Sunday, February 05, 2012

Truest statement of the week

In democratic societies, armed forces are funded and fielded to preserve liberties, not to provide templates for personal and societal behavior.
When civil aspirations are guided by and defined within military matrices, one gets the Iraq war of yesterday, the Afghan war of today, and the Iran (or Syria or insert-new-terrorist-nation here) war of tomorrow. Forever war is indeed the price for a nation that glorifies its military as the very best of its people and their ideals.

-- William Astore, "The Peril of Idolizing Our Military" (Huffington Post).

Truest statement of the week II

But I won't vote for Barack or be scared into voting for him. I'm sorry, I was raised to respect the Constitution. His drone wars, his illegal war on Libya (violation of the War Powers Act), his decision that he can assassinate any American, etc.
All of this is more than a "policy disagreement." We disagree on ObamaCare. He loves it and I see it as a give-away of the American people to the corporations. (I favor single-payer, universal health care. What Barack's done is take national what Mitt did in my state. It does not work. I know that first hand.) But that's a policy disagreement.

My issues with Barack go to the Constitution, the rule of law, the right to a jury of your peers, war and much more. I will not reward his illegal conduct by voting for him.
It goes against everything I believe in.

-- Trina, "Employment and Voting," (Trina's Kitchen).

A note to our readers

Hey --
Another Sunday.

First up, we thank all who participated this edition 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),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

What did we come up with?

This is a really important one.
Trina really said it. We read it and nodded along last week but it took C.I. to pull quote it and nominate it for a truest for us to really grasp what we were reading. Well said, Trina.

C.I. was going to write something similar at The Common Ills Saturday night. I (Jim) said if she could hold that thought, we could make it the editorial.

Ava and C.I.'s masterpiece. The second this went up, the phones at C.I.'s home started ringing. People wanting to talk to Ava and C.I. who couldn't get them on their cells. That's because Ava (and Jess) and C.I. (and a date) were at the movies. They weren't interested in the Superbowl and C.I. likes to go when the crowds are thin (or else she screens films in her home). They went to see Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet in Carnage -- a film they'd tried to see on the road but that had never worked out. They also posted everything, by the way. I'm not joking. But back to this. Everyone loves this. They were calling here trying to get a hold of Ava and C.I. A few (ABC people) were saying, "I can't believe you put that in!" while others (non ABC) were curious which show spoofed the bad biographer last month. They warned at the top that there were spoilers. They praise the show and have seen the first four episodes. The pilot they saw not only on DVD but also on numerous flights. In all, they saw the pilot seven times.
We were asked for another roundtable. We provided it. I said I'd note the alteration in it here. Ava and C.I. edited out a portion. That's fine, it happens all the time. In this case, Elaine was talking about an actress (she didn't name her but it was Julianne Moore) suddenly giving a damn about reproductive rights. Moore didn't give a f**k about them in 2008 when she went with Barack over Hillary. Julianne Moore is a used up actress increasingly dependent upon TV for her ever-thinning career. No one feels the need to be nice about her anymore (including C.I. who knows her personally). As C.I. said, "When Jodie turned down the sequel [to Silence of the Lambs] it was for a reason. That Julie was so desperate for a hit that she'd appear in that crap really lowered her in the eyes of the industry and she's never gotten back to the perch she was on. There were so many of us rooting for Annette [Bening] and Mark [Ruffalo] to win for The Kids Are Alright. But no one gave a damn if Julie won or not. She's hurt her own career repeatedly and her attempt to play like she gives a damn about women's rights now looks very opportunistic on her part. Good thing she's got so many TV roles to fall back on." But what happened was Elaine made her remarks and Dona said, "Let's pull that and we'll do a feature on that." And so we did an edit and noted it and came in with Dona and then went to me asking Elaine to explain what she was talking about but less specifically. So Elaine did. But we never wrote the piece. We were supposed to regroup after the Superbowl and after the film to write that piece. But Ava and C.I. were in the theater watching the trailers and decided to start publishing. So they did an edit on the roundtable that may leave Elaine sounding weird. (Elaine's okay with that and gave them her permission before they published.)

Wally, Ava, C.I., Kat and Mike came up with this.
Ava, C.I., Wally, Betty and an SNL friend of C.I.'s came up with this. And Ava and C.I. added a note to it after the movie.

Our readers pick the idiot of the week. Thank you to them.

Ava and C.I. copied Rebecca's post. On our list of things to do was to note "Free" and Graffiti6 but we didn't get to it. They were in the movie auditorium and made the decision to copy and paste Rebecca's post. That was a good decision.

We note Jill Stein who's running for the Green Party's presidential nomination.

The Burn Pit Symposium is only a week away.

Repost from Workers World.

Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

And that's what we ended up with.


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

Editorial: Ignoring what was actually paid for

As Iraq vanishes more and more from The New York Times, it's easier to notice just how much water they have carried and continue to carry for Nouri al-Maliki. But that's not all.

New York Times

The American future was sold by two consecutive administrations which decided to plow into debt on the Iraq and Afghan Wars and a Congress that joined them on the spending spree. None are innocent -- Democrats or Republicans -- or even the sole Socialist Bernie Sanders. None stood up and said, "I will filibuster this authorization." No one stood up.

And America's future was sunk overseas.

October 31st, John F. Burns blogged at The New York Times:

Polls have long shown that a majority of Americans considered the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 to have been a major mistake, the costs in lost American and Iraqi lives too high, the burden of at least three-quarters of a trillion dollars in American military spending too heavy for American taxpayers to bear, the damage to America’s standing in the world likely to take long years to repair.

And, in 2006, he'd told The New York Observer (see "Media Mensches of the Year") , "We have to remember we’re writing for Americans. For Americans who send their sons to war, who pay their taxes."

Burns was always a sexist pig. Yeah, American women were sent to Iraq as well but he ignored them the same way he ignored Iraqi women (at least he ignored Iraqi women in print).

But there are those tax payers again.

You'd think having lost out on a future to go in debt for the Iraq War, the American people would at least be allowed to know the reality of what all that money bought. Currently, it's bought not only a political crisis but also the trampling on women's rights. Not that The New York Times would ever tell you about that. They spent the first years of the war ignoring Iraqi women -- a policy they returned to after Damien Cave and Alissa J. Rubin left Iraq.

If Burns is aware of all the money the US government sunk into an illegal war, shouldn't they be at least trying to show Americans what they paid for? Or is it just too difficult -- even for the paper that sold the war -- to pretty up the creation of The New Saddam?

TV: Smash and Smush

A few weeks ago, when we watched Smash (pilot airs Monday night on NBC during the last hour of prime time), we realized that if it were a radio musical and not a TV one, NPR would insist upon attempting to pour Ron Elving and Ari Shapiro into William Travilla's Marilyn Monroe gowns.

[Warning, all kinds of spoilers will follow.]

Smash is an excellent show, the only hour show to debut in the 2011-2012 season that stands with Revenge as the best TV has to offer. It works from the start and that's because Debra Messing (Will & Grace, Ned & Stacey, The Starter Wife) is hitting all the right notes in her welcome return to NBC Mondays (where Will & Grace started). Messing's Julia wants to adopt a baby with husband Frank (Brian d'Arcy) so she's taking time off, a year to work on that . . . except her writing partner Tom (Christian Borle) tempts her with the idea and then, later, a melody he's written for a proposed musical about Marilyn Monroe (he's come up with three actually). Julia's response is no, no, no, but . . .

Marilyn Monroe is a legend. An actress who moved from key supporting parts in films such as the Marx Brothers' Love Happy and Bette Davis' classic All About Eve to starring roles in The Seven Year Itch (BAFTA nomination for Best Foreign Actress), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Jane Russell, Bustop (Golden Globe nomination), How to Marry a Millionaire with Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable, The Prince and the Showgirl with Laurence Olivier (BAFTA nomination and Crystal Star Award winner) and the film classic, which won her the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress in Comedy or Musical, Some Like It Hot. Her lovers included brothers JFK and RFK, her husbands included playwright Arthur Miller and baseball legend Joe DiMaggio. Details of her 1962 death (at the age of 36) are still argued and disputed. Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino and Michelle Williams are among the actresses who've played her (Williams is nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress this year for her role in My Week with Marilyn) and Madonna and Mariah Carey are among those who've paid tribute in music videos.

An entire library's worth of books on Marilyn have been published including Joyce Carol Oates' Blonde, Anthony Summers' Goddess, Tim Coates' Marilyn Monroe: The FBI Files, Lena Pepitone and William Stadiem's Marilyn Monroe Confidential (a mass paperback which landed in supermarkets across America in the 80s -- a rarity for a book that contained a fold out of Marilyn's calendar nude), Gloria Steinem's Marilyn: Norma Jean (Gloria discussed her book with Richard Heffner on Open Mind -- link is video and transcript), Truman Capote's Music for Chameleons, Barbara Leaming's Marilyn, Donald Spoto's Marilyn Monroe: The Biography, Susan Strasberg's Marilyn and Me, Colin Clark's The Prince the Showgirl and Me, Bert Stern's The Last Sitting, Peter Harry Brown and Patte B. Barham's The Last Take, Norman Mailer's Marilyn, and J. Randy Taraborrelli's wretched The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe (so awful it inspired a parody of him -- a bad biographer loose with facts -- in a TV episode that aired last month on ABC). The books are so numerous, in fact, that just last March, Larry McMurtry was reviewing three new ones for The New York Review of Books (Marilyn Monroe's Fragments: Poems, Intimates Notes, Letters; Andrew O'Hagan's The Life and Opinons of Maf the Dog and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe and Lois Banner's MM--Personal: From the Private Archives of Marilyn Monroe) while last June sparked-early-and-then-petered-out playwright David Mamet used Marilyn and Gloria Steinem to flaunt his own sexism at The National Review (the essay is adapted from an equally bad book)*. Point being, this August will be the fiftieth anniversary of her death and she's never left the American imagaination -- left, right, center, apathetic, standing off to the side, above, under, she belongs to all of America and, internationally, may be one of the best ambassadors the United States has ever had.

The idea of Marilyn infects Julia the same way it did her partner, despite the plan to take the year off. She's haunted by a remark Marilyn makes in her final interview, "Please don't make me a joke." So she ends up agreeing to do the musical with Tom. Tom and Julia get Ivy (Megan Hilty) to work on numbers as Marilyn (and are convinced she would be great in the role) including one that Tom's assistant Ellis tapes with his cell phone, sends to his mother who apparently shares it with others causing it to go viral. This leads to an acid-tongue critic blogging about it in Debra's showcase scene in the pilot where Julia starts appalled, angry and upset as her husband Frank pulls it up on the laptop and tells her it's a rave and she instantly begins hailing the "Napoleanic Nazi" as a misunderstood genius.

It's that review and the buzz on a new musical from Julia and Tom that brings producer Eileen Rand (Angelica Huston -- returning to NBC Mondays as well -- her performace as Cynthia Keener on Medium earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress-Drama Series) to the table. It's going to be a huge smash, this Marilyn musical and she wants on board and she has been speaking to Derek Willis (Jack Davenport of TV's Coupling -- British edition -- and FlashFoward), the hot director, and he loves the project and wants to direct.

Tom's not crazy about Derek due to Derek's narcissism and mistreatment of actors, Julia's excited there's so much interest. And Eileen? She's just glad they bought it. Her assets are pretty much frozen due to the messy divorce she's in the midst of and now she just has to sell a reluctant Derek on the idea of directing.

Derek's not crazy about the arrangement but with Eileen unable to move forward on the play they'd plan to do (a revival of My Fair Lady), he agrees to give the musical a try and stages a number featuring Marilyn and baseball players. Julia and Tom love it. Derek loves everything about it but Ivy. (And he's right. She's all wrong for the part. She sort of has the look but lacks the vulnerabilty needed for the role it's like watching Carroll Baker play the lead in Harlow all over again.

Fox planned for Marilyn to star as Jean Harlow but shelved the project after Marilyn died; in 1965 Baker would star unconvincingly as Jean Harlow in Harlow while Carol Lynley would bring the part to life the same year in another film also entitled Harlow). If Ivy's Baker, the Carol Lynley in Smash is Katharine McPhee as Karen. Karen auditions for the role of Marilyn by singing Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" and not trying to be a Marilyn Monroe look alike and that helps her stand out and become Ivy's only competition for the part . . . until Uma Thurman shows up for a few episodes.

With Uma Thurman, Emmy winner Debra Messing, Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston, Tony winner Christian Borle and more in front of the camera and Theresa Rebeck, Steven Spielberg, Craig Zadan, Neil Meron and David Marshall Grant among the offscreen talent, Smash is the first NBC hour (non-reality show) worth watching in some time.

By contrast, why bother listening to NPR's special coverage of the primaries and caucuses?

We wondered that yet again on Tuesdays as Floridians voted and NPR continued its live coverage with another episode of Old Spice Jungle. The moderators were grumpy Robert Seigel and perky Audie Cornish who managed to blend together in a shade of bland. Robert had barely gotten the introductions out of the way befor he launched into, "The polls have just closed in Florida, Mitt Romney is the winner, who voted for him?" But though Robert could predict a winner, he'd declare ten minutes into the special broadcasting (9 minutes after he announced Romney the winner), "It's too early to predict a margin." They knew the winner but didn't know by how much. That's an awfully interesting way to count ballots. Shortly after, Robert Seigel would feel the need to clarify that it was the "counties" that jumped the gate -- releasing early totals -- and not the media.

To explain what happened or just eat up time, they went to Ron Elving and Ari Shapiro. Of course they did. They went to men over and over. Let's note who spoke.

1) Audie Cornish (NPR)
2) Mara Liasson (NPR)
3) US House Rep Illeana Ros-Lehtinen
4) Liz Halloran (NPR)
5) Debbie Elliott (NPR)
6) Kathy Gingrich (candidate Newt Gingrich's daughter)

1) Robert Siegel (NPR)
2) Ari Shapiro (NPR)
3) Ron Elving (NPR)
4) US House Rep Mario Diaz
5) Don Gonyea (NPR)
6) EJ Dionne (Washington Post)
7) Matthew Continetti (Weekly Standard)
8) Bill McCullen (Newt backer and former member of the US Congress)
9) Doug Weed (from Ron Paul's campaign)
10) Andrew Kohut (Pew)
11) Jim Talent (Romney backer and former US senator)
12) man who headed Mitt Romney's Florida campaign in 2008
13) Marc Racicot (Romney backer, former governor of Montana)
14) Michael Dimock (Pew)

If 20 people total seems smaller than usual, let's note that the coverage was only two hours (Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina resulted in longer coverage). Let's also note that 1 hour and twenty-three minutes in, the only women that had been on was co-host Audie and Mara Liasson. Then it was boom, boom, boom women, one after the other very briefly.

Only 30% of the people who made it on air were women. (We're ignoring the five person snippet of 'voters' both because they each had about one sentence and because it was very similar to a report that aired on NPR earlier that day -- specifically on All Things Considered.) At one point, Ron declared, "Audie, a bit of news from our guys . . ." And that really said it all. It was "guys" over and over.

And we noticed for the first time that not only are there less women but they get less air time. It should have been obvious before but when it was noted in the Tuesday snapshot that only 1 female guest (Mara) had been heard in an hour and twenty-three minutes that really drove home that the problem isn't just that there are fewer females on the live broadcast. No, the problem is also that the hosts go to the males over and over. Ron Elving, Ari Shapiro, Don Gonyea, EJ and Matthew, they're not on once as was the case with all the female guests except Mara Liasson. They are on repeatedly. Though Robert loves to say "Let's go now to . . .," what he should be saying is, "Let's go again to . . ."

We also noticed how Robert hogged the mike and kept Audie from talking. In fact, as the broadcast wound down and Robert seemed in no hurry to stop talking ("Audie, that's it . . ."), we wondered if Audie would even get a sentence in during the last two minutes? (She did, just barely.)

But mainly we wondered why NPR women are putting up with this? What we're hearing from friends on the CPB is "great work" and "glad someone's paying attention" as well as, "We're not getting complaints from staff." Really?

NPR women better find their voice because right now the CPB is paying some attention to this. And if they're staying silent out of some fear over advancing their own careers, they should take a moment to grasp that this is about women, not any single woman, women plural. We're thrilled that US House Rep Illeana Ros-Lehtinen was on. She's a Republican, we're not. Doesn't matter. At long last, NPR seems to be getting that they need to bring on more than just male politicians.

Even so, given a plum spot, they'd still rather go with a man. Which is why, were Smash to air on NPR, they'd be fitting Ron for a blond wig and pouring him into a pink strapless gown. Public radio, it's become obvious, is not a woman's best friend.

* David Mamet is an idiot. He may honestly miss the point Gloria Steinem was making about Marilyn Monroe. To be sure others don't, Marilyn died at 36. Had Marilyn lived and gone on to do many, many other films, she would have had to have offered something other than the genius portrayal of the dumb blond because, once you can't play thirty, movie roles tend to dry up. Jane Fonda was the first actress who was both a leading actress and a star -- box office -- beyond thirty. One film doesn't count. Fonda had a string of hits starting in the year she turned 40 -- Fun With Dick and Jane, Julia, Coming Home, California Suite, The China Syndrome, The Electric Horseman, Nine to Five and On Golden Pond. Bette Davis, one of America's greatest actresses, turned 40 in 1948. She would have the occassional hit -- such as 1950's classic All About Eve -- but she would not have a string of hits. Katharine Hepburn would turn 40 in 1947. And would find herself in less and less demand. She'd be a last minute substitute for Claudette Colbert in 1948's State of the Union (Davis subbed for Colbert in All About Eve) which did okay but wasn't a hit by any means. The next year, Adam's Rib would be a hit, followed by The African Queen two years later and, a year later, Pat & Mike. Three films isn't really a string of hits -- especially for one whose last film was released when she was 87 -- and, more importantly, all three paired her with box office male stars (2 times with Spencer Tracy, once with Humphrey Bogart). Others have since followed. But in Monroe's time -- a backlash era -- she would have had to have shown an ability to play other roles in order to continue in films beyond forty. Judy Holliday was an actress who won an Academy Award for playing a dumb blond (Born Yesterday) and she was five years older than Marilyn. Her last film was Bells Are Ringing and she'd be dead five years after it was released. Though she'd do two plays after Bells Are Ringing, there were no more films. And she was 39 when Bells Are Ringing was released.

Also, Carroll Baker is a strong actress. She was just completely wrong for the part of Jean Harlow. Her voice was wrong, her manner of speaking was wrong, her body type was wrong. Whether in small parts (Ironweed) or large ones (Baby Doll), she's demonstrated tremendous talent in many other roles.


Jim: Jorje e-mails, "Only one roundtable so far this year? Are you doing away with them? They are my second favorite feature!" His first favorite feature? Ava and C.I.'s TV pieces. No, Jorje, we're not doing away with roundtables. We've almost done one twice in the last four weeks but just not had the time. But since you wrote, our e-mail address is, we're making sure we do one this edition. Participating in this roundtable 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); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; and Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts. Betty's kids did the illustration, Ava and C.I. are taking notes and you are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): Reader Isabelle is very concerned about the November presidential election. She writes, "I'm supporting Jill Stein, who I hope will get the nomination of the Green Party, but I've not seen the Green Party make enough noise, let alone call Obama out, in the last months to suggest that even if Jill gets the nomination that she'll be able to make a case without being undercut by the Green Party. Does that make sense?" Isabelle probably knows this already but Jess and Ann are Greens. We'll let them grab this one and start with Jess.

Jess: I only know Jill Stein's campaign. Roseanne is also running but has stated she believes Stein will get the nomination and that she -- Roseanne -- will cease her campaign when that happens. I think Roseanne's running both to raise issues and to get the Greens some press -- which they need. So this could lay the groundwork for a serious Green run for the presidency. And we might need to bring Trina and Mike -- Trina for sure -- into this because Stein ran twice to be the governor of Trina's state. But back to Isabelle's e-mail, I do understand her fears. It's getting very hard to respect the Green Party. In election years, there members take to pathetic programs like Democracy Now to encourage people to vote for the Democrat and in non-election years the national headquarters refuses to call out Democrats. Their track record with regards to Barack is appalling suggesting that the Green Party membership must approve of all the decisions Barack has made -- including his appalling handling of the Gulf Oil Disaster. Ann?

Ann: I agree with Jess' observations regarding the Green Party national leadership being the biggest problem for a viable third party in the United States. They have consistently undercut any serious challenge to the Democratic Party time and time again. As for candidates, I also only know of Jill Stein and Roseanne. Anyone else?

C.I.: It's likely there are or will be more but one who is running again is Kent Mesplay. He ran for the nomination in 2008.

Jim: Are you sure? I'm at the Green Party website and I see a post congratulating Stein and Roseanne ---

C.I.: Mesplay announced he was running for the nomination last spring. Dallas hunts down all the links for these roundtables -- and for a great deal else in each edition -- and we thank him for that. If he needs help hunting down the Mesplay links, I'll find them, but Mesplay did declare last spring.

Jim: Yeah, you're right, if you scroll through the website, you finally can find something on that. Ann, back to you.

Ann: I would love to see a real campaign. I would love to see the Green Party call out Barack with as much outrage as they showed Bush. If they could do that, they could emerge as a viable alternative, even if they only got a small percentage of the vote. But 2008 was a year that a lot of the left looked to the Green Party and what they saw did not inspire them. I know from conversations with so many Democrats in real time as well as from e-mails to my site, that a lot of Democrats were eager to move over to the Green Party, especially after July 4, 2008 when Barack began to publicly back away from his "I will get the troops out! As soon as I'm sworn in! I will start withdrawal!" But what they found was a v.p. candidate they considered frighteningly unaware and also one unaware that she wasn't the v.p. on the Democratic Party ticket. I attended one of Rosa Clemente's rare appearances and she spent as much time vouching for the goodness of Barack Obama as in making the case for the McKinney-Clemente ticket, leaving me to wonder if Cynthia McKinney was wasting public appearances doing the same?

Jim: There's no Democratic challenger to Saint Barack so we've got nothing to cover that way. Ava and C.I. have been critiquing NPR's primary and caucus results live coverage. We've not really done election pieces otherwise this year. We can look for something from Jill Stein to run this edition --

Ava: If we do, we need to grab a photo of her to use as well. She's faceless to a lot of people because she's shut out by the media. If we're noting her campaign we need to note it with a photo.

Jim: Good point. In 2011, I believe we've commented on Ron Paul's campaign. He's still running for the GOP nomination for president. And we can get to Elaine on that in a minute, but first I do want to toss to Trina. Dallas just i.m.ed me the following:

In "Roundtable," I noted I was voting for Jill Stein for governor. Just disclosing that. I came to the decision this weekend. I'll be voting in the mid-terms. I'm not sure if I'll vote for any other office. Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate. If you live in my state, please consider checking out her website. She may or may not be right for you, that's up to you to decide; however, I know she's gotten very little media coverage so you may not be familiar with her.

Jim (Con't): That's from October 25, 2010, Trina, your website. Your take on Jill Stein today?

Trina: I thought she had a great platform and made great efforts to reach people. She was on the Green-Rainbow Party ticket, which is the Green Party in my state but they're a lot more fiery and spirited than the national leaders. She got something like 1.5% of the votes. Besides write-ins, she was also competing against incumbent governor Deval Patrick, Republican Charlie Baker and independent Tim Cahill. The bulk of the votes went to Patrick and Baker -- I think Patrick got 48% and Baker got 42. I thought she ran a strong campaign. She had no surrogates coming into the state the way both Patrick and Baker did. She was the sole woman in the race and repeatedly ignored by The Boston Globe and other outlets who could have used that as a hook but weren't interested. I agree that Roseanne entering the race stands a strong chance of reminding Americans that the Green Party exists and that they are choosing a presidential nominee. So good for Roseanne. I could vote for Jill Stein very easily. She's not yet the nominee of the Green Party, however, so I'll just say I am endorsing her for the nomination.

Jim: Okay. And Roseanne's announcement was covered by Ruth in "Running?" and Kat in "What doesn't kill us is making us stronger." Any thoughts?

Ruth: I do not know Jill Stein. If Trina is endorsing her, that speaks well for Ms. Stein because Trina is no push-over. But, honestly, I would love to see Roseanne get the nomination. Can you imagine her onstage at a debate in October with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, for example? Or Newt Gingrich? Roseanne could tear which ever men were onstage a new one and she has already demonstrated that she is not afraid to call out Mr. Obama. And if she was shut out of the debates? Roseanne would know how to use the media if that happened and turn the shut out into an event.

Kat: I agree with Ruth on those points. In addition to raising attention for the Green Party, Huffington Post points out that Roseanne is also using the campaign to raise awareness on issues: "forgive all student loans, homeowner debt and credit card debt by "kicking out" the Federal Reserve; institute single-payer healthcare within 100 days of her inauguration; pursue those she calls 'financial terrorists'"; reconfigure American diets, shifting away from animal protein and toward protein from nuts (she owns a large macadamia nut farm in Hawaii); and fight for gay rights. Barr has also long been in favor of legalizing marijuana, and has said in the past that she'd abolish all taxes."

Jim: So you two are in disagreement with Trina?

Kat: No. As has been pointed out already, Roseanne intends to end her campaign in July when, she believes, Jill Stein will get the nomination. But we do think -- Ruth and I -- that if Roseanne wanted to really run, she'd make a great nominee.

Ruth: And I am sorry but after 2008, American women are owed a strong voice. After the non-stop attacks on the women of 2008 -- Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Cynthia McKinney -- it is time that we had a strong female voice running for that office who would state loudly and clearly, "You are not going to work out your Mommy issues on me, little boy."

Trina: Agreed.

Jim: Okay. Elaine, you've endorsed Ron Paul and noted you would support him if he got the GOP nomination. What's going on in his campaign?

Elaine: I was noting that not only was the media trying to discredit him but various 'celebs' were doing their part. I quoted a woman who just gave a speech insisting that reproductive rights are under threat and this election she is not tolerating it and blah, blah, blah. She's a movie actress better known for TV these days and a trashy film where she played a woman sleeping with her adult son. If I sound angry, I am. I am so sick of these women who look the other way for Barack but want to scream about reproductive rights for other politicians. And the president of the United States does not determine abortion except with regards to the global gag rule. Laws are passed by Congress and the Supreme Court will handle interpretations. "But the president appoints Supreme Court nominees!" Yes and they make sure that they're almost there -- on both sides of the aisle. Democrats never want to guarantee the life of reproductive rights and Republicans never want to kill it because they use it every eleciton cycle to prompt knee-jerk responses. I've lived through this long enough and fear tactics no longer work on me, so sorry.

Rebecca: And I will add that I remember when abortion was illegal. Women still had them. They were more expensive but they were also more available than they are today when they're legal. I know people will beg to differ but that's the reality. Threats and violence against abortion providers have helped to make abortion -- still legal -- hardly available in most areas in the US. In 2003, the National Abortion Federation found that 88% of the counties in the United States offered no abortion services. That means only 13% did. When it was illegal it was a lot more plentiful and some were inexpensive, such as the ones provided by the group Jane in the sixties. I'm pro-choice, we all are here. I'm pro-abortion. If a woman wants one, she should have one. And that includes a "girl." If you're pregnant, you're a woman. I don't care if you're 12-years-old. Regardless of whether you have an abortion or give birth or miscarry, your life has changed. That's reality.

Jim: When you say that only 13% have access, what's the point you're making?

Rebecca: That reproductive rights and abortion have been used to hold women hostage. The Democratic Party won't fight for those rights and won't try to increase them. But they will steadily chip away at them while claiming that they are the party for women. And yet we are supposed to owe them are votes? I'm tired of the blackmail, as Elaine was saying. You can only force me to live in fear for so long. And if abortion is made illegal? Oh well. Women of generations before me and my generation and generations immediately after fought for reproductive rights, fought for abortion to be legal. If young women today are too busy wetting their panties over Barack to give a damn about abortion, that's on them. I'm not going to spend my life fighting for a procedure that is not appreciated by those most likely to have it. Let it be taken away. Make the little 3rd waviers get off their candy asses and work for something beyond their Girls Gone Wild Trash Culture.

Marcia: I'm a lesbian. The only way I'm going to end up pregnant is rape. If I were raped, I'd have an abortion. And that would be true if it was a legal procedure or not. I agree with Rebecca that a group of younger women -- not all, we're talking about a very distinct group -- have walked away from abortion rights. Except when there's an election and they want to beat up on a Republican. Barack Obama is an embarrassment when it comes to reproductive rights. And when I think of all the women who whored for that bastard, I realize that my life is much better without the musings of Naomi Wolf and her ilk.

Jim: So you're saying that abortion doesn't matter in an election?

Marcia: That's not what I'm saying, that's not what Rebecca's saying. With Congressional votes, reproductive rights will be very important to our votes. But, as Elaine's pointed out, the president of the United States really doesn't do a great deal on the subject. And seeing Dems appoint centrists when the Court needs leftists is not enough to make me give a damn about the Court. If the Court overturned Roe v. Wade, this is Rebecca's point, it might force a number of women who refused to vote their own interests in the 2008 primary to suddenly realize what it's like to be a second-class citizen.

Rebecca: Right because given a strong defender of women's rights and of reproductive rights, idiots like Naomi Wolfe insisted Barack and Hillary were just the same on the issue -- that was a lie -- and that Barack was who they were supporting. Naomi Wolf's an idiot. And thank you, Marcia, for clearing up what we are discussing. Marcia's right, we will place importance on the issue in terms of Congressional races, not in terms of presidents. The only one who really a damn thing about reproduction and women's reproductive rights was Hillary Clinton and, despite receiving the most votes, the nomination was stolen from her.

Jim: Okay. Isaiah, Wally and Cedric, probably more than any two others in the community, you cover politics. Trina's focus is the economy. Stan's is entertainment. Mike and Elaine are more human rights bloggers. Rebecca does a grab bag as does Betty. Marcia and Ruth cover LGBT topics as well as Solyndra and John Edwards. Ann's covering public radio. Kat's primarily music. And, of course, C.I. focuses on Iraq. But the three of you do humor and politics is where you go to for that. Starting with Isaiah, there's no cartoon so far of someone running for the GOP nomination. Why is that?

Isaiah: In 2008, the field was wide open. Bush had to leave. So there were Democrats and Republicans. I grabbed a lot of them then. But I never did Mike Gravel -- whom Elaine endorsed in the primary. I'm not sure if I did a Bill Richards comic either. On the Republican side, I never did a Mitt Romney. I think I got all the rest of them. But I'm looking for a key moment to capture. And so that's what I'm going by. If I wanted to be lazy and stupid, I could do a cartoon about Mitt Romney and how ridiculous it was that he said he's not worried about the poor. And I could lie and leave it at that as so many did -- including Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me in their Saturday broadcast. But I don't set out to lie so that won't be the moment. There's a comic I want to do that I probably should have done two comics back. But I may do that. It would be about Barack. When Bush was in the White House, he was the main topic. It's the same as with Barack today.

Ty: Is there any sense -- this came from an e-mail reader Pete sent in -- that you don't want to influence the competition?

Isaiah: Probably. I don't like Newt Gingrich. I don't like him at all. That goes back to the 90s for me. And I'm aware of it. So if I did a comic on him, it would force me to do one on Romney. I'd have to be fair.

Ty: Do you like Romney?

Isaiah: I have no opinion of him, I don't think ill of him, I don't root for him.

Jim: Cedric and Wally?

Cedric: I can relate to a lot of what Isaiah said. For background, Wally and I do joint-posts. Wally was doing his site before me. Also true, Wally was doing humor posts from the start. I didn't do humor posts until the 2006 elections, a few months before. I was going to stop posting because I'm a Democrat and was volunteering on local candidates campaigns. I really didn't have time to continue posting the way I had. So Wally heard about it and called me up and said, "Let's write together." It was a way to help me keep posting while I worked on the campaigns and we've continued it because it's so much fun. Now Wally took on the White House every day. His site starts in 2005, right? And the focus was established as the White House. In 2008, when we were doing joint-posts, we began to focus on Barack. I'm talking before he was even the official nominee. And that was due to the Cult of Personality being created around him that is so similar to the one that had been around Bully Boy Bush all those years. It's an election year and we do cover the GOP. But our primary focus is Barack and one of the main reasons is so many won't go after Barack. Even after all this time, they won't go after him. They'll go to town on any other Democrat and all Republicans but they're too scared and chicken to go after Barack.

Jim: Wally?

Wally: Like Cedric said, where there is silence, we are. That's the only way to be. If you're part of the silence, why are you doing a blog? Why are you bothering to write anything? To be part of the go-along crowd? I can't imagine a greater waste of time. Ten years from now -- long after the community sites have all gone black -- I'll look back at this time and be proud that I didn't sell out. I'll remember that it wasn't easy because, especially at the start of 2009, there was so much hatred aimed at you if you wouldn't enlist in the Cult of St. Barack. And I'll remember that a lot of left 'leaders' were dirty whores. But that we did our part to stand up and stay true to the what we're supposed to stand for and believe in on the left. And like I said, I'll take pride in that.

Jim: Dona had an e-mail she wanted to note.

Dona: Calvin wrote us asking about Betty. And he noted she writes about her personal life at her site so he hoped it was okay to ask but she's "not leaving California, is she?" Meaning, moving back to Georgia.

Betty: Not anytime soon. By that I mean the next years. The kids love their schools. Uprooting them? It was hard in Georgia to uproot them. They had my parents and their aunts and uncles. And just the whole packing. But dealing with new friends and new schools is never easy. They've adjusted out here and, as I've noted before, there's no longer a division of my company in Atlanta. If I hadn't listened to my father and taken the promotion I was offered a few years back, I'd be in Georgia without a job right now. But the kids love it and it's where the job is. And let's not kid that I don't love it. The lowest it's been this week is 55 degrees I think. If I were in Georgia right now? I hate the cold, winters are not my season. So when I hear someone out here complaining about the cold, I try not to laugh at them. I try not to say, "Try putting up with days in the 30s and, worse, high 20s." My oldest son already told me, over the summer, that if I should try to move back to Georgia before he graduates high school, he'll just stay here, stay on at C.I.'s. And he's serious. This has become home for them. And that's because of C.I., Jess, Ty, Jim, Dona, Ava and Kat as well as their school friends. I can carry this response over to my site on Monday. Thank you, Calvin for the question.

Jim: And, Betty, where do you fall on the 2012 election currently?

Betty: Like Elaine, I will vote for Ron Paul if he gets the nomination. If he doesn't? I will probably give great consideration to Jill Stein's campaign. That said, I will also be willing to consider Mitt Romney if he gets the nomination. And let me be clear, I will vote for Ron Paul if he gets the GOP nomination. That's not in dispute. They will have my vote with Ron Paul. But if he doesn't get it, I will explore options and those include Jill Stein, Mitt Romney and simply not voting.

Jim: Could anyone else vote for Mitt Romney?

Mike: Yeah. I could vote for him with little trouble or concern. He was my state's governor. I remember him as that. I don't think he's all that controversial. Like Betty, I am not voting for Barack. No way, No how, nObama. But I could vote for Mitt Romney. Is he perfect? No. Could he beat Barack? Probably. And I do not believe we reward Bush's behavior. All Barack's done is continue it so I could never vote for Barack. He's a War Hawk and an opponent of the Constitution, whistleblowers and more.

Dona: Mike, I want to jump to your mother for a second. Trina, I was listening to Prarie Home Companion Saturday night while getting my daughter down for the night and Garrison Keillor made a point that sounded like Ava and C.I. He pointed out that for all the drama, the results of the 2012 presidential race would not be the end of the world and the country would survive, that, in all our lifetimes, we've already seen that demonstrated -- he was referring to Bush. And you wrote this last month, "Mitt was not the devil. Mitt was an okay governor. I don't plan voting for him for president but if he should win and if he's a president in the way he was a governor, a lot of this screaming and fretting is really stupid. He's to the right of me but he's not a monster." A lot of readers might think that Mike wasn't old enough to evaluate Romney. Was he in elementary school then?

Trina: Dona, I'm sorry. When do you think he was my governor?

Dona: I assumed before the 2000 Olympics.

Trina: Okay, yeah, no. Mitt Romney was elected governor in 2002, sworn in in 2003. Mike was in high school when Romney was governor. And for readers who don't know, I'm Mike's mother.

Dona: Wow, was I wrong. Sorry. But with all the talk of the Olympics in the national media, I assumed that was a post-governor position, that if he were governor after, they would have been exploring his record as governor. I guess I gave the press too much credit, my apologies. Okay, you didn't vote for him Trina, but you're basically saying, as Garrison Keiller did, that it's not the end of the world, the 2012 election, no matter how it goes, correct?

Trina: Yeah. Actually, I think it's more dangerous if Barack's re-elected. That's because there will be bi-partisan consent for what Bush did and what Barack did -- the two are twins. The leadership of both parties have already demonstrated bi-partisan consent but if the voters of the Democratic Party give Barack a second term then that means the rank-and-file of both parties also approves of illegal spying, illegal wars, Guantanamo prisoners and so much more.

Dona: Okay, back to you, Mike. Sorry, I thought you were a little kid when this all took place. You knew Romney as a governor. Is he a nightmare? What was the general attitude of high schoolers towards Romney?

Mike: My mother's written about one of the big problems we saw as a state. Like other states, our infrastructure is crumbling. Unlike others, we had a very real demonstration of that in 2006 when the Fort Point Channel Tunnel saw part of it's ceiling fall loose, land on a car and end up killing one person and injuring another. And that was when Mitt Romney was governor. He was said to be instrumental in ensuring that was repaired and repaired correctly. Now you asked about the reaction of my peer group and that was it. The reaction of Mom's group and the reaction of the press was different. There was a lot of blaming Romney -- and other politicians -- because they had taken political contributions from the contractor involved.

Dona: That's interesting. Trina, did the fallout last long?

Trina: When it appeared that the problem was being addressed -- and it was addressed -- most of the complaints vanished in the media.

Jim: Alright. Now we're going to turn to Ava and C.I. Taryn e-mailed to ask that you please cover the Nevada caucus coverage NPR offered.

Ava: Offered or will offer? In the e-mail.

Jim: It was sent Friday.

Ava: There was no coverage. On our local NPR, KQED, the pledge drive continued over the usual programming. We also phoned a friend with KPCC to ask if there was coverage of the Nevada caucus and they said no. That's fine with us.

C.I.: And we're pointing out here that we've made no promise to cover live coverage of every primary and caucus NPR does. Last week's schedule was crazy with speaking and attending Congressional hearings and other things but we did manage to listen to the Florida primary coverage -- and in part only because we hadn't put a statement up here that we had made no promise to cover all of them.

Jim: Okay. Dona's telling me it's past time. This is a rush transcript.

Best TV funny from a monologue of last week

There were two classic jokes on late night last week and Jay Leno had them both on NBC's The Tonight Show.


Jay Leno: Well President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday. The President said that his Christian faith is the driving force behind his economic policies. So I guess instead of blaming Bush, it's now all Jesus' fault.

Second best?

Jay Leno: Well the House of Representatives has passed a bill that prohibits people from using welfare money in strip clubs or liquor stores. Now tell you something I agree with that strip clubs and liquor stores should be off limit to people who get government funds -- you know, like Congressmen.

Both jokes were in Friday's monologue.

Foul but not funny

Channing Tatum hosted Saturday Night Live last night and he was an excellent host. Too bad the regulars weren't up to the task. And the opening skit was everything that is wrong with SNL and why the FCC and FEC should step in and halt the program.

Saturday Night Live

That's a spoof of Newt Gingrich and his moon colony pitch.

Herman Cain and Mitt Romney were spoofed. Newt was spoofed. Already it's more than we ever saw of Barack Obama. Remember, he existed as a debate head only during his primaries of 2008. Hillary we could see in curlers in the middle of the night in bed. But Seth Myers, who contributed cash to Barack's campaign and semen to the mattress he humped each night while dreaming of Barack, refused to allow Barack to be spoofed.

And also off limits was Michelle Obama.

But there was Callista Gingrich suggesting open marriage. Callista Gingrich is Newt's wife. He has previous wives. He and his second wife are in conflict over an allegation she took public. It had nothing to do with Callista Gingrich. It was not an allegation Callista Gingrich made.

For a show that never, NEVER, spoofed Michelle Obama's 'for the first time in my life I'm proud of America' (let alone Barack's claim to have visited 57 of the states in the US with one more to go), it was really curious that they they found it okay to go after Callista Gingrich for something she never said.

Fair is fair and Saturday Night Live demonstrated in the 2008 Democratic Party primaries and in the 2008 general election that they would not play it fair. Instead, the show was used to ridicule Republicans while fawning over Barack Obama.

The 43 minute program stretched over 90 minutes is supposed to be a variety show not an in-kind contribution to the Obama campaign.

Along with being completely unfair, it wasn't that funny, there was also Kristen Wiig. "Acting."

Hint to a minor TV celebrity who got lucky that women banded together across the country to make her so-so comedy a hit: You're still not a star.

And turning every Republican woman into a joke not only will turn off Republican ticket buyers, it'll also turn off independents and a number of Democrats who just don't think that you ridicule a woman over and over because her politics are different than your own.

Along with turning off people via politics, you also run the risk that future ticket buyers will say, "The new Kristen Wiig film? Nah. She does the same thing every time. Like her Michele Bachmann. Rember how she'd give Michele 'crazy eyes'? And then she did Newt's wife and did her the exact same way but in a blond wig? It's like she's not that talented and just repeats the same old tricks. Pay money to see that? I don't think so."

Added by Ava and C.I. Sunday night after this published: And Kristen better really worry. We went to see Carnage tonight starring Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet. One of the trailers was for Jennifer Westfeldt's Friends With Kids and there was applause for Maya Rudolph, Adam Scott and Jon Hamm but everytime Wiig was onscreen, there was hissing and booing (hissing the first time she was shown, loud booing every time after). And, no, we weren't booing and hissing. We actually like Kristen Wiig. It's time for Wiig to seriously worry and stop listening to an echo chamber that's all about trashing Republicans and not at all about building a career for her. She might want to grasp that if all the press love of Tina Fey's Sarah Palin meant a damn thing, the show 30 Rock would have been a ratings hit that year instead of still struggling in the ratings before shifting to last year's even lower ratings. Wiig needs to worry.

Idiot of the week

Last week, Ava and C.I. called out the sexist Undercurrents and it's idiotic host. This was a very popular feature. But we got twelve e-mails late Saturday night and early Sunday from readers nominating Gregg McVicar for idiot of the week.


Apparently his sexism is in part a result of great holes in his knowledge base. Saturday's five hour program included Aretha Franklin's "Think." After the song played, he would declare it "the song made famous by The Blues Brothers, the cafe scene."

Really? Aretha's song that hit number one on the soul charts in 1968 and number 7 on the pop charts the same year and was played by pop and soul and oldies stations in all the years since was "made famous" by a scene in a film that grossed less than $60 million at the box office? Really?

12 Third Estate Sunday Review readers name him idiot of the week (Jane, Michael, Micah, Jorje, Tammy, Cantu, KeShawn, Gilbert and Liang).

Rave 2 The Joy Fantastic

Repost of Rebecca:


monday, c.i. was plugging a new song ,"Free," by Grafitti6's from their Colours. (unlike c.i., i don't know the group.) mike noted them in 'Robert Duncan, Graffiti6' on tuesday and, also on tuesday, clizbeats noted them:

Have you heard the new and exciting sound of British Alternative/Soul duo, Graffiti6 yet? They have a cutting edge style and sound that is beginning to get a lot of attention here in the USA! Their debut album Colours was recently released by Capitol Records on January 24th , and they made their very first late night TV appearance on January 13th, performing their hit single,”Free” on ―The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. They made their national TV debut last month when they performed the single on ―The Rachael Ray Show.‖

“Free”, the first single from Colours is climbing its way to the top of the AAA radio airplay charts where it is currently #9 and will impact the Hot AC format next month. It was selected as “Pick Of The Week” by USA Today, praising the track’s “bassline and singer Jamie Scott’s exquisite falsetto breaks.” Marie Claire described the song as “Pop at its most glorious” and called Jamie Scott’s falsetto “swoon-worthy,‖ while Billboard said in their review of the track that Scott and producer TommyD “makes the art of crafting pop gems seem like the easiest task in the world.”

so i finally got around to checking them out. i love the song 'free.' and have you checked out jamie scott?

jamie scott

hot, hot, hot - as nina blackwood used to say on mtv.

is he not sexy?

Jill Stein calls out climate disaster co-dependents

Jill Stein

Repost from Jill Stein's campaign site. Stein is running for the Green Party's presidential nomination.

The president who fueled the fire of climate disaster

If President Barack Obama gets his way with his new energy policy, he may go down in history as "the president who fueled the fire of climate disaster," according to the still stunned Green Party presidential frontrunner, medical doctor Jill Stein. Stein's remarks were a delayed reaction to the President’s State of the Union Address in which the President proposed opening 75% of public lands to oil exploration, massively expanding drilling for natural gas, removing "red tape" that stands in the way of construction projects, and delaying any comprehensive approach to global warming.

"With his State of the Union speech, President Obama adopted the apocalyptic 'Drill, Baby, Drill' platform of the most rabid Republicans. He is parroting the fossil fuel lobbyists in saying that our public lands and our environment should be sacrificed for the goal of increasing domestic oil production."

"The President's spin ignores the fact that our most pressing problem isn't foreign oil, it's what fossil fuels, both foreign and domestic, are doing to our planet. The President's 'all of the above' approach to polluting energy is an alarming denial of the climate emergency we face and the urgent need to substantially reduce the amount of carbon we exhaust into the atmosphere. Our nation and human society around the world are already experiencing serious climate disruption. The President has given up the fight against climate change just when we most need to expand our efforts."

"The extraction process known as hydrofracking that was praised by the President will bring environmental degradation to over 30 states. We don't have adequate regulations in place to protect our land and water from its effects, yet the President is moving full speed ahead. I support a moratorium on hydrofracking until we understand the consequences and get suitable controls on its impacts."

"The Administration that presided over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf has responded by pushing for even more offshore drilling. We’ve all been through the school of hard knocks, but apparently this White House didn’t learn a thing from the experience."

"At the Durban climate conference last year, the President undermined international climate protection by refusing to accept any global treaty until after 2020. Now he has abandoned any comprehensive national legislation. His support for renewable energy is entirely inadequate. Any benefits from these modest programs will be totally overwhelmed by the surge of carbon pollution from his fossil fuel expansion. Taken in its totality, it's an unforgivably irresponsible denial of the threat to our climate."

Stein has proposed a "Green New Deal" that would wind down fossil fuel use by 2020 and create millions of jobs in a clean energy economy.

Stein's campaign manager, Ben Manski, observed "After this State of the Union speech, the Green Party has emerged as the only national party advocating for a sane and responsible national energy policy. In 2012 we will give the American people a chance to vote for the survival of their planet."

Burn Pit Symposium February 13th

This month, the first ever burn pit symposium:


1st Annual Scientific Symposium on
Lung Health after Deplyoment to Iraq & Afghanistan
February 13, 2012

sponsored by
Office of Continuing Medical Education
School of Medicine
Stony Brook University

Health Sciences Center, Level 3, Lecture Hall 5
Anthony M. Szema, M.D., Program Chair
Stony Brook
Medical Center

This program is made possible by support from the
Sergeant Thomas Joseph Sullivan Center, Washington, D.C.


* Register with your credit card online at:

* Download the registration form from:
fax form to (631) 638-1211

For Information Email:

1st Annual Scientific Symposium on
Lung Health after Deployment to Iraq & Afghanistan
Monday, February 13, 2012
Health Sciences Center
Level 3, Lecture Hall 5

Program Objective: Upon completion, participants should be able to recognize new-onset of lung disease after deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Registration & Continental Breakfast (Honored Guest, Congressman
Tim Bishop

9:00 - 9:30 Peter Sullivan, J.D., Father of Marine from The Sergeant Thomas Joseph
Sullivan Center, Washington, D.C.

9:40 - 10:10 Overview of Exposures in Iraq, Anthony Szema, M.D., (Assistant
Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Stony Brook University)

10:10 - 10:40 Constrictive Bronchiolitis among Soldiers after Deployment, Matt
King, M.D. (Assistant Professor of Medicine, Meharry Medical College,
Nashville, TN)

10:40 - 11:10 BREAK

11:10 - 11:40 Denver Working Group Recommendations and Spirometry Study in
Iraq/Afghanistan, Richard Meehan, M.D., (Chief of Rheumatology and
Professor of Medicine, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO)

11:40 a.m. - Microbiological Analyses of Dust from Iraq and Afghanistan, Captain Mark

12:10 p.m. Lyles, D.M.D., Ph. D., (Vice Admiral Joel T. Boone Endowed Chair of
Health and Security Studies, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI)

12:10 - 12:20 Health Care Resource Utilization among Deployed Veterans at the White
River Junction VA, James Geiling, M.D., (Professor and Chief of Medicine,
Dartmouth Medical School, VA White River Junction, VT)

Graduate students Millicent Schmidt and Andrea Harrington (Stony Brook
University) present Posters from Lung Studies Analyzed for Spatial
Resolution of Metals at Brookhaven National Laboratory's National
Synchrotron Light Source

1:20 - 1:40 Epidemiologic Survey Instrument on Exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan,
Joseph Abraham, Sc.D., Ph.D., (U.S. Army Public Health Command,
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD)

1:40 - 2:10 Overview of the Issue Raised during Roundtable on Pulmonary Issues
and Deployment, Coleen Baird, M.D., M.P.H., (Program Manager
Environmental Medicine, U.S. Army Public Health Command)

2:10 - 2: 40 Reactive Oxygen Species from Iraqi Dust, Martin Schoonen, Ph.D.
(Director Sustainability Studies and Professor of Geochemistry, Stony
Brook University)

2:40 - 2:50 BREAK

2:50 - 3:15 Dust Wind Tunnel Studies, Terrence Sobecki, Ph.D. (Chief Environmental
Studies Branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research
and Engineering Laboratory, Manchester, NH)

3:15 - 3:45 Toxicologically Relevant Characteristics of Desert Dust and Other
Atmospheric Particulate Matter, Geoffrey S. Plumlee, Ph.D. (Research
Geochemist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO)

3:44 - 4:15 In-situ Mineralogy of the Lung and Lymph Nodes, Gregory Meeker, M.S.
(Research Geochemist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO)

Continuing Medical Education Credits

The school of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook, is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The School of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brooke designates this live activity for a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Physicians should only claim the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Targeting anti-war activists (Workers World)

Repost from Workers World:

U.S. attorney’s office confirms investigation of anti-war activists is ongoing

Published Feb 4, 2012 4:14 PM

The following combines Feb. 1 and Feb. 2 news releases issued by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.

Northern Illinois Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas stated that the “investigation is continuing” in the case of the anti-war and international solidarity activists hit with FBI raids and grand jury repression. Jonas is known for his leading role in prosecuting the leaders of the Holy Land Foundation while he was trial attorney for the Department of Justice Counterterrorism Section.

This confirms what the U.S. Attorney’s office related some months ago: They are preparing multiple indictments of multiple activists. The FBI raided seven homes, and the government subpoenaed 23 international solidarity activists to a Chicago grand jury in September 2010. The anti-war activists refused to appear at the secretive grand jury and launched a campaign against political repression. The U.S. government is threatening to imprison anti-war activists on the grounds of “material support for terrorism.”

The confirmation of the ongoing investigation came during a Jan. 24 phone call between Jonas and attorney Bruce Nestor, who represents some of the political activists.

Nestor initially contacted Minneapolis Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Winter to view some of the sealed documents in the case. The grand jury proceedings against the anti-war activists are secret. The vast majority of documents relating to their case are under seal, meaning the targeted activists or their attorneys cannot view them. Winter had helped to oversee the Sept. 24, 2010, raids and in recent months represented the government on returning property seized in the raids. Winter told Nestor to contact Jonas.

Jonas told Nestor the documents would remain secret "pending completion of the investigation."

Jonas railroaded Holy Land leaders

Jonas views solidarity with Palestine as a crime deserving long-term imprisonment. Based on past performance, he is willing to pull every dirty trick available to him to obtain convictions. The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was once the largest Muslim charity in the U.S. Its efforts were geared toward providing humanitarian aid to help the people of Palestine and other countries. In 2001 its offices were raided. Three years later, five people associated with the charity were indicted. The first trial ended with a hung jury. The second trial ended with convictions. The five defendants received sentences that range from 15 to 65 years in prison.

The Holy Land trial included secret witnesses — the defense never found out who the witnesses were — the use of hearsay evidence, and the introduction of evidence, as a means to prejudice the jury, that had nothing to do with the defendants, such as showing a video from Palestine of protesters burning a U.S. flag.

As lead prosecutor, Barry Jonas played a key role in all this. He is now working under Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who runs the federal grand jury attacking anti-war and international solidarity activists.

Judge refuses to dismiss charges against Carlos Montes

In a closely related case, the FBI directed the Los Angeles Sheriff to raid the home last May 17 of veteran Chicano leader Carlos Montes, who is now facing trial and imprisonment on six trumped-up felony charges

“In the interests of justice this case should be dismissed on the grounds of insufficient evidence,” said Montes’ lawyer, attorney Jorge Gonzales, in Los Angeles Superior Court on Jan. 24. Minutes later, however, Judge Lomeli sided with the prosecution, refusing to dismiss the charges. This sets the stage for a trial later this year.

"This proves what we believed all along," said Eric Gardner, a member of the L.A. Committee to Stop FBI Repression. “The government is going to use all means at its disposal to try and get Carlos — and other anti-war and solidarity activists around the country — behind bars."

Before Montes’ court appearance, activists gathered outside the court building demanding that the charges, which carry up to 18 years in prison, be dismissed. Then the protesters filled the courtroom. They ranged from longtime political activists to street vendors from Central America whom Montes is working with to fight police harassment and racist discrimination.

The prosecution has told the press that they want Montes to spend at least five years in jail.

Speaking in front of the courthouse, Mick Kelly, a spokesperson for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, whose Minneapolis home was also raided by the FBI, stated, “On May 17, 2011, the Los Angeles Sheriff Department — acting at the behest of the FBI — raided Montes’ home. The pretext was phony violations of the firearm code. These alleged violations have no basis in reality whatsoever. At issue in this case are the civil liberties of all of us who are standing up against war and injustice.”

The May 17 raid, by members of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and the FBI, took place at 5 a.m. The Sheriff’s SWAT team and Emergency Operations Bureau agents armed with automatic weapons broke down the door to Montes' home while he slept. They seized computers, cell phones, current and historical political documents and left Montes' home in shambles. Montes could have been killed.

Kelly continued, “Carlos Montes is a hero who has devoted his entire life to making this world a better place. In the 1960s he was a founder and leader of the Brown Berets, the historic East Los Angeles walkouts and the Chicano Moratorium. He is an important leader in the movement for immigrant rights and has worked to defend public education. Montes is an example of a community leader who serves the people and builds the people’s struggle for justice.”

Legal record does not support claim of past felony

Montes' defense challenged the state’s claim that he has a felony record from his 1969 arrest for leading a student strike demanding Chicano Studies and Black Studies at East Los Angeles College. This is important: That the legal record does not support the claim of a past felony should rule out the District Attorney going ahead with this case. The government is alleging that it was a crime for Montes to buy several guns at a local sporting goods store because of the (nonexistent) felony record.

The prosecution is basing its evidence on a 42-year-old incident. During the student strike and rally, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department invaded the East Los Angeles College campus, beating and arresting student protesters. During the turmoil, Montes was arrested and charged with assaulting a sheriff’s deputy.

"This case is not about old records," says Charla Schlueter of the L.A. Committee to Stop FBI Repression. "The FBI is dredging up a case over four decades old because of Carlos' involvement in the anti-war, immigrant rights and international solidarity movements today. They don't like that he is part of a movement that challenges U.S. imperialism."

Next court appearance Feb. 8

Montes’ next court date is Feb. 8. Montes says his legal team will continue the discovery process to get ready for trial.

“The government knows its case against Carlos Montes is weak,” said Mick Kelly. “So they have made up a lie that Montes admitted to a felony record while he was being held in a squad car after the raid on his home.” The point of the discovery motion is to get to the bottom of this false allegation.

For further details on time and location of an emergency meeting in Los Angeles to defend Carlos Montes on Saturday, Feb. 11, visit the L.A. Committee’s Website at

Montes states that he is looking forward to a jury trial and that he is confident that a jury of his peers will find him not guilty.


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, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"I Hate The War" -- the most requested highlight by readers of this site is C.I.

"Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. reports on two veterans hearings in the House.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Arm Grab" -- Isaiah's take on the Barack and Brewer match up.

"Lenore Kandel and others," "Cornelius Eady," "5 men," "a trip uptown," "Nancy Boutilier," "8 Major Young Poets?," "take hold!," "Damon Runyon," "Baby Toes," "Robert Duncan, Graffiti6" and "THIS JUST IN! RHYME AND REASON!" & "The poetic primary" -- theme was poetry Tuesday night and Betty, Trina, Ann, Rebecca, Ruth, Kat, Marcia, Stan, Elaine, Mike and Wally & Cedric took part with theme posts.

"Biscuits and Soup in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers a recipe.

"A victory," "Whitney," "2 men, 2 women," "Whitney," "The Good Wife" and "revenge" -- Betty, Ann, Marcia, Stan and Rebecca offer TV coverage.

"It's Pat," "Netflix," "Women in super hero films," "Name the movie" and "Kill Bill" -- Stan, Betty and Mike go to the movies.

"the sexy goodness of jamie scott," "graffiti6" and "Sit down, Barbra Streisand, sit down" -- Rebecca and Kat cover music.

"Our poor Constitution" -- Marcia on the government ignored document.

"Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Ron Paul" -- Elaine on Ron Paul.

"THIS JUST IN! GOODBYE FAUX CAMELOT!" & "Fake revealed" -- no, he was never JFK.

"Ari Shapiro wastes everyone's time" and "The sexist critic" -- Ruth and Kat take on NPR.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }