow it -- that'll probably depend on how long I can put up with the crap -- but as long as I'm following it, I'll write about it. I'm grabbing it because Ruth has enough to grab. Especially on Mondays when she'd prefer to write about WBAI's new program Women's Media Center. So I'll grab it. Lila does great monologues. Then she does her interviews with all these pathetic Democrats pushing that the answer to our ills is to vote Democrat.

Mike: Let me jump in. Democrats have the White House. Democrats control the House. Democrats control the Senate. This "Vote Democrats" line is a joke. What? They need 100 Senators in the Senate to get anything done? This is insane.

Jim: I agree with you. Mike, speaking of radio, you used to cover Law & Disorder on WBAI. Not anymore?

Mike: I listen every few weeks. I've seen no reason to cover it. I don't know what's up with the Michaels. They're too damn scared to call out Barack. It's embarrassing. They used to act like they were the bravest in the world. Now? It's embarrassing. Maybe if Dalia Hashad was still part of the show we could get some truth telling.

Trina: Can I jump in? I just want to note one thing and this can count as my thing. Where are the pledge gifts? I ask because one of my readers e-mailed at the end of December asking me. He pledged to WBAI during their summer pledge drive, during the Law & Disorder slot. He pledged to get the MP3s of Law & Disorder. They took his payment, credit card, immediately. But they never sent the gift. He wanted to know exactly how long he was supposed to wait. I told him I'd ask around and I honestly forgot until right now.

Jim: Okay. Who wants to grab?

Dona: I'll grab. I've pledged to KPFA now that we live out in the Bay Area. KPFA gets you the gift immediately -- unless it's Democracy Now! which operates its own thing. But the KPFA programs get you your pledge gift immediately. Now before we moved out to C.I.'s, Ty, Jess, Ava, Jim and I lived in New York. When any of us donated to WBAI, it might be a year before you got the gift -- if you ever got the gift.

C.I.: WBAI's turnover in management includes a new management aware that there have been serious problems with the pledge gifts. If you haven't received a pledge gift within three months of your pledge, you should contact WBAI. If you're a community member -- and only if you're a community member -- you can contact me and I'll raise the issue to find out what's going on.

Jim: Okay. Thanks. Wally, Kat, Isaiah, Rebecca and Ava, we still need to hear from you before we wrap up.

Wally: Yeah, I'll jump in right now, Jim. I'll jump in and talk about Iraq. Kat, Ava, C.I. and I go around talking about Iraq. We've got our weekly Iraq feature here that will go up today and in it we're talking about how the Iraq Inquiry is just being ignored. And, as someone who does talk about the Inquiry on campuses and to various groups, I want to add that there is real surprise that an inquiry into the war is taking place and it is not being covered in the US. People are surprised by this, they're shocked by it. It's an establishment inquiry and I don't think anyone on the left expects that it will bring us 'closure' or anything like that. But there are a lot of things emerging that are important and you're going to miss them if you're not following the Inquiry.

Jim: Okay. Tell us one thing you've learned from the Inquiry?

Wally: I won't just note the two big items from last week because we include them in the article for this edition. So let me think a second. Okay, I'd say that when Tony Blair was Prime Minister, the British staff in Iraq, civilian staff, were hearing from the people under him daily. Sometimes more than that. They'd be called and told, paraphrase, 'I'm meeting with the prime minister in X hours, what is going on right now?' But when Gordon Brown becomes Prime Minister? That's gone. And he became prime minister in June 2007. Over a year before England pulled out the bulk of their troops from Iraq. And I think you can draw a line between his policies of continuing the illegal war that Blair started with Barack continuing the illegal war that Bush started and how both Brown and Barack don't give a damn.

Kat: And I'll jump in on that. There's real interst, as Wally pointed out, in the Iraq Inquiry when we speak. People are unaware of it. They often don't know it's taking place or that it's been ongoing. There is so little US coverage of it. And when you bring it up, people are genuinely interested. They'll have questions afterwards, after we're done speaking, questions that they didn't want to ask in front of everyone. In part, because they feel stupid because this is something they don't about. They shouldn't feel stupid or embarrassed. That should fall back on the media -- on all the media, big and small -- for not covering it. But there's huge interest. I don't care if we're speaking to a high school group, a college group, a labor group, a seniors group or a women's group, there is huge interest. "What are they discussing?" "What are they finding out?" "Will Tony Blair testify?" There's just huge, huge interest.

Isaiah: Okay, I didn't have a topic but I can jump onto Iraq. First off, Tony Blair is going to testify -- as Kat and Wally know. But think about. We get it from C.I. and we get other things from Ava and C.I. in the newsletters, like Spanish media, for example. But this is in English. If it were being held in France, we'd say, "Oh, well, they can't broadcast it because they'd need subtitles." This is in London. The witnesses are speaking in English. What's the excuse for not covering it? Every big newspaper and every media outlet has reporters or stringers in England. I've seen one article by Walter Pincus for The Washington Post, I've seen one article by John F. Burns for The New York Times and two articles by a woman with The Los Angeles Times whose name I don't know.

C.I.: .

Isaiah: Thank you. And that's all I've seen and I read a lot. All these outlets, all this money, and they can't cover it. And of course Amy Goodman's never done one segment on it. She can take her trashy ass over to Copenhagen for that staged crap but she can't cover what's happening in England? She can spend two weeks in Copenhagen but can't cover the Iraq War she rode to fame?

Jim: I'd agree with that. And it's shocking the veil that's been drawn over Iraq.

Rebecca: Well we live in a fog because people don't want to admit that Barack didn't end the Iraq War. So the Out of Iraq caucus disbands so they won't have to hold him accountable. And Tom Hayden rushes to cling to the Afghanistan War and pretend like the Iraq War is over. They all do it. They're all whores. I feel like what's his face in Shampoo.

Ava: Jack Warden.

Rebecca: Right. At the end when he's confronting Warren Beatty who's been sleeping with Jack Warden's wife -- Lee Grant -- and with his mistress -- Julie Christie. The Iraq War doesn't matter to these people. The fact that Iraqis continue to die doesn't matter. They've moved on. They don't give a damn. It's disgusting.

Jim: Alright. Thank you. Ava. I asked you and C.I. to write two pieces tonight/this morning and you wrote three. We appreciate that. But what can you tell us about them?

Ava: We're finally reviewing Gary Unmarried. We'd hoped to grab that during the first season. We never had time. We noted it a few times, but we never reviewed it. We grabbed it this week because of some test scores, some focus groups, we learned of from a CBS exec. The show has peaked. It is not increasing its audience and a large number of people were more inclined to the show in the first season than they are today. Changes that were made to tweak the show only succeeded in alienating the audience. That means Gary Unmarried may be cancelled and we're weighing in this week on what happened and how the show that had so much promise is now a piece of trash. We'd hoped to do something on Democracy Now! I don't remember what. Mid-way through the week, we'd both agreed we were going to have to tackle it this weekend and then we started this edition about 12 hours ago. We wrote the TV piece and another piece -- on Naomi Wolf -- and that's when, when we finished the second piece, when we tried to figure out what we were planning to do re: Democracy Now!? We couldn't remember and we just blew it off.

Jim: Stan wanted to say something about the TV articles here.

Stan: As I pointed out at my site last week ["Promise Her Anything" and "Those shows with bad ratings . . ."], the news media is telling us that Jay Leno's show is in danger and probably over and that this has to do with stations who carry NBC programming but are not NBC owned and how the November ratings were so awful that they're demanding the issue be addressed right away. That was news at the end of last week. Of course, it was news here back in November if you read Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The nightly talk shows." And I just wanted to be sure Ava and C.I. got credit for their reporting. They scooped everyone. Not the first time, won't be the last.

Jim: Thank you, Stan, and thank you to Ava and C.I. I noted Ava and C.I. wrote three pieces. C.I. do you want to talk about the third and then we'll wrap up?

C.I.: Sure. Briefly, Terry Gross is turning her program, repeatedly, into let's make fun of Republicans. She lets the guest do that and then does her annoying giggle to make sure we all know how amused she finds the put downs. Now there are several ways we could go with that topic but since Ava and I have repeatedly covered the way pulling the punch kills the laugh, we did an overview of comedy. Another angle on the same issue could address how smug elites like Terry Gross turn off potential voters with their attacks. When you're repeatedly calling people stupid -- and we're talking average citizens, not the media being called stupid, not politicians being called stupid, but the average Americans -- when you're repeatedly calling them stupid, you're feeding into every right-wing charge against you. And you're turning off a lot of people -- from the right, from the middle and from the left.

Jim: Okay. Thank you. This is a rush transcript. Our e-mail address is

No, Harry, we don't forgive you

"Majority Leader Reid apologizes to Obama for 2008 remarks" trumpets The Washington Post, "Reid apologizes for racial comments about Obama in 2008" insists McClatchy's Kansas City Star and it goes on and on.

But does anyone really get who was insulted? First clue: It really wasn't Barack.

Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused Barack Obama, a bi-racial man, of being 'White enough' to pull in voters. The insult wasn't too Barack.

Who was Reid insulting when stating, for example, that Barack was someone "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

He's insulting African-Americans.

The mixed have always had a better chance of passing. Harry Reid's comments basically congratulate Barack on being a step closer to White than high yellow. Barack's being congratulated.

It's African-Americans, it's Black people who are being insulted.

And, excuse the hell out of us, but who tosses around the word "Negro" in 2008? Maybe if the MSM had more Black reporters, this rush to gloss over what was said would stop? Maybe if they had more Black reporters, we'd have a press that pointed out a White man in a 'happy mood' using "Negro" in 2008 probably uses another N-word when he's not so happy.

No, Harry Reid, your apology is not accepted. And Barack Obama, you do not speak for us.

-- The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ty, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.



Thursday, the Iraq Inquiry was news . . . everywhere but in the US. For those just waking up, the Iraq Inquiry is taking place in London and examining the 'prep' period and the post-invasion period. John Chilcot is chairing the committee.

Do you remember March 2008? When Nouri assaulted Basra. He'd been making war noises for sometime but he jumped the assault. A fact that Gen David Petreaus and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker would explain repeatedly in April 2008 when appearing before US Congressional committees. Why did he jump the gun? Thursday, the Iraqi Inquiry learned it was apparently because he had a political rival in the governor of the province. That's why the assault the US and UK were planning to help with was for June but Nouri jumped the gun and pulled everyone in along with him in March. And how much did Nouri care about civilian deaths?

Lt Gen Barney White-Spunner: We were asked at the time in those very chaotic early days to do some things by the Iraqis, which, if we had agreed to, I would be sitting in front of a very different tribunal now, and the American -- American rules of engagement were slightly easier, not hugely, slightly, which meant they were able to do some things that we weren't. I have to say which I think quite correctly we weren't.

What were they asked to do? They were asked to bomb from the air. Basically to carpet bomb
an area. And the British army refused because they knew it would be War Crimes Against Humanity.

And yet where is the coverage in the US?

Friday, England's current Ambassador to Iraq, John Jenkins, told the Inquiry that a military coup was still possible in Iraq.

Again, it's really amazing that there is no US coverage of the Inquiry.

Wednesday, David Culter (Reuters) reported 1 US soldier died "while on patrol in Baghdad." Thursday, USF announced: "CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq -- A Soldier assigned to United States Division-North died of non-combat related injuries, Jan. 6. The incident is under investigation and release of the Soldier's identity is being withheld pending notification of the next of kin. The name of the deceased service member will be announced through the U.S. Department of Defense Official Web site at Task Force Marne is deeply saddened by this loss and will provide more information on this incident following next of kin notification."

Sunday 4 Iraqis were reported dead and 2 wounded; Monday 4 were reported dead and 29 wounded; Tuesday 12 people were reported wounded; Wednesday 7 were reported dead and 10 wounded (and 3 US soldiers wounded); Thursday 8 were reported dead and 42 wounded; Friday 8 were reported dead and 12 wounded; and Saturday 1 dead and 5 wounded. Totals: 32 dead and 112 wounded (plus 3 US soldiers wounded).

While the US media had other things to do, Inside Iraq (Al Jazeera) addressed the rising cancer rates in Iraq:

Jasim al-Azzawi: Dr. Jawad al-Ali, you were also a member of a research team in Iraq, especially in the south, and you have seen the deformities and the defects among newly born babies in Iraq. How bad is that?

Dr. Jawad al-Ali: You know, depleted uranium, it's not only a cancer inducing factor but also it might effect the chromosomes whether in the husband or the mother of a child. And many, many children are born with deformities, with loss of limbs, with a big head, with deformed legs and the rate of this -- these deformities is increasing about seven times since 1991until 2002. And also another phenomena we noticed here that families cluster -- cluster of cancer in families -- a husband and a wife are effected. And many families, I got their pictures with me. The other phenomena is the appearance of double and triple cancers. That is three cancers in one patient or two cancers in the same patient. These phenomena are very strange for us. I haven't seen it before. Because I worked in Basra for about 39 years. And I haven't seen such cases of cancer [before]. The other thing is the change of pattern of cancer as said by Dr. Busby. We have a change in the pattern that is the cancers of elderly people appearing now in a younger age group. And this is surprising. Even the breast cancer which is disease of middle and elderly ladies now appearing at the age of 20.

Jasim al-Azzawi: Let me, Mr. Busby, in the 1991 war, most of the fighting was done outside the centers of population, out of the big cities. But in 2003, a great majority of the war, of the battles, actually happened in centers of population. In 1991, we started to see the effect of depleted uranium almost two years or three years after that immediately. Are we going to witness a dramatic rise later on, even in places like Baghdad?

Christopher Busby: I believe you are. And the way in which this works is that you get an immediate genetic shock and then you get a build up of an effect over a longer period of time. But the other thing is that if you already have cause -- genetic damage -- in the first Gulf War, then those people will be more likely to get cancer as a result of a second hit in the second Gulf War. So-so what you've got here, I am afraid, is that, in my prediction, there's going to be a massive increase in cancer and a massive increase in birth defects because this material is one of the most dangerous genetic damaging material that has ever -- that exists on earth because it binds to the DNA and it focuses radiation to that part of the body where it's most dangerous, where it causes the most damage -- for inheritable defects, as Dr. al-Ali says, for cancer also, as he says. So I'm afraid that the whole genetic makeup of the Iraqi population -- and probably a lot of the Gulf War veterans who fought there to, from America and from the United Kingdom also -- will be suffering as a result of these exposures.

It was a subject Jalal Ghazi was covering as well in "Cancer - The Deadly Legacy Of The Invasion Of Iraq" (CounterCurrents):

Forget about oil, occupation, terrorism or even Al Qaeda. The real hazard for Iraqis these days is cancer.
Cancer is spreading like wildfire in Iraq. Thousands of infants are being born with deformities. Doctors say they are struggling to cope with the rise of cancer and birth defects, especially in cities subjected to heavy American and British bombardment.
Cancer is spreading like wildfire in Iraq. Thousands of infants are being born with deformities. Doctors say they are struggling to cope with the rise of cancer and birth defects, especially in cities subjected to heavy American and British bombardment.Here are a few examples. In Falluja, which was heavily bombarded by the US in 2004, as many as 25% of new- born infants have serious abnormalities, including congenital anomalies, brain tumors, and neural tube defects in the spinal cord.

And still silence from All Things Broadcast Media Big And Small in the US.

Who's in charge? (Ava and C.I.)

In 2005, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart explained to Gary Younge (Guardian) why their comedic targets were Republicans as opposed to Democrats, "I don't mean in the sense that we're equal opportunity offenders -- we're not. I think we consider those with power and influence targets and those without it, not." Picking up on this theme the same year, Stephen Colbert told Elana Berkowitz and Amy Schiller (Campus Progress), "Um, we are liberal, but Jon's very respectful of the Republican guests, and, listen, if liberals were in power it would be easier to attack them, but Republicans have the executive, legislative and judicial branches, so making fun of Democrats is like kicking a child, so it's just not worth it." That's pretty clear cut and basic comedy. Or as David Letterman explained the humor targets of Latenight with David Letterman to Rolling Stone in 1985, "We're a gnat trying to sink the Love Boat."

Humor is targeting the powerful, the ones in charge. Everything else is just catty. And there's a lot of catty to be found in supposed humor. Take Saturday Night Live who thought Tsutomu Yamaguchi's death made for a 'funny' punchline on Weekend Update last night. Who was Tsutomu Yamaguchi? The only known survivor of the US bombings of of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki (link is audio and text, NPR's Weekend Edition). There is something very sick about Saturday Night Live and Seth Meyers. The only viral skit they've had since the start of the new season was when they actually dared to poke fun at Barack. You might think such a skit would have them stepping more bravely but you'd be wrong.

In 2005, when Democrats did not control the House of Representatives, the Senate or the White House, when they were the minority political party (of the two dominant political parties in the US), they were to be spared scrutiny by comics because, as Stewart and Colbert explained, they didn't hold the power.

It's 2010 and where are the 'humorous' attacks aimed? Republicans.

Republicans who are now in the same position Democrats were in 2005.

On Weekend Update, Seth opened with a joke about Barack . . . Well, Barack was in the joke. Of course Barack campaign donor Seth couldn't find the guts to criticize his wet dream. Instead, he tried a 'systemic' joke that flopped. He then went after Rudy G (Mayor of NYC during 9-11). Fine, except he blew the joke by stepping all over the punchline. (It should have been an observation as the set-up was. Instead, Seth changed the punchline so that he was speaking directly to Rudy. It threw the audience and lost the laugh.) He then quickly noted that there were Republicans laying blame at Barack for the December 25th near-bombing. That's all he said because, he explained, now it was time for James Carville to deliver a Democratic response.

If you're scratching you hear, you're not the only one. As an original Not Ready For Prime Timer told us (he called us, we didn't seek out a comment), when the show "mattered," Jane Curtain would take one side of the coin and Dan Ackroyd the other and they'd have responses. Instead, Seth wanted to provide a 'response' to a position the sketch 'forgot' to establish.

The 'comics' refuse to take on Barack and they instead think they're brave for attacking Republicans -- a point driven home last week when Terry Gross couldn't stop giggling at John Oliver's catty remarks (January 5ths broadcast of Fresh Air on NPR).


First off, regardless of what an American may or may not think of the Tea Party Movement, most Americans hopefully would agree that the last thing the United States needs to hear is a British citizen telling America what tyranny is. (And getting it wrong on top of that.) We hope most people would agree that England lost the right to ever lecture about tyranny somewhere around 1776.

But there was John Oliver (of Comedy Central's The Daily Show) mocking the Tea Party Movement and saying he'd tell them what tyranny really was. The only real response to that is: Go back to England.


John Oliver, for those who don't live on basic cable, is a minor player on The Daily Show, he's not on every episode, you can watch a string of episodes and, in fact, never see him (that's what's known as "a lucky streak"). He was a minor comedian in England and is even less so in the US. An English major, he's got no real training in politics and really isn't a political observer.

So though Terry Gross couldn't stop finding him amusing -- she's been on a streak of laughing at attacks on Republicans in the last few weeks, we're not all that sure her audience was as amused.

He referred to the Tea Party activists as "crazy," as "the pure gold of nutcases," "beyond the point of being able to process rational thought," and much more. But don't think he just attacked the Tea Party Movement (which we would characterize as a conservative and libertarian movement, for those unfamiliar with it), he also had to go after . . .


Who do they insist is unimportant . . . . while never being able to shut up about her?

Yes, Sarah Palin.

Palin and McCain were "cancerous," they "were putting" "poison" "out there". Has the losing side in a presidential election ever been attacked like this before? We're having a hard time thinking of a past equivalent. Usually, the losing campaign, having lost, isn't in the news, isn't in the focus. Usually, after election night, the losing campaign is forgotten.

1997 in Humor, for example, was not all about Bob Dole. Nor was 1993 in Humor all about George H.W. Bush.

The winner of the election becomes the target because he or she is now the one in power and the class clown in every comic is naturally geared to throw the spit balls at the authority figure.

But that's not how it works today, is it?

Republicans aren't funny.

That's considered to be a comedic axiom.

Is it true?

We don't know. We'll fess up to having repeated it in our own lives.

But we've never lived through a year like 2009 before (and 2010 doesn't look any better) so we're examining observations and beliefs in ways we might not normally.

Why did we say that Republicans aren't funny?

One reason: We're Democrats and as caught in the partisan back and forth as anyone else.

But let's go beyond that.

What is comedy? It's subversive, it's taking on the powerful. It's, as David Letterman said, being the gnat taking on the Love Boat.

Dennis Miller, last decade, did not strike us as funny. Why? He was a little suck up. He was the establishment. He wasn't cutting edge, he wasn't out on a limb. His entire act was about telling you how wonderful things were and how great those in power were.

The coin has flipped, the power changed hands (at least in terms of political parties). And yet the target is still the Republicans?

Saturday Night Live and all the rest have become the establishment. Tearing apart at the party out of power while ignoring the comedic gold to be mined from going after the powerful.

And all the rest.

Jon Stewart talked brave in 2005. He's also personally proud of a few Barack skits he did in 2009. But what we saw in random viewing wasn't bravery. What we saw was the laughs came not from holding Barack accountable (the way he'd hold Bush accountable), but from morphing into Professor John Frink on The Simpsons and uttering gibberish for the punch line. For our alleged comedic leader, that's damn embarrassing. He can take comfort in the fact that, as weak as his attempts have been, he walks like a giant when compared to his peers.

Why was Barack still asleep?

There was always something weird, strange and cheap about Barack and Michelle Obama's refusal to buy gifts for their children. And we were reminded of that all over again when Michael Goodwin (New York Post) wrote about administration staff waiting three hours (an assertion that's not been questioned by the White House), after they learned of the bombing attempt on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, before waking Barack and informing him of the attempted terrorist attack.

Do you see a problem with that?

Well, obviously, the president of the United States should be immediately awoken when an incident like the attempted attack takes place.

But do you notice something else?

Something that should have you asking WTF?

Something that should have your rolling your eyes over the freak show that is the Obama family.

The flight was scheduled to land in Detroit at 11:40 a.m. As the flight approached Detroit, the bomber began taking his steps towards igniting the bomb. Let's be kind and say that was 11:30. Are you seeing the problem?

11:30 a.m. EST. Where was Barack?



At 11:30 a.m. And let's say that the administration staff didn't learn of the bombing until noon EST. They then waited three hours before waking Princess Barack from his beauty sleep?

If you don't know, when it was noon in DC (or Detroit) it was seven a.m. in Hawaii.

They waited until 10:00 a.m. to wake Princess Barack?

You should be saying WTF?

Not just because of the failures re: his being the president.

His youngest child is how old?


And, unless Goodwin's got his facts wrong (the White House hasn't challenged the report), Princess Barack wasn't awoken that day until 10:00 a.m. Shocking for a grown man and not a pot head high school senior.

Do you get what that day was?

The bomber is called "the Christmas Bomber."

It was Christmas.

Barack has an eight-year-old daughter and he slept until ten a.m. on Christmas morning?

Normal parents, with small children, who claim to be Christians, were already up long before nine a.m., long before eight a.m., at their homes. What's Barack's excuse?

Thanks, we'll keep our money


In an apparent sequel to Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Israel's Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, declared, as YNetNews puts it, "Israel can do without US economic aid."

What's going on? Roni Sofer explains, "Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Sunday lashed back at US special envoy George Mitchell for threatening to freeze loan guarantees given to Israel if the Jewish state failed to make progress in the peace process with the Palestinians. "


Well you know what?

Thank you. We should take you up on that offer.

In 2004, the second-largest recipient of economic foreign aid from the United States was Israel, second to post-war Iraq. In terms of per capita value Israel ranks first, though other middle eastern countries get US aid as well — Egypt gets around 2.2$ billion per year, Jordan gets around $400 million per year, and the Palestinian Authority gets around 1$ billion per year.[27]
In 2007, the United States increased its military aid to Israel by over 25% to an average of $3 billion per year for the following ten year period, while ending economic aid.[28][29]

The US doesn't have that kind of money to be throwing around. If we've got $3 billion per year to give away for the next ten, for example, that's $3 billion that should be put into US schools to improve the quality of life in the United States, thank you very much.

And if the US had any brains, the reply right now would be, "Thank you, Israel, we'll keep our money."

Naomi: The continual embarrassment (Ava and C.I.)

feminist naomi wolf

Mental midget Naomi Wolf has been a long embarrassment to feminism and we've called her out here before ["Naomi Wolf: The Feminist Myth (Ava and C.I.)" and "The Political Whoring of Naomi Wolf " -- the latter was a group piece]. But if we called that crazy nut job out every time she deserved it, we'd do little else. So when she made an ass out of herself awhile back and then an ass out of herself in the fall trying to explain why she didn't believe she was an ass, we looked the other way. We realize that life is much more difficult for Naomi Wolf these days because Judith N. Shklar is dead and therefore has stymied Naomi's best efforts at plagiarism. But then, last week, The Washington Post ran a column by Dalya Hassan and we started worrying that if we didn't weigh in, a 'trend' would take hold.

Naomi decided to weigh in on religious garb. When?

You'd think that would be the least confusing aspect to it. But with air head Naomi -- thought to be the model for Elizabeth Berkley's Nomi in Showgirls -- that's another part of the confusion. At her Facebook page on September 8, 2009, she wrote:

Over the weekend, a piece I wrote some months ago for my global syndicate, Project Syndicate -- a terrific organization that makes sure that op-eds from all points of view get disseminated to outlets in the developing world, in order to reinforce habits of democracy and debate -- got picked up and twisted in what I can only call Fanaticland and distorted beyond recognition.

Counting was never one of Naomi's skills. The column she's referring to, "Behind the veil lives a thriving Muslim sexuality," was published by The Sydney Morning Herald on August 30, 2008 -- which would be over a year before and not "some months" before.

As a writer, Naomi is pathetic and, yes, smutty. It's why the Real Press had a problem with her as an adviser for Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign. That didn't justify falsely claiming she picked out Gore's clothes, it did, however, explain some of their objections to her. Naomi just can't stay away from the smut. It's why so many feminist stay away from Naomi.

Naomi's like a pin-up -- after the years have set in -- always determined to convince her public that she's still sexually desired. It's embarrassing to watch.

And that's at the heart of the response to her column.

As always, Naomi doesn't get it. In her lengthy Facebook post, she makes the case that people are misinterpreting what she wrote. What she did, she insists, is actually listen to Muslim women -- apparently everyone before Naomi was only pretending to listen -- and, like Christopher Columbus, she's made a discovery!!!! Women like the burka, they really, really like it.

She insists, in her Facebook note, that there are more important issues for the West ("with all its resources and potential for positive dialogue") to focus on. To which the obvious response is, "Uh, you're the one who wrote the burka column. Not us. You're the one who decided to focus on that and not bride killings, legal subjugation, lack of access to potable water, etc."

In her Facebook post, Naomi offers those topics as topics feminists should be focused on instead of the burka. As though the whole world was writing about the burka while she was churning out one column after another on the infant mortality rate in the Muslim world.

Naomi is the male-defined woman and she repeatedly demonstrates that in her writing. In her Facebook post, she's quoting Homer from The Simpsons and, careful feminists quickly grasp, she will resort to quoting animated male characters before she'll ever quote an actual woman.

Naomi insisted, "The point I made is that many women I have heard from who actually have a choice, chose to wear a headscarf and modest clothing" -- The point Naomi needs to grasp is that a pleasure cruise through the upper strata of the Muslim world doesn't make her an expert on anything. "and that instead of assuming we know what this means to them, we should be willing to actually listen" -- But, Naomi, you weren't listening. You were rushing off like the looniest Thomas Friedman in the psyche ward trying to turn a small, non-scientific sample into 'the way it is'. She details the exalted posts of the non-average women she spoke to.

She then writes this laughable line: "I am standing by my own longterm commitment as a feminist to a core principle that has always ultimately served me well: WHEN IN DOUBT LISTEN TO WOMEN."

Like the woman in college who was gang-raped by your boyfriend's frat house? The one whose shoes were displayed the next morning in the dining room when you came down for breakfast? The woman you couldn't defend because you were afraid you'd be called a "lesbian"? (Naomi documents these tales -- seemingly unaware of how non-feminist they are -- in her book Promiscuities.)

In her Facebook post, Naomi reveals something she left out of her column: When meeting with Muslim feminists, she found many women (more?) refusing to wear the hijab or other items. She also reveals that they expressed "fatigue" over the Western interest "with what we wear instead of what our real problems are?"

"I am standing by my own longterm commitment as a feminist to a core principle that has always ultimately served me well: WHEN IN DOUBT LISTEN TO WOMEN."

She writes that in her Facebook post. In the same post where she justifies writing (another) column on the burka by stating Muslim feminists were tired of and offended by the Western focus on what Muslim women wear. Muslim feminists expressed distaste for the topic and Naomi "WHEN IN DOUBT LISTEN TO WOMEN" Wolf decides the topic to write about is the burka?

She believes in listening to women . . . except when she doesn't.

Naomi laments that her "Behind the veil" "is being twisted by those who know better" and this is bad "for the wellbeing of real American discourse and debate".

Muslim feminists asked her to write about anything other than the burka ("Why don't you focus on the amazing things Muslim women are doing -- and let them speak for themselves? Pretty much universally, they let me know that bride burnings, illiteracy, domestic violence, and legal oppression were at the top of their lists of priorities, and that they saw the West's preoccupation with the hijab as somewhat tiresome and beside the point given these life-and-death concerns.") but the real problem with American discourse and debate is that Naomi's bad column on the burka is being 'twisted'?

And, get this, who's twisting it? Jews for Jesus Naomi decides it's a conspiracy "underwritten by the Israel lobby". Pop another pill, Naomi.

Was her column misinterpreted or twisted?


She went to the smut well as she always does. That's only more clear at Project Syndicate where the headline for the column is, get this, "Veiled Sexuality." [Note: For those who may doubt that the column was published in 2008, check the dates on the comments at that Project Syndicate link.]

In her usual mis-mash of 'trends' and male paranoia (a hallmark of Wolf's bad writing), the original column bemoaned how "sexual imagery on every street corner" (no, she doesn't get out of New York very often) has "reduced [the] libido" of "healthy young men" -- it's a "growing epidemic."

As two who know Naomi, allow us to decode that hysterical claim. Having gone to yet another loft party stag, Naomi stayed extra late and managed to lure a drunken 23-year-old male home. Whether he was gay or straight with discriminating tastes, he turned her down and instantly she had a new "growing epidemic."

If you doubt that's how she writes, you've never read one of her books -- memoir after memoir, posing as critical studies of our society which only serve to make Anais Nin look reticent in retrospect.

Feminism has long explained how most religions see wives as the property of husbands. The only one who apparently has never heard of that is Naomi which is how she comes to gush: "The bridal videos that I was shown, with the sensuous dancing that the bride learns as part of what makes her a wonderful wife, and which she proudly displays for her bridegroom, suggested that sensuality was not alien to Muslim women." Training a woman to use her own sexuality to please a man? That's liberating?

In a typical for Wolf and telling for our times passage, she yammered:

I experienced it myself. I put on a shalwar kameez and a headscarf in Morocco for a trip to the bazaar. Yes, some of the warmth I encountered was probably from the novelty of seeing a Westerner so clothed; but, as I moved about the market – the curve of my breasts covered, the shape of my legs obscured, my long hair not flying about me – I felt a novel sense of calm and serenity. I felt, yes, in certain ways, free.

Is this supposed to be written by Joey Heatherton or a feminist thinker? Who but an aging sex kitten would feel the need to emphasize "the curve of my breasts . . . the shape of my legs"? She's always got to go smutty.

Grasp that, in 1963, Gloria Steinem donned a bunny uniform to explain the ugly realities women forced to dress in male-defined ways endured while, in 2008, Naomi donned male-defined and proscribed dress and tried to sell it as liberation and sexy.

Which brings us back to Dalya Hassan. Naomi tried to sell male dictated wardrobes as liberation, Hassan showed up to insist she'd found "silver linings" to the hijab, "It protects my hair from sandstorms and rain, and it has pleased my husband, a reminder that sometimes we do things we don't like out of love."

Once upon a time they bound women's feet and, we're sure, you can find some idiots who will insist it was "sexy" (like Wolf) or "romantic" (like Hassan).

Women, as much as men, have the right to explore any kinks they want to in their own lives. And they don't even have to keep it in the privacy of the bedroom -- certainly, if voyeurism is your kink, you need public exposure. But what they do have to do is stop selling their own fetishes as liberation and good for all women.

Illustration is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "'Feminist' Naomi Wolf speaks."

Targeting Flashpoints

While KPFA airheads run free and are paid, a show that actually lives up to "Free Speech Radio" is under attack with staff fired and hours cut. If you don't know which program is being targeted, in full, from Indybay Media, this is Dennis Bernstein of KPFA's Flashpoints Radio open letter:

Open Letter to KPFA General Manager, Lemlem Rijio and the KPFA community
by repost from D. Bernstein
Thursday Dec 31st, 2009 12:37 PM
Dennis Bernstein replies to a letter sent by KPFA General Manager Lemlem Rijio to the staff list concerning the cuts to Flashpoints
Open Letter to KPFA General Manager, Lemlem Rijio and the KPFA community of Listeners
/And A Bold Proposal
By Dennis Bernstein, Executive Producer, Flashpoints
On December 30th
[Response to Rijio letter of 12/30, KPFA Staff: KPFA Open Letter on Budget Reductions, which is not copied here due to a confidentiality notice]
KPFA GM, Lemlem Rijio addressed the KPFA Pacifica community in an open letter . . about the current financial crunch at KPFA. While the crunch is real, I would of course disagree with several statements made in the letter by MS Rijio.
But let me just shed light on one point, in which she directly addresses Flashpoints, and then I'd like to offer a bold proposal to Management and workers at KPFA, to step up and stand strong for Free Speech Radio.
Ms Rijio states in her open letter: "At the current staffing level (after cuts to all programs), Flashpoints has more staffing per hour than all other public affairs programs at KPFA."
Really? Under current management, Flashpoints has lost fifty percent of its budget, leaving the show with 80 paid hours for staffing.
Currently KPFA news has well over 200 paid hours for staffing, five times the plant space as Flashpoints, and their own broadcast studio. They also have full access to Free speech Radio News which is a major contributor to the news cast. According to the official budget figures for fiscal 2005/2006, the news department budget went up over $50,000 dollars under current management, while the Flashpoints budget was cut. Administration went up over $30,000 dollars in the same period. The trend continued, as MS Rijio expressed her priorities clearly, by continuing to cut (and censor) Flashpoints, while increasing the budgets for the morning show and the news and administration.

Statement of Fact: The Flashpoints budget has been slashed in half under current management.
Question: Have the budgets for the morning show and the KPFA news gone up or down under the same management?
Question: Did current management bust the budget, and are they now using the bust as an excuse to get rid of, or at least marginalize a radical edgy show like Flashpoints?
MY Challenge: Ms Rijio writes in her open letter, "program teams, were given the opportunity to voluntarily spread the cuts among themselves, and some staff voluntarily reduced their hours to lessen the impact on their co-workers." Well here's my response to my boss: OK I will volunteer to go on an unpaid six months leave, and work for free, starting immediately if six of my brothers and sisters at the top of the KPFA pay scale will do the same. That would be say the two top managers, and 4 senior members of CWA (let's make room for the next generation).
One more thing, it is my understanding that several people were given major increases in their hours, even while others were being cut. Those hours should immediately be returned back to the hour pool and given back to the people who were just laid off.
If you agree to this action, in support of KPFA,the people's radio station, Ms Rijio, then I think that it will go a long way to getting us over the financial hump, without hobbling Flashpoints and Hard Knock Radio, which have been hit hardest by the crunch, and which are born under the banner of Pacifica founder, Lew Hill. In closing, Ms Rijio, I do admire your decision to bring this conversation out into the light of day, with your open letter to the KPFA community. I look forward to this frank open dialogue on how to keep KPFA Free Speech, non-corporate radio strong and viable into the 21st Century.

In Struggle, Dennis Bernstein Executive Producer, Flashpoints, CWA/KPFA member,
dbernstein [at]


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"Prom Queen Allan Nairn is pregnant" -- each week C.I.'s "I Hate The War" is usually the most requested highlight by a huge number of votes. But Ty says the votes for this (C.I.) entry were "off the chain." Immensly popular and if you doubt why, just read.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Colgate Ready" -- Ready? Barack's Colgate ready!!!!

"The Morning Show's sexism is showing," "A sexist broadcast from Women's Media Center," "Comic, Flashpoints, year end," "Hey KPFA, where are the women?," "The Infantile Norman Solomon," "We'll have what he's smoking" & "THIS JUST IN! WE'LL HAVE WHAT HE'S SMOKING!," "Idiot and Coward Patrick Cockburn," "They Hate Women on KPFA," "WBAI's The Arts Magazine," "Ed Schultz?," "KPFA's continued sexism," "dahr jamail makes himself a joke," "Learn to act your age (or resign yourself to bad radio)," "Aimee Allison is a WHORE, KPFA needs to fire her," "KFPA's Morning Show tries to play catch up," "No ethics at all," "Karen Tumulty should stick to Bette Davis impersonations" and "E.P.A. pressures Diane Rehm not to cover mountaintop mining" -- Media criticsm within the community and, yes, you should be noticing more radio coverage. We're trying not to leave that to just C.I. or Ruth. Elaine's grabbing a KPFK show each week while Ann's grabbing a KPFA show.

"Meanwhile in England . . ." -- Kat covers news from England.

"Oh, sister" & "Another setback for equality" -- Bookends from Marcia. Both concern homophobia, one is homophobia aimed at her personally and the other is homophobia preventing equality in the state of New Jersey.

"Promise Her Anything" -- Stan offers his Friday movie post.

"Those shows with bad ratings . . .""Baby Bully Boy""The big news of the week""The depressing political games""Iraq""Huh?""THIS JUST IN! WHAT DOES HE MEAN?"

"Aimee Allison is a WHORE, KPFA needs to fire her""KFPA's Morning Show tries to play catch up""No ethics at all""Who suffers?""Those bad politicians"

"Barack needs his beauty sleep" -- After the attempted terrorist attack on December 25th, Betty's post notes, White House aides waited three hours before waking Barack to inform him. If you're not disturbed by that you're not paying attention and we'll whip it in another direction in another feature.

"it's not always about bush" -- Rebecca on domestic abuse.

"Huh?" & "THIS JUST IN! WHAT DOES HE MEAN?" -- Barack should come with a decoder ring.

"Thoughts on Byron Dorgan and more," "Dems retiring, NOW wants action, Ann Talbot gives a warning" and "Not a good day" -- Mike and Kat note the announcement that Byron Dorgan will not be seeking re-election to the Senate.

"Baby Bully Boy" -- Isaiah reaches into the archives for this one.

"Three more years . . ." -- Yes, like Betty, we've realized we need to return to counting down the way we did in Bush years.

"Comedy teams" -- Stan offers some thoughts on well known comedy teams.

"Barack, still not ready" -- The 3:00 am call came. Where was Barack?

"heroes" -- Chuck's back this week. Mike plans to catch it and may blog about it on Monday. Rebecca blogged here about Heroes.

"I think 'antisemitism' is too mild a word for it" -- Trina's post we were planning to highlight; however, Wally's mother also asked that we highlight it.

"Doing the Google" -- Marcia did a post last Sunday and C.I. asked that we highlight it.
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