Sunday, January 20, 2013



Jim: Once more into the e-mails and this time, it's just Third. Our e-mail address is  So first up, Rhonda writes, "I'm not objecting to or complaining about the fact that Workers World articles are reposted here, I'm just wondering why?"  Okay, Jess, grab that one.

Jess: Workers World is part of the left.  So we do care what they say.  If we're opposed to it, it's not going up here.  But we usually find something we agree with or find to be an interesting take on something.  That's especially true of international events.  They are a site that allows people to republish as long as you include the copyright notice which is another reason we include them.  We're republished online and we're fine with that.  We've never e-mailed any of the sites doing it a take-that-down e-mail.  When we're reposted, we always assume it gives us a shot at reaching some readers we might not otherwise.

Ty: And the reality is that these are always popular.  If you visit this site and scroll through the edition, I don't know what you're reading.  But when you click on a specific article, we get a count in Blogger/Blogspot.  And that's how I know what's popular -- Jim and I and sometimes Dona do check to see that.  And the Workers World articles always get a minimum of 30 reads every week.   So for a repost, that's pretty good. I think Jess explained it really well but I want to be sure everyone reading understands.  If we disagree with a Workers World article, it doesn't make it up here.  If we read it and think, "I feel differently but I see their point," it will make it up here.  That's because we're fine with their views and feel that left views need to be amplified.  We generally agree.  But there are times we may not but we think they've got a really good take, different than our take, on something and we're happy to repost.

Dona: And that's another issue, people think we all are on the same page about every issue.  No.  We agree on core issues like fairness and equality.  But do you honestly think we would write as many pieces as we do that never get posted or take as long as we do to write something that does get posted if we were all in agreement?  We usually make a point to respect one another's differences but we will have differences of opinion.  If you're thinking we never do, I don't know what to tell you.  For -- goodness, this is our anniversary month.   We started January 16, 2005.  Eight years. Wow.  So if you're thinking that for eight years we've been doing this and there's never been a cross word, you're wrong.

Jim: And on the issue about group writing, two things.  This is a small roundtable, just the six of us.  So we may get more from Ava and C.I. than usual.  But there are readers who get mad that Ava and C.I. frequently don't speak a great deal in the roundtables.  First off, they're the ones taking notes.  If I'm taking notes, no one can speak normally, they'll all need to speak very slowly.  Second, they have always felt that they have the TV pieces to speak in, they write those, and that they don't need to weigh in as heavy here.  Third, they're the ones who step up when we don't have enough for an edition.  Look at last week.

Ava: And I want to comment there.   In Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot," C.I. called out yet another in a series of sexist attacks on Maureen Dowd by Bob Somerby:

Maureen Dowd is many things -- some good, some bad -- but she's rarely as boring as Bob.  Dowd  wrote about a White House photo that's been getting a great deal of press attention of late.  You can see it at Third in "The real War on Women" and Ava and I covered the photo in "TV: Screw Little Mika."  Idiot Bob quotes David Gregory from Sunday's Meet The Press.  Ava and I had to quote that broadcast in our piece -- that we wrote two days ago -- but we didn't go with David Gregory, we went with Andrea Mitchell explaining the photo to the Meet The Press panel.

Ava (Con't):  We were at the Golden Globes Sunday.  We get a call from Jim that the edition just isn't working.  We've already done two pieces for the edition:

Ava (Con't): And now, at a party after the awards, we're having to stream Meet The Press, State of the Union, Face The Nation -- just the first five minutes to determine there was nothing in that broadcast related to the topic and ABC's This Week -- also just the first five minutes.  And then we have to write something.  We've already written two pieces for the edition.  Now we have to do a third.  Sunday night.  At a party.  Then Tuesday morning Bob Somerby wants to come along and attack Maureen Dowd -- and women, it was an attack on women -- and he can't even be honest about the issues at play?  He's had two days to absorb them.  C.I. and I had to write that thing on the fly.  When Jim called and said the edition was short the only thing we could think of was that idiot Mika and how we could develop that into something.  And we did.  And we were honest.  Along comes lying Bob to go to town on Maureen Dowd yet again.  He just needs to get over his obsession with Maureen Dowd.  The man is a sexist.

Dona: Agreed.  And to add to the critique of Bob's nonsense, let's remember that his whole point was that this wasn't a serious topic, Maureen Dowd addressing the gender imbalance at the White House.  Instead, he wanted everyone to write about what Kevin Drum was writing about.  Bob Somerby's a sexist pig.  And you better believe that he could have found 30 national columnist who are male who were not writing about education but he glommed on Maureen Dowd as always and insisted that her topic wasn't valid.  He's a pig.

Jim: And that's another issue.  KS e-mailed to say, "I get it sexism is bad.  Does it have to be addressed over and over?"  Iraq is an issue we address every week and often feel like we're repeating since C.I. covers it daily at The Common Ills.  On sexism?  No, we're never repeating.  We're not writing the same story over and over.  Sexism presents plenty of examples every week.  We could do a whole month of articles on sexism -- nothing but sexism -- and still not cover what's going on.  If it makes you uncomfortable, then you probably need to find another website.  I'm really glad that we've not been afraid to tackle that issue.  It was probably easier to tackle it before 2009 because then the reaction was always "Oh, evil Bush and those awful Republicans!"  But sexism didn't vanish.  I think an argument can be made that it's getting a lot worse.  A lot.  And I'm glad that we cover it.

Ty: Jordan e-mailed wanting to know the most important book that's come out while we've been online?  I saw the question -- I read the bulk of the e-mails -- and had time to think about it so I'll answer but I won't put anyone else on the spot.  For me, the book would be Chris Hedges' Death of the Liberal Class.  We always talk about including a paragraph at random every week.  Just having that be its own little post.  While the book's been discussed and talked about in many outlets, I still don't feel it has received the attention it deserves.

Jim: And that's a good pick.  I would want to think about it, like Ty said, but I will note that we picked Carrie Fisher's "Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking" as one of our ten favorites.  The other nine:  "Peter Laufer's Mission Rejected," "Chris Hedges'Death of the Liberal Class," "Shirley MacLaine's I'm Over All That," "CCR's Articles of Impeachment Against Bush," "Manal M. Omar's Barefoot in Baghdad," "Susan Faludi's The Terror Dream," "Joyce Murdoch and Deb Price's Courting Justice," "Anthony Arnove's Iraq: The Logic Of Withdrawal" and "Tori's Piece by Piece." Those would be books worth reading, all of them.

Ty: Lisa e-mailed asking if we had plans to do a Wonder Woman series or focus on any other TV show starring a woman after we did our series on The Bionic Woman?

Dona: Let me grab that one.  The plan was for four parts.  We did "The Bionic Woman Season One" "The Bionic Woman Season 2"  and "The Bionic Woman Season Three."  We planned four parts.  The fourth was going to be Bionic Woman -- covering the season of that failed reboot.  But that show was so awful.  It was especially awful after a year where we were able to enjoy Lindsay Wagner's work as the original Bionic Woman.  I couldn't get through it.  Ty couldn't get through it.  That rebott was awful.  Ava and C.I. could and did but they do this kind of work every week for their TV articles.  They manage to get through shows they dislike.  And then Jim suggested that we let them write it.  Just have Ava and C.I. write about the reboot.  To which they replied, we already did.  And they had.  Back when the show was airing, they wrote  "TV: Moronic Woman."  So there's not going to be a part four.  I went and read what they'd written and they are comparing the two shows -- the reboot to the original -- and they are right that anything they'd now write on the reboot would just be them repeating themselves.   As for Wonder Woman, I liked that show and used to watch it in the morning before going to school -- the live action show.  I would love to do that.  But that means everyone writing it would have to watch and that requires time.  Ava and C.I. have to log in time every week on TV, reading scripts, watching episodes, calling friends at networks so to promise another series like the one on The Bionic Woman?  I don't think I'd do that.  But if someone else pushed for it to happen, I'd be happy to take part in writing it.

Ty: Kevin wants to know why we don't cover The Six Million Dollar Man?

Jim: For some of the reasons Dona just outlined but also because when we cover something we're trying to cover something that's not the most covered topic.  If we're doing music, for example, we'd rather write about Prince or Stevie Nicks or someone else who has left a huge impact on the world of music but doesn't get the same amount of attention as the usual covers of Rolling Stone magazine -- you know the people I mean.  We've covered The Bionic Woman and, of the two shows, that's the one I would want us to have covered.

Ty: A number of people miss the comic coverage and wonder if that's gone for good?

Dona: Gone for good?  I don't think so.  But there are times when we just have other things to do. And regular features are easy to burn out on.  I don't think we've even done a TESR Test Kitchen in months.  One thing we experimented with more recently was doing an entire edition on one topic.  And that's worked out rather well.  We may continue toying with that from time to time.

Jess: I think it's important to ask how are we different?  Difference can come via our scope and also via our approach.  I think we're still in touch with the roots of 2005, we're still not going to rush to join a cult or circle jerk and we still can't be bought.  I'm proud of the work we've done over the eight years -- the body of work.

Jim:  And we need to wind down so I'll toss to C.I. to say something.

C.I.: I'm glad Dona remembered that it was eight years.  I hadn't.  Congratulations to Dona, Jim, Ty, Jess and Ava on the eight years.  They had wanted to do a website for awhile but were hesitating.  So the lesson there is, if you're reading this and thinking you should do a website, you probably should.  Get started right now.  You'll learn as you go along and that's fine.

Jim: And tell your truth!   Alright, so that'll be it for this e-mail feature. Our e-mail address is

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