Sunday, May 08, 2011
-- Andre Damon, "US jobs report points to protracted downturn" (WSWS).
Another Sunday. And we're early (especially for us)! But that means something got forgotten. First, we thank all who participated this week which includes Dallas and the following:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.
Let's talk content.
Ava and C.I. have three shows they'd still like to review -- two dramas, one sitcom -- from this season. They were debating which to take on when a phone call came in from an SNL-er who pronounced Saturday's show (not yet aired on the West Coast) the all time worst season ender. Later, while they were working on writing this piece, a Not Ready For Prime Timer would call to knock the Tina Fey hosted episode even more.
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
In January, there were protests against the continued occupation (such as to mark US Vice President Joe Biden's visit), protests against the lack of reliable public services and much, much more. The furthest back for January appears to be the protest Namo Abdulla (New York Times) reported on January 5th. But there may be others that got press attention or others that didn't but took place prior to that.
And protests continue in Iraq. As we've noted before, The Great Iraqi Revolution is the hottest site online these days. It's the only place you will find up to date information on the protests and, often, it's the only place you'll find (in English) information on the protests period.
Who's reporting or has reported on the protests?
Search engines indicate no media outlet is. But The Great Iraqi Revolution is still providing information. If you read Arabic or are fortunate to know someone who does (on our end, C.I. reads and speaks Arabic) another great resource is Iraqi Revolution.
There you will not only find photos like the one above of Friday's protest, you'll also find the news that young people in Anbar Province are calling for other activists to join them, that Iraqi forces are attempting "to prevent people from going to Tahrir Square [in Ramadi], and now there is a mass rally demanding the opening scene near Tahrir Square" and much more.
So "much more," in fact, that you'll begin to realize just how little western media is reporting on the protests in Iraq. From The Great Iraqi Revolution, you'll find items like the ones below on Friday's protest:
Stories, photos, videos, evidence of a lively protest movement that involves young people, academics, labor, poets, you name it.
And you'll wonder how what is the very fabric of Iraqi life is rendered invisible week after week by the US media?
But you will know it exists. You will know that without media attention, without a fawning media, without the whole world watching, brave Iraqis demonstrate their courage, their faith in their country and their faither in their people day after day, week after week. They go up against the security forces, up against the curfews and the bans, up against the threats and the intimidation because they know the US-imposed vision of Iraq is not their country and they are fighting for the vision of the country and the reality of their country.
In what was supposed to be a comedic skit, you had various 'actors' dressed up as various Republicans to 'spoof' last week's debate apparently just so Tina could yet again trot out her tired Sarah Palin 'impression.' Since that was the whole point of the skit, other things didn't matter -- pesky things, minor points, what most call "facts."
In that skit, unironically, they mocked Fox News for being less than factual. Last week, the GOP held a presidential debate and the participants were: Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum. Should be some jokes in that, right?
Well maybe to spoof a debate, you need to have first watched the debate?
Nothing in the SNL skit indicated they had.
For example, Sarah Palin wasn't present for the debate but was the focal point of the skit. Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul were present for the debate but not represented in the skit. Instead, the participants were Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Jimmy McMillan and, as already noted, Palin.
This was so embarrassing it was not unlike the attempts by Fox News to do a comedy show. We always knew that 2007's The 1/2 Hour News Hour would fail because we knew Fox News would play it one-sided to advance partisan dogma and not laughs.
Under Seth Meyer's 'leadership' as head writer, that's exactly what's happened to Saturday Night Live and we think it's past time that complaints started being filed with the FCC (go for "unlawful or illegal advertising"). For 90 minutes, between commercials, NBC used the public airwaves to uplift and promote the Democratic Party while sliming the Republican Party.
The debate skit ended with, "In closing, we'd like to congratulate Barack Obama on his re-election." Waiting for the skit that rips Barack apart the way Michelle Bachman -- who is not running for president -- was?
Despite being a public figure for many years now, Barack's never gotten the Saturday Night Live treatment. It's why past SNL alumni consider the last two years the worst of Saturday Night Live. Seth & company have pulled the punches, have repeatedly refused to take on the powerful and turned the show that was the class clown into the teacher's pet.
For the worst episode of the worst season of the show, it was fitting that the highly limited Tina was the host. Tina, high on herself as always, decided that what the world needed now was non-stop pregnancy jokes. SNL's core audience really isn't into pregnancy. They tried to pretend it was a mother's day special.
A mother's day special, it should be noted, that lived to trash actual mothers. Or is no one aware that Palin and Bachmann are mothers? Apparently, they're 'bad mothers.' At least to SNL. And the Bachmann portrayal was sexist and offensive and tired -- indicating that the 37-year-old Seth Meyers needs to be moved on down the road and fresh blood found.
Not every skit tried (and failed) to be topical. There was a bad prom skit that has aired at least three times before -- not with the same group of performers but that bad skit has been recycled over and over. There was a Stefan moment on Weekend Update that wasn't funny. If the actor can't stop laughing before the jokes, Stefan needs to suck on the mothballs with other abandoned characterizations. It's unprofessional and it gets a laugh not because it's a funny skit but because everyone laughs at the performer who can't stop laughing. There was a spoof of a Bravo reality show. There was a birthing class skit.
There weren't really any moments that stood out. An original Not Ready For Prime Timer told us the episode was the worst ever and topped the one Milton Berle hosted in 1979. (And certainly having the band repeatedly applaud Tina during her 'monologue' was as bad as the standing ovation Milton Berle staged for himself in 1979.) Tina Fey was never funny and apparently has even fewer skills than even we thought.
So you were left to notice how painfully unfunny the host and most of the skits were. And you were left to notice the superiority wafting from the show.
You really have to be ignorant to write for Saturday Night Live today and you have to be surpremely stupid to write for the show and feel superior. That was driven home in the cold open which featured Osama bin Laden.
For those who missed it, last Sunday, Barack went on national TV to announce Osama bin Laden's death (see our "TV: Blather"). After the initial blather from the White House, the week was spent offering one 'clarification' after another. For examples, see The Takeaway's "Changing Narrative: The Developing Story of Attack on Bin Laden" (PRI), Robert Booth's "The killing of Osama bin Laden: how the White House changed its story" (The Guardian), Adam Martin's "The Changing Story of the Fight in Bin Laden's Compound" (The Atlantic), The World's "The evolving myth of Bin Laden" (PRI), Tom Cohen's "Administration's intial misstatements raise questions" (CNN), Mark Landler and Mark Mazzetti's "Account Tells of One-Sided Battle in Bin Laden Raid" (New York Times), Josh Gerstein and Charles Hoskinson's "Questions linger after Osama bin Laden raid" (POLITICO), "Journalists Are Grumbling About Chaning Raid Details" (The Atlantic) and Patrick Martin's "Unanswered questions on raid that killed bin Laden" (WSWS). The blather changed throughout the week and the media actually noted that and questioned it.
Saturday Night Live could have had a hilarious commentary on that. But that would mean questioning Barack and to do so would mean Seth's two-incher would never get semi-hard again. So instead of spoofing a White House -- the sort of thing SNL was created to do -- they offered squishy little skits singing the praises of the White House. (Don't get us started on their efforts to enlist the characters from The Little Mermaid into the 'war on terrorism.')
Which brings us back to the cold open. So enamored of the White House is Seth Meyers that he will stick to their original story as opposed to any of the numerous corrections. Which is how you had a 'joke' about a wife being a "human shield" for Osama bin Laden last night, despite the fact that Michael D. Shear (in "White House Corrects Bin Laden Narrative," New York Times) had already reported Tuesday:
White House officials on Tuesday sought to correct the official account of the raid in Pakistan that ended in the killing of Osama bin Laden, saying that the Qaeda leader was not armed and that his wife was not killed. But they added that Bin Laden resisted when confronted during the raid.The day before that, Elizabeth Flock had made it even more clear in "Updated: Bin Laden's wife not used as human shield" (Washington Post). But there was the lie in the first skit of the night. "Skit" is actually too strong of a word. Skit would imply action. As usual, SNL had no ideas, had no way to shape a laugh or do anything at all. So the 'skit' was a video tape CSPAN was airing of bin Laden's last will and testament -- in other words, another talking head, static shot. To watch today is to be unaware that SNL once embraced physical comedy (see Molly Shannon, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, etc.)
So a dull skit was also fact-free. Could it be any worse?
A girl who is not an adult? Her virginity should be off limits as a joke. Whether she's famous or not doesn't matter. Their weak opening skit was so bad that the only way they could garner laughs was to repeatedly invoke Dakota Fanning's name and ponder whether or not she was a virgin. It was disgusting. If the point was to portray bin Laden as a creepy sexual predator, it should be remembered that bin Laden didn't actually write the skit.
Saturday Night Live is a tired, one-trick pony that either needs an immediate transfusion of new blood or it needs to be taken out back behind the barn and shot. America can't afford to suffer through much more of this.
** Correction added May 10, 2011: It was not the season finale. Sadly, it was not the season finale.
What he's qualified to do, perhaps, is to assist you with 'hard gas' and IBS. You could say he's really only qualified to discuss anything that flies out your ass.
That pretty much sums up Pig Boy Pinsky.
Last week, he had Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan on one of his shows. In his intro, he declared, "The Iraq War is winding down."
Tiny prick says what?
The Iraq War is not winding down. Robert Gates, the US Secretary of Defense, was in Iraq weeks ago explaining why the administration thinks US troops need to remain in Iraq beyond 2011. Maybe cable and internet don't reach up Drew's own ass -- the ass he loves to crawl up in?
In his most condescending tone, he declares, "'Cindy seems to have turned her grief into an antiwar crusade." As though that would be a bad thing? A crusade against war would be bad?
Drew then went on to 'quote' what Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan wrote on FaceBook. But -- and maybe they don't teach this in those weekly courses that allow you to be a 'licensed' drug 'counselor' -- if you're quoting someone, you're quoting them. You can't put your own words in or alter their words and say you're quoting them. A quote, Pinsky, is word for word or it's not a quote. It can be a "paraphrase," but it's not a "quote."
Pinsky obviously rode the short bus to med school.
And apparently manners were never taught there either as he cut off Cindy with, "Please, Cindy, please, I'm asking you --"
How about shutting up and letting a guest speak?
Or does no one know how to do their job anymore?
Clearly "Dr" Pinsky doesn't know his job as he attempted to explore "depression" -- a subject he is not licensed in and one he knows nothing about. (Although, we wouldn't be surprised to find out his wife is an expert in the subject -- for obvious reasons.)
He brought up "depression" to attempt to suggest that Cindy Sheehan was unstable and someone who needed help and should not be listened to.
When she refused to take his bait, he cut her off with "let's take it back to your personal story." Because limp dicks can't handle talk of war -- which Cindy was providing -- talk of death or anything else. Limp dicks can only (see Seth Meyers) turn into a minor semi when in service of the Cult of St. Barack.
And then to demonstrate just what a sexist pig he is, he then attempted to suggest her "cause" was disruptive to her children, that her actions -- and this was a so-called Mother's Day segment according to Pinsky -- were harming her children that she should be home with.
Cindy Sheehan's two daughters and one remaining son (son Casey, of course, died serving in Iraq) are all adults, have been for some time, in fact, have been since well before Barack Obama was sworn in as president.
By contrast, let's point out, Pinsky, who is only one year younger than Sheehan, is the father of three children who only turned 18 last year. Maybe instead of inflicting the country with his awful Lovelines (radio) and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew and Strictly Dickly with Dr. Drew -- oops, Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew -- and the rest of his bad programs, the egomaniac should have been spending time with his three kids?
Time and again ("do they [her children] feel that your cause pulls you away from them?"), Pinsky attempted to shame her, attempted to portray her as 'damaged.'
Cindy Sheehan is not damaged, She is a woman who lost her son to a war of choice that never should have happened. Her reactions are and have been "normal" and "expected." There is nothing strange or bizarre about her and how very sad that someone with no training at all in grief or real counseling thought he could shame her.
Pinsky's the embarrassment. Not only is he not qualified to dispense advice, he's also not qualified to speak in front of a microphone since he can't even master the language he's using. When you show an excerpt from an interview, don't say that it aired on 60 Minutes if it hasn't. He showed a clip of Barack Obama from tonight's 60 Minutes. "Let's hear what President Obama told Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes last night about Osama bin Laden's death," declared Pinsky. No. You can say it's what he told Kroft "for 60 Minutes." But until 60 Minutes airs the interview (that'll be tonight), you can't say it's what Barack "told Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes last night."
We're actually qualified to answer that question. In fact, we answer many visual problem computer issues because we've had nothing but visual problems with this site from the very first edition.
In March, we had huge problems with our own snipping tool (included on the Dell laptops). And we went in search of others. We started at CNET and would suggest you make that your first stop online when you have a computer problem.
We ended up with three strong suggestions: AutoScreenRecorder, FastStone Capture and MWSnap 3.
AutoScreenRecorder was a nightmare to use and our first clue that we might have chosen a dud was when we realized the product's illustration was not a pepperoni pizza but a Viewmaster slide. When your illustration is that vague, maybe you're not the best product for doing visuals online?
It was difficult to use, it was difficult to manipulate the image after the snap. All in all, we considered it a huge waste of time and disc space. NOT RECOMMENDED AT ALL.
FastStone Capture? The use issue was the main problem. As Kat said while trying to use it one Sunday, "I've had sobriety tests that were easier than this!" With FastStone, you've got two intersecting lines producing four squares and one of those squares is the one you want to outline your image in.
It's not marked. And for us, that was one of the repeat problems, trying to remember which square we're using.
Another problem is the claim that the product is free. It's free for a 30-day trial.
Then they need you to pay $19.99. And that wasn't a problem for us, the cash. But when Ty went to purchase it for his laptop, he ended up calling Jess and Dona and Betty over to see if they could figure out what he was supposed to purchase?
There are two products for $19.99 when you click on the purchase button. Neither seems to be what you need. A $39.99 product appears to be what you need.
At that point, we gave up on FastStone Capture. RECOMMENDED ONLY IN A PINCH.
This actually worked for us.
It's the most similar to Snipping Tool in the way you use it to take a screen snap. We then use Windows Paint to edit it (as we did with Snipping Tool) and the results are basically the same. It's a free download and there's no trial period or expiration. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.
This is from the House Veterans Affairs Committee webpage, specifically the listing of Comittee Members.
See the problem?
David A. Roe? (Bottom row above, left hand side.)
There is no "David A. Roe" on the Committee. There is a Phil Roe (and, yes, the photo is of him).
How a Republican controlled webpage (Republicans are in the majority in the House, click here for the Democrats House Veterans Affairs Comittee page) can go month after month wrongly listing a member of their own party is beyond us.
[This issue was first raised by a reader of The Common Ills.]
That's Liane Hansen, a journalist who will be missed. Liane currently hosts NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday. having taken over as primary host from Susan Stamberg in 1989. Stamberg first hosted All Things Considered and left for personal, health and professional reasons. NPR lured her back to the airwaves with Weekend Edition Sunday which was originally supposed to be a pre-recorded, audio version of The New York Times' Sunday Arts page. What changed that was world events and breaking news.
Liane took over from Stamberg in 1989 and will be departing at the end of the month. Her final broadcast as host will by May 29th and NPR has created a page where listeners can share their memories of her time on the program.
Weekend Edition Sunday is an important program. If there is breaking news Saturday night or Sunday morning, you're going to hear it on Weekend Edition Sunday. You may not hear it anywhere else. There are no news programs Sunday mornings on Pacifica Radio -- none of the stations has a new program. If you can wait until the evening, you can catch KPFA's evening news. Maybe WBAI is doing a Sunday evening news broadcast. Maybe not.
But you can count on Weekend Edition Sunday. All Things Considered also airs on Sunday -- in non-repeats, live programming -- but, if we're lucky, we're honestly asleep during that.
That's because we start the writing session around 11:00 p.m. Saturday night and go all the way through for as long as possible. (With Dona's pregnancy, we now take breaks during the writing edition -- for naps.) So when we're done, or nearly done, and decide to call it a "night" it's usually close to ten or so in the morning.
It's hard to think of a writing edition when we don't have Weekend Edition Sunday on in the background. Listening to an interview or a report will often make us think of something we've set aside in the scrap pile that needs to be worked on and not forgotten. Or, if we've got a story that we just can't seem to work and Liane and company are covering it, we'll ditch it because we'll know (a) they were already on it and (b) if they're covering it, everyone will be come Monday.
Liane's been an important voice and we will miss her. Some at NPR tell Ava and C.I. that "all you do is pick on NPR." We disagree with that conclusion; however, if all we ever do is pick on NPR, maybe that just makes our praise here for Liane even greater. Best of luck to her and we will miss the voice we've come to count on each Sunday.
We'll let others tackle that (and we're sure they will and think they should) and instead just make a request. In the future, could you please note that your hearings are on Israel and Israel only?
It would be a great help.
When you, for example, title a hearing"Shifting Sands: Political Transitions in the Middle East, Part 2," you suggest that something other than 'poor Israel' will be discussed.
Iraq, for instance, is in the MidEast and the US has at least 47,000 troops on the ground there. So those of us (Wally, Kat, Ava and C.I.) who attended your Thursday hearing expecting that Iraq might even garner five minutes of attention were sadly to learn that it's all about what the US can do for Israel.
We were also surprised because Subcommittee Chair Steve Chabot once couldn't stop yacking about Iraq. Even among War Hawks, Chabot's pro-illegal war voting record stands out. But apparently these days he's more committed to serving Israel than serving the Iraq War he helped bring about.
Peace and Out of Iraq,
The Third Estate Sunday Review
"I Hate The War" -- most requested highlight by readers of this site (C.I. shares the story of a mother whose son should be back home -- from Iraq -- tomorrow).
"Kat's Korner: The vision and authenticity of Stevie Nicks" -- Kat reviews Stevie's latest.
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "White House Correspondents Dinner" -- Isaiah's classic cartoon from Thursday on Barack making it all about him (as though he did the assassination himself).
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "White House Correspondents Dinner" -- Isaiah's Sunday comic on the 'big' dinner.
"Kat's Korner: You're no Emmett Till" -- Kat takes on Emmylou Harris' new release.
"Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Ava)," "VA Committee doesn't believe government witness" and "Gutting military health care (Wally)" -- Congressional reporting from C.I., Ava, Kat and Wally.
"Avocados in the Kitchen" -- Trina encourages people to enjoy spring's fresh produce.
"Love the comic, hate the photo-op" -- Betty offers some advice.
"sexy timothy olyphant," "parks & recreation," "The Event and other things," "The Good Wife," "Chuck," "No Ordinary Family," "Desperate Housewives," "brothers & sisters," "The Event" and "Fringe, workers" -- Rebecca, Marcia, Stan, Mike and Betty cover TV while Ann covers radio:
"There was a moral to the story" -- Ruth explains it to you.
"The Conversation," "Isaiah, Green Hornet" and "Film" -- Stan, Mike and Kat go to the movies.
"Jay Carney's diminishing name" -- Kat points out that she called it weeks ago.
"No jobs" -- Trina takes on the economy.
"Reactions" and "Nothing changed" -- Ruth and Elaine take on the nonsense.
"THIS JUST IN! EXPERIENCE MATTERS ... SOMETIMES!" and "Qualifications" -- a primer fromWally and Cedric.
"Bully Mama interrupts playtime" -- Isaiah dips into the archives for this one.
"Isaiah's comic and the overrated net 'genius'" -- Elaine takes on a drip.
"Weekend" -- Mike's family post.
"She's so pretty" & "THIS JUST IN! GIRL CAN'T HELP IT!" -- She really can't, no, she can't.