Sunday, August 28, 2005

A note to our readers

Sometimes we don't know where the time goes. This ended up being another all nighter despite what we thought was an on track session.

We had two pieces that we killed after spending hours on each of them and that might be one reason we were running so far behind. But by four in the morning, everyone was close to giving up. We took a break and some went on candy runs, someone went for a walk to wake up, it was a long, long night. (Like a broadcast of Dateline, Ava and C.I. might suggest.)

But what we ended up with is hopefully of some value.

Chief among the pieces is Ava and C.I.'s latest TV review. They take a look at Dateline. Read it, you'll laugh and nod along.

Our editorial was one of the breakdowns. We broke half-way into writing it into a 45 minute discussion. Should others be specifically mentioned? Was too much emphasis placed on Democracy Now!? We decided no.

The point is, and when we went back in we attempted to make that point, that Democracy Now! reaches more people than most news sources out of the mainstream. (The way the audience increases, it may be time soon to call it "mainstream" due to it's reach.)

We also offer up our news review and, as usual, it was posted as soon as the feature was completed. We're glad readers are enjoying it.

Readers didn't enjoy Dona's remarks last week which were not intended to call for the death of all fiction though some seemed to fill she was preparing to pull out the chopping block. Due to the large number of e-mails out "Five Books, Five Minutes" focuses all on fiction.

We also highlight Democracy Now! due to their musical clips last week.

We thank the following for their help and input on this edition: Dallas, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine subbing for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man and Kat of Kat's Korner. We thank Francisco and C.I. for allowing us to repost Francisco's entry. We also thank, for reposting permission, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine subbing for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, and Kat of Kat's Korner. And next week, we hope to post somethings C.I. has written lately at The Common Ills. (C.I.'s said no for the last two weeks arguing that other people need to be emphasized.)

We thank Ava and C.I. for their TV review.

And we, always, thank our readers.

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

Editorial: Let Cindy Sheehan be the spark that gets your own passion burning

Ruth called it Saturday at The Common Ills in her latest Ruth's Morning Edition Report: The Summer of Activism. That's what we're seeing.

While Matt Taibii and others sneer, pockets of activism have been springing up all over the country. Cindy Sheehan's month long vigil at Camp Casey (I & II) in Crawford, Texas finally pushed the issue into the national discussion.

The invasion/occupation wasn't a topic that Americans were unclear on. Polls have consistently demonstrated that the people have turned against the war. But the corporate media found little use for discussions other than to note, usually in passing, the polls on attitudes towards the war.

Brave independent voices have spoken and kept the issue alive for some time. They include, but are not limited to, the passionately pro-peace The Nation (take that George Packer!), Amy Goodman, Dahr Jamail, Matthew Rothschild, and a host of others.

Did we mention Amy Goodman? Let's note her again. While surveys show an erosion of the public's faith in mainstream journalism, Democracy Now! has gone from the little engine that could to the news program that can. Available on radio, television and the web, Democracy Now! has grown and continues to grow. Whether on campus, at church, at a peace rally, in the grocery store, or where ever, it's becoming harder and harder to find ourselves in a conversation with someone where they don't bring up Democracy Now! at some point.

As Luke noted this summer at wotisitgood4, Goodman's become the equivalent of a rock star. If you're "in the know," you're following Democracy Now! in audio, video or transcript form. There's a reason for that. Besides being a daily information packed news hour, Democracy Now! didn't rely on generals and government spokespersons to discuss the invasion/occupation. Not before we went into Iraq and not during. While the mainstream media sucks the collective thumb of "we were all wrong," the fact of the matter is "we" were not all wrong. What happened was voices were shut out of the debate in the mainstream media.

While it's true that the occupation has blown up in the faces of the Bully Boy, it's also true that it's blown up in the faces of the mainstream media who, as a group, acted as cheerleaders for war. While they repeatedly wash their hands like Lady MacBeth, the public notes that they were all wrong. The fact that they are still commenting and, in many cases, arguing that the "war can still be won" with a little fine tuning, only deepens the distrust.

People like Amy Goodman have kept the truth alive in the darkest hours. Light bulbs have come along. Bright Eyes performance of "When A President Talks To God" was one example. Jane Fonda's statement about the war, and the loud applause that greeted it, on the David Letterman show in April was another. Pacifica's live coverage of the John Conyers, Jr. hearing on the Downing St. Memo and how we were lied into war was another. Bit by bit, these moments began to register and build. And as we saw the reaction, the nation started to realize that, as the polls had demonstrated, the whole country wasn't lined up behind the pundits and the press in blind support for a continued occupation.

With all of that building, Cindy Sheehan sets up camp in Crawford and becomes, as she'd hoped, a spark that finally turns private conversations into a national dialogue.

The dialogue's started. We've moved beyond the national lethargy. Let this Summer of Activism spill over into the other seasons. The dialogue's begun and we'll need to be able to count on all the people who are already on board but we need to realize that others have joined the cause. Still others would if they knew the issues at stake.

This is where you come in. You've got to continue to take the lead on itiating the dialogue and discussion in your own circles. Cindy Sheehan can be the spark, she can't be an entire movement.

As Elaine noted Friday, let Sheehan's actions motivate you take ownership of your own life. That's what a democracy should be about.

[This editorial was written by the following: The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ty, Jess, Dona, Jim and Ava, C.I. of The Common Ills, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Kat of Kat's Korner, Elaine substituting for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude and Mike of Mikey Likes It!]

TV Review: Dateline New York ... Warm Fuzzy

Ever wonder why the compartive nobody Brian Williams was picked over Stone Phillips to sit in the anchor chair at Nightly News? We can't be sure but we think it might have to do with the fact that Williams, unlike Phillips, isn't prone to wearing bulky sweaters, with busy patterns, on camera which make him look like Angela Landsbury gearing up for Murder She Wrote: The Reunion!

Maybe they thought it would make him come off like the Mr. Rogers of the news crowd? The show wants nothing more than to give you a case of the warm fuzzies.

Phillips still posseses the best (and sharpest) set of cheek bones of anyone in the "news" set on TV (eat your heart out, Diane Sawyer) but his work on Dateline is all "soft focus." Fuzzy little bits of footage with Phillips doing the Oprah glum-nod, the Oprah dazzling-smile while the voice overs soak every moment in total cheese.

Dateline's a strange sort of "news" program. It's as though, in topic choice and delivery, you're at the kitchen table, sharing a cup of coffee with Ethel Mertz who's catching you up on the goings on in the building.

Crime's a big topic on Dateline, old crime. Nothing too fresh when possible. Which is why Katie Couric interviews the woman raped in Central Park years after the fact (when the woman's on a book tour). It's why this coming Friday's Dateline takes a, we're sure "hard hitting," look at the O.J. trial ten years later. Anything too close to the present might spoil the warm fuzzies.

Watching Stone Phillips, once considered a serious journalist, coo, nod, frown, pout and (most of all) beam, we honestly wouldn't be surprised if they traded in the opening theme music (please do), handed Phillips a guitar and let him open each show strumming while singing "Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood . . ."

So the program that aired Friday was titled "The Long Road Home." And it lasted for two hours but it felt more like four. To nutshell it, an American soldier is ordered to return to America from Vietnam and finish his service in America. Rather than do that, he disappears. In the nineties, his wife and two kids finally learn that he's alive as does the military. Sound familiar? Well Dateline reported on it in the nineties. This is an "update."

Watching, we decided "update" stands for "filler." Like the way Stone Phillip's voice over repeats a comment that someone being interviewed just made. Repeatedly. Or the way they tease out details mistaking them for conflict, "When we return . . . you'll find out that we wasted more time with a segment that went nowhere."

"Wait, wait, Ava, C.I., what happened to the soldier?"

After soft, fuzzy footage of him introducing his girlfriend of ten years to his family, we get more of the same with shots of his mother's cooking him breakfast while he promises to come back and visit here for her 80th birthday -- in two years! For over two decades she thought her son was dead. Now, as she heads towards 80 the best he can do is say, "I'll visit you again in two years?" We didn't think all the warm, fuzzy pieces fit well together. But damned if Dateline didn't try their best to soak the whole episode in soft hues and clothe it in the skins of stuffed teddy bears.

In terms of the military, they're not pressing charges. He won't get his military pension, he does get other benefits. We're told all of that when Phillip's does a classic (and standard for Dateline) wrap up that plays like Ward sitting the Beave down, at the end of Leave It To Beaver, to drop some wisdom on the frivolity the episode revolved around. Which, if you think about it, is the perfect point of reference for Dateline.

Hard hitting news comes out of 60 Minutes. Uncomfortable realities, on the rare occassions they emerge on Dateline, tend to come in the form of a sit down interview with the author of a book which allows reality to be several times removed and in the past (usually the deep past). That's rather distrubing when you think about the commercial they always play during Dateline, the one that boasts more people get their news from NBC than any other network. Exactly what are they getting?

We both know people who work for Dateline and the only thing more amusing than watching the program pass itself off as a "news" show is hearing their excuses. "Well have you watched 20/20 lately!" is a popular refrain. But for our tastes, the best excuse (meaning most laughable) came when one was questioned about the "in depth" reporting on the Bennifer phenomenon.
Maybe we're too jaded but the breathless 'news' that "She's still Jenny from the Block!" was matched only by the defense of the 'report:' which went, we're paraphrasing, "Well 60 Minutes just did a report on an opera star!"

We laugh, we kid, we mock our pals at Dateline. (Openly.) But we think that "defense" was telling and basically sums up the show. They're not going for the gutter ball that is ABC's 20/20. But, at the same time, they aren't reaching for the highs of CBS' 60 Minutes either. In fact, they're aspiring to be a teen beat version of 60 Minutes. "They've got an opera star over at the grown ups table? We'll get a pop star!"

We're not sure whether they're content at the kiddies' table (wouldn't they at least prefer more leg room?) or if they truly believe that they have to dumb down to reach the audiences. (They're very proud of their ratings on Fridays and they do usually manage to lead in their time slot -- on a night when most people aren't watching TV, as we like to remind them.)

Look, the folks at Dateline are a great group of people. At a party, we'd rather be at the kiddie table with them, laughing at everyone else in the room. They're intentionally funny (unlike John Stossel attempting to eat corn on the cob . . . at least we don't think that's intended to be humorous.). They play hard. We just wish they'd aim a little higher in their broadcasts.

In the end, the grade we have to give is one that they're quite familiar with, "Does not live up to potential." If you want to live in the house on Pooh corner, Dateline is the show for you. If you're expecting news in what's billed as a news program, you're going to have look elsewhere.

Five Books, Five Minutes

Jim: We don't always reply to the e-mails, but we do read them. Last week Dona explained why we had focused on nonfiction for most of our book discussions and the e-mails poured in. Not angry ones, hurt ones. It was as though she'd suggested that fiction was a waste of time in many readers' eyes. That wasn't what she was suggesting but by mid-week, we were of the opinion that we needed to include at least one book of fiction for this edition. As the e-mails continued to come in, we decided to devote the entire book review to fiction. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ty, Jess, Dona, Ava and myself, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Elaine who's subbing for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, and C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Ty: To provide some background, Edith Wharton's The Custom of the Country was read by all. As we decided to make it an all fiction discussion, we picked four additional books that a member had read and let participants decide which of the four they'd attempt to read before the review.
C.I.'s read all the books.

C.I.: I had suggested Custom of the Country weeks ago and we read it for another book discussion. Other than that, I didn't suggest any books for this discussion.

Dona: The first two books we're going to discuss are Wharton's Custom of the Country and Jay MacInerny's Brightness Falls. We feel the two have much in common and that they'd overlap anyway in the discussion.

Mike: The Custom of the Country is by Edith Wharton and you can actually download this book for free on the internet. Undine Spragg, the lead character, is a social climber who attempts to set herself up repeatedly in the upper class. Wharton was a contemporay of Henry James and is seen as a moralist commenting on the manners of her time. The book was published in 1913. Brightness Falls is by Jay McInerney and it chronicles the eighties, the greed, the corruption, the demise. It was published in 1992 and revolves around two friends, an editor at a publishing company and a novelist named Jeff.

Jim: I enjoyed how Wharton tied in the so much with Undine who represents America at it's worst in terms of false goals, false pride and capitalism run rampant. Divorce, death, nothing will stop her march to the top.

Mike: And her own thirst does her in.

C.I.: Did you enjoy the character of Undine?

Jim: Not at all.

C.I.: Does anyone else want to leap in here? No? Okay, well I'm going to disagree with that. Undine's not a nice character, I won't disagree with that, but I don't see it just as an idictment of her social climbing. I also see it as an indictment to the set she is aspiring to. Repeatedly, she forces her way in which speaks to a weakness, not a welcoming, of that set. I could see her representing out of control capitalism but I think the class she aspires to represents something as well. Her last husband remarks that the ones who've misread Undine, including himself, have been fools. I think that goes to that set. She can try to break in all she wants but she only gets in if she's let in, if she's welcomed in.

Jim: Okay, I see that. Where do you take it?

C.I.: Honestly, I'd take it to a war between two centuries, the 19th and the 20th. Capitalism running wild and destroying a class that had gotten lazy and fat predominately from the work of their elders. Carry it over to Archer in The Age of Innocence and you're dealing with the same group confined by conventions to lives of regret over what wasn't done. I'm not saying my take on it is what Wharton intended or that it isn't. If I'm reading fiction, I'm going to take from it what I can and, to me, The Custom of the Country was a comedy of manners with a mixture of social commentary and critique tossed in. I found the book to be humorous and there are sections that I always laugh out loud when I read even though I know they're coming. Again, that's my take on it. As long as I'm being disagreeable, in Brightness Falls, I feel Corrinne's one of the main characters and the heart of the story. Take her out and what have you got? The Last of the Savages, the only McInerny book I refused to finish reading.

Jess: I liked Russell.

C.I.: Define "like." Like in terms of how he fit into the narrative or liked in terms of "Hey, I'd like to be friends with him."

Jess: Actually both.

Kat: He fit in the book but he could have been used more sparingly. McInerny's telling us what Russell feels and Russell's telling us what Russell feels and it gets to be tiresome. McInerny obviously identifies with Russell.

C.I.: Agreed.

Kat: So every minor moment in Russell's life becomes huge drama in a way that doesn't occur with Jeff, who disappears for long stretches, or Corrinne.

Jess: So you found Russell self-pitying?

Kat: At time. I found him self-obsessed throughout. And always with the reflections.

C.I.: Another indication that Russell's a stand in for McInerny, Corrinne exists only in Russell's frame of reference. A trait not true of the other characters, whether we're speaking of Jeff or one of the minor characters.

Ty: What are you saying?

C.I.: When writers project themselves into a character they strongly identify with, they have a tendency to have at least one other character, usually the love interest, exist to shore up their positives. Corrinne largely exists to humanize Russell and explain how wonderful Russell is. She's a vanity creation for a writer who wants to praise himself. You can see that in most novels which is why I really hate reading fiction. John Grisham, huge ego, there on every page. He's always the lead character. Women are always thrilled with him, regardless of their age or his own. Would Darby really fall for Graham? Or that hideous scene in A Time to Kill, the book, where the waitress comes onto a page to remind us all of just how great the lead character, Grisham, is.

Elaine: I can see that in Brightness Falls. I hadn't thought of it before but listening to Kat and C.I.'s comments, I can see it.

Ty: So what are we saying, we're split on liking it?

C.I.: Who doesn't like it?

Mike: You.

C.I.: I love the book. It's one of my two favorite novels from the nineties, the other being Alice Walker's Possessing the Secret of Joy.

Mike: You don't like it.

C.I.: Elaine?

Elaine: C.I. gave me a copy of that book in 1995. Raved over it.

C.I.: I love the book. But if we're going to discuss it, I just feel like we should be honest about the flaws. I also feel like for all her faults as created, Corrinne is the heart of the book and take her out as a lead character and you're not left with much. For instance, Jeff's funeral is nothing at all, no dramatic bearing, without her noting she prefers E.B. White to Nash.

Dona: My favorite part of the book!

C.I.: Mine too.

Mike: So it's a thumbs up from everyone who read it?

Jim: Looks like it. Kat, set up the next book since you picked it out.

Kat: A Spy in the House of Love is a novel by Anais Nin that's one of the five novels that comprise her Cities of the Interior series. In it Sabina grapples with issues of identity and reality. A book that's inspired everyone from Jim Morrison to Carly Simon is a must read.

Ty: I didn't really like the book. I kept expecting that the liar detector she confesses to at the start would pop up throughtout but he really didn't. I also didn't get how she could dial him and find him at random.

Dona: Well the lie detector is in her. The conversation she has is a projection of an interior monologue with herself.

Mike: Wow. See that's why I say Dona speaks that often but when she does, she cuts through everything and just lays it out.

Dona: Thank you.

Ava: I really enjoyed this book. Partly for the narrative but also for the writing itself.

C.I.: It's a type of symphonic writing that reminds me of Hannah Arendt's writing style in The Human Condition.

Jim: What do you mean?

Jess: You're talking about how there's a rhythm to the writing and you don't read straight through.

C.I.: Right. There's a rhythm. Clauses circle and and then push forward. There are verbal motifs and rhytms.

Elaine: Nin took psychoanalysis very seriously and it shows in her work. She was slammed by some critics for writing psychoanalytical case studies.

Ava: That's strange because I thought she cut to the heart of everything. There wasn't a lot of unnecessary details cluttering everything up. I'm wondering what happens to Sabina in the other four novels.

Elaine: Nothing much. This is Sabina's show case. She'll appear in other novels but you've seen pretty much what she'll bring to each one. Actually, Lillian will be the most emphasized and she was always my least favorite character.

Kat: Agreed. The Four Chambered Heart, the third book, is one I perfer to Children of the Light, the final book.

C.I.: I also enjoy Ladders to Fire, the first book.

Jess: So who is Anais? Sabina, Djuna, Lillian?

C.I.: She's all of the female leads. She led a fractured life, married to two men when she died -- one in New York, one in Los Angeles, and it shows in the writing.

Jim: Our fourth book is Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres. Betty picked this one because it's a favorite of her's.

Betty: It's the story of three sisters and their father. As the story unfolds, we discover why Rose doesn't care for her father, he's abused them as children including sexual abuse. When she discussed it with Ginny, after their father shows up drunk and calls them whores, Ginny thinks she's imagined it. Then when she sees their father with the youngest daughter Caroline, all three sisters are adults when the novel beings, she begins to remember. Their lives are poisoned like the land they live on. Ginny will break free of the land and her husband but Rose will not be as lucky due to the fact that she refuses to let go of the land. The legacy comes with a curse.

Ava: Great summary. I almost passed on reading this book due to time but when Dona told me it was your pick, I was interested in reading it. It's King Lear with a modern day setting.

Jess: And with women as the lead characters.

Mike: Okay, I'm waiting for the contrary opinion from C.I.

C.I.: I really am in a mood this morning, aren't I? Probably it's because I'm tired and this has been a very long all nighter. My take on the book? It's a nice book. It's well written. I saw the movie long before I ever read the book. Michelle Pfeiffer is amazing in the movie. Her delivery of the line, "He isn't a bear. He's not that easy." can't be matched on paper. She brought the character to life and filled in dimensions that aren't there in the book. So I liked the book but I loved the movie and usually I'm just the opposite. By the way, Ty picked out Brightness Falls. I don't think that got noted. It's one of Ty's favorite books.

Ty: Yes, it is.

Jim: Our last book was picked by me. I asked Rebecca to recommend something that was an easy read without heavy lifting and she suggested Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls.

Elaine & C.I. (together): "You've got to climb to the top of Mount Everest to reach the Valley of the Dolls."

Elaine: This truly is one of Rebecca's favorite book. She named it as such at The Common Ills.

Ty: Really?

C.I.: And she picked it for her favorite movie too.

Betty: I love Rebecca!

Jim: It's a good, trashy read about three women living in New York. Neely wants to be a star. Jennifer's a show girl or extra or something who wants to be a lead and Anne wants a husband.

Dona: Correction, Anne wants Lyle. Wants Lyle as her husband.

Jim: I stand corrected.

Ty: This was a book you could just plow through. It was one disaster or cliff hanger after another. And in the end, everyone's miserable.

Kat: Which makes it a lot like life! I'm joking.

Jess: Part of the reading is trying to figure out whom she's writing about. Neely for instance has a great deal of Judy Garland in her.

Kat: Agreed.

Ty: Who's Jennifer supposed to be?

Kat: Marilyn Monroe?

Elaine: If I'm remembering correctly, it's supposed to be based on Susan's friend Carole Landis. And Helen Lawson is Ethel Merman. There was even concern that Merman might sue over the book.

Mike: Who's Ethel Merman?

Kat: Before your time. Broadway belting actress.

Elaine: Jim called it a good trashy read but I think there's a bit more there. The pills, the roles of women. It's not art, but there is commentary that often is noticed.

Jim: You really liked the book.

Elaine: I love the book. It's a guilty pleasure.

Jim: Really?

C.I.: Really. For both of us. I don't remember what was going on but I can remember in 1996 or 1997, Elaine and I were in the same hotel and depressed over something. We went to a used bookstore and bought a copy of the book, they only had one and I don't think it was back in print at that point, we sat around for a day reading aloud from it --

Elaine: While a really bad mini-series about Elizabeth Taylor played on Lifetime in the background --

C.I.: Binging on ice cream --

Elaine: And by the end of the book, the end of the carton, but not the end of the mini-series, we felt fine.

C.I.: Actually more than fine. We were laughing throughout while we passed the book back and forth to read from it aloud.

Jess: So who's Jacqueline Susann?

C.I.: The characters are all bits of people but she's also in all three. Neely shares her drive to be famous, Anne is whom she wishes she was and has a father that's not unlike Susann's own, Jennifer is struck by tragedy as was Susann, I'm not referring to the cancer she'd die from later on --

Jess: Jennifer?

C.I.: No, Jennifer dies of a suicide. Elaine, I don't think Jess read this book very closely.

Elaine: (Laughing) We'll have to read it to him aloud.

C.I.: But Susann died of cancer. Betty, what did you think?

Betty: Well having suggested a "literary book," I hope I earned enough cred that it's not all wiped away when I say that I loved this book and got so involved with it. When Neely's institutionalized, when Jennifer discovers she'll have to have a mastectomy, when Anne gets Lyle and realizes that she needs to numb herself to continue living with what the dream has turned into, all of it hooked me.

Jess: Really?

C.I.: Jess didn't like the book.

Jess: I didn't say that.

Kat: It's okay, what did you think?

Jess: Honestly, I found it a bad book about pathetic characters. Anne was boring as the gopher and she was boring as the model. I kept waiting for her to do something and get over Lyle. Neely was the pushy kid in elementary school that you just wish would shut up already and stop singing and dancing to show off. If I felt anything for anyone, it was Jennifer because she actually sacrificed, aborting the baby because of Tony's disease that could be passed on and then killing herself after she checked herself out of the hospital.

Betty: Snuck out of the hospital. And for several pages after Jennifer learns of Tony's disease, I kept expecting to find out that Tony's sister had tricked her, honestly.

Jess: She was the only one trying to do something and aware of her limitiations. I just found her to be the only one resembling a human being in the whole book.

C.I.: Rebecca, if she were here, would point out that it's interesting the only one Jess is attracted to is the woman with the biggest breasts in the novel.

Elaine: The bigger the breasts, the greater Jess' sympathy. But Rebecca would forgive him for that since she herself is usually the one with the biggest breasts in the room.

C.I.: Note that Elaine and I were both joking when we said that.

Jess: Note that I laughed at both remarks.

Jim: So we covered highbrown and lowbrow, from The Custom of the Country to The Valley of the Dolls. There was some split on Anais Nin's A Spy In The House Of Love and a bigger split on The Valley of the Dolls, so if you're unfamiliar with either, use our remarks as a guide to figure out if it's a book you'd enjoy.

Democracy Now!: Musical spotlight

Democracy Now! is always worth watching (as Marcia says) and listening to and reading the transcripts of. But for those who may have missed it, we wanted to note two key musical moments this week.

As part of their extensive coverage of Camp Casey, Democracy Now! aired footage of folk pioneer Joan Baez performing last week. To slightly alter a Joni Mitchell song title, "She Played Real Good For Free." So if you missed it, please check it out.

Thursday, August 25th, 2005
Exclusive: Joan Baez Performs "Joe Hill" at Camp Casey
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Legendary folk singer Joan Baez took to the stage Wednesday evening to perform before a crowd gathered at at Camp Casey. Democracy Now! was there to record the event.To purchase an audio or video copy of this entire program, click here for our new online ordering or call 1 (888) 999-3877.

The following day, Democracy Now! offered another legendary folk performance. This one was from Bob Dylan in 1962.

Friday, August 26th, 2005
Bob Dylan Performing "The Ballad of the Emmett Till" on Pacifica Radio's WBAI in 1962
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In May 1962 the legendary folksinger Bob Dylan came by the WBAI studios in New York to perform his rarely heard tribute to Emmett Till. This is one of the earliest known live recordings of Bob Dylan. [includes rush transcript]
It was recorded within days of his 21st birthday. "The Ballad of Emmett Till" never appeared on an official Bob Dylan record and was only released on a compilation put out by Broadside Records (on which Dylan recorded under the pseudonym Blind Boy Grunt). This is from the
Pacifica Radio Archives.

Democracy Now! always plays a strong mix of music between segments but due to the historical nature of the two segments (one historical from the sixties, the other historical from our present day), we wanted to note them and be sure you were aware of them.

Third Estate Sunday Review News Review 8-26-05

C.I.: Good morning and welcome to The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review. Today we focus on the Iraqi constitution, the situation in Iraq, human rights issues, music and entertainment news. But first, we take a look at activism with Jess of The Third Estate Sunday Review. Jess, what's happening in the realm of activism?

Jess: While various gatekeepers of all stripes play the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke and attempt to stop the leakage, the peace movement moves on. The United Kingdom's The Independent reports that MP George Galloway will accompany Jane Fonda on the upcoming speaking tour in the United States. Andrew Buncombe notes that "Stand Up and Be Counted, starts in Boston on 13 September and will end at a rally scheduled for 24 September in Washington." September 24th through 26th will see numerous rallies and activism in D.C.
From United for Peace & Justice's "September Mobilization:"
Saturday, September 24
Massive March, Rally & Anti-war Festival
Gather 11 AM at the Washington Monument
March steps off at 12:30 PM
Sat., Sept. 24 - Operation Ceasefire Concert
Sun., Sept. 25 - Interfaith Service, Grassroots Training
Mon., Sept. 26 - Congressional Education Day and Mass Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Disobedience Linking Anti-war and Global Justice Protests
Leave no military bases behind
End the looting of Iraq
Stop the torture
Stop bankrupting our communities
No military recruitment in our schools
Activism continues at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas. In addition, it continues across the country.
Friday, across from the federal courthouse in Richmond, VA, Richmond Indymedia reports that forty activists held a protest against the war. Participant Christie Burwell stated "you can really see the change in perceptions; people are reacting more positively than a year ago." Aaron Samsel quotes a Navy veteran who participated in the protest asking,"If the war is based on a lie, what does it mean to continue fighting?"
San Diego Indymedia reports that the Bully Boy goes to Phoenix this Monday and to San Diego Tuesday. Protests are being organzied for both events.
The vigil continues at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas. However, Cindy Sheehan is looking to the future and, as she explains at BuzzFlash, that includes three buses on a tour with stops for rallies and to visit:
"every Congress person, pro-peace or anti-peace alike, Republican or Democrat, and ask them the same questions we are asking the president. Except with Congress, we are going to add one more thing: 'Since there is no Noble Cause, you need to develop a speedy exit strategy and bring our troops home as soon as humanly possible.'"
Additional information can be found at
One Congressional member they might want to visit is Hillary Clinton. As the Sunday Times of London notes, Hillary Clinton has offered no public statement of support to Cindy Sheehan and, remaining on the sidelines, "[t]he risk she runs is that another Democrat will become the voice of anti-war protest and might overtake her in the 2008 presidential primaries."

C.I.: Thank you, Jess. In the past, you've had a Washington Post article you've wanted to comment on. Do you have one for today?

Jess: I sure do. The Washington Post again embarrasses itself, today with an article by Petula Dvorak. Commenting on the events in D.C. in September, the Defense Department's Freedom Walk and the peace rallies, Dvorak creates a problem by noting that the Washington Post had originally signed on as a co-sponsor to the Defense Department's event. After noting that the Post pulled out, Dvorak then quotes another co-sponsor on why it's not a 'political' event. Where is the statement from the paper? Dvorak then notes that "many" support the headliner Clint Black but "others" criticize his inclusion due to the song "I Rag and Roll." Of the song Dvorak writes:
But one of Black's signature songs, "I Raq and Roll" -- with lyrics about "a high-tech GI Joe" with "infrared," "GPS" and "good, old-fashioned lead" -- makes others cringe.
Should they cringe? Dvorak chops up the song to include little that demonstrates why "others" cringe.
As noted by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, the song is about Iraq. The Defense Department event, we're told repeatedly including in Dvorak's article, is about 9/11 and not an attempt to tie the together. When carefully selecting what to include from the song in her report, Dvorak somehow missed:
"If they won't show us their weapons, we might have to show them ours. It might be a smart bomb -- they find stupid people, too. And if you stand with the likes of Saddam, one just might find you."
Will Black be performing that song? Will Black issue a "correction" to his song since Iraq didn't have WMDs? Dvorak could have told readers what the song said. She didn't. Her article is journalistically embarrassing.

C.I.: Thank you, Jess. Now for a look at Iraq we have Elaine who's substituting for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude on the invasion/occupation and Mike of Mikey Likes It! on the developments regarding the constitution. First we go to Elaine.

Elaine: The official fatality count for US military in Iraq is 78 for the month. When the invasion began with propaganda of "roses thrown at our feet" and greeted as liberators, we didn't see that number. In our first month, March, the fatality count, official, for US troops was 65, in April of 2003, the second month, we reached 74. Then the count dropped to below fifty for each month until November of 2003 when it soared to 82. Eight months later and the fatalities continued with the number actually rising. The total count, the official count, for US troop fatalities now stands at 1877.
Knight Ridder Newspapers ran an article Friday by Tom Lasseter entitled "Iraqi forces may need years of preparation." From Lasseter's article:
Three weeks of patrols and interviews in restive Anbar province suggested that Iraqi security forces will need years of preparation before they're ready to take charge of the complex and violent tribal areas of western Iraq. President Bush has said repeatedly that U.S. troops will withdraw only when Iraqi troops are ready to take over.
Many of the Iraqi troops were in poor condition, unable or unwilling to complete long foot patrols without frequent breaks. They often didn't know what to do in complicated situations, standing back and letting American Marines and soldiers take the lead.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reports that the US has begun bombing al-Qaim which is west of Bahgdad. Water and electricity have been cut off and one witness says the streets are filled with corpses. We previously 'took' the city this year while claiming that foreign fighters were present. Residents said they saw no evidence of foreign fighters.

C.I.: Which is a point Christian Parenti notes in his book, the "foreign fighters," The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq. He's reporting on Falluja but he notes that claims of foreign fighters in the area aren't backed up. And he notes why residents might tell the military foreign fighters were present, because they weren't going to say, "No, its us Fallujans who are shooting at you." Let's bring Mike in and, Mike, why don't you begin by noting where things stand with the Iraqi constitution.

Mike: Well talks of the future constitution of Iraq are still problematic. The Associated Press reports: "Five of the top Sunni Arabs in Iraq's government spoke out Saturday against the draft constitution, delivering a major blow to last-minute efforts to craft a document that can win the backing of all ethnic and political groups." Aljazeera reports that Shia and Kurds maintain that they offered amendments after hearing Sunni proposals but the Sunni negotiator, Fakhri al-Qaisi maintains Sunni concerns weren't addressed. Noting that the interim constitution required that a new constitution be "presented to Parliment" on August 15th, Juan Cole has pointed out that, by the interim constitution, parliment should have been disolved and new elections held. Since that did not occur, Juan Cole states that, "The rule of law is no longer operating in Iraq, and no pretence of constitutional procedure is being striven for. In essence, the prime minister and president have made a sort of coup, simply disregarding the interim constitution." The BBC reports "that [a] revised constitution will be put to MPs on Sunday" but Jon Brain, their reporter on the ground in Baghdad, "says prospects of agreement thus look remote, despite Mr Hassani's upbeat assessment. " Hajim al-Hassani is the Iraqi parliment speaker. The BBC also reports that the Arab Leauge has "described the Iraqi draft constitution as 'dangerous'" for not declaring Iraq an Arab nation. Instead it delcares that although the nation is not part of an Arab nation, Arabs in Iraq are part of the Arab nation.

C.I.: Kurds aren't Arabs, to offer one group in Iraq that's non-Arabic. Is the statement seen as a sign of federalism on the part of the new Iraq?

Mike: Canada's CBC reports that Sunnis maintain the proposed amendments do not deal with their concerns regarding federalism. Nabil Herbo told Aljazeera that, "Geographical or ethnic federation would leave the third ethnic group in Iraq as a minority in a Kurdish federation. Even though we are a majority in several parts of Iraq such as Talafar and Kirkuk." The Guardian
reports that Sunnis are opposed to the constitution which "they said would break up the state and sandwich Sunnis in the centre, where there is no oil, between an autonomous Kurdistan in the north and a Shia region in the south."

Elaine: Because the Kurds already have autonomy and the Shia's want it for their region as well. The two are considered oil rich properties.

Mike: Correct and the BBC reports that the Sunnis say "they will reject federal Iraq."

Elaine: What I found interesting, and Mike and I working from different sources, so I'm interested in his take on this, was the fact that civil war seems inevitable. Whether you're reading an article on what might happen if Iraq becomes a federation or on what might happen if the constitution proposal fails, it's suggested that a civil war will be the result.

Mike: Yeah, I saw that too. I wondered about that through the third or fourth article. Then I figured that the reporters were noting it in relation to what they were reporting on.

C.I.: It, "noting it," being a civil war in the making?

Mike: Correct. But, and I think Elaine will agree this, I think that's because no matter what option is taken, civil war seems very likely.

C.I.: And do you agree with that, Elaine?

Elaine: Yes, I think we all do, all of us working on this news review. And agree that our continued presence in Iraq only fans the flame. Iraqis have repeatedly voiced a desire for us to leave. Some people, in this country, act like this is a recent development but it's not. And while it may be hard to get that point into the mainstream media loudly, I'd argue that the Iraqi soccer team did just that during the Olympics. So any surprise over our presence being a continued soure of conflict strikes me as willful denial for anyone who's paid attention to the press.

Mike: I'd agree and I know Ava's going to do the human rights coverage later and hope I'm not stealing from something she plans to report but we're releasing 1,000 prisoners from Abu Ghraib according to The New Zealand Herald. In this country, we've all heard the right-wing argument that any torture that did occur was due to the fact that these were the worst criminals.

Elaine: Right, the argument that behavior on our part had to be placed into the context of these are "really bad people." Another lie bites the dust with the mass release, at Baghdad's request, of 1,000 prisoners.

C.I.: Thank you, Elaine and Mike. Iraq, previously, had been a part of the pan-Arabism movement that seeks to unite the Arab world. Similar in some ways to the pan-African movement. Now Ava of The Third Estate Sunday Review has a human rights report.

Ava: To start with, Australia's ABC reports that Terry Hicks no longer believes that his son will be set free. David Hicks was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 and he has been held in a in the United States for over three years. Terry Hicks feels that the military tribunal will not bring justice and notes:
"Regardless of what evidence or anything that David or the defence comes up with, it won't stand up because the President of the United States, he's the head of the military and he has the final say."
Indymedia reports that in Manila, garmet factory workers are occupying the Manila Labor Department and that they have "condemned the anti-worker 'Assumption of Jurisdiction' that Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas had recently declared to ease out the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) deadlock between the union and management."
In China, Xie Shinguang has died of leukemia, the BBC reports. Shinguang was sent to prison four seperate times, for a total of 28 years, due to the fact the he would not renounce his faith, Roman Catholicism.
Australia's ABC reports that "The United Nations says the gap between the world's rich and poor is widening," has greatly increased in the last ten years and that the development must be addressed.
In Iraq, Safia Taleb al-Souhail isn't pleased over the Iraqi constitution developments, The Independent reports. Safia Taleb al-Souhail was one of the people featured when elections took place and, after waving her ink stained finger, she was brought to the United States for the Bully Boy's February Operation Happy Talk speech and seated next to First Lady Laura Bush.
The former Iraqi exile Souhail now serves as Iraq's ambassador to Egypt told The Indpendent that "we thought we were going to improve rights and the position of women. But look what has happened: we have lost all the gains we made over the past 30 years. It's a big disappointment. Human rights should not be linked to Islamic sharia law at all. They should be listed separately in the constitution."
While there are human rights issues in every country, I'd hoped to highlight Haiti with a story published Saturday but searching various news sources turned up very little. What did turn up was dubious.
So I'll instead note a report from Friday's Democracy Now!:
The U.N. mission in Haiti recently launched an inquiry into the massacre of at least 20 people last weekend in the Port-au-Prince slum of Martissant.
During a soccer game on Saturday funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the US-backed interim Haitian government, hooded police and men with machetes attacked people they called "bandits." This according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Haitian priest Father Gerard Jean-Juste remains in prison and is still suffering from injuries inflicted during his arrest in July. Father Jean-Juste is now considered the prime candidate to run for president on the Lavalas ticket. He told the Associated Press earlier this week that he may run if his candidacy is approved by ousted Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was overthrown in what he calls a modern day kidnapping in the service of a coup d'etat backed by the United States.
And I'll follow that up by noting The Haitian Information Project on the same slaughter:
Eyewitnesses described to a group of human rights agents today this super t.v. drama styled event. As fans were being entertained during one of the breaks in the soccer game--highly attended because national league players had joined the local teams--a group of police and men wearing red tee shirts and head bands entered the playing field and took over the microphone from the announcer. The people in the crowd at first thought that this was a friendly show of security by the police. But that idea was immediately dashed when the red shirt announcer stopped the music being played by the DJ and then demanded everyone to lay on the ground. A shot was fired into the air and people began a panicked response. Some tried to run away, some tried scaling the walls to escape and several of these were shot. Others tried running into the adjoining rooms of the stadium and later were found hacked to death. The red shirts, backed up by the police began demanding specific individuals lying on the ground if they were affiliated with Aristide, asking for confirmation from others whether these people were "bandits". Then without mercy these red shirts either hacked their victims to death or hacked them and then had their victims shot by the police. According to eyewitnesses and the family members of the victims interviewed today, the victims of the executioners were innocent people and were attacked only because they were allegedly Lavalas supporters.
Here in the United States, charges against the Tucson Raging Grannies have been dropped, the Associated Press reports. The five women, whose ages range age from 65 to 81, were charged with trespassing when they take to their protest against the war into a recruiting center and insisted that they be signed up to go to Iraq as opposed to the nation's children. The city prosecutor had this to say on the dropping of charges:
"Essentially, by the time the police arrived, 10 minutes after the initial call, they had already left and were back at their protest on the sidewalk. Proving they did not leave after they were requested to leave would be difficult."
The Raging Grannies maintain the protests at the recruiting center will go on "until there is no longer a need to be there."

C.I.: Thank you, Ava. The July 13th arrest brought international media attention to the Tucson Raging Grannies, as Arizona Indymedia reported, and found them fielding interviews with everyone from the BBC to The Today Show in this country. Now we go to Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man for entertainment news.

Betty: C.I., a press that was largely silent on the passing on publisher John H. Johnson now comes alive as they attempt to portray a fight between Chicago Defender editor Roland Martin and media giant Oprah Winfrey loosely basing their "reporting" on Martin's column Friday. An Associated Press article circling the web screams of Oprah being "furious" That Martin called her out. Despite what the AP reported, it was not just for not attending Johnson's funeral. Martin had checked with the family of John H. Johnson and they told him they'd had no contact from Oprah. Oprah states that she sent flowers and a note. She further states that she will honor Johnson in a program when she returns from her vacation.

C.I.: Your take on it?

Betty: The same media that didn't see fit to note Johnson's death in great detail is now interested in what they see as a "black on black" battle helped out by the fact that one of the parties is a media titan. If there's a story here worth circulating, it's that Oprah will be honoring Johnson in an upcoming program. Instead the "black on black" battle is played up. In other news, playwright August Wilson announced Friday that he was dying from liver cancer. Wilson's
plays include Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Fences. Fences won both the Pulitzer and the Tony. NPR has revived the fifties radio series This I Believe. Knight Ridder Newspapers reports that NPR has already recived over 3,000 essays and that those selected will be posted at NPR's website.

C.I.: Thank you, Betty. NPR's This I Believe series has already featured Gloria Steinem, as Christine at Ms. Musing noted last week. You can listen to Steinem or read the transcript of her essay. Also, let's take a moment to note And we'll note that in honor of Women's Equality Day, Ms. is offering subscriptions at half-price, $12.50, through Wednesday, August 31st. For our final report, Kat, of Kat's Korner, will bring us to speed on the music world.

Kat: Fiona Apple's long supressed album, Extraordinary Machine, will be released October 4th. Track samples are available online at her web site. The album Sony had to be forced into releasing by Apple fans will be released in the dual disc format. Other upcoming albums include the September 6th releases of Joan Baez's live CD Bowery Songs and Another Run Around the Sun by Ben Taylor, son of Carly Simon and James. From the Joan Baez web site, September 30th, she will performing in concert at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz, CA. followed by performing at a free festival on October 1st at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Baez spent several days last week performing for free at Camp Casey in Crawford, TX. Photos from Camp Casey can be found at the Not In Our Name web site. In other upcoming album release news, October 11th brings the release of Alicia Keys' MTV Unplugged album featuring Common and Mos Def. Rolling Stone reports that August 30th, when Kanye West's Late Registration is released, West will be at Tower Records in NYC signing copies. Spin reports that Slash and Duff of Guns 'n Roses have sued Axel Rose over Rose's attempt to get ASCAP to send royalties due Slash and Duff to Rose. Spin also reports that Bjork has donated the swan dress she wore to Oscars in 2001 to Oxfam for a charity auction. As reported by the Buffalo News, Ani DiFranco has cancelled her tour which was due to begin next month due to tendonitis. She will be taking a year off from touring. Professional nuisance and one time acne medication schill, Pat Boone has taken to denouncing Cindy Sheehan. Whether that will win back any of his small number of fans is unknown though it's hard to think they've forgiven Bafoon for his desperation foray into heavy metal in 1997. Message to Bafoon, Jesus forgives but Rock 'N Roll never forgets. Pat Bafoon hasn't had a political crush like the one he has for Bully Boy since Nixon was in the White House.
In the real world, as ABC reports, the most requested video on MTV is Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends." October 13th, Wilco will play a benefit concert for Riley Hospital for Children reports Indianapolis' The Indy Star. Finally, the latest issue of Rolling Stone which features a cover story on Jack White of the White Stripes also features a sixteen page fashion layout featuring the Black Eyed Peas. It also contains an article by Matt Taibii where he once again makes a complete ass of himself.

C.I.: Taibii recently won praise for addressing the Ohio voting issue after dismissing it. What's your opinion of the article itself?

Kat: Junior gatekeeper has mistaken himself for a voice of authority. A beat at the New York Press don't impress real much. He can be funny but he's pulls whatever brain muscles he does have when he attempts actual thought. Confronted with actual Americans, on both sides of the issue, Taibii runs like a scared rabbit while attempting to toss off pithy remarks over his shoulder. It's the worst article Rolling Stone has run since their hideous Bug Chasers article a few years back. Hopefully, readers will weigh in and inform Jann Wenner that Rolling Stone doesn't need to attempt to fill the pomposity vacuum created by the retirement of William F. Buckley and that pieces like this don't belong in the magazine.

C.I.: Thank you, Kat. And thanks to Dallas for hunting down links and to Ty, Jim and Dona of, The Third Estate Sunday Reivew, who supervised and researched, edited and kept the news review flowing and on track.

Blog Spotlight: Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Elaine on Bully Boy and much more

We've noted Mike's take on Democracy Now!'s Wednesday headlines in our blog spotlight, now we'll note Elaine's. We have edited her entry. Elaine quotes Kat's latest album review in full. We agree it's great and we've spotlighted here so we've noted where we've edited the entry. Elaine's done a wonderful job filling in for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude and she's also been a huge help here at The Third Estate Sunday Review.

3 items from Democracy Now! and Kat's review of The Complete Cass Elliot Solo Collection 1968-1971

Elaine here with you for the rest of August while Rebecca is on vacation.
Mike (Mikey Likes It!) and I are going to hit the same three headlines from Democracy Now! again today. This time, we planned to because we were wondering how we might look it the same and might look at it differently.

The first item reminds me of a song from the sixties.

200 Protest Bush in Tiny Idaho Town of 130 (Democracy Now!)
In Idaho Bush is staying at Tamarack Resort, known for its world-class ski mountain, its professional golf course and the beautiful Lake Cascade. Meanwhile anti-war protesters met Bush in Idaho. Even though the tiny town of Donnelly only has a population of 130, some 200 protesters took to the streets Monday night. Protests were also held in Boise. There were reports protesters planned to issue a citizen's arrest warrant for the president. Laura McCarthy, whose son is in Iraq, said at a rally "President Bush probably breathed a sigh of relief when he landed in Idaho last night. But no matter where he goes, he's going to find a Cindy Sheehan in every community across the United States. The name is going to be different, but the message is going to be the same."

Calling out around the world
Are you ready for a brand new beat?
Summer's here and the time is right
For Dancing in the Street

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas had the hit with that song and the Mamas and the Papas also do a strong version of it. But Martha Reeves and the Vandellas also have "Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide" and doesn't that seem like the theme of Bully Boy's summer vacation?
When he gets back to the White House and Dick Cheney makes him write up a "What I Did This Summer" paper, that should be the theme: I ran from the people, Dick, because they don't trust me.
He's hiding out with hand picked audiences again. Kelley O'Donnell (or Kelly - I honestly don't care whether I get an inept reporter's name correct) was beaming broader than Norah O'Donnell as she went into the Bully Boy's performance. The footage and KD's smile were supposed to uplift us. If a real reporter had been doing that report (for NBC's Nightly News), don't you think serious issues about the crowd, how they were selected and shots of the protestors at the end would have been utilized? Instead KD wants to launch Operation Happy Talk all by herself. "Stooge" is the nicest word that comes to mind.

Bush: Sheehan Is Advocating a Policy to "Weaken" The Country (Democracy Now!)
President Bush has dismissed the ongoing anti-war vigil in Crawford Texas initiated by Cindy Sheehan. He claimed she was advocating a policy that would weaken the country. "I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq but the Middle East would be -- are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States," Bush said. "So I appreciate her right to protest. I understand her anguish. I met with a lot of families. She doesn't represent the view of a lot of the families I have met with. And I'll continue to meet with families." Bush's comments came during a last-minute trip to the Idaho resort town of Donnelly. The trip was scheduled after hundreds of military families, veterans and anti-war protesters began camping outside his 1,600 acre estate in Crawford Texas.

Cindy Sheehan is weaking the country? She was in charge of national security when 9/11 happened? No that job was Condi Rice's and Bully Boy appointed her. And Bully Boy wants to lecture about weakening the country while he's in the midst of a five week vacation while we're "at war?" The only thing that Cindy Sheehan is weakening is the media created myth of "Bush at War." People are catching on the lies they've been told and that they were sold a war based on lies.

Bush's Approval Rating Plummets to New Low of 36% (Democracy Now!)
Meanwhile opinion polls show President Bush's approval rating has dropped to a new low of just 36 percent -- according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Bush's approval rating is now lower than Richard Nixon's was at the height of the Watergate scandal.

It it any wonder? He's hiding out on resorts, after leaving his estate, and the "common man" act just doesn't play anymore. After five years, the pass would probably be pulled anyway -- the "isn't it cute how he stumbles and bumbles." He's never grown into the office or found a way to seem presidential. Now people catch on to reality, the body counts, the lies, and there's nothing to back up his empty words.
Now I need to note Kat's latest review at The Common Ills.

"Kat's Korner: The Complete Cass Elliot Solo Collection 1968-71" (The Common Ills)
Gather round, kiddes, we got a history lesson.Oh quit moaning! History can be fun sometimes. And this is musical history so even better.Quick, long before Joan Rivers sat behind Johnny Carson's desk on The Tonight Show what female singer performed the same duties? Not sure. Okay, try this one: who was the first woman to sit down for The Rolling Stone Interview?Are you guessing Janis Joplin? Wipe off your self-satisfied smirk because you're wrong. You in the back, the guy shouting "Grace Slick! Grace Slick!" You're wrong too.
[. . .]
Cass is a treasure, not "was." I think Kat writes about music like no one else and that The Common Ills community has been lucky to have her as the in-house music critic since December. She always manages to find something that might be overlooked and to say it in a way that no one else can. If Kat's reviews were gathered together and printed in a book, I'd not only buy it, I'd ask her to autograph a copy for me.
She perfectly captures what Cass offers, real artistry and compassion.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace.
Andre Gide

Blog Spotlight: Mike interviews Ty over at Mikey Likes It!

This week, we're spotlighting several entries. We chose this one by Mike (Mikey Likes It!) not because it features our own Third Estater Ty, but that didn't hurt. We selected it because this week, he and Elaine began working to spotlight the same stories from Democracy Now! while offering their own opinions of them. We think you'll find the points they make interesting so we're highlighting both of their entries from Wednesday.

"Democracy Now! and my interview with Ty"

Good evening. We have three stories from Democracy Now! and Elaine and I are going to do the same ones and see if one of us notices something or makes a point the other doesn't so check out Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude where Elaine's been filling in for Rebecca. And at the end, we'll have my interview with Ty of The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Bush: Sheehan Is Advocating a Policy to "Weaken" The Country
President Bush has dismissed the ongoing anti-war vigil in Crawford Texas initiated by Cindy Sheehan. He claimed she was advocating a policy that would weaken the country. "I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq but the Middle East would be -- are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States," Bush said. "So I appreciate her right to protest. I understand her anguish. I met with a lot of families. She doesn't represent the view of a lot of the families I have met with. And I'll continue to meet with families." Bush's comments came during a last-minute trip to the Idaho resort town of Donnelly. The trip was scheduled after hundreds of military families, veterans and anti-war protesters began camping outside his 1,600 acre estate in Crawford Texas.

C.I. nailed that nonsense this morning at The Common Ills:

Really now, Bully Boy? And when will he find time to meet with Patrica Roberts? As noted on Democracy Now! ("Mother of First Soldier from Georgia Killed in Iraq Also Demands to Speak with Bush"), "Her son Jamaal Addison was killed in Iraq in 2003."
PATRICIA ROBERTS: My son was with the 507 Maintenance Company. He died with Jessica Lynch and the P.O.W.s. He was the unit that took the wrong turn. He was one of the 11 that got killed, the first Sunday, which they call that day the "Bloody Sunday." [. . .]
YORUBA RICHEN: You haven't been able to meet with President Bush. Do you want to, and what would you say to him?
PATRICIA ROBERTS: Yes. I do want to meet with President Bush. I feel that President Bush owes me a personal condolence, being again that my son was the first soldier to die for Georgia, and when I watched him go to church and do other things with the soldiers that were alive and the other people that he was commending for what they had done, I felt that he owes myself and every other parent the personal respect of saying to them face-to-face, knowing who their soldier is, knowing the parents and saying, "My condolences for what your son did for me and our country." How he goes about choosing which parents he talked to, because I don't know why I haven't gotten the opportunity to talk to him. So I would like to know how he goes about it. Is it the ones that support the war? And that's the ones that he's talking to, those soldiers that survived? Are he talking to the families that once their child is gone, that they still support him? Are those the families he's talking to? I don't know who he is talking to. All I know is that he is not talking to me.
Exactly when will the Bully Boy make time for Patricia Roberts? It's over two years after her son, Jamaal Addison, was killed. What's the time table Bully Boy's working from? Are all those vacations leaving him little time to work? (Will he hit a full year of vacation before Dec. 31, 2005? Magic 8 Ball says, "It is possible.")

The only Americans Bully Boy will meet with are the ones who support him. He seems to forget that the nation is not his fan club and that he works for us. But he just wants people to puff up his ego because deep down inside he's got to know he is as disgusting, weak and pathetic as most people are saying.

200 Protest Bush in Tiny Idaho Town of 130
In Idaho Bush is staying at Tamarack Resort, known for its world-class ski mountain, its professional golf course and the beautiful Lake Cascade. Meanwhile anti-war protesters met Bush in Idaho. Even though the tiny town of Donnelly only has a population of 130, some 200 protesters took to the streets Monday night. Protests were also held in Boise. There were reports protesters planned to issue a citizen's arrest warrant for the president. Laura McCarthy, whose son is in Iraq, said at a rally "President Bush probably breathed a sigh of relief when he landed in Idaho last night. But no matter where he goes, he's going to find a Cindy Sheehan in every community across the United States. The name is going to be different, but the message is going to be the same."

These are the people Bully Boy won't meet with. These are the ones that don't count as citizens. Anyone could go see Bill Clinton but Bully Boy has to have his audiences selected because he can't take any reality creeping in. That's why he's had to take a vacation from his vacation.He's a coward and I hope protesters follow him everywhere he goes. He needs to know that the country isn't pleased with the crappy job he's been doing.
And the mothers and fathers need to make him see that he has destroyed their families with his illegal war. He needs to see the pain he's caused and if he wants to make a joke about it, like he did with Karla Fay Tucker, then that shows you what a creep he is.

Bush's Approval Rating Plummets to New Low of 36%
Meanwhile opinion polls show President Bush's approval rating has dropped to a new low of just 36 percent -- according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Bush's approval rating is now lower than Richard Nixon's was at the height of the Watergate scandal.

See? Nobody likes him. He can't even fool us anymore. He's just a big idiot screaming "Stay the course! Stay the course!" trying to make it seem like 9/11 and Iraq are related. His tricks are old and people aren't falling for them lately. Bully Boy has dropped to a new low in the polls but in events he always finds a new low to drop to. When our grandchildren are taught about this time, they'll wonder how America came so close to being a dictatorship.
I hope he gets impeached but if that doesn't happen, I hope we all wake up to the Bully Boy family and that the vote count rigged "dynasty" ends with Bully Boy. No George P., no Jeb, just jeer anytime one of them says they'll run. Two of them were enough to destroy the country, we don't need anymore of them in the White House. So if they run, anyone from that family, I hope that protesters show up early, like in the primaries and boo, hiss and heckle them.
I'm sure Elaine will have a better way of telling this tonight so make sure you check out her post.
No e-mails this evening because it's Wednesday and that means it's time an interview. This week's victim :D is Ty of The Third Estate Sunday Review.
What are you reading?
Ty: What are you reading? (Laughs) We're laughing because we're both reading Tariq Ali's Street Fighting Years. Want to talk about that?
Man. Last week when Betty said "My copy won't be in at the library until Friday," I was like "Thank God."
Ty: I know. Dona's like a speed reader. And C.I.'s usually already read the book.
Right, I think the only book that C.I. read for "5 Books, 5 Minutes" or any book feature was What's My Name, Fool? by Dave Zirin. So it's like "Cool" about whatever gets picked but I'm always like, "5 books?"
Ty: I know. I picked up Tariq Ali's and I was hoping there would be drawings or photos inside.
It's a great book but it's a long one when you're trying to do five books in one week.What do you read for yourself?
Ty: Nothing when we're trying to do five books in a single week. But I like a lot of different stuff. I like theory and I like fiction, a lot of the same books Folding Star would praise at A Winding Road were books I'd read and enjoy. I'll read anything and that comes from my grandparents always telling me to stay informed. My grandfather hands you a book on flowers or botany and you say, "I don't want to look at this" he'd tell you that was exactly the reason you need to read it. So I'm open to basically anything. I'll give pretty much anything a chance. I may end up hating it but I'll put in some time to find out.
You like Stephen King books.
Ty: Yes. I grew up reading those books. I can remember being told it was bedtime and I'd just not be ready. So I'd grab this little flashlight, go on to bed, get under the covers, and with the flashlight, I'd read my Stephen King book under the cover.
Why Stephen King?
Ty: I guess because it's . . . His books, his best ones, are something more than just scary and there's the whole leading character who is misunderstood and what kid hasn't felt like the whole world misunderstands him or her?
What's been your favorite thing, I think I know the answer to this, about doing The Third Estate Sunday Review?
Ty: Well it is fun. I get tired and I fell asleep during the news review Saturday. Dona just let me sleep.
I know. We were all going, "Do we wake him?" Jim was saying your thing was too important and Dona goes, "So is sleep. People are tired of all nighters and they have their own lives. Let him sleep."
Ty: I woke up feeling great but I did wonder if I should feel guilty.
Nah. Everybody knew you had a long day and been rushing around.
Ty: I just knew my loud snore was going out over the phone lines.
Cause we're on the phone during that. A lot of people wrote in, I did this sort of look at the making of the news review, and they said why is Dona whispering to C.I. to stretch and all and the reason is because at least half of us, maybe more are on the phone. I'm on the phone. Elaine's on the phone, C.I.'s usually on the phone, Cedric's on the phone . . . But we heard a few snorts from you maybe three times, four tops, otherwise no snores.
Ty: But it's fun and we all learn something each time. There's the exchange in the roundtables that readers see but that same thing happens when we're writing something, we're saying, "I think . . ." or whatever and debating something as we are writing it. And, I'll go personal details here, as you know and everyone helping Saturday, Friday I had my first big intense romantic breakup and I was pretty much out of it from Friday until Sunday.
That was weird to me because we spoke on the phone Saturday morning, you and me, and I was thinking, "Wow, Ty can go through something like this?" because you seem to be so smooth.
Ty: What can I tell you, we're all human.
Well, when I brought up the question, I was actually thinking in terms of your favorite thing that's been done at The Third Estate Sunday Review?
Ty: Hmm. There's a large number of things. I liked the whole summer edition, where we had the creative writing pieces.
And you came up with the idea for "K-Boy Tries To Get Back Home (a horrific parable)."
Ty: Yeah. We were talking about Stephen King before and that's where you were headed, I get it. I wanted something spooky and I did think up the idea but I didn't know where it was going. It was a group effort but I do like that story and I am glad for my part in getting the basic idea. I also liked the sixties edition too. Those things take a lot of time and you can't do them every week but I think they contain some of our better stuff because we're doing something that's creative and works off the interplay between us. Also there's not a lot of creative writing going on at political sites. C.I. does it. Like "Rudith Miller" or "COUP: Today Show Seizes Control of the New York Times' Front Page" --
Or my favorite "Clubbing With the New York Times."
Ty: Yeah that's hysterical but it takes a lot of work to do something like that. So at The Third Estate Sunday Review we don't usually have the time for a special edition even though we all are really proud of them when we do them.
I've interviewed Dona, Jim, Ava and now you, so Jess is next and I'm wondering if you had any questions I should ask him about?
Ty: Well Jess, Jim and I all share an apartment. So I could probably give you some good questions for both of them.
I'm thinking of one bit of news that's not "known."
Ty: I know what you're thinking of. I bet he'll bring it up on his own.
Well Ty, thank you for agreeing to the interview. I hope we can do a follow up.
Ty: Sure thing. Just holler.

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