Sunday, August 05, 2012

Truest statement of the week

"It wasn't lost on me that many of the sprinters around [Dana] Abdul Razak in the mixed zone didn't grow up in a nation where being able to compete would even be a question. Also, with Allyson Felix of the U.S. coming through moments later after winning the heat and wearing the finest track and field gear to go with the best training/nutrition to go with a USA Track and Field handler who escorted her, I wondered about the vast disparity in resources available to athletes here."

--  John Canzano, "Postcard from London: The fastest woman in Iraq speaks out"  (Oregonian). 

Truest statement of the week II

In addition, we learned the hard way in Iraq, a winner take all transition -- where key minority groups are excluded and the military is unable to provide basic security is simply a recipe for a prolonged  civil war.

-- Senator John Kerry, presiding over Wednesday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Syria.

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,
ca 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.

And what did we come up with?

A sports quote.  
Ava and C.I. were at this hearing and they brought the quote to us.
The Islamic State of Iraq is hitting their goals, it's Nouri that's still stumbling around.
Ava and C.I. examine Amy Goodman's propaganda.  When I (Jim) read this, I realized they had two pieces and not one.  I begged them to pull a few paragraphs and turn it into another article.  Doing so meant they lost a section about how Goody loves to trash Hillary and while excusing Barack and Barack's friends all week, she made sure, in her Syria 'discussion' to trash Hillary as did her guest Chuck Glass (the apparent wife of George Glass).  This is a strong piece.

A magazine survey article.
Ty dips into the e-mails.
We look at team comics.

This went up less than 10 minutes ago.  I asked Ty, "How many views?"  21. I'd bet anything it becomes the most read feature.  Ava and C.I. hate reality shows but our readers love it when they write about them.  
A friend of Betty's had an irksome experience at Barnes & Noble.  When she complained to Betty, Betty brought Ava, C.I. and Dona in to hear the story.  Betty said maybe they could write about it?  Her friend said only if it had some humor in it.  They put this through three drafts.  In the second draft, they dropped "we" for "I" and it made the piece much stronger.

Jill Stein campaign.

Workers World repost.

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

We got done early -- especially for us.   See you next week.


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

Editorial: The very successful Islamic State of Iraq


July 22nd, the Islamic State of Iraq issued a recording with a series of threats.  Among the threats were to disrupt Iraqi life, specifically the government, and to work towards freeing prisoners.

In less than a month, this al Qaeda in Iraq affiliated group has had quite a success.  They contributed to making July the deadliest month in Iraq in two years, as Alsumaria notedThey downed an Iraqi military helicopter.  And last week,they attacked a Taji prison in an attempt to free forty people imprisoned as terrorists.  Following a bombing at the gate (possibly using as many as six suicide bombers according to one press account), they attempted to storm the prison resulting in the deaths of at least five security officers and another twenty-seven injured.  And Friday, AFP reported, "At least 50 people, among them 37 members of the security forces, have been  killed in violence in the first three days of August, which have seen a number  of attacks on soldiers, police and anti-Al Qaeda militiamen, and their  facilities."

While they're progressing at their stated goals, progressing at a fast clip, Iraq remains mired in a political stalemate.  Baghdad's experiencing a scarcity of water, Basra is seeing regular protests over the lack of electricity and Iraqis are really hoping that the temperature drops down to 111.2 degrees Fahrenheit.  You read that right, 111 degrees would be a serious drop from the temperature in Iraq of late.

Last week,  Richard Weitz (World Politics Review) explored the continued stalemate:
A power-sharing agreement brokered in November 2010 at Erbil among Iraq's key political actors was meant to establish a balanced coalition government, in which key executive branch posts were to be distributed among the main parties in rough proportion to their electoral strength. A newly created National Council for Strategic Policy was also meant to broaden representation in policymaking beyond the cabinet. The resulting checks and balances, it was thought, would prevent the government from adopting extreme positions by requiring compromise policies acceptable to all the major stakeholders. 
Since then, however, Maliki's critics claim he has ignored the Erbil agreement, instead accruing excessive power, bypassing the Iraqi constitution and bringing under his personal control the country's other political institutions, including the judiciary, federal agencies and the nominally independent election and integrity commissions and central bank.
He has also placed many key national security posts in the hands of his supporters, appointing many senior police, military and intelligence officers without parliament's approval, while seeming to exercise undue influence on their activities. The judgments of the supposedly neutral Constitutional Court also consistently favor the government.
Furthermore, Maliki and his allies have blocked the creation of the aforementioned strategic council in parliament and refused to hold referenda in governorates whose provincial councils were seeking to become federal regions to increase their autonomy from Baghdad.

Nouri al-Maliki can't deliver on basic needs, can't deliver on a national identity, can't deliver on security.   Friday,  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN)  pointed out of the violence, "The unrest coincides with an emerging political crisis, with Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish political blocs increasingly at odds in the fractious legislature. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is Shiite, has struggled to forge a power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security."

Nouri can't deliver.

And maybe the US media should be paying attention?

That recording the Islamic State of Iraq issued on July 22nd?  It included a threat to do terrorist attacks on US soil.

TV: The Good Whore

CBS scores a rare critical hit with The Good Wife which kicks off season four September 30th.  The cookie cutter nature of so much of the line up leaves the network with little to boast of but, thanks to this one hour each week, CBS can pretend it's still The Tiffany Network.  They can point to the show's two Emmys, a Peabody, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and  a Golden Globe and tell themselves that they're airing quality television.  And not only has Julianna Marguiles and Archie Panjabi already won two Emmys (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series), both were nominated again and, this year, acting nods also went to Martha Plimpton, Dylan Baker, Michael J. Fox and Crhistine Baranski with Mark Saks receiving a nomination for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series.


It's amazing the power one hit can provide, just look at Pacifica Radio. For much of the '00s, the faux anti-establishment radio network pointed with pride to its own version of The Good Wife.  'Anti-establishment' in Pacifica terms isn't really anti-establishment.  It's basically the mealy mouthed teenager griping about consumerism and globalization up until they learn Maroon 5 or Jay Z is pulling into town and then they need Mommy and/or Daddy's money.

In fact, we believe that basically describes Pacifica's fundraising motto.  But we're not hear to talk Pacifica money, leave that for a Grand Jury.  No we're here to talk about the rise and fall of a momentary craze.  The '00s were a time of excess as the US practiced one Cult of Personality after another  -- be it Bully Boy Bush or the Butcher of Waziristan Barack or that menace to truth herself Amy Goodman.

Like most members of the ISO, Amy has been a whore for the Democratic Party and for the Corporatist War Hawk Barack Obama.  Despite public humiliation at every turn (and rumors of strange infections), when Barack Goes To War, Amy sounds the horns and beats the drums, salutes him on the kills he's done.  And throughout, she tries to pull whatever's left of her fan base along with her in support of War and Murder.  She is The Good Whore.

And playing the role has really destroyed her laughable pose as Last Journalist Standing.  Whether it was her 2008 non-stop attacks on Hillary Clinton or her televised koffee klatch with a former CIA whore (if you were assigned by the CIA in the sixties to f**k foreign men in foreign countries you are a whore) or chatting up the CIA's Juan Cole, it's been a string of non-stop embarrassments for The Good Whore.

Last week, Ian Wilder called out Democracy Now! and suggested that the show's name be changed (offering "Democracy Not," "Corporatocracy Now!" and "The War and War Report" as well as asking for other suggestions). And last week saw Marcia call out a website that offered praise for Amy Goodman that only revealed gross ignorance.  You can't call out CDS (Clinton Derangement Syndrome) and praise Amy Goodman. As explained in "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally:"

December 10, 2003 found Five Cents [John Nichols] and Goody doing their Gossip Girl chat.  Five Cents was insisting that Wesley Clark was only running for the 2004 presidential nomination so that Bully Boy (GW Bush) would win and Hillary could run in 2008 (that's what "placeholder" means in that context, as Five Cents knows) and Goody was bat-s**t-nuts raving that what would happen was, in the summer of 2004, at the DNC convention, Hillary would be declared the nominee! 

Before Corrente next praises Amy Goodman, they might try familiarizing themselves with her actual record.  Fortunately, people leaving comments later got that Amy was no one to be praised.  However, "jest" introduces a false element into the equation.  Pacifica Radio has nothing to do with Amy's content.  Amy owns 100% of Democracy Now!  She makes millions.  All Pacifica does is broadcast the show.  People who are unfamiliar with that are also often unfamiliar with just how rich Goodman's gotten off Pacifica Radio and how she subverted the public radio model to enrich herself.

And as she's gotten richer, her product has gotten worse.  Last Monday, she wanted to talk declining American fortunes with reporters James Steele and Donald Barlett.  While KPFA may broadcast PoorNewsNetwork, Amy Goodman apparently can't be bothered with thought or word.

She and the reporters discuss the mythical 'middle class.'  They never once discovered poverty or the poor.  For public radio that was hugely disappointing.  As was Amy Goodman's solution for people to send a message to Apple (which sends its manufacturing overseas): Stop buying Apple.

Does Amy Goodman think everyone has a Mac and iPhone and iPad?  Does she even know any poor people anymore?  (The joke at WBAI is that Amy moved the Democracy Now! studios because she got tired of turning down requests from the homeless for change.)

The two reporters were her only guests.  She devoted the full show (minus headlines) to the topic.  And no one could say "poverty" or "poor."  How sad for all three of them.

Tuesday found her critiquing the Olympics in some form and back on the topic of Mitt Romney (she couldn't mention the poor on Monday but had plenty of time to tear apart Mitt Romney, good little whores know to dance for the political masters).  She was offended, Tuesday, that Mitt Romney takes campaign donations from 'unsavory' people.

That's interesting.  Penny Pritzker donated to and was highly involved in  Barack Obama's first presidential run.  The Good Whore ignored Penny until after the 2008 election when she finally noted (while Penny was briefly mentioned as a possible Commerce Secretary), "Pritzker is a longtime friend of Obama's and served as his national finance chair.  Pritzker was involved in running and overseeing the Illinois-based Superior Bank, which collapsed in 2001.  The bank has been described as being at the forefront of turning subprime loans into securities, the risky practice at the heart of the financial crisis."  That was in the November 20th headlines.  She'd mention Penny in a single sentence in the next day's headlines (that she wouldn't be Commerce Secretary).  That's been in it for Penny.

But Penny is in the news.  As Trina noted last week in "Boycott Hyatt and other labor issues," Penny and her family own the Hyatt hotel chain which is implementing a new strategy.  No longer does Hyatt hire workers for their hotels.  Hiring workers means they have to give them vacation time and discounts at other hotels and the chance of paying into an insurance program and maybe investing in a 401K.  It's much better (cheaper), Penny Pincher Penny believes, to instead now fill those jobs via temp agencies.  The workers won't really be temporary but going through a temp agency means they're paid less (with no raises -- temps don't get raises), don't earn vacation time, don't get any benefits.

And Amy Goodman doesn't have time for Penny in 2012 just like she didn't in 2008.    Interfaith Worker Justice has called for a boycott of Hyatt over this policy -- though you'd never know it from Amy's bad show.  (Black Agenda Radio has covered the boycott.)

Wednesday's broadcast was a huge scattershot waste of time as she attempted to cover various topics and didn't give time to any -- unless the point was to stress that Dennis Kucinich was a really groovy guy -- even if he'd no longer be in Congress.  Amy managed to whore in such a way that it appeared Dennis had lost his seat to a Republican -- even though the general election is in November.  He was redistricted (as happened in most states following the census) and found himself in the same district as Marcy Kaptur (Democrat) who he ran against and who beat him.

The main takeaway from Dennis segments (he appeared for two stories) was that, once he's out of Congress in January, he's going to be as active as a private citizen as he was as a politician.  We'll take that to mean, he'll continue to make big speeches while doing very little.

Thursday?  Barack Obama and his administration helped kill a United Nations arms treaty (The Arms Trade Treaty).  So it was time to spin like crazy.  The Good Whore spent forever blaming the NRA -- we're not joking.  She and her guest Bill Hartung had blame for everyone but Barack.  As the segment was ending, they wanted to stress that Barack wasn't close to Lockheed Martin and Boeing -- at least "not at the level of the Bush administration."  And besides it's "the Congress which gets millions of dollars from the industry."   Yes, yes, it's never Sweet Barack's fault.  Poor Barack, The Accident President becomes The Toothless One as well.

Friday may have been the worst.  Amy wanted to tug on her War On for Syria.  She's done that repeatedly as she'd previously done with Libya.

As John Walsh (Dissident Voice) observed in February:

After repeatedly hosting the CIA consultant Juan Cole to cheer the cruel war on Libya, Goodman now seems to be going down the same path with Syria. It is a sad spectacle and one more indication of how little the “progressives” in the West understand the nature of Humanitarian Imperialism which uses human rights to sell war. It looks like it’s time to abandon Goodman and switch to Alyona.

And Friday found Amy and tired and sexist Charles Glass (there's a reason no network will snap him up)  agreeing the violence was the answer in Syria -- meaning Western intervention -- now that Kofi Annan had withdrawn as UN peace envoy.

They had no concerns and they didn't ask questions.  They didn't wrestle with a thing.  It was time for war, in their minds.

Strangely, two days prior, Wednesday, we had attended a Senate Foreign Affairs Committee hearing and heard much more questioning and exploration than we did from the Queen of so-called independent media.  Senator John Kerry is the Chair of the Committee and he pointed out of the 'rebels,' "We also know that al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are seeking to capitalize on the instability [in Syria].  And as we've learned from previous experiences in Lebanon and Iraq, unwinding cycles of sectarian and terrorist violence could take years."

This year the Foreign Relations had four classified briefings on Syria -- the latest had been Tuesday night -- but this was a public hearing, as Ranking Member Richard Lugar noted, "I felt,  as did the Chairman, it was very important that we have an open hearing that we could hear the witnesses,  so could the public, so could the press and help likewise our understanding as we have a dialogue with our constituents and others about this very important topic."

Richard Lugar, a Republican, was more interested in informing the American people than was The Good Whore.

Here's an excerpt from the hearing, where Chair Kerry was questioning the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Andrew Tabler.

Chair John Kerry:  Well there's been as you know in the meeting in Paris and other meetings, Istanbul and elsewhere, very significant efforts to flush out who is the opposition?  I mean, do you know exactly who you would provide weapons too?

Andrew Tabler: Absolutely not.  But --

Chair John Kerry:  Don't you think we need to know that?  

Andrew Tabler: Absolutely.  

" Don't you think we need to know that?" asked John Kerry.

Amy Goodman didn't.  Amy Goodman didn't think journalism required her to explore it.

The Good Whore has been allowed to cross far too many lines, to take far too many shortcuts, to get away with falsehoods and conflicts of interests.  The refusal to hold her accountable is the reason she is what she is today: The Good Whore for Barack Obama.

In the end, Goody appears to be emulating someone but it's not Julianna Marguiles.  No, Goody seems obsessed with Pearl, the character Farrah Fawcett played in The Substitue Wife.  Watching last week, you kept expecting her to wind down the show  with Pearl's signature line, "I ain't just a whore, I'm a good whore.  A damn good whore."  And on that claim,  Goodman might find universal agreement.

The film rags

Leafing through this month's 'film' periodicals, we really had to fear for the state of geeky boyhood across the land.  Had America's awkward males all entered their fifties and higher?

If not, how to explain the offerings?


Entertainment Weekly felt the need to put out a special issue, "50 years of James Bond.  The Man.  The Movies.  The Martinis."   Well make ours a vodka martini with a shot of scotch.   You'll need something strong to make it through the issue as well.

If you think "special issue" means one devoted to James Bond, you're wrong.  It is 26 pages, however.

And you'll enjoy them much better if you skip all of EW's usual crap (best and worst remakes! McSteamy is out!) and just focus on the Bond selection.

More puzzling than EW may be Total Film which seems to think the cover story is Expendables 2.  We were left to wonder if Space Cowboys got the cover in 2000?  This is supposed to be "THE BADASS ISSUE" but with Sylvester Stallone, Jean Claude Van Damme and Arnold on the cover, it looks like an ad for Viagra and Depends.  Best part of the entire issue?

The 8 page article entitled "The 50 Greatest Bond Moments."  All the world's a Bond, Shakerspeare once said or should have, and all the men and women viewers.

Geek wants you to know that "Spider-Man SWINGS AGAIN!"  Here it is, August, and Geek wants us to know about a film that came out July 3rd?  Could someone cancel our subscription to Ye Olden Times?

Only reason to open the issue?  The two page look at the various Catwomans.  Our pick for best Catwoman? Michelle Pfeiffer set the high water mark that no one matched before her and that Halle Berry and Anne Hathaway have struggled to reach since.

Leafing through page after page of disappointments, we finally grabbed SciFi Now.  Mainly because we were hoping to find something current.

What is at the forefront of Science Fiction today?

Clearly the TV show Supernatural since it's on the cover.

Yes, the cover is that tired, old series that Ava and C.I. once described as "like really bad gay porn where the leads forget to take their clothes off."  Looking at the cover closely, we felt like Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby, compelled to scream, "What have you done to his eyes, you maniacs!"
That's because they've done something to Jared Padalecki's eyes.  They don't look human.

Only reason to leaf through?  Samuel Roberts "The 15 Most Mind Blowing Films Sci-Fi."

We're not praising the article.  We think it explains why the magazine sucks, actually.  Any supposed, alleged SciFi mag that picks Brazil over The Matrix as the best Sci Fi film is seriously screwed up.  That becomes even more apparent as you search in vain for Sigourney Weaver's Aliens or Alien -- the films directed by James Cameron and Ridley Scott -- but do find that the fluff that was Pleasantville made it to number five.  David Lynch's Dune's not on the list but The Truman Show is number four.

Again, the list serves the purpose of explaining to you why the magazine sucks.

And all four magazines exist to explain why fewer and fewer people bother to buy magazines today -- there's no real reason to waste your money.



Ty:  It's time for another mailbag.  Remember our e-mail address is  Ava and C.I. are doing  two TV pieces this week and that means, while they're working, we better have some stuff accomplished. So while they work on their articles and everyone else works on editing, I'm going through the e-mails.   Ella e-mailed last week about reality TV and how much she enjoyed Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Siblicide" -- she was one of many who e-mailed about that and voiced their wish for Ava and C.I. to do more reality TV.   In all the years we've been up, I would bet that you could find, right now in the archives, at least 8 reality shows they've covered.  Reality TV -- or, as they call it, 'reality' TV -- is their least favorite genre.  But I bet they've covered it eight times.  But, Ella, they're covering it this week and you're mentioned in their piece.  Or were.  When they finished the first piece -- on Democracy Now! -- Jim read it out loud to us and we all loved it but Jim said the three paragraphs they had in there on a reality show needed its own article.  So they're grabbing that, pulling it out and writing about the reality show.

Terry wrote to say we haven't done a magazine roundup in forever.

No, we haven't.  We did those a lot more often once upon a time.  The story there is that we were doing them and one of our regular readers shipped off to Iraq.  It was their favorite feature to get a sort of quick overview of what was going on in the world outside of Iraq.  So we did that feature on a regular basis.  Now that the reader's back in the US it's not as important to us and we forget about it.  But Terry reminded us and we've got a mag round up and a comic book round up for this edition.  Those pieces are written and are being edited (and possibly typed) as I write this.

Clarice wants to know how far ahead we plan?

Sometimes never.  Sometimes weeks and weeks.  For example?  We want to review a boxed set.  Of DVDs.  We'll probably do that shortly.  Ava and C.I. still pitch, at least once a month, a feature on Mae West.  It's become something of a joke.  We all love Mae West films it's just not something we've hopped onto.  But it did inspire something that we may work on later this edition.  If we do that feature, it'll be much easier to do a a Mae West feature, I think.

But that might not even get done even though Ava, C.I., Mike and Elaine are all strongly behind the proposal (a piece on Marilyn Monroe).

We'll probably do another piece on The Bionic Woman.  We did "The Bionic Woman Season Three" and we'd like to note all three seasons so we'll most likely do a piece between now and the end of the year on season one.  Time permitting, we'd then do season two.

 Ghost89 e-mailed wanting to know what the most popular piece this year "that wasn't an Ava and C.I. piece or an Ava, C.I. and Ann piece was?"  So far, the most popular piece fitting that description is "Columbia Journalism Ridiculous."   In almost two months, it's had over 15,000 views.  On that piece, Kate writes that the Erickya Fry Daddy pieces sound like one person and she wishes that were true of the Greg Maxie pieces as well.

For those who haven't read the feature, it's a parody.  And we're parodying CJR and writing as two people -- Erickya and Greg -- with two posts for each of them.  What happened there was Ava and C.I. didn't want to participate and didn't.  We wrote the piece and went through several drafts.  And then they came back and we were sort of depressed that it didn't really work.  Ava and C.I. thought of a joke for the first Erickya piece and we begged them to please rewrite it all.  Which they did.  After they did that, Betty and Wally rewrote Erickya's second piece and tried to use the voice Ava and C.I. created.  (Like Kate, I think they succeeded.)  With Ava and C.I.'s section and Betty and Wally's section, the piece became strong enough to publish. 

That piece also prompted the biggest misunderstanding about me: That I'm a huge Conner Habib fan.  I've explained it in e-mails but let me put it up here.  Yes, I'm gay.  Yes, I've looked at gay porn.  But I'm really into Latinos (like my boyfriend).  I honestly didn't know who Conner Habib was until Ava and C.I. showed us the picture we were using with the parody -- we hadn't even thought of an illustration.  When they rewrote 'Erickya,' the illustration became necessary.

They picked him and they picked him because he's lives in San Francisco and they've bumped into him and thought he was a very sweet guy.  They'll also tell you he's good looking and that's something that I and about 400 who e-mailed can agree with.   

DJJ wants to know why we always have something on Iraq every edition?

Because our opposition to the Iraq War is why this site started.

We have little use for other websites online because they've forgotten Iraq.  It's amazing how many used that war but apparently never gave a damn about it.

WoodyHard11 wants to know why we don't do more to promote other websites "because there are a lot of good websites around."

We try to toss out a link to serious sites that e-mail us.  Once upon I would have just said "sites." But in the last year the equivalent of spam mail has been going up at websites.  They exist to sell a product usually.  And I'm not in the mood for that stuff.  So I now say "serious websites."

Before 2008, we had a lot of websites that linked to us.  And Ava and C.I. would cover some injustice and Jim would read their article and we'd love it but Jim would also note, "After this goes up, ___ is going to delink from us."

In 2008, it actually became a point of pride for us to be delinked.  I'm not joking.  We stood for our beliefs while others pawned their own to support Corporatist War Hawk Barack.

We don't worry about delink.  I actually asked a site to delink from us when they were promoting an ass.  A sexist ass.  The sexist was exploiting an actress and C.I. doesn't tolerate that.  That site had also gotten on her nerves (and Ava's) with a "slut shaming piece" they did on Barack's speechwriter dating a model.  What that woman modeled had nothing to do with the speechwriter or Barack and there was no reason to attack her or imply she was stupid or a whore because of what she modeled (lingerie).

MarsBarsSnicker wants to know why we don't do personal e-mails?  Unless you go into the spam folder, your e-mail to this site is read, usually by me.

If you're someone I recognize as a regular reader I try to dash off at least a line.  But, as Jim has said from day one, we're not running a pen pal service.

At the end of the week, we're judged by whether or not we came up with new content first and foremost.  Then we're judged by whether or not people liked it.

Again, if I recognize you, I do try to dash off at least a line.

I had, in the past, responded to all reporters and tried to do so in a kind and friendly manner.  Jim, by contrast, usually just e-mails reporters who are griping about something here, "F**k off."  Only he uses all the letters.

But I've given up on that.  Three times this year already, I've tried to be nice and all that's happened is a reporter suddenly thinks we're pen pals and I have more and more.  And I've been nice.  But they can't let it go (like Ross with "We were on a break!").  And at some point, e-mail reply 7 or 8 -- I've had it.

Fred asks why, since we do TESR Test Kitchen features, we don't do recipes?  Trina does recipes each Friday at her site Trina's Kitchen.  But, Fred, to make you happy, I'll close with a recipe.  This is one of my favorite recipes.  When I left New York and moved out here to California, I was the first of us to move into C.I.'s place.  And she made me a meal the first night (and was back out on the road the second) that I loved.  It's still my favorite and she made it late last night when I was hungry.

I'm halfing the ingredients so this should serve four.

1 large white onion
3 large granny smith apples
2 lemons
4 cups of brown rice
12 ounces of ocean perch
4 ounces of mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, with a small amount of butter substitute, adds slices of apples with the skin on and slices of onion.  If you're steaming the fish, place the fish in a steamer, cut lemons, squeeze juice on them and leave lemons with fish.  Otherwise, you'll cook them in the skillet with apples and onions.  Cover the skillet and cook for approximately 20 minutes on low to medium heat.  Cook brown rice according to directions.

Place brown rice on four plates.  Top with apple, onion and fish.  Top that (while fish and rice are hot) with mozzarella.  She and Jess were having an eggplant pizza and I was hungry -- but for something else.  So she kindly went into the kitchen and fixed that up.  I love that dish.  It's got a sweet and tangy taste to it and the brown rice adds a bit of a smoky flavor.

Comic book teams

We're not really crazy about the DC reboot.  Ads appearing in the latest issues for Warner Bros' Archive Collection don't reassure us with the tag line, "SATURDAY EVERY DAY!" But maybe the comics weren't as immature as they seemed?

We decided to look at DC with an emphasis on teams.  We also tossed in two Marvels because the covers caught our eye.


We kicked things off with The Teen Titans.  This is Robin's band of heroes that have been around forever.  The really big change?  Wonder Girl (Donna Troy) is now a blond.  The artwork, specifically the colors ("Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE") looked washed out and like someone had smoked too many doobies while staring at 70s concert posters.  Things never got better, not even on the last page which promised you that part two would continue in Superboy issue nine. Then, so impressed with their bad visuals, they spent several pages at the end of the book praising themselves.

Teen Titans, even when it functions as a comic book, was always a junior Justice League of America.  So we decided to check out Wonder Woman and company and see what they were up to.  The main reason to check out issue eleven is to find out just how worthless the writers and artists think Aquaman is. Though he shows up first on page two, it's not until page eight that, in the midst of a gab-fest, he's finally given a line, "With what?"

The mission of the team?  To rescue Wonder Woman's longtime love Steve Trevor.  Best moments? When Green Lantern and Wonder Woman are in conflict, with him telling her it's a Justice League mission not a Wonder Woman one and trying to hold her in one of his green orbs that she quickly smashes. After that, the two begin to fight.  And trade one-liners.  "This isn't giving me any pleasure," Wonder Woman informs him.  "But I'm sure you've heard that before."  Comic snap!

Then Wonder Woman's kicking Superman's ass and you're left with a solid and fascinating story.

We were on such a giddy high that we switched to Marvel, afraid DC might implode.

The first thing we noticed about X-Men issue 52 was that they're no longer "Amazing X-Men."  Now they are "Astonishing X-Men."  Mike Perkins, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jay David Ramos and Cris Peter have created a distinct look that DC might want to consider stealing for Teen Titans.  Marjorie Liu has written a fascinating tale that will keep you turning the page and leave you upset on the last page that you've got to wait a whole month to find out what happens next.

Secret Avengers grabbed our attention because of the title.  These guys and gals aren't The Avengers, you understand, they are Secret Avengers.  Shh.

While most of us thought it was Storm on the cover, C.I. insisted it was Ms. Marvel.  Guess who was right.

So Ms. Marvel teams up with Thor, Beast (who's also in the X-Men issue), Protector, War Machine, Valkyre, Vison and Captain Britian.  The issue ends with a death and it's not a bad guy.  Our only complaint?

As serious collectors of the seventies Marvel series The Defenders, we just don't like seeing Valkyre without Hellcat.

It was back to DC for a team issue.  Issue three, in fact, of Superman Family Adventures.  Where super-pets terrorize children? Although a corny comic for little kids, it has a better look than Teen Titans does.  Also more life.

Demonstrating that DC's real problem with the latest reboot isn't the age factor, it's the lack of a real vision.

TV: When reality TV was too real

Last month our "TV: Siblicide" was much read and praised in the e-mails.  Ty told us the consensus was: Ava and C.I. should really cover the reality shows all the time.

And we thought you people liked us!

Getting through the fakeness of 'reality' TV is something we have to build up stamina for.  It's like training for a marathon: You give up smoking, you walk the course for three days, then you run it and pull something so you skip three days of any activity before you finally drop back to walking it, then someone tells you the real trick is carbs so you eat a ton of pasta the night before, which may be why you oversleep ending up late and barely make the start of the race, you run full out from the stress and by the half-way mark you can just walk, you see a trail to your left and figure you can go off on that, sit down, wait an hour or two and then sneak off.

Along with the fakeness there's the yawn factor.  If your idea of a good time is chanting "Jerry! Jerry!," then 'reality' TV is for you.  But some of us just with these people would confine exploring their inner narcissist to a small circle of friends.


Ty wrote back the regular readers and explained we just don't like 'reality' TV.  At which point, reader Ella wanted to know if we thought there had ever been a real reality television show?

Yes, it aired in 2011.  Apparently enough people didn't watch.

But there was no pretense as two people offered themselves -- warts and all -- to the American people.

We're talking about last year's Ryan & Tatum: The O'Neals (Oprah Winfrey Network). As two who know Ryan and Tatum, that  reality show was very painful to watch and we wondered about the two therapists who failed to grasp the obvious.  It's really easy to sum up their problems.  Tatum, except with her children, can't find lasting love because of what she went through.  She craves it but she doubts it exists.  Ryan can't get why Tatum needs to have reassurance and proof of lasting love.  He won't accept that his going from woman to woman -- whether the marriages or the flings -- destroyed her and, honestly, screwed her up for years.
People often don't get that.  Ryan certainly doesn't.  But even people who know them frequently miss it.  Tatum was born to Ryan O'Neal and Joanna Moore.  Before she was five, her parents were divorced and Ryan was married to Leigh Taylor-Young.  Only to leave her as film stardom finally arrived (Love Story, What's Up Doc?, Paper Moon) -- and by 1971 he was having public affairs which Tatum is aware and was aware of then.  The divorce would come two years later, but the marriage was over by the start of 1971.  Then came a never ending chorus line of women, most famously Diana Ross. (And most tellingly.  We'll address that when we get to Ryan's issues.)

During this wife-free time, Tatum is hauled everywhere by Ryan.  Not just to the sets of the film they make together (Paper Moon and Nickelodeon) but to industry events, to parties, to interviews.  And Ryan knows the game, he knows you say what's heart warming and makes a good quote.  Tatum's a child.  She has a gift for acting but don't pretend she understands illusions.  This simple public patter, just p.r. spin, really did a number on Tatum who hears her father sharing these supposed real emotions with the world and believes it to be honest.  During the reality show, Tatum grew very angry when he lumped her in with his ex-wives and "girls."  She insisted she was his daughter and that's a different relationship and it should be respected as such.

But the therapists missed that.

That moment is key because with everything happening -- including Ryan's proclaimed eternal love for each woman he bedded -- for most of the 70s, Tatum remained (publicly) the most important female in Ryan's life.  That changed when Lee Majors asked him to check on Farrah Fawcett.  The two began a long-standing romance.  It was Farrah and Ryan followed by the photographers and showing up in People (which predicted they would be the first of a series of couples to break up -- they outlasted the other celebrity pairings).  Though the tabloids and Ryan have frequently tried to make it appear that there were problems between Tatum and Farrah, the two women didn't have a problem.  (Farrah probably understood Tatum better than anyone other than Tatum's brothers.) Especially after Tatum moved out, Farrah would constantly tell Ryan to call Tatum, to make plans with Tatum.

Let's move over to Ryan.  He went on CNN last year and stated he believed that his "family" had caused Farrah's cancer.  Farrah finally left Ryan due to the crazy.  Farrah was a woman of action.  She didn't sit around and mope and whine.  If she wanted to change something, she did.  So Ryan's constant problems with his children (all of them) and his refusal to address this, his desire to instead play one off the other and point to whichever one he happened to be speaking with that month as proof that the problem was with the other two children, wore on Farrah.  Not the kids.  She wasn't in a sexual relationship with the kids.  She was their father's live-in partner and she could get as involved as she wanted when she wanted with them.  But she was having a full-time relationship with their father and if her cancer was caused by personal turmoil (we don't believe that's the case), then it's Ryan's fault, not the kids.

And let's be really clear, since Ryan likes to infer that his children are drug addicts, most of Farrah's friends (including one of us, C.I.) had no problem with Farrah dropping by but made it clear they needed a heads up if Ryan was coming.  Why?  To clean out the medicine cabinets in the bathroom.  If you didn't, you'd find Ryan had cleaned it out for you.  Heaven forbid that you had menstrual cramp medicine in an unmarked bottle.  Ryan would take it.  From Malibu all the way up the northern coast of California and in NYC, Ryan was infamous for swiping pills from medicine chests.  He has had a drug habit for years.  That impacted his relationship with the children and their own with him.  For him to whine, as he has, on camera about Tatum's drug usage is really something.

One of the many insights Farrah had into Ryan was that the former boxer approached life as a boxing match.  He bobbed-and-weaved his way through life.  If things got too painful or costly for Ryan, he bobbed and weaved and you were out of the picture.  That's true of his ex-wives, true of   many of his co-stars, true of his family.

We said his relationship with Diana Ross was telling.  It was.  He was in love with Diana, he insisted.  She was everything he ever wanted, he told friends and press.  And he dumped her.  People do fall out of love, it happens.  But that wasn't what happened with Ryan.  he never loved Diana.  He liked her.  He found her attractive.  But what he wanted was for them to team up for a film.  They started sleeping together as he kept pressuring her to do the film.  And when he finally got a strong "no" on the film, he broke it off with her.

That's the bob-and-weave Ryan O'Neal way. Love is a series of glancing blows in Ryan's life.

A grown woman with three children and a successful career, Diana Ross was still taken by surprise to realize all those things he told friends and the press about how great she was and how he loved her and how he needed to be around her was all just spin for his career.  She managed to get through that major f**k over.  But Tatum was a little girl.

Understanding that life on the set when the director yelled "ACTION!" was make believe was one thing.  Understanding that every word out of your father's mouth to the press was always career spin?  She wasn't prepared for it.  No child would have been.

And adult Tatum still has trouble processing it.  'Dad said he loved me.  Dad said we had fun together and I was the only one who understood him, that he could talk to me for hours and hours.  Then Dad meets Farrah and suddenly I'm not wanted.'

Ryan never gets it and the tabloids never did either.  By the time Ryan and Farrah were in their relationship, Tatum was a young adult ready to date and party and much more.  She was not jealous of Farrah.  She didn't need to go to premieres with her father.  She didn't need to go on the town with her father.  She was in the natural phase any young adult goes through as they establish new relationships as an emerging adult.  The fact that he was in love with Farrah was something of a relief to Tatum because it gave her some breathing space.

But breathing space quickly became an isolation chamber.  Ryan was busy selling the p.r. on the Farrah and Ryan teaming.  His career wasn't going anywhere and he needed the 'heat' from this new relationship.  He'd eventually talk Farrah into doing a TV show (the one he kept whining about on the reality show -- whining that Tatum's ex-husband John McEnroe wouldn't appear on) at one point just because, as everyone knew, he needed that job really, really badly.

John McEnroe.  Tatum married and had kids.   She didn't need all of Ryan's attention.  She didn't even need 60% of it.  But she did need to know her father cared about her and wanted to see her.

But he was too busy fanning the star making machinery on Farrah and Ryan against the world.   That's what landed him (nude) on the cover of People with Farrah in August of 1983 -- not the three flop films he'd made in the previous three years.  (We're referring to box office.)

If we're being hard on Ryan (a) he's the parent and (b) he's not going to be around forever.  The recent prostate cancer should have him trying to improve his relationships.  So Fine was a bomb in 1981.  Partners was a bomb in 1982.  Though each film has its problems, both are strong films.  Ryan's also starred in the classic comedies What's Up Doc? and Paper Moon, the solid efforts of The Main Event, Chances Are, Irreconcilable Differences, and Faithful and the all time tear-jerker Love Story.  In all of those films, he's more than worth watching.  We say that because (a) it's true and (b) Ryan can only talk his own movies.

You caught that if you watched the show.  Unless you were like those two therapists who appeared to miss everything.  In therapy, Ryan's acting like he's on the couch with Johnny or Merv and plugging his films. 

His films mean that, as long as films interest future generations, Ryan will be remembered as a very attractive looking man who also had a very solid talent for light comedy.  But he's not going to be remembered well by his family if he doesn't grow the hell up.  What was attractive as late as 29 is no longer cute at 70.  The bob-and-weave might have helped him survive in earlier times but now it only ensures that he pits family member against family member and ensures that no one is happy.

Tatum's not without fault, nor Patrick, Griffin or Redmond.  But all were children.  And used as props.

One episode opened with Ryan in his car, driving to a joint-therapy session with Tatum.  As he drove, he explained that the session had to go well because he needed her to attend an event with him that night.  As the session quickly goes to hell with Ryan unable to apologize for the time he took a hand to his pregnant daughter, Ryan explains he's annoyed because now Tatum's not going to go to the event with him.

Tatum is not a prop.  Yes, Ryan and Tatum attending an event together will ensure that photographers take pictures and some outlets will publish them.  But she's not a prop.

Ryan treated women in his life like props.  (Farrah wouldn't let him do that to her.  When Ryan talks about Farrah being the stronger one, he's being very honest. And that's probably why she left him and not the other way around.  They got back together in the '00s.)   He treated his children like props.

He can die selfish if he wants.  Or he can grow up and realize that his children are individual people who need to be prized as such.  He can grow up and grasp that he should spend less time on plastic surgery and more time working on building relationships with his children.

To be really clear, Ryan O'Neal is a great pal around friend.  He is usually in great spirits or forces himself to be (which can lead him to snap when reality intrudes).  And if he'd been an uncle to his three children, he'd probably be a success.  But he is their father and the requires a little more than he's ever been willing to give.

Those dynamics are their lives and Ryan and Tatum -- even if the therapists couldn't see them -- didn't make any effort to hide who they were or try to be someone else.  That's why Ryan and Tatum: The O'Neals was that rare thing: a real reality show.  And, apparently, real reality was too much for most Americans which is why there was no season two of the show.

Dear Barnes & Noble

I'll assume you must be doing something right.   Right?  Borders and the rest have gone under.  Barnes and Noble is one of the last book stores in many parts of the country.

But you may be getting cocky.  And your employees are, frankly, getting rude.  And a little stupid as well.


When someone buys, as I did, 12  new books in hardcover, that's someone you might want to suggest a Nook to. But you didn't.  Not one employee.  Not the one at the register, not the ones working the floor.

One of the books, by the way, was Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).  Not only was the book a best seller, Mindy has been on The Office for how many years? (Her Fox sitcom The Mindy Project debuts September 25th.)  So when I asked a female clerk where to find the book and even added, "She's on The Office," that's a question she should have been able to answer.  Here's what she told me, "Oh, no, she doesn't have a book,  Maybe you're thinking of Tina Fey?"

On my own, I found the book in the humor section.

"On my own" is sort of the customer motto at Barnes & Noble, isn't it.  At the cafe, I ordered a chocolate banana smoothie and a spinach quiche.  My smoothie was in a glass.  Good. Proud of you.  And I even was handed a straw.  Nice.  Don't use them, but nice.  But about that quiche . . .

Served on a small saucer.  That was good.  And it came with a (dull) knife.  But no fork.  When I asked of a fork, I was told I could just slice it -- with the knife already provided -- and eat the pieces with my hands.  I've done a lot of entertaining over the years but, so far, I've never yet passed a quiche off to guests as finger food.

I understand some pass mini-quiches off as finger foods.  But that's not what the cafe serves, mini-quiche, is it?


And even if it had been, when I asked for a fork, I shouldn't have had to then make a case for why I needed one.  You do know you were just going to wash that metal fork and reuse it, right?  You didn't think giving me a fork meant I'd think I paid for it and therefore try to leave with it, did you?

But the worst was the music and movie section.

For about five minutes, I thought, "Damn, I must look really hot tonight."  I flashed all of my pearly whites at the attentive male clerk who seemed so helpful.  I was wondering, in fact, would he ask me out or would I need to drop hints?  Maybe I'd just ask him out.

Then the sixth minute kicked in and a man walked in.  The clerk made a beeline for him.

Naturally, I was surprised.

"Well if he's pushing for a three-way, he's got another thing coming," I told myself.  "Something like that's going to require drinks.  Probably a meal."

Then a woman walked in and he was all over her.


After they both left, he suddenly rediscovered me.

And just as I was about to tell him, "It's not that easy," I suddenly realized, as he stood two inches behind me, he wasn't interested in me -- not even as a customer.  He was shadowing me like I was a shop lifter.

Yes, I was offended.

I was also irritated when I asked him if the store had a movie and a few seconds later I turned around to find him still on my heels and not checking the inventory on the computer.

If I'd had more time, I would have followed him around.  I plan to do that on my next visit.

For this one, I just asked him to carry my six DVDs up to the registers in the front because I would pay for them when I was done.

"You can pay for them here."

"Yes, but I don't want to.  I'll use my credit card once, thank you, to pay for my books and my DVDs.  Now I'm going to look at books for 20 minutes.  When I'm done I will be ready to check out and I will be in a hurry so have them up front, thank you."

That seemed so clear.

And it's not as if he was busy.

And that's not just me using my memory.  I actually took photos.  Of him wondering around the store.  Of him talking to co-workers.  One of him picking his nose.

25 minutes later, I was ready to go and went to the front with my books.  At the register I said there were a number of DVDs that were supposed to be up there.

The woman at the register told me, "You pay for them in the back."

"Uh, no, as the paying customer, I'll pay for them anywhere in the store that I want.  Now if the DVDs are not here, you need to go find out where they are because I am ready to go and this was already supposed to have been taken care of."

With a heavy sigh, the woman behind the register picked up the phone to call the movies and music department and ask if a woman had left a group of DVDs that would be paid for upfront?

With a heavier sigh, the woman hung up the phone, glared at me and then walked towards the back of the store.

I spent $342.55 and you may need to explain to your crew that was my money and that I could spend it anywhere I wanted.  The fact that I chose to spend it at Barnes & Noble should have gotten me some quality service -- and that would be true if I'd only spent 99 cents.

Equally true is I can pay for my purchases where ever I want in the store.  And if I don't like a man with a big old yokel chin following me around like I'm a thief, I don't have to pay for my purchase in his section.  I can ask him to take my selections to the front counter and that's his job.

That's his job.

Barnes &  Noble may need to explain that to their employees.

It's the same if I  don't feel like carrying 12 books around the store as I check to make sure I didn't miss anything on the shelves.

If I, a small woman, stop a clerk walking through the store and say, "Could you please take these books up to the front counter for me while I continue looking," that should be done immediately.  There's no discussion necessary.

I'm not trying to steal anything, I'm not trying to leave the store with merchandise I didn't pay for.  I'm trying to enjoy my time at Barnes &  Noble.

And the staff should be doing their best to make sure that happens.  That is, please understand, their job.

Consider this based on a true story.  This was written by Betty, Dona, Ava and C.I. after a friend of Betty's shared a horrible experience she'd just had (Friday night) at a Barnes &  Noble.  The amount spent (minus the cafe) is correct.  The Mindy Kaling book is also a real detail and the woman was told that she must have Kaling confused with Tina Fey.  The man in music and movies following her around -- staring at her when she bent over to look at DVDs on the bottom shelf even -- is true.  Her asking him to take the DVDs to the front of the store is true.  Another reason she wanted them at the front of the store was he didn't help her and she didn't want him getting credit for the sale.  She found all the DVDs herself and he wouldn't even look up the DVD she'd asked him about.  When she got to the counter, the DVDs were not there and the woman at the register wanted to give her attitude.

Barnes &  Noble really needs to talk to their staff about the way they interact with customers.

The presidential ticket that got busted

From the Jill Stein for President campaign:

Stein and Honkala arrested in protest of foreclosure giant Fannie Mae

going-in-to-Fannie-Mae.png(PHILADELPHIA) Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her vice presidential running mate Cheri Honkala were arrested today during a protest at the offices of mortgage company Fannie Mae on Banker's Row in Philadelphia.
Among those arrested along with Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala were labor lawyer James Moran and Sister Margaret McKenna of the Medical Mission Sisters. An attorney who supports civil disobedience cases is providing legal assistance. All of those arrested are expected to come before a judge on Thursday afternoon. At that time bail will either be set or they will be released on their own recognizance.
The protest was originally called for by the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign to demand that the giant mortgage company halt foreclosure proceedings against two Philadelphia residents in danger of losing their homes. Stein joined the protest after Cheri Honkala joined her as Stein's vice presidential running mate. Honkala, a former homeless single mother, has been confronting banks and mortgage companies for decades demanding that they adopt policies that will, "keep families in their homes."
Occupy-Fannie-Mae---prayer.pngAt 1pm today about 50 protestors gathered outside of Fannie Mae's Philadelphia headquarters. They heard from Miss Fran and Rhonda Lancaster, the heads of two families evicted by Fannie Mae in its refusal to negotiate an alternative to foreclosure. Fannie Mae executive Zach Oppenheimer had previously promised in writing to meet with the two women in order to discuss other options. Yet no followup meeting ever took place, and so protestors today entered the Fannie Mae building and vowed to stay until Mr. Oppenheimer's word was honored.
At about 2:30pm, an hour after entering the building and beginning a sitdown protest, lower level Fannie Mae officials agreed to meet with Miss Fran and Ms. Lancaster. These meetings proved inconclusive, ending only with promises of more meetings. With Philadelphia police on hand with six paddy wagons and plainclothesman, a smaller subset of protestors stayed inside the building and risked arrest. Five were arrested, including Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala.
Miss-Fran.pngIn explaining why she joined the protest, Stein said that almost half of Americans now live in poverty or near poverty, eight million families face eviction from their homes due to foreclosures, and over a third of mortgage holders are "underwater" - meaning that they owe more to the lenders than their properties are worth on the market.

Said Stein, "The developers and financiers made trillions of dollars through the housing bubble and the imposition of crushing debt on homeowners. And when homeowners could no longer pay them what they demanded, they went to government and got trillions of dollars of bailouts. Every effort of the Obama Administration has been to prop this system up and keep it going at taxpayer expense. It's time for this game to end. It's time for the laws be written to protect the victims and not the perpetrators. It's time for a new deal for America, and a Green New Deal is what we will deliver on taking office. "

Jill-Stein-arrest-Honkala-next.png"The laws and the budgets and the procedures are designed to protect the lenders and to extract as much money as possible from the victims," Honkala explained. "This isn't the way it would be if we really had a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The first goal of government should be to keep families in their homes, and to provide restitution for the deception and fraud that has robbed millions of Americans of financial security."

Stein laid out a number of steps that will be part of a new deal for homeowners when and where the Green Party wins power. First, as President, Dr. Stein would issue an executive order establishing a moratorium on foreclosures of occupied dwellings. Second, municipalities governed by Greens will get homeowners out of underwater mortgages by seizing mortgages through eminent domain and letting non-profit community development organizations - not Wall Street banks - reissue the mortgages.

Cheri-and-Guillermo.pngNoting that the Obama administration has only released 10% of the aid that Congress had promised to homeowners, Stein asserted that "There is much more interest in Washington in protecting the profits of banks than in getting this aid out to the families whose lives are falling apart.  President Obama held a big press conference to announce a program that would supposedly help 1.5 million homeowners and so far it has actually helped only 1 per cent of that number. Real help goes to the CEOs who play golf with the President and the people get lip service.  This will change only if the people stand up and say we're not going to put up with it anymore."
Statement from RHONDA LANCASTER (Excerpted from People’s Tribune) 
My family has lived in this home in Germantown for over 35 years. When my mother got ill and could not afford her health care, a reverse mortgage idea was presented to me. They made it look like it was a great thing. It was going to take care of my mother, and when my mother passed away it would be just fine.
The nightmare started after my mom died. I notified the bank she had passed away, and two days later I was getting ready for her funeral. Relatives and friends were coming in from all over the country. The bank told me to stop everything and let them come in and do an appraisal.
The bank refused to accept me as the executor of her estate, although the proper papers had been filed at City Hall. From that point on it was a complete nightmare. I could get through to no one and no one could help me. They denied me my legal US rights as heir to my mother’s property.
Statement from MISS FRAN (Excerpted from People’s Tribune):  
I have lived in Philadelphia all my life, and in this house since 1988. Once when I was forced to file for bankruptcy, my mortgage holder, Chase Bank, suddenly came to court and objected to my bankruptcy plan. Although the law requires them to notify me in advance, I had no warning of their action, so I had no lawyer and no time to prepare my evidence. The judge dismissed my file for bankruptcy and Chase began foreclosure proceedings.
I participated in Philadelphia’s Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program, so I was able to keep my home off the sheriff sale list. Then they claimed I missed a Conciliation Conference even though they had never notified me about it. When I complained, the court rescheduled the sheriff sale of my home from July 1, 2008, to September.  I attended that sale on July 1 and was shocked to hear them put my house up for sale anyway. I was in the back of the auditorium and ran to the front making so much noise the sheriff’s lawyer had to stop the sale. Finally they brought in a letter from the sheriff saying they had obtained a court order that same day to sell the house. They had gone to court without even notifying me. The same judge who postponed the sale in the first place had turned around and vacated his own order, all without telling me.
The sale of my home went through on July 1, but my battle was just beginning. Although Chase Bank foreclosed on my home, I found out the sheriff changed the name on the documents to Fannie Mae. There is no bill of sale from Chase to Fannie Mae and no record of any transfer. Fannie Mae has no legal standing to evict me. But that didn’t stop them from trying. They sued to evict me in April 2011. I filed an objection, it was overruled, I answered them, and we were supposed to go to trial in February 2012. Then they filed for a summary judgment against me, which is only supposed to be granted when there is no dispute in the matter. I told them we most definitely do have a dispute: a district court order was ignored and Fannie Mae has no standing. But the judge granted the summary judgment anyway. They obtained a writ of eviction and scheduled my eviction for June 12.

Statement against FBI and grand jury repression (WW)

Repost from Workers World:

Statement against FBI and grand jury repression

By on August 3, 2012 » Add the first comment.
WW joins other progressive organizations in urging people to sign on to the following statement on FBI raids and grand jury repression in Portland, Ore., and Olympia and Seattle, Wash. To add your group’s name to the solidarity statement, please send an email to:
On Wednesday, July 25, the FBI conducted a series of coordinated raids against activists in Portland, Olympia and Seattle. They subpoenaed several people to a special federal grand jury and seized computers, black clothing and anarchist literature. This comes after similar raids in Seattle in July and earlier raids of squats in Portland.
Though the FBI has said that the raids are part of a violent crime investigation, the truth is that the federal authorities are conducting a political witch-hunt against anarchists and others working toward a more just, free and equal society. The warrants served specifically listed anarchist literature as evidence to be seized, pointing to the fact that the FBI and police are targeting this group of people because of their political ideas. Pure and simple, these raids and the grand jury hearings are being used to intimidate people whose politics oppose the state’s agenda. During a time of growing economic and ecological crises that are broadly affecting people across the world, it is an attempt to push back any movement towards creating a world that is humane, one that meets every person’s needs rather than serving only the interests of the rich.
This attack does not occur in a vacuum. Around the country and around the world, people have been rising up and resisting an economic system that puts the endless pursuit of profit ahead of the basic needs of humanity and the Earth. From the Arab Spring to the Occupy movement to now Anaheim, people are taking to the streets. In each of these cases, the state has responded with brutal political repression. This is not a coincidence. It is a long-term strategy by state agencies to stop legitimate political challenges to a status quo that exploits most of the world’s people.
We, the undersigned, condemn this and all other political repression. While we may have differences in ideology or choose to use different tactics, we understand that we are in a shared struggle to create a just, free and liberated world, and that we can only do this if we stand together. We will not let scare tactics or smear campaigns divide us, intimidate us, or stop us from organizing and working for a better world.
No more witch-hunts! An injury to one is an injury to all.
– Committee Against Political Repression

 Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


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.

"Now the administration is concerned about Camp Ashraf" -- most requested highlight of the week.

"Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot"  and  "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. reports on Congressional hearings.

 Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Dishonest Cheese Doodle"     -- Isaiah takes on a dishonest political operative who pretends to be offended but 'forgets' to say what it is Romney said that offended him.  

"Easy Pita Pizza in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers a whole grain recipe and talks the economy.

"mars and total recall,"  "Midnight in Paris,"  "Vertigo" and "Savages" -- Rebecca, Stan, Betty and Kat go to the movies.

 "Are these real campaigns?" -- Elaine asks an important question.

"Harry Reid is an embarrassment," "THIS JUST IN! HARRY THE FISH WIFE!" and  "Harry needs a dish and some meow-meow mix" -- Ruth, Wally and Cedric on the Senate Majority Leader.

"He still needs help with the basics like connecting" and  "THIS JUST IN! LOOK WHO NEEDS HELP AGAIN!" -- he still can't seal the deal on his own.

"Nanci Griffith's One Fair Summer Evening" -- Elaine writes about music.

"Boycott Hyatt and other labor issues" -- Trina joins the call for a boycott.

"The post office" -- Betty writes about the post office.

"Making Dennis the Menace" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }