Sunday, October 23, 2005

A note to our readers

Another Sunday . . . afternoon.

Last weekend, the plan was to get back together at night and do the editorial. We got back together but it didn't happen. (Read Beth's column if that's news to you.)

So when problems began happening, we made the decision that hell or high water, we'd stick it out until we got the editorial and our note posted.

Which we have. Here's what you're missing. "Dear Third Estate Sunday Review." That was written with four e-mails from readers and us riffing on one another to come up with the replies. No one took notes. We thought it was an easy feature and Ty did the typing. It was going to be the first thing posted. It was lost in posting. Here's the second thing you're missing a dialogue with Wally of The Daily Jot on blogging. That actually shows up as posted in our "edit posts" window on Blogger. It just doesn't show up on the site. We're not going to worry about it. (No offense to Wally.) Sometimes those entries that don't display but show posted pop up on their own. The third thing was a creative effort that was Ty's idea and when it was lost, Ty argued that it was proof we neede to put more time into it and shoot for next week. The fourth thing that was lost was the editorial. Lost and lost repeatedly.

Maybe it was a sign. On a break to rush over to The Common Ills and get posts up there, C.I. put up two of Isaiah's latest. Laughing at the latest The World Today Just Nuts, we couldn't help but think there was a better editorial topic. (For the record, the lost editorial wasn't endorsing Michael Bloomberg for mayor. To read that kind of nonsense, you need to pick up The New York Times.) So that's what we went with.

In addition, you have the latest TV review from Ava & C.I., who caution that they do know people involved with the show, and while they feel this review is better than last week's they wouldn't rank it as one of their finest. (The rest of us laughed repeatedly. We think you will too.)

You also have the news review which was the biggest pain in the ass ever. Computer screens kept freezing. That was Jess' parents, Wally's, you name it. Conference calls would be going smoothly (which is how we do it) and suddenly, we'd all have a dial tone. Not counting the time required to all get back on the line, we're not sure whether we went an hour or over (or under, though we doubt it).

It was a night of "fun" to put it mildly -- that quickly became a morning of fun and now an afternoon of fun. But, to Matt Lauer it, we're happy to report some good news: we all worked effectively together and, though very tired, if we had to stay up two more hours, the core of The Third Estate Sunday Review (Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.) gladly would. Big difference from last weekend.

A piece we did get up that we worked many hours on (seriously, we debated and argued over each and every word, pretty much) is another humorous look at the watchdog you all know. We think Watchdog Daily stands with our earlier parody and that you'll laugh when you read it.

We thank Dallas for his help, Jess' parents for their help, Maria for allowing us to repost her entry and Isaiah for allowing us to use not one, but two of his The World Today Just Nuts comics.

We also thank the following for their participation (help is too mild a word) and contributions:

Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Mike of Mikey Likes It!, and Wally of The Daily Jot.

With the exceptions of this note (written by the people who sign off at the bottom) and the TV review (written by Ava & C.I.) the above worked on every feature this week, including the lost ones.

Hopefully you'll find something that will make you laugh, make your scream in anger or make you think.

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

Editorial: Did we miss the memo?

Did we miss the memo? Not the one on how Diane Feinstein's so worried that criticism of Harriet Miers might be "sexist." Not the one on how Democrats playing up Tom DeLay's arrest will hurt them in the 2006 election (as one Republican wag told The New York Times which was eager to put it into print on Friday).

We're talking about the roll over memo? Now granted, the confirmation vote, the bankruptcy bill vote, practically any piece of legisilation has played out as though the majority of Dems in Congress were reading from a memo entitled "Democrats Determined To Roll Over In 2005."
But usually we get a little trace of spunk into the leadup to the vote.

Not now. Now Diane Feinstein, fresh from her hat and gloves performance at the Roberts confirmation hearings, is weighing in on "poor Harriet."

Did we miss it? Did Old Man Hatch make some ludicrous crack about "a woman's place is in . . ."
Not only is a woman's place in the House, it's also in the Senate, and as Justices Ginsberg and O'Conner have demonstrated, it's also on the bench.

But Harrie seems determined to play the gender card (aided and abetted by Sister In Arms Laura Bush) and Dems are biting their tongues to avoid looking like a bunch of meanines who want to set the cause of women's rights back a few hundred years.

How stupid is the Democratic Party leadership? Or is that the they think the voters are that stupid? What's a consistent core of support for Dems? Women. Who is one of the first groups they take for granted in most presidential elections? Women.

The only thing that saves them in most elections is the image of the Republican Party as being slightly to right of the ruling class in Margaret Atwood's A Handmaiden's Tale. Now Bully Boy nominates a woman and Dems can't find their voice because to criticize her lack of record, her lack of experience, her lack of knowledge might apear "sexist"?

If there's a gender card to play right now, it's only because the Dems are dealing it to the Republicans by staying silent on this nonsense that criticism of Harriet Miers might be sexist.
You know what might be sexist? Tempering your arguments and biting your tongue on a nominee who has no qualifications out of some misguided fear that you'd appear sexist.

And as if it's not bad enough that one word from Laura Bush can make grown Dems quake in their shoes, along comes the DeLaysters to advise that it would be a big mistake, big, huge, to make an issue of Tom DeLay in the 2006 elections.

Maybe we missed it, but we're not remembering the Republican Party as ever wanting to give helpful advice on how to win to the Democratic Party? What we are remembering is negative ads on Tom Daschle, negative ads about Bill Clinton, the infamous "democRATS" ad, on and on.

Now come on. Do you really think the DeLaysters are saying, "This could hurt you!" because they're afraid Democrats might not pick up seats if they ran negative ads on DeLay?

If so, you've got some serious problems.

What's going on here, in both cases, is the Republicans are once again screaming, "Red sky, blue sun!" and Dems are letting them set the terms.

If Nancy Pelosi were sitting in a jailhouse right now, there's not one Republican in the House that would say they felt sorry for her family, nor would any Republican be saying, "Hey guys, this is a golden photo op/ad campaign, but let's sit on it."

The Democrats are the most naive party in the world. They truly belive that when a Republican offers "advice" it's with the best of intentions.

The Republicans don't want an issue made of DeLay in 2006 because he has become their worst nightmare. But they don't say that. They don't say, "Look, you'll really hurt us if you run this campaign, so please don't." Instead, like some looney version of I Love Lucy, they attempt to use reverse psychology. "Go ahead and run it, it will help us win!"

Instead of questioning the statement, Dems start murmuring amongst themselves, "Oh my God! Did you hear that! A Republican staffer just said if we run ads against DeLay in 2006, we'll tank at the polling booths!"

Apparently, when they sold their spines, they also hocked their common sense because they seem to truly believe that Republicans offer genuine and helpful advice to them. Little Red Riding Hood had more sense than the leaders of the Democratic Party.

Instead of spending four more years whining about framing, how about rejecting the terms the Republicans are setting right now? Kent Conrad was highly effective in an appearance on The NewsHour back in 2003. He didn't need to pull out his framing playbook. Instead he just said, "No." 'No, that's not true. No, that's not right. You can say that over and over thirty times but you'll still be wrong. ' Plain spoken, Conrad was effective.

The Democrats need to revisit that moment because there haven't been a lot of them since.

And instead of leaping every time a Republican screams "Jump!" the thing to do might be to stop being so foolish as to think the opposition party actually wants you to run effective races in 2006.

Miers isn't qualified, DeLay got booked and finger printed. There's no framing needed. There's no need to figure out the big message. These are simple facts that Democrats should be able to express plainly and in basic terms.

[The Harriet Miers illustration is from Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts found here. The Tom DeLay illustration is from Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts found here. This editorial was written by Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava of The Third Estate Sunday Review', Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Wally of The Daily Jot and C.I. of both The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review.]

TV Review: Shh, it's a Ghost Whisperer

Back when it seemed the country was hopped up on an economic bubble that could never pop (or maybe that was X?), it was as though we were being invaded with three named actresses. Sarah Jessica Parker, Sarah Michelle Geller . . . Mary Kate and Ashley.

Easily the most talented of the crop was Jennifer Love Hewitt. She was also the most attractive. (Disclosure, we know Love.) She made Freddie Prinze Jr. almost seem human in I Know What You Did Last Summer (a feat SMG has still not managed to pull off in real life). She held her own in the company of Gene Hackman, Sigorney Weaver, Anne Bancroft, Ray Liotta and Carrie Fisher in the hugely underrated Heartbreakers. The future was wide open, as Tom Petty might just as well have sung about her.

All it took was a lousy show, Time of Your Life, to destroy that bright future. Probably not a good idea to spin off your Party of Five character when you'd already left that world far behind.

Meanwhile, the other Jennifer (Lopez) beat her into development with a film based on wedding planner who falls in love with the groom. Love couldn't seem to catch a break as everywhere you looked Katie Holmes was making an idiot of herself saying "boop-boop-pee-doo!"

Love ended up making films like Garfield and a lot of people were writing her off. (Though when there was talk of turning of turning the TV series Dallas into a film, Love was often mentioned for the role of Pam.) Now she's back on TV in Ghost Whisperer.

Ghost Whisperer.

Oooh. Scary.

But not really. There's no "Oh my God!" leap to your feet moments in this show. It's even milder than Nick's Goosebumps and, honestly, plays like a weekly version of Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer with various Caspers and Wendys filling in for the colts and fillies.

That's what we call a minus. Here's another one, David Conrad. He plays Love's husband. We're not sure how good or bad he is in the role, we're just sure that the world hasn't been waiting for a dark haired Doug Savant. (The world can barely stomach a blond haired one.) The Tom DeLay type hair style's a turn off. The nose reminds us of W.C. Fields. The thin lips need another shade because what appears to be Benefit's Ginger Snap isn't working on him. Also not working are his long wisps of sideburns which make it appear he's wearing a wig from the Eva Gabor collection.

Near the end of "The Homecoming," there was a mild bump-in-the-night moment that caused Love and a shirtless Conrad to leave their bed. We checked out the body and let's just say that Conrad's face is, sadly, his best feature.

Conrad's Jim is basically the Oscar Goldman to Love's Jamie Sommers (Bionic Woman) with bedtime benefits thrown in as a bonus. He's there for Love to explain where the plot's been headed in case anyone dozes during the mild proceedings. Conrad's the type of plain, second tier actor who's killed the joy in too many Sandra Bullock films. Having been paired with photogenic men in the past (plus Breckin Meyer), we're wondering how much thought went into casting Conrad opposite Love?

No thought goes into the writing. Early into "The Homecoming," we learn that a haunted house (former orphanage) is about to be bought. When we meet the buyer and he brusquely informs Love that he's going to tear down the home, we knew right away that he grew up there. Even if we had to wait thirty-five more minutes or so for that to be confirmed. While we waited for the obvious confirmation, we were treated to Love reading Peter Pan to two ghost children while a third listened from the hall and cried.

It was all so warm and fuzzy, we kept expecting Stone Phillips to toss a sweater over his shoulders and show up.

Intercut with those haunted house moments were scenes of Love with Conrad as they played newlyweds who bickered over one of his friends. When the friend comes peeling down the street, you know he's going to run over Love's prized plant (a bush -- no, we weren't going to say "Love's prized . . .") because moments earlier, for the first time, she's told her husband to watch where he steps so he doesn't step on her plant. As she hightails it out of there (to the haunted house), the bud asks why does she hate him so? Conrad informs him that besides running over her plant, it might have something to do with passing out at their wedding before the ceremony started.

Conrad and friend get a solo scene later where Conrad suddenly decides he's had enough of his friend and gives him a grow up & get out speech. We were confused as to why. When you've already passed out at the wedding, what's left to do? Apparently taking part in a pointless, static, talking head scene was the ultimate betrayal of friendship.

Love reunites the buyer with his childhood friends (the ghosts) in a sort of Whoopi Goldberg Ghost moment, only without the Righteous Brothers on the soundrack. Then she goes home happy to discover her husband's friend has been sent packing.

The episode ends with them being awakened by a noise. Turns out it's the ghost dog from the haunted house. Yes, people, the shows is so cloying that it also results to ghost dogs. All Conrad can see is the ball going up and down the stairs. Love can see him playing with it. Since neither wore shoes, and no mention was made of the dog being housebroken, let's also hope Love can see any little treats ghost dog might leave for them.

It took many episodes for The Bionic Woman to feel the need to bring on Max, the bionic dog. We're not even a fourth of the way into the first season and already we've got a ghost dog. Can guest spots with Lee Majors playing Richie Rich be far behind?

The show has bad word of mouth on it, strong bad word of mouth, and CBS keeps telling reporters that it's those pesky Joan of Arcadia fans who are so furious with CBS for cancelling Joan that they're determined to sink Ghost Whisperer. Apparently the market's invisible hands are attached to tween-ers. You can pass that on to Adam Smith (or let Love's Melinda since Smith is dead) but we're not buying it.

If this show were a salsa, it would be one you could serve your great-grandma.

That said, it does work on some levels. That's largely due to the fact that Love's actually effective in the role -- even when playing retreads of scenes from I Know What You Did Last Summer. (Instead of pretending to need to use the phone, she pretends to need to check out the basement.) Love has a wounded quality onscreen. That's probably why the "You're gonna' make it after all" flavor of Time of Your Life worked so poorly. (Or one of the many reasons.)

In her most effective roles, she plays a character who stands apart. That's Sarah who was never really part of The Party of Five, that's Julie James of I Know What You Did . . . and I Still Know What You Did . . ., that's the con artist who tries to shut down her heart in Heartbreakers, go down the list. You can even include the social misfit Del from The Tuxedo.

As Melinda Gordon, a woman who can communicate with the spirit world, Love's a perfect fit.
She does hold your attention. You watch and keep waiting for something big to happen. It never does. We think they're taking the "Whisperer" in the title far too literally.

And we're honestly reminded of the Knots Landing episode ("Three Sisters") where the women were in the haunted house. Don't remember that? Few do. It's before the show gets into full gear with the Abby/Gary/Val storyline, while Knots Landing was still floundering around attempting to figure out what exactly it was.

What Ghost Whisperer is right now is a show in transition, between the real world and the spirit world, and afraid to cross over. Love's holding the audience but the show runner needs to figure out where this is all going. Otherwise you're looking a program, that's currently a hit, tanking fast. To their credit, they've flattened Love's hair in some scenes. (The Kim Possible hair style overshadows her face and makes Love look even more dangerously thin.) But that and casting her in the lead is about all that's been done right thus far.

We'd suggest killing off Conrad's character quickly, giving Love's Melinda some powerful moments with his ghost and then sending Conrad packing. We'd also suggest that the writers stop creating situations where Melinda plays Mary Poppins to the spirit world. Right now, the show has an audience and they're watching for one reason. If they aren't given more reasons, they will turn elsewhere. Whispers may play well as pillow talk, but they're death to the medium of TV drama.

Third Estate Sunday Review News Review 10-23-05

C.I.: Welcome to The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review 10-23-05. Note that this is a rough transcript. We'll have reports on Iraq, bird flu, the world of sports and the world of entertainment. But first we go to Jess, of The Third Estate Sunday Review, to get a run down on activites related to Iraq.

Jess: C.I., Brian Conley is in Iraq, in Baghdad in fact, after all the hassles with the visa. What he's finding out is what Riverbend's noted at Baghdad Burning, basic needs such as electricity aren't even met in Baghdad, one of the few cities occupation forces have been continuously stationed in.
Brian notes:

Iraqis will all tell you about the problems with the electricity, and I have already heard it mentioned to me many times. I will be working on a more formal story about the electricity situation soon. Consider doing some reading about this if you have time on your hands. After the previous Gulf War, Saddam Hussein had the electricity back on in much of Baghdad and Iraq within a few weeks, and in nearly all of Iraq in around 3 months.
It certainly leaves oneself asking hard questions about the Multi National Force - Iraq. Are they truly interested in rehabilitating the Iraqi infrastructure when they aren’t even able to ensure that the electricity remains on? For many Iraqis, this is perhaps the first issue they mention when you ask about the problems in Iraq. Another frequent complaint is about the extremely long gas queues in Baghdad. Despite Iraq having one of the largest supplies of oil in the world, Iraqi citizens are currently receiving much of their oil and gas needs imported from Kuwait!

Jess (con't): Here at home, the Bully Boy's visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California was greeted by at least 40 protesters carrying signs with slogans such as "Bring Our Troops Home Now," "Bush Is Waging Genocide, Not War" and "Out of Iraq Troops Home Now!" Bradley has an article, photo essay and audio clips of the protest at LA Indymedia.
Among those participating were Tim, John and Aaron of Iraq Veterans Against the War. The library was closed to the public and roads were temporarily closed as well. They were also closed when Bully Boy attended a fundraiser at Bush Pioneer and Brookings Institute's Robert Day's Bel Air home. In Berkeley, California, a two day conference began yesterday and continues today on Counter-Recruitment. Among those participating in the conference are Aidan Delgado and Pablo Paredes. On the Frontlines: Options for Youth in Times of War is open to the public and requires a 10 to 25 dollar donation from adults and is free for youths. Last week at UC Santa Cruz, Erin Gilday of Santa Barbara Indymedia reports, hundreds of students staged a counter-recruitment rally which included a Queer Kiss In that took place in front of the military recruiters' table.

C.I.: Thank you, Jess. And to clarify, Brian Conley is an un-embed reporter with Boston Indymedia who is now reporting on Iraq from Iraq at Alive in Baghdad. As bird flu continues to be in the news, we turn to Rebeca, of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, to help us track the latest developments.

Rebecca: C.I. Britain's The Independent reports that "Armed police are to guard stocks of drugs used to fight bird flu." Geoffrey Lean and Francis Elliott report on this as England experiences its first case of bird flu. The bird, a parrot imported from Suriname, has resulted in a call by the British government for the end of importing wild birds to Europe. The Suriname government denies that the parrot contracted bird flu while in Suriname.

C.I.: Rebecca, if you or I wanted to visit England and we had a dog, our pet would be held in quarantine. Was that the case with the parrot?

Rebecca: Yes, in fact the parrot died in quarantine. The parrot arrived in England September 16th and had been held in quarantine until its death along with other birds from Taiwan. Australia is proposing thermal screenings of airline passengers and any flight suspected of carrying someone with bird flu would be quarantined for up to six days. The government of China has announced that the discovery of any case of human-to-human transfer of bird, or avian, flu will resort in the closing of its borders. Sweden has reported their first case of bird flu, a duck who died Friday. In Ha Noi, six million vaccines that will be used on birds to prevent the bird flu arrived from China. Delaware Online, The News Journal, reports that the migratory patterns of birds lead scientists to belive that North American birds will mingle with birds from Asia and transmit bird flu.

C.I.: Thank you, Rebecca. We'll note that on Wednesday, Democracy Now! devoted the hour to a discussion with Mike Davis on the topic of the bird flu. Davis noted, among other things, that flu is endemic with birds but that bird flu, unlike others they carry, is actually killing the birds. With news of Iraq, we now go to Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix.

Cedric: Well the trial for Saddam Hussein began last week following the successful turnout for the referendum on the Iraq Constitution.

C.I.: But Cedric, the trial's now postponed until November, a lawyer's been killed and the referendum results are being closely examined due to questions of fraud as a result of some areas reporting that over 90% of the population voted?

Cedric: C.I., that is true, but don't say it too loudly. The Associated Press' Mariam Fam is pimping both events as milestones. Friday, in The New York Times, I-Saw-It-All-In-Falluja-But-Kept-My-Mouth-Shut Dexter Filkins wasted 22 paragraphs analyzing the election returns
that are not yet verified.

C.I.: We should note the headline to that "award winning" reporting by Filkins which was, "Iraq's Sunnis Voted In Large Numbers This Time, Officials Say." "Officials say" being key to the headline, to the report and to all that's wrong with The Times.

Cedric: C.I., the press is having a tough time pimping the latest Operation Happy Talk phase.
Fam and Filkins obviously want to let loose with the rah-rah reporting but the trouble this time is that serious questions exist and the days when Filkins could turn a slaughter into a video game and actually win a report for it appear to have passed. But still they press on, those brave embeds, thankful that Judith Miller exists to take the heat off all of them.

C.I.: Cedric, thank you for that perspective piece. With more news on Iraq, we now go to Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz and Mike of Mikey Likes It! All week long, they pair up to select information from Democracy Now! to spotlight at their respective sites. Readers of The Third Estate Sunday Review prefer them paired up for the news review. We started with Elaine last week, so let's start with Mike.

Mike: C.I., despite the AP's best attempts at spinning, if milestones are coming out of Iraq, one may be the secret poll that England commissioned. Australia's Herald Sun reports that in the poll, "up to 65 per cent of Iraqi citizens support attacks and fewer than one percent think allied military involvement is helping to improve security in their country."

Elaine: The poll had several findings of interest. As reported by The Telgraph of London:

• 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops;
• less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security;
• 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation;
• 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened;
• 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces.
The opinion poll, carried out in August, also debunks claims by both the US and British governments that the general well-being of the average Iraqi is improving in post-Saddam Iraq.

Elaine (con't): Despite the fact that results on the full audit will not be known until Monday at the earliest, the Associated Press is already running a nothing-to-see-here-no-fraud-here-move-along story. As Aljazeera notes, this is a partial return and does not include two provinces with high Sunni population. Aljazeera also notes the death of four more US soldiers on Saturday.

Mike: Which would be another real milestone as we close in on the 2,000 figure, official figure, for US troops who have died on the ground in Iraq. As Democracy Now! noted Friday:

UFPJ Plans Day of Actions Over 2,000 Military Deaths in Iraq
The antiwar group United for Peace and Justice has announced that it is organizing a national day of action planned for the day after the US military death toll in Iraq reaches 2,000. As of October 20, the total was 1,988. UFPJ is calling the action "2000 Too Many." Demonstrations are already scheduled in cities around the country. Military family members and veterans will be at the forefront of many planned protests.

Mike (con't): Elaine and I both believe that the count was 1996 via Iraq Coalition Casualties but at present, the site is down. However, an Associated Press report places the total at 1996 and it was filed before the four deaths that Aljazeera has reported.

Elaine: As United for Peace & Justice has noted:

So far, more than 1950 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq, and more than 15,000 have been wounded. U.S. soldiers are at grave risk in Iraq, and continue to suffer even after they come home. Troops returning to the U.S. are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and are even turning up in homeless shelters in cities through the country. The risk for Iraqis is even more severe: Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed in the war, and hundreds of thousands of lives have been devastated, even according to the most conservative estimates.

Elaine (con't): Instead of dealing with that, the Associated Press wants to launch a new wave of Operation Happy Talk which isn't limited to what we've noted and Cedric's noted but also includes a "US troops' morale high!" piece. "US Troops Maintain High Morale" screams the headline which is a rather dubious claim if you read the actual article where one soliders airs his grievance that his tour of duty was extended by Donald Rumsfeld.

Mike: Half-way into the article you begin to hear from voices like the one Elaine noted. This occurs after the piece notes that: "Others say the toll of two and even three tours in Iraq in as many years has dwindled the number of those who will remain in the military and drained confidence that their work was making the United States safer." That's hardly "High Morale" so our best guess is that the Associated Press is counting on the fact that most people will read only the headline and the first few paragraphs.

C.I.: Thank you for that commentary, Elaine and Mike. We'll continue to attempt to access Iraq Coalition Count. For now we go to Betty, of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, with the news from the world of entertainment.

Betty: C.I., he may have dressed the part of a police man in the Village People, but Victor Willis, who co-wrote such hits as "In The Navy" and "Macho Man," failed to show up in court for sentencing. Arrest warrents have been issued for Willis who already had "an outstanding felony warrent for possession of narcotics." Ted Danson, of TV's Cheers and Becker, presented California Attorney General Bill Lockyer with an environmental award Wednesday but the event may have been upstaged by the fact that Danson's now switched to a gray toupee. George Lucas, of Star Wars fame, has donated a million dollars to the project to build a memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the national mall. $100 million is needed for the project and, thus far, close to $40 million has been raised. Except for a recent upsurge in ER's ratings, the news ain't pretty. Alias, now on Thursday nights, has plummeted in the ratings and this may well be its last season. In the latest ratings, NBC's Joey, ranked 68th for the week, beat the first half-hour of Alias. Don't the Jens ever learn that Ben is Bad News with their public? The WB's What I Like About You came in at the dismally low place of 111 for the week with only two million people watching.

C.I.: If I might interject, I find that "highlarious."

Betty: They couldn't sell that coined phrase to America and now they can't even sell the show.
One of the few bright spots is Out of Practice which is now right behind My Name Is Earl as the second most watched new comedy. Though it's not being trumpeted, Desperate Housewives appears to be suffering from eroding numbers with each week. Possibly, James Denton, who plays Mike on the show, has the answer to turning the numbers around? Denton was asked by TV Guide who, now that Mike has broken with Susan, might catch Mike's eye. Denton responds, "I think Mike might have a little thing for Carlos. That would be juicy."

C.I.: Betty, CBS cancelled Judging Amy and replaced it with another piece of trash from Friend of Bully Boy Jerry Bruckheimer. How's that doing?

Betty: I'm guessing you know the answer since you asked. JB's Close to Home is bringing in seven percent less viewers than did Judging Amy. Finally Donald Trump is blaming Martha Stewart for the continued slide in the ratings of his show The Apprentice. This despite the fact that the show was down four million viewers in its second season, long before Martha Stewart's spin off began.

C.I.: Thank you, Betty. With we now go to The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ava.

Ava: C.I., to first follow up on Rebecca's report earlier regarding the reactions to bird flu, residents of Abu Dhabi are being told that they must either kill their pet birds, chicken and other fowl or turn them over to the government which will destroy the birds. Gulf News reports that home inspections will take place to ensure that the government's declaration is followed. On September 23rd, Filiberto Ojeda Rios was gunned down in Puerto Rico and allowed to die while FBI agents waited close to 24 hours outside and refused to call for help. One known witness, not FBI, to some of the events is Ojeda Rios' wife, Elma Beatriz Rosado is thus far refusing to speak to the FBI for fear of testimony she might offer being used against her. Apparent prophet Mary Sanchez, writing for the Kansas City Star, ascertains both Ojeda Rios' guilt in a 1983 bankrobbery, who needs courts when we have Sanchez, and calls his violent death the death of the independence movement in Puerto Rico. Seer Sanchez fails to predict whether Puerto Rico will ever win statehood. In an article by Miguel Perez for North, the following is noted:

"The FBI turned him into a martyr," said the Rev. Miguel Rivera of Hasbrouck Heights. "By killing him the way they did, without giving him an opportunity to give up, and by letting him bleed to death, they got many Puerto Ricans who don't even agree with his cause to sympathize with him."
Rivera, president of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, said that while he could never condone terrorism, and certainly feels the pain of its victims, Ojeda Rios will be remembered as a great Puerto Rican patriot who fought and died for his homeland's independence from the United States.
"The question is not what he did when he was alive," said New Brunswick attorney and community activist Martin Perez. "The question is whether we are going to follow due process and give people a fair day in court, or whether we are going to follow the law of the jungle. And in this case, the FBI followed the law of the jungle."

Ava (con't): In Nepal, The Deacon Herald is reporting, King Gyanendra has declared "all-out war on the media." The police twice attempted to seize the FM station Kantipur. The first time, they retreated in the face of protests. The second time, both on Friday, they shut down the station, long a critic of Gyanendra's coup, and seized equipment. In Russia, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, as reported by The Sunday Times of London, has been sentenced to eight years in a labor camp. Khodorkovsky, former head of Yukos Oil and a billionaire, was found guilty of fraud and evasion. The case is seen by some as an attempt by Vladimir Putin to consolidate his power by eliminating opposition and opponents. Some maintain that Khodorkovsky is among those who profitted during the breakup of the Soviet Union. Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, said the following on Democracy Now!: February 24, 2005:

. . . Bush's ongoing talk about democracy has more to do with one oil oligarch who sits in prison, who should not be in prison, but who sits in prison because of the looting of a country, stripping the country's assets for his company's use. There has been a campaign in the United States by public relations people, by lobbyists, by senators who have been contacted by those lobbyists to link that man's fate to the future of democracy in Russia.

C.I.: Ava, on another topic, Katrina vanden Heuvel is calling for an expansion of Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Could you give the rundown on that.

Ava: In a column entitled "Fitzgerald Must Broaden Investigation," vanden Heuvel notes the White House Iraq Group and the . . . I'd call it a fact but I'll say belief that the administration lied the country into war. Those still unsure can note this from vanden Heuvel: "For more on this important call for the investigation's expansion, click here, and then click here to ask your elected reps to support these calls."

C.I.: Thank you, Ava. We now go to Ty, of The Third Estate Sunday Review, with a review of Falluja Rocks! Dexter Filkins's latest.

Ty: C.I., in The New York Times' Sunday Magazine, Filkins piece reads like you were told it would, as a self-justiciation by a war cheerleader. "Where is the line?" Filkins asks supposedly about the tossing of Iraqis into the Tigris river by US forces but it applies equally well to his own reporting, "award winning reporting," that downplayed a slaughter he was witness to. In the case of the Tigris river incident, a solider decides to be, putting it mildly, less than forthcoming about the incident because if the full truth was told, it might inflame public opinion. "Where is the line" between that and Filkins own less than forthcoming reporting on Falluja that took days to appear in print and has led to whispers that he first submitted it to military censors? Those interested in reading the overlong report/soul confession, it spans over eleven pages, would be wise to do so online or do as I did and tear out the countless pages of ads. When he finally gets to the conclusion, the soldier Filkins' is profiling is receiving a medal back home and is told, "More than anyone I know you deserve this." The line coming as it does at the conclusion of Filkins overly long musings on what should and should not be told can be read as Filkins giving himself a pat on the back and saying, "Yeah, bucko, chin up, you earned that award." That the paper ran this, apparently without editing, at a time when they're under fire for the lies of Judith Miller proves that the culture at the paper remains the same and that no lesson is ever learned by The New York Times.

C.I.: Ty, I was told that the burning of fields to punish farmers who allegedly assisted the resistance is treated in a "things happen" sort of way. Would you agree with that assessment?

Ty: Absolutely. Filkins continuously tosses out the phrase "non-lethal force" to describe those actions as well as kicking women out of one home, telling them to grab their belongings and immediately leave their own home, and then destroying the home with missiles. There's a story here but Filkins filing his own subtext and shouldn't have been assigned it. This isn't a "neutral tone" -- which I'm not sure the outrages in this story call for anyway -- this is Filkins, the ultimate em-bed, yet again seeing himself in the military and now using them and their actions to justify his own. The piece is called "The Fall of the Warrior King" and read it at your own risk.

C.I.: Thank you, Ty. We'll also note, on the topic of the Sunday magazine, that there's a profile on Diane Keaton. We now go to Wally of The Daily Jot.

Wally: Last night the Chicago White Sox beat the Houston Astros 5 to 3. In this World Series opener, White Sox Joe Crede scored a homer in the fourth inning. The news wasn't as good for Astros pitcher Roger Clemens. 43 year-old Clemens left the game after the second inning due to a hamstring injury. 19 years ago Clemens pitched his first World Series game and now the question is whether the Astros have a chance and whether Clemens can recover in time? Game two is tonight. How long can the Astros go without putting Clemens in and still have a chance at a World Series win? In other news, next year in Madrid, the WTA will feature male models as ball boys. This after the outcry over the recent use of female models as WTA ball boys. In other WTA news, Mary Pierce who has won 18 WTA titles, has pulled out of the Generali Ladies Tournament in Australia. The 30 year-old Pierce is suffering from a groin injury. Finally, next year may see women golfers at the British Open. The rules have been changed to allow women to be eligable.

C.I.: Thank you for that, Wally. We now go to Kat who's devoting her music news segment to one issue which she'll provide commentary on. Kat of Kat's Corner (of The Common Ills).

Kat: I asked ahead of time for three minutes to sound off on Rolling Stone's latest cover story. Cover boy Bono, of U2. Bono has seen Bully Boy's heart and it is pure. How else to explain the denial in which Bono lives in even when confronted throughout the interview by Rolling Stone publisher Jann S. Wenner? Wenner points out that Bully Boy's $5 billion in AIDS funding was reduced by Bully Boy to $3 billion and then by Congress to $1.75 billion but Bono can't question his Bully Boy. As Bono plays Eva Braun, Wenner brings the topic back to the promised $5 billion Bono, drones like a Stepford Wife, "The money is still promised. . ." and Wenner cuts him off with, "He makes a lot of promises he doesn't keep." Bono's response? "The money is still promised . . . That money will come through." Bono justifies the funds going to ABC programs, abstinence, be faithful and conodms, saying that it "is pretty much accepted by most religious groups" in this country as if that has anything to do with scientific effectiveness. We're talking about some countries that were already deeply hostile to what they see as a disease that the west has lied about. Various theories abound. After years of stressing condoms, we're now going to go back and say, "Hey, let's also practice abstinence and be faithful"? It's crazy and it's a diversion of funds to what does work. Bono's so far up Bully Boy's ass, he can't see any light. Wenner challenges Bono on why he publicly shamed the Prime Minister of Canada for not living up to his pledge but has failed to do the same with Bully Boy. Bono's defense? "We're not shrinking violets here." On the war, Bono offers that "everyone knows" how he feels about the war. "Do I campaign against the war in Iraq? No. . . . That's the compromise." It's too bad that when choosing subjects to stay silent on, praise for Jesse Helms isn't one of them. Yes, Bono again praises Jesse Helms. Bono has left the planet earth many times. When he was "The Fly" he was living in a land that common sense could not gain entry to. But he's never embarrassed himself, or sold himself out, as much as he does in this interview where he continually presents himself as being slightly to the right of Hillary Clinton. As the displeasure the band has with him continues to become more and more well known, it's obvious why. His talk of "half-a-loaf" is ignorant and uninformed. An illness demands a scientific response, not a feel good lecture. When a saner president is in office in the United States and we revert back to treat a medical illness from a scientific point of view, we'll have to spend months undoing the damage that ABC has already caused. As the deaths continue to mount, one wonders if Bono will look at them and say "Well that's half a loaf! Let's talk about me again! Let's talk about how I won over right wingers and evangicals by meeting with them! It's all about me!" The compromised, self-stifiling, self-deluded Bono.

C.I.: Thank you for that, Kat. As always we also thank Dallas for hunting down links and Jess' parents for help with research. Keeping everything running smoothly throughout are Jim and Dona of The Third Estate Sunday Review. Thank you both.

Watchdog Daily

We felt it was time for another parody of the watchdog.

Stroking ourselves, so you don't have to

Joys of the Digital Age!
by Village Idiot

Well there's a revolution 'a coming people!!! Coming for to carry you home (got to pick up those 'vangical voters!!!!), coming for to carry you home!

As digital replaces analog, the most important question of the day is: How big a flat screen TV should I buy?

I was at the JVC trade show (cool people, they set you up "pretty") this weekend and the guy with the clip-on tie, Roy, who steered me to a flat screen he sold me at 40% off told me that the digital revolution will be "totally cool." Well he's the expert, right?

It will be totally cool. I can watch Basic Instinct for the fortieth time but it will be like brand new since I'll be able to really check out Sharon Stone's boobs and Michael Douglas' butt!

Well not Douglas' butt. I never look at a guy's butt. Sharon Stone's boobs. Yeah, that's what I'm into. I'm a boob. A boob man, I mean.

And Roy told me that the flat screen he sold me is a "total sex magnet." He said I'll have to beat them with off a stick which is what I have. But I'm not sure how everyone will know I have the flat screen TV?

I'm thinking of taking a photo of it and then making the photo a transfer and then ironing it on t-shirt and then wearing the t-shirt to the clubs so that everyone can see it and appreciate the kind of manly man I am. But just writing the previous sentence was a lot of work! To actually do what I wrote about might strain my gentle sensibilities or at least prevent me from catching and enjoying the Alf marathon.

I'll close by noting what a wonderful country we live in when everyone will soon have digital TVs, everyone who matters. As for the rest of you, piss off.

The Ice Cream Truck
by Suzy Q

PBS's Generically Bland Spokesperson spoke with me today about the pressing issues of today and you know it is current because I've already used "today" twice in this sentence! Woops!
Three times!

Suze: There is a feeling that PBS has tilted rightward. How do you respond to that?

GBS: We need money, lots and lots of money. For a pledge of $300, on our easy checks plan, we can get you a mug with PBS on it.

Suze: Oh I love mugs! I'm dieting so I've started putting my ice cream in mugs instead of bowls or just eating it straight out of the carton. Isn't $300 a lot for one mug.

GBS: Not when you consider the quality program we provide you with year in and year out. You have seen our Suze Ormis specials, right?

Suze: No. I got burned by informericals back in the days of Susan Powder. Everytime she'd scream, "Stop the madness!" I'd drop my Ho-Hos and burst into tears because I thought she was speaking to me. Mommy would say, "Suze, she is on the TV, she can't get you." But I was a big girl with buck teeth, bad breath and acne that frequently sprouted strands of hair so my active imaginary life was all that I had.

GBS: For $500 we can get you a mug and a paper napking featuring Maya & Miguel.

Suze: About that. My Spanish isn't too good but I've learned a few things from my years of ordering off the Taco Bell menu. Shouldn't the title be: Maya y Miguel?

GBS: For $600 Gwen Ifill will call you on the phone to wish you happy birthday. For $700, you can block all calls from Gwen Ifill.

Suze: I think I prefer the $700 option. So what's with all the cooking shows? I watch those sometimes but they make me so hungry. Not everyone cooks. You should have eating shows.
Everyone eats!

GBS: Did you want to pay the $700 in one lump sum or sign up for our easy-checks plan?

Suze: You know what else I wonder? Why doesn't PBS have any programs I care about? Like there's the Dancing Baby. He was real popular on Ally McBeal and now the show's gone so why can't PBS give him a special? I'd watch.

GBS: This is a dancing baby?

Suze: Damn skippy. Best dancing baby in the world.

GSB: Could we make it a dancing fetus? If we could make it a dancing fetus we could probably get money from James Dobson to underwrite the program.

Suze: Could it still wear a diaper?

GSB: Provided it had an umbilical cord attaching it to the mother, yes.

Suze: That is so cool! I'm like a PBS programmer or something. Hey dig me, everybody! And the Manny thought he was so damn all that for leaving. I'm a part of the PBS family --

GSB: When you honor your pledge of $700 dollars.

Suze: And that's the home of The Sopranos! I'm big time!

GSB: HBO has The Sopranos.

Suze: Oh. Well I'm still big time!

GSB: Yes, for $700, you are. Would you like to put your pledge on a credit card? We accept Visa and Master Card.


Blog Report
by New Guy

Blog Reports are hard. Everyone told me that. They said, "Everyone's going to pissed at you so just accept it. Your job is to find the most pressing issues of the day that people are blogging about."

Inspired, I went searching and damned if things aren't 'a heating up like a raw egg on a Texas sidewalk in July, siz-ZLE! The hot topic in the blogsphere this week?

That Wil Wheaton is a "cat man!" Aren't we all, Wil, aren't we all? Wheaton writes passionately of the joy of cleaning 5/8ths of his garage in "not quite five by five, but getting there." Beats the Viper Club, I guess. But this post, from September, still hasn't generated any comments! Come on people, Wil's a star. Sure Jerry was the fat one in Stand By Me, but Wil was the geek. Show some love, show some love! He even alluded to Faith from Buffy in the title of his post and you just know she could so kick his geeky ass, so show some love and leave a comment for Wil.

Forget whether or not Karl Rove outed Valerie Plame, Miss Maddle has serious problems at I Crap in a Box (me too, just FYI):

I don't know who's dumber -- Kadi for throwing all her toys off the balcony this morning or Mommy for actually thinking she'd KEEP them from going flying onto our downstairs neighbor's porch!

I wonder if Miss Maddle can help me get one of those "I Love 2 Poop" license plates displayed at her site? I'd love to hang it right over the john in my bathroom!

biljounc of My Growing Cat Family assures us all that, "The adventures of cat ownership never end." However, I'm less than convinced.

Over at Abbie The Cat Has A Posse, they're taking donations like the pledge drive Suzy got caught in at The Ice Cream Truck. Apparently Abbie is as shameless as Jerry Lewis when trying to drum up money, which would explain this:

first off she was sick and dshe didnt tell anybody she was sick
not even me
i said why are you so skinny and she said i dunno let me sleep
i said why do you sleep so much and she said because i am tired okay let me sleep
and when I said you are not eating my food anymore why are you not eating my food anymore she just licked her paw and went to sleep

Reading it, I also felt sleepy. I wondered if I was dying too?

Fortunaly, Avram (New Cat City) put my fears to rest by explaining: "Cats: Better Than a Sleeping Pill." I know reading it put me to sleep!


Magazine Report
by Suzy Q

S.L. is breathing down all our necks about how he's doing serious work and we're just slacking off and bringing not just Watchdog Daily down but the whole Watchdog enterprise including the college program! Well excuse the hell out of me. It's not like my life's going all that great these days. I thought my new boyfriend was only gay but it turns out he's also a drug addict and a cross dresser who recently took all my American Girl dolls to a swap meet to score some cash to buy more stash. Not only that, he put a runner in my good hose!

And I'd already made the mistake this summer of taking Dell home to meet the family. Now that's all I hear, "How's Dell?" and "Are you and Dell still together?" and "Suze, honey, honest, Mommy needs to know if Dell swiped her bra." It gets real old, people, real old!

One day you're thirteen, lying on the carpet in front of the TV, watching a Molly Ringwald movie, dreaming about when your teeth will be perfect and they'll take the head gear off, the next you're marching towards middle age and so desperate not to be alone that you're perfectly willing to settle for a man who looks more girlish in your Prada panties than you do.

It's just not fair!

Here's another thing that's not fair: is Highlights trying to be like The New York Times? I figured I'd scan Highlights for Children for some insight into the hot topics like Harriet Miers' nomination and try to solve one of the Hidden Pictures (don't scoff, they are hard!) but all the content is apparently unavailable to the average computer user like me. Well if The Times would put up a firewall between the readers and Thomas Friedman & David Brooks, I guess it's not all that surprising that Highlights would mirror that move by refusing to make either Goofus or Gallant available online to nonsubscribers.

Now what am I supposed to write about?

God. S.L. is staring at me with that cross look he gets when he thinks I'm online looking for the Dancing Baby. Things used to be way, way cooler around here. I'm hitting the head. Back in 10.

Good news! In the men's room (I just prefer the men's room), I found the new oversize TV Guide. That's a magazine. See, you start thinking it's not going to work out, that you're going to get fired which means losing your boyfriend because if you're not buying the Revlon make up, then he's not staying, and losing your apartment, which means moving back with your parents (again!) and having to hear every other day, "What ever happened to that nice Dell? He seemed so nice?" while also having to hear about your younger sister who is married, with three kids, a lovely home with a pool and three car garage and it's all just enough to make you go running in search of Zingers or Little Debbie Snack Cakes, when boom! you spot the TV Guide on the floor.

I'm glad that they made TV Guide bigger because, like the ad's used to say, TV is more complicated now. Ian Birch looks a lot like my boyfriend Dell. He's the editor and he promises "Big, colorful photos." Praise Jesus! I am so not into reading these days.

That Mary Murphy is smart and lucky! Lucky because she gets to interview Julian McMahon's whose wealth of chest hair makes up for the hairline that continues to recede up top. She asks all the important questions. Like this one: "Because the show gets heavy, huh?"

Man, to be a real journalist like Mary Murphy and to ask deep, penetrating questions. A girl can dream. I really enjoy the Movie Guide. Looking through the 42 films reviewed, I'm thrilled to know that all get three or four stars. Must not be a dog among them. I guess TV has finally learned that people don't like to watch bad movies, huh? We can thank the deep, probing film criticism of TV Guide for that, I tell you.

And in Cheers & Jeers, I love how they applaud Kitchen Confidential for a show that hasn't aired. Even though it was known weeks ago that Fox was taking Kitchen Confidential off the air. I think it's important to applaud things you haven't seen and may never see, not just the things you've seen, but the things you haven't seen too. Like take this Magazine Report, okay? I think S.L. should come over here and applaud me for it without reading it. I think I deserve that. Don't you? Cheers to me! Jeers to S.L.

And I love how they call Prison Break a hit! Mr. Negativity, S.L., might get all hung up in something (he would call them "facts") like ratings and ask dopey questions like, "Is it even in the top 20?" No, and why does that matter? Why all the sudden do you need to be high rated to be called a "hit"? Seems to me like you should be able to call something a "hit" just because you want to and obviously the retooled TV Guide agrees with me. So there to all that dopey stuff like "facts."

Not everything has to be Judy Miller, Judy Miller, Judy Miler, okay? And it doesn't all have to be this nasty little attitude either. I enjoyed reading the hard hitting "George Clooney: 'Good Luck' follows the ex-ER doc" by Mike Flaherty. What's wrong with feel-good reporting, huh?
I call it, and the new oversize look of TV Guide, a "hit!"

"Ex asistente de Powell: 'Complot' de Cheney se apoderó de las políticas extranjeras"

"Ex asistente de Powell: "Complot" de Cheney se apoderó de las políticas extranjeras"

Maria: Hola. De parte de "Democracy Now!" once cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana. Paz.

Ex asistente de Powell: “Complot” de Cheney se apoderó de las políticas extranjeras
El ex jefe de personal de Colin Powell acusó públicamente a funcionarios de alto rango del gobierno de Bush de manejar las políticas extranjeras del país de tal manera que debilitaron la democracia estadounidense. El funcionario, Coronel Lawrence Wilkerson, hizo esas declaraciones el miércoles en Washington. Hasta enero, era el jefe de personal de Powell, quien era en ese entonces Secretario de Estado. Wilkerson dijo: "Lo que vi fue un complot entre el Vicepresidente de Estados Unidos, Richard Cheney, y el Secretario de Defensa... para tomar decisiones de las que la burocracia no tenía conocimiento" Wilkerson acusó también al Presidente Bush y a Rumsfeld de permitir el abuso a detenidos en el extranjero. El Financial Times catalogó los comentarios de Wilkerson como los ataques más severos al gobierno de Bush por un ex funcionario de alto rango desde las críticas realizadas por Richard Calark y Paul O’Neill a principios del año pasado. Wilkerson admitió el miércoles que su decisión de criticar públicamente al gobierno lo llevó a romper relaciones con Colin Powell, con quien trabajó durante 16 años.

Informe: Bush supo de la participación de Rove en la filtración hace dos años
Surgieron nuevos avances en el escándalo sobre la filtración de la identidad de la agente de la CIA Valerie Plame. El New York Daily News informa que el Presidente Bush amonestó a Karl Rove dos años después de que presuntamente conociera la vinculación de Rove con el caso de filtración. Mientras tanto, el Washington Post informa que Rove le dijo al Gran Jurado que podría haber sido Lewis "Scooter" Libby, jefe de personal del Vicepresidente Cheney, quien le reveló que Plame trabajaba para la CIA.

Rumores en DC: ¿Renunciará Cheney por caso de filtración de la CIA?
Esta noticia es sobre la investigación de la filtración de la identidad de la agente de la CIA Valerie Plame. El martes se esparció en el Capitolio el rumor de que el Vicepresidente Dick Cheney podría renunciar a causa del escándalo de la filtración. Se especula si el Fiscal Patrick Fitzgerald presentará cargos contra alguno de los involucrados en la investigación. El Washington Post informó el martes que Fitzgerald centra su atención en la participación de la oficina de Cheney. El New York Times informó hoy que Fitzgerald no tiene planeado presentar un informe sobre las investigaciones del Gran Jurado. Fitzgerald tiene dos opciones: presentar cargos o cerrar la investigación sin revelar públicamente sus hallazgos.

Informe: Soldados estadounidenses quemaron cadáveres de combatientes Talibanes
Esta noticia es sobre Afghanistan. Un programa de televisión australiano trasmitió imágenes de soldados estadounidenses quemando los cadáveres de dos combatientes del movimiento Talibán. El programa también presentó imágenes de una unidad del ejército estadounidense que trasmitía noticias sobre el incidente a residentes locales. El mensaje decía: "Permitieron que sus combatientes estén tirados con sus caras hacia el oeste quemándose. Están demasiado asustados para recuperar sus cuerpos. Esto prueba que son los hombres afeminados que siempre creímos que eran... Atacan y huyen como mujeres. Se hacen llamar Talibán, pero son una vergüenza para la religión musulmana, y avergüenzan a sus familias. Vengan y peleen como hombres y no como los perros cobardes que son". El miércoles el Pentágono anunció que investigaría el incidente.

Juez español ordena arresto de soldados estadounidenses por asesinato de Couso
Un juez español ordenó el arresto y extradición de tres soldados estadounidenses vinculados con el asesinato en Irak del camarógrafo de la televisión española Jose Couso. El juez dijo que esa medida era necesaria debido a que los soldados estadounidenses no habían proporcionado "cooperación judicial" para tratar de resolver el crimen.

Estados Unidos descarta proyectos de reconstrucción claves en Irak
Y una noticia más de Irak: el principal auditor de Estados Unidos a cargo de monitorear la reconstrucción de Irak dice que proyectos de reconstrucción serán descartados, debido a que los costos de seguridad y mantenimiento siguen aumentando. El auditor, Stuart Bowen, indicó que se necesita dinero para salud, agua, combustible e infraestructura eléctrica en Irak, y que los actuales proyectos de reconstrucción "sobrepasarán el presupuesto disponible". Bowen dijo que cerca del 26 por ciento del dinero aportado por Estados Unidos para la reconstrucción se utilizó para cubrir costos de seguridad.

Informe: No hay control sobre el gasto en defensa en Irak
En otras noticias sobre Irak, Knight Ridder informa que surgen serias preocupaciones acerca de la supervisión del gasto de 140 mil millones de dólares para defensa en Irak. La agencia de noticias indica que los auditores del Departamento de Defensa se retiraron en silencio de Irak hace un año. Desde octubre de 2004, sólo una de las 107 auditorías registradas en el sitio web del inspector general del Departamento de Defensa abarcó Irak.

Dieciocho abuelas arrestadas en protesta contra la guerra de Irak
En Estados Unidos, 18 abuelas de la organización Raging Grannies (Abuelas Furiosas) fueron arrestadas el lunes, luego de intentar alistarse en un centro de reclutamiento militar en Times Square. Las mujeres, de edades entre 40 y 90 años, se sentaron frente a la cabina de reclutamiento, cantando "Insistimos, queremos enlistarnos". Las 18 arrestadas afrontan cargos de alteración del orden público.

Tom DeLay fichado por la policía, sonríe en la foto
Tom DeLay, ex líder de la mayoría de la Cámara de Representantes, se entregó a las autoridades el martes en Houston, un día después de que se emitiera una orden de arresto en su contra. Poco después del mediodía, DeLay se presentó en el tribunal de Harris County donde se le tomaron las huellas dactilares, se le fotografió y fue liberado luego de pagar una fianza de 10.000 dólares. Sólo momentos después la fotografía de su ficha estaba en Internet. En esa fotografía, DeLay está sonriendo. El abogado de DeLay, Dick DeGuerin, criticó duramente al fiscal Ronnie Earle, a quien acusó de cometer un acto de venganza política. La oficina de Earle dijo: "Creemos que el congresista DeLay debe recibir el mismo trato que cualquier otra persona". DeLay presentó un recurso legal contra Earle, alegando mala gestión fiscal en el caso, y se llevará a cabo una audiencia sobre la legitimidad de la acusación. Mientras tanto, Earle requirió la semana pasada los registros telefónicos de DeLay. El fichaje policial del congresista se realizó sólo un día antes de la fecha fijada para su primera aparición ante un tribunal, este viernes en Austin. El mes pasado, un gran jurado acusó a DeLay y a dos de sus colaboradores de conspiración, por la presunta entrega de 190.000 dólares de donaciones realizadas por empresas a candidatos en elecciones legislativas estatales en 2002, disfrazando el origen del dinero mediante su canalización por comités nacionales de la campaña republicana. La legislación de Texas prohibe usar donaciones de empresas para financiar campañas políticas del estado.

UPFJ planifica Día de Acciones por la muerte de 2.000 militares en Irak
El grupo en contra de la guerra Unidos por la Paz y la Justicia (UFPJ, por sus siglas en inglés), anunció que está organizando un día nacional de acción para el día después de que la cifra oficial de militares muertos en Irak llegue a 2.000. El 20 de octubre el número de muertos era 1.988. UFPJ llama a la acción: "Dos mil de más". Ya se han programado manifestaciones en ciudades de todo el país. Los familiares de los militares y los veteranos estarán al frente de muchas de éstas manifestaciones.

Selva tropical amazónica es destruida más rápido de lo que se pensaba
La publicación de resultados de una nueva investigación muestra que la selva amazónica está siendo destruida al doble de la velocidad que indicaban los cálculos anteriores. Los resultados fueron publicados hoy en la revista científica Science. Un nuevo análisis de imágenes satelitales de la parte brasileña de la cuenca del Amazonas muestra que un promedio de 9.600 kilómetros cuadrados de bosque son deforestados cada año mediante tala selectiva. A eso se agrega un área talada anual similar para cría de ganado o agricultura. Como consecuencia, la liberación de dióxido de carbono a la atmósfera aumenta un 25 por ciento cada año.

Maria: In English, here are eleven stories fom Democracy Now! Remember that the headlines are provided daily in English and Spanish and please pass on to your friends. Peace.

Ex-Powell Aide: Cheney 'Cabal' Hijacked Foreign Policy
Colin Powell's former chief of staff publicly accused top-level officials in the Bush administration of hijacking the country's foreign policy in ways that have undermined American democracy. The official - Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson spoke Wednesday in Washington. Up until January he was chief of staff to then Secretary of State Powell. "What I saw was a cabal between the Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the Secretary of Defense... that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made," Wilkerson said. Wilkerson went on to accuse President Bush and Rumsfeld of condoning the abuse of detainees overseas. The Financial Times described Wilkerson's comments as the harshest attack on the administration by a former senior official since criticisms by Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill early last year. Wilkerson admitted Wednesday his decision to publicly criticize the administration has led to a falling out with Colin Powell, who he worked with for 16 years.

Report: Bush Knew Rove's Role in Leak Two Years Ago
A number of new developments have emerged in the growing scandal over the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. The New York Daily News reports that President Bush admonished Karl Rove two years ago after the president reportedly learned of Rove's involvement in the leak. Meanwhile the Washington Post reports Rove told the grand jury that it may have been Vice President Cheney's chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby who first told him that Plame worked for the CIA.

Rumors In DC : Will Cheney Resign Over CIA Leak?
This update in the investigation of the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame: Rumors spread through the Capitol Tuesday that Vice President Dick Cheney might possibly resign over the leak scandal. Speculation is running high on whether Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will indict anyone in the investigation. The Washington Post reported Tuesday Fitzgerald is focusing in on the role of Cheney's office. The New York Times reported today that Fitzgerald does not plan to issue a report on the findings of the grand jury. This leaves Fitzgerald with two options: issue indictments or close the investigation with no public disclosure of his findings.

Report: U.S. Soldiers Burnt Bodies of Captured Taliban Fighters
This news on Afghanistan - an Australian TV program has aired footage of U.S. soldiers burning the bodies of two dead Taliban fighters. The program also aired footage of a U.S. Army psy-ops unit caught on tape broadcasting news of the burning to local residents. The message read : "You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burnt. You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be... You attack and run away like women. You call yourself Taliban but you are a disgrace to the Muslim religion, and you bring shame upon your family. Come and fight like men instead of the cowardly dogs you are." On Wednesday the Pentagon announced it would investigate the incident.

Spanish Judge Orders Arrest of U.S. Soldiers in Couso Killing
A Spanish judge has ordered the arrest and extradition of three U.S. soldiers connected to the killing of Spanish tv cameraman Jose Couso in Iraq. The judge said the action was needed because the U.S. had provided "no judicial cooperation" in trying to resolve the death. We'll have more on this in a few minutes.

U.S. Drops Key Reconstruction Projects in Iraq
In other news from Iraq -- the top U.S. auditor monitoring Iraq's reconstruction says rebuilding projects will be dropped as security and maintenance costs continue to soar. The auditor, Stuart Bowen, said money needed for Iraq's health, water, oil and electrical infrastructure and current rebuilding projects "will outstrip the available revenue." Bowen said up to 26 percent of U.S. reconstruction money has gone to security costs.

Report: No Oversight for Defense Spending in Iraq
In other Iraq news, Knight Ridder is reporting serious concerns are being raised around the oversight of more than $140 billion dollars in defense spending in Iraq. The news agency reports defense department auditors quietly pulled out of Iraq a year ago. Since October 2004, only one of the 107 audits currently listed on the Defense Department inspector general's Web site has covered Iraq.

18 Grandmothers Arrested at Iraq War Protest
Here in this country, eighteen grandmothers from the Raging Grannies were arrested Monday after they tried to enlist at a military recruiting center in Times Square. The women, ranging in age from 40 to 90, sat down in front of a recruiting booth, chanting "We insist, we want to enlist." The 18 arrested face charges of disorderly conduct.

Tom DeLay Gets Booked, Smiles in Mug Shot
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay turned himself in to the authorities in Houston on Thursday, a day after an arrest warrant was issued for him. Shortly after noon, DeLay walked into the Harris County Sheriff's Office where he was fingerprinted, photographed and released after posting $10,000 bond. It only took moments for his mug shot to appear on the Internet. In the photo, DeLay sports a big smile. A short time later, DeLay's attorney blasted prosecutor Ronnie Earle, accusing him of political retribution. In response, Earle's office said, "We believe that Congressman DeLay should be treated like everyone else." DeLay already has subpoenaed Earle, claiming prosecutorial misconduct in the case, and a hearing will be held on the legitimacy of the prosecution. Meanwhile, Earle issued a subpoena last week for DeLay's phone records. DeLay's booking comes just a day ahead of his first scheduled court appearance Friday in Austin. Three weeks ago, a grand jury indicted Delay and two associates on a conspiracy charge on allegations they steered $190,000 in corporate donations to state legislative candidates in 2002 and disguised the source by sending the money through national Republican campaign committees. Texas law prohibits corporate donations to political campaigns.

UFPJ Plans Day of Actions Over 2,000 Military Deaths in Iraq
The antiwar group United for Peace and Justice has announced that it is organizing a national day of action planned for the day after the US military death toll in Iraq reaches 2,000. As of October 20, the total was 1,988. UFPJ is calling the action "2000 Too Many." Demonstrations are already scheduled in cities around the country. Military family members and veterans will be at the forefront of many planned protests.

Amazon Rainforest Being Destroyed Faster Than Earlier Believed
Newly published research shows that the Amazon rainforest is being destroyed at double the rate of all previous estimates. The research was published today in the journal Science. A new analysis of satellite images of the Brazilian part of the Amazon basin shows that on average 6,000 square miles of forest is being cut down by selective logging each year. This is in addition to a similar amount clear-cut annually for cattle grazing or farming. As a result, up to 25% more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere every year.

Interview spotlight: "My Interview With Wally" (Mike of Mikey Likes It!)

While we were compiling our last edition, we were happily surprised to learn that Common Ills community member Wally had started his own site, The Daily Jot. Though Wally was able to work with us on one feature (the CD review), we weren't able to do an interview or profile on him. ("Or much else," Dona notes ruefully.) Fortunately, Mike was on top of it and by Wednesday had an interview with Wally up at Mikey Likes It!

We were impressed with Mike's skill in the interview (Mike and Wally have been friends for some time -- Wally's one of the people who suggested Mike start his own site), with Wally's openess and with their ability to switch from heavy topics to lighter ones.

"My Interview With Wally"

Good morning. Posting delayed due to typing up this interview. (I hate typing.) I'll have an entry this evening but no way to finish this last night. We've got the interview with Wally of The Daily Jot. But first, two items from Democracy Now! that you should know about.

Baltimore Tunnel Threat Turns Out to Be Hoax
For the second time in as many weeks, the credibility of an intelligence threat that led to a terror scare in a major metropolitan city in the United States is being questioned. Two major car tunnels were closed in Baltimore Tuesday following information gleaned from an informant in FBI custody. But intelligence officials now say the informant's warning appears to have been an attempt to exact revenge on a Maryland resident he named as one of eight suspects for being involved with his girlfriend. All eight suspects were Egyptian-born Maryland residents. Last week, a terror scare led to a heightened alert and increased security presence on New York City's subways. Officials later conceded the intelligence that led to the threat warning was a hoax.

Chertoff Pledges Crackdown on Undocumented Immigrants
Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff is promising to immediately deport all undocumented immigrants caught in the United States. Chertoff vowed to end the so-called "catch and release" policy that has reportedly allowed 10,000 undocumented immigrants to remain in the country. Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, Chertoff said : "If they think that they can come across the border and get released, they're going to keep coming... Return every single illegal entrant - no exceptions." Chertoff made the announcement shortly before President Bush signed the $32 billion homeland security bill. The Associated Press reports the bill includes a large increase in border patrol funding but less money for local emergency first responders and a freeze in transit security funding.

There were nine community sites last Friday:

The Common Ills
Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
The Third Estate Sunday Review
Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man
Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
Mikey Likes It!
Cedric's Big Mix
Like Maria Said Paz
Seth in the City

Saturday, the number rose to ten when Wally started
The Daily Jot. I'm talking to Wally.

Wally: For the hour!

For the hour!!

For the hour! We better stop or that'll be your whole interview.

Okay, but let me drop back and explain that we're doing Larry King and that the first time we spoke on the phone, Larry King was on in the background and you were doing your impersonation of him. Now whenever we're on the phone, we'll do dueling Larry Kings. Now let me say, Why you gotta make Cedric and me come off like fools?

(Laughing) Ouch. You're talking about your interview with Cedric where you were trying to figure out who the two new bloggers would be and one of you says "Oh, I know it's not Wally."

Cedric says that. What's up with that Wally? Why you gotta front like that?

You knew about Seth.

Right. C.I. told me about Seth but I didn't know you were planning to start up.

It's one of those things you think about but you're not sure you can pull off so you don't talk about it too much.

What weren't you sure of? That you could do it every day?

Man, I didn't want to do like you and put in all this time. I mean, I don't have it, you know, the time. But I did want to do something and like a fortune cookie for the left is how Gina sees it.

A fortune cookie for the left? I like it. So you just wanted to do a line or two each day?

Right. I can make time for that. I can handle that.

Why The Daily Jot title? I've got readers who think you're taking a poke at Bob Somerby.

He wishes! No. The Daily Jot because it's just a jot. It's not even fair to call it a jotting. And the hope is to do it five times a week. In a way, it's like the thing Will Durst does at The Progressive but not as funny. It's not like an op-ed or a report, it's just a jot. Hopefully several times a week.

Any thoughts on The Daily Howler?

It's sad to see someone trash his own work by making himself so useless. You're thinking of the interview I did of C.I. for the gina & krista round-robin?

Yeah, and to back up there, I was going to interview C.I. here and you were going to do an interview for the round-robin but then something came up, I lost my interview and you're the only one in the community to do an interview with C.I.

Besides Beth.

Right, but Beth is the ombudsman. Back to The Daily Howler.

Well, it's like C.I. and I discussed in the round-robin interview. How do you miss Judy Miller? You're covering the press and you don't write one damn word on it. Until Wilson comes along and even then. How do you miss that? What's the biggest journalistic story of our time? Probably this decade will be Judith Miller and her WMD coverage but Bob Somerby's got nothing. That's his beat. That's what he's supposed to cover. Where the hell was he? That's a huge embarrassment. Now he wants to come along and piss all over the people raising issues and, me, I wonder how much of it has to do with the fact that he was sleeping on the job and missed the biggest story of the decade. Not just big because people talk about it but big because it was a stepping stone to war, not the only one, others played along too. But I mean, we're at war, Bob Somerby's fucking useless. He's a dottering old man saying, "Billy Kristol made a point the other day" or some other crap. He's useless. Take away his keys, he shouldn't be driving anymore. He's an old crank telling you the same old story for the 80th time and it's disgusting. "Bill Clinton in 1993 . . ." It's like, shine it on somewhere else you old fool. I mean, we are at war, people are dying and he wants to write about how nice his friend Mary Matilin is. It's like, "Shut up, go away." It's like the book by John Le Carre, The Russia House, where Katya tells Barley that she hopes he's not being frivilous because she only has time in her life for the truth. That's what a reader of Bob Somerby has to be thinking these days -- that he's just frivilous now and that in life right now, there just isn't time for that.


Because we have troops on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq and he's stuck jerking off on election 2000. And day after day, he's lecturing and making fun of all these people trying to say something like Atrios or Digby -- I don't even know Digby and never read him or her but I know I got sick of hearing Digby trashed -- when all he has to say is "My friend Al Gore" or "let's talk about test scores." I mean in his geezer circuit it's probably passing for news, the junk he's talking about. But where has he been on Judith Miller and where has been on Iraq period? That mattered in the last few years and matters right now. Not that Maureen Dowd told a joke he didn't like. And the roundtable, I read that thing and I started thinking, "Yeah, why is he trashing women all the damn time?" You can tell C.I.'s sick of him. That was obvious when C.I. pointed out that Katrina vanden Heuvel was right and that Bob was wrong. Bob's wrong a lot but what is it, one correction in a year?

How is he wrong a lot?

He argues his opinion and with guys it's like "Okay so this is my opinion and I may be wrong" but with women it's like "You're stupid! You're an idiot!" And what's the whole "I won't peer into someone's soul" thing that's supposed to be operating principle. Didn't he do that with the woman he was calling out for election 2000 this week? A woman who apparently wasn't established enough to write about it then but Misogynist Bob has to make her the one responsible and keep on about how she would have done the same thing everyone else did. How does he know? He doesn't. But he's not rational when it comes to women. He really reads like a misogynist. You should hear my mom on him.

Really. What does she say?

She says white men of his class who are winding down the middle age years and are sexists tend to think if they throw a crumb here or there that they aren't. And she says that's why he throws to Naomi Klein.

Naomi Wolf.

Wolf. Thank you, Naomi Wolf. Yeah, Naomi Klein doesn't exist in his little neoliberal world of Clintonista. But, and this came up in the interview at the round-robin and C.I. might write about it, he'll sacrifice Wolfe even. He'll never call Eric Alterman out, the lisping scold. Alterman insults Wolf and gets his facts wrong but you'll never hear Bob Somerby call him on that. And we saw that my mom and C.I. are both right on that because today he's quoting his buddy Eric again but he still has never taken the time to say "Eric is wrong about Naomi Wolf." He won't do it. Eric Alterman is so annoying with that lisping voice, he sounds like that cartoon cat.


Right. And he whimpers and acts like he's about to cry. I mean, even on Charlie Rose on PBS he's about to burst into tears. This is our brave voice? It's like, "Go write another bad book about Bruce Springsteen to prove your manhood again, Alterman."

You hate Eric Alterman.

Oh God do I. He's such a pompous little effete thing. It's funny to hear on The Majority Report with Janeane Garofalo where he's trying to act like he's this smart person and strong voice but all he sounds like is a snotty little boy who only knows how to communicate with women by insulting them.

Sounds like Bob Somerby.

Well I've never heard Somerby on the radio but yeah they both love insulting women. Somerby's like a slasher going after Ashley Judd when a woman comes up at The Daily Howler. Men never get that treatment at The Daily Howler, just women. He'll do one of his "David Brooks makes a strong point" and you read that and think, "David Brooks has lied more often than he's told the truth" but he'll always go easy on the men. When it's a woman, he's unreasonable and just getting off on how mean and disgusting he can be. I loved that thing C.I. did yesterday. Put it in this.

Okay. This is from The Common Ills yesterday:

Ellen wonders what our latter day, online Dylan would make of that? Oh, Ellie, he's still on his Shot of Love tour, staggering from town to town, making noises about changes but nothing's changed. Despite the claim that it was time for a change in subject matter and focus. Today's targets? Just about everyone.
Which makes the claims about a change dubious. It's a bit like Dylan saying, "I'm thinking of touring with the Band." Or getting back together with Joan Baez. No new Rolling Thunder tour coming but got to keep the people hoping. Today, he's going after Wilson again. And explaining to us that 1992 was the year of change at the New York Times by God! Proving that the professor's grip grows looser and looser. The war on Social Security, the air kisses to Reagan, that's the 1980s but it's easier, apparently, to once again make it all about Clinton and/or Gore. And, point of fact, the Times clowned more often than not the entire last century but the professor missed all of that. He's probably not even aware of their infamous Woodstock coverage which veered down one road, up the other and then circled back. Live by the public record . . .
It's as though, once upon a time, say 1992, he heard, "It all began in a little town called Hope
. . ." and he blanked on everything that came before. Was hearing that like Dylan hearing Woody Guthrie for the first time? We just don't know.
The Shot of Love tour goes on (current Dylan meter reading) but ticket sales are down and the limited crowd is shouting out requests.
So he does a song and dance on Arianna Huffington. (Is DA Pennebaker getting any of this on film?)

Once upon a time,
not that long ago,
he clowned and clowned,
but didn't tell you so,
those were the days,
when he penned thinks like,
"we like Arianna, a lot more than most,"
and forgot to shout out "Psyche!"

You put the last part like lyrics to a song right? Because the person C.I. dictated it too ran it together like a paragraph.

Yeah, I put in like lyrics.

But that's so true. It wasn't that long ago that Somerby was saying something like "we like Arianna a lot more than most" and then on Tuesday, you find out how much he hates her as he rips her apart. So what was that earlier nonsense about? He's just nonsense. And that same day he used a dirty word and put in asterick to avoid putting it up there but this is the man who pulled a Cheney and dropped the f-bomb over and over not all that long ago when he had his snit fit with Atrios.

Are you a big Atrios fan?

Not really. You know how our generation, yours and mine, feels about sites that put out a sentence and then think the readers comments can somehow cut it. I don't want to read 120 comments with about 90% sucking up to the site and 10% having something that might actually be information.

And the petty little wars going on in the comments.

Oh I know. "I've been coming to this site forever, how dare you say that to me!" The troll wars. (Laughing.) If that's the contribution you're remembered for, God help you. Atrios works at Media Matters so he'll be remembered for a bit more than some folks and I'll just leave it at that.

I know the ones you mean.

All these people don't realize how out of date they are. Atrios will also be saved by the fact that he's not screaming for more troops. But there are a lot of biggies who are going down and they don't realize it because their personality cults keep visiting and praising. But there's this whole current moving against them. Bob Somerby's like that. He's made himself useless because all he cares about is what someone said on some dopey cable show. There's a whole world out there but Bob Somerby's apparently confined to a small section of the United States. When the people he so obviously wants to be like, the mainstream media, focus on New Orleans, he can do that too. Otherwise, he might as well be a Sunday Chat & Chewer. Lot of change has happened and Bob Somerby doesn't grasp that. Atrios will probably be okay because he's likeable on the radio and people don't make fun of the way he talks the way they do some of the other net biggies.

Of the net biggies, who do you think gets the change?

I don't know if Bill Scher gets it or he just got lucky doing Liberal Oasis the way he did but no one rags on Bill. You never walk in a classroom and hear somebody mocking him. Sometimes you'll hear people disagree with him on a point or something but no one mocks him for "cat blogging" or "a thread is a lonely thing." Either he's got no interest in a chat room or he realizes that if people want chat rooms, they'll go there.

Does Bob Somerby get it?

I have no idea. I laughed so hard the first time C.I. said it was starting to feel like you were watching the Grammys when you read The Daily Howler. You know, back when Somerby was giving his "props" and doing his "shout outs." That was so embarrassing. To see an old man trying to suck up. It was like desperation time. Since then, I only go there to laugh or get frustrated. My mom reads him and she was a fan until the Grammy period. She got skeptical during the whole Lawrence Summers nonsense. And then when he was trying to weigh in on Guantanamo she just thought he was an idiot trotting out his Washington Post or New York Times or whatever articles when the whole point of Guantanamo is that the mainstream press has been relucatant to tell you the truth on that. You can go to the BBC or mainstream from England but in this country, forget it. Bob Somerby's just an idiot. Do you link to him?

Like everyone else in the community who does, I'm waiting for C.I. to pull the link and then I'll do the same. But yeah, he is an idiot. There was some good work in the past but not anymore. Did he even cover Abu Ghraib?

I don't think so. It doesn't interest him. He's too busy telling you what mean thing someone said about Al Gore in 1999. I can't believe we've spent so much time on him.

Hey, you had a lot to say.

Yeah but that's because you asked if The Daily Jot was a title making fun of The Daily Howler and, dude, no, I wouldn't want anyone to ever think that.

Got you. C.I.'s thinking about writing about Somerby tonight.

I hope that happens.

Okay, so I have a question from Joe and he wants to know why you're 19 and a freshman in college.

No problem. You already know this but I was in a really bad car accident when I was 8 years old and with the therapy and all I missed out on school.

We've talked about this on the phone and I'm not sure what to ask here because I know this was a big thing in your life and I'm not sure how much you want to go into it.

No problem. Short story. Summer. I was in little league. We'd gone to get pizza. That's the team with their families. On the way home, this drunk driver plows into our car. My mom had to have stiches but was otherwise okay. Dad and I were on the left side of the car which is where the drunk plowed into, the left side. I really don't remember much about it. But that's how Dad died.

I'm sorry.

Not your fault. But it was real hard on Mom because she lost Dad and they weren't sure for almost a month if I was going to make it. Then it was months and months of physical therapy. So I was behind in school because of the year I missed.

Was your mom real protective after that?

She says she was and that Grandpa straightened her out on that. I don't really remember that. I just remember the next summer she was like, "Do you want to play baseball?" and I did because that was something Dad and I did. That's really what I remember about him, tossing the ball with him in the backyard. Him teaching me how to throw and stuff like that. But that was apparently a big deal because, and I don't remember this, don't know if they even talked about stuff like this in front of me, but there was this talk about how the whole thing was a sign and how I was going to have to be careful and stuff but Grandpa was all against that and he and Mom had big arguments. I'm sure that's how it happened but I don't remember that. I remember stuff like saying, "I'm going to play football" and Mom going along with it. So I think this all took place while I was out of it or like away from me because I don't remember any of that. I remember Mom living at the hospital because I'd fall asleep and she'd be there and I'd wake up and she'd be there. I think it was really hard on her but I don't remember much. I remember being in a lot of pain and I remember being real frustrated in physical therapy a lot because I couldn't get my feet to do what I wanted them to and stuff. That's what I remember. That and the nurses. I had really nice nurses who made me smile even when I didn't feel like laughing. I remember three of them and I even remember one's name, Ann. Ann was the night nurse and she was always coming in and saying something silly to try to get me to smile or laugh. And she'd always be going on about how I was doing good and all. Making progress and stuff. But all the nurses were really nice to me and I remember that.

And you recovered physically.

Yeah. I've got a nasty scar on my left side but most of the others have faded or shrunk and you can't really see them.

Now you're doing The Daily Jot and you say it's to be a smart ass and hopefully make people laugh so I'm wondering if you think that period in the hospital has anything to do with that?

It probably does. People need to laugh and I'm one of those guys who likes to laugh and be silly so I'm sure that comes from that. But Mom has a good sense of humor and I remember Dad laughing a lot so it probably has to do with that too.

I'm also wondering if you think that has anything to do with your feelings about Bob Somerby's Daily Jerk Off?

Oh, I'm sure. I mean, I lost my dad, I almost didn't make it. And now we've got two wars and people are dying and, yeah, it does offend me that we're talking about real life or death things and Bob Somerby's doing his Daily Jerk Off about some nonsense that someone said on cable TV or wrote in a paper. It's like, Dude, there's important stuff and you're still focused on 1999. I mean, I could be whining about the car wreck every other day if I wanted to live in the past. I think I'd have a better excuse for living in the past than what Bob Somerby has. But it's like, "Suck it up and grow up already." Yeah, he ticks me off with his nonsense. Life's too short.

How's it been blogging? You got a few days under your belt.

Yeah, two more days and I'll have a full week! I'll be an expert! (Laughing.) The big problem I'm having is I can't e-mail the stuff. C.I.'s going to help me try to figure out what's going on there this weekend. When I set it up C.I. talked me through and I thought I did it so I could e-mail a post to the site but I tried that on Sunday and it didn't work so I ended up just putting it up the regular way. If I could e-mail it in, it would be a lot easier. You don't use the e-mail option, do you?

No, I think C.I.'s the only one in the community who does. I'd offer to help you on that but I don't know how to.

It's cool.

What did you think of Beth's thing?

I loved it but where were you?

I didn't want to be quoted. I told her she could sum me up but I didn't want to be quoted.

You know what I liked? I liked that she offered her opinion and took a stand. This could have been a fluff thing like some paper's mea culpa. She spoke to people and got their opinion and then reconstructed it that way.

Did she speak to you?

Yeah, I had like ten minutes because I had practice but she did call me. I told her I joined you guys for the CD review and that I really didn't know much about before but I knew that Dona kept saying "We need to focus" during the CD thing. And then after Ava and C.I. were doing their own thing and this was still a huge topic. I thought, and I wasn't there for most of it, but reading it I thought Beth gave a straight forward take on it. And if you're going to do something like that, look at how something fell apart, that's how you do it. Not the way the New York Times did Sunday with Judith Miller.

Readers of my site have heard about you because you are a buddy and someone whose opinion I value. Lauren e-mailed that she likes your site and laughs but you're nothing like what she thought you'd be from my talking about you.

Well you know we all have a lot of sides. At The Daily Jot, I'm just blowing off at the mouth and trying to be funny. That's one side of me. But, and I read you so I know what you've said, when you talk about me, you key in on that part of me that's about how there are things you get worked up about and there are things that are just not worth the time.

Yeah, you've got a great perspective and there are times when I'm pissed off about something and we'll talk and I realize that whatever pissed me off doesn't really matter that much or at least not as much as I thought it did.

Yeah, well, let me say I love your site. Counter-recruiting is a big thing and I'm glad you cover it and I'm glad you make me laugh and talk about stuff that maybe seems too whatever for old guys but you'll talk about it. Like the kid yesterday who wore himself raw beating off. You took his question and dealt with it.

Which brings us to Lauren's question, have you ever had a problem with crotch rot?

With odor, no. (Laughing) Or I don't think so and none of the ladies ever pointed out. But I do have a problem with my boxers. They all end up getting holes right around the inner leg and all. Same things with my jeans. They will wear out there. I don't know what that is. (Laughing) Probably the strain from my impressive package.

Betty had a question for you. She called me today. She wants to know what is it about "you young men" that makes you go to the groin?

She's talking about the question on the profile, right?


That was my third question option. I was trying to hurry because C.I. needed to get to work with The Third Estate Sunday Review. Then that question came up and I just went with it.

"Paper or briefs?" "Breifs! No depends here! I pack a mean tighty whitey!"

Yeah, C.I. laughed and said something like, "That's why you get along so well with Mike."

Because of my question and answer: If you were a cannibal, what would you wear to dinner? Just the bone, just the bone. Munch on that.

We like our dicks jokes, what can I say? Or making boastful jokes. Betty wasn't offended, was she?

No, she was laughing. But she said you put two nineteen year old males together and that's what you'll get.

I feel like I let her down then! We really didn't go there much.

No, we didn't. But we'll do another interview where we do.

I know. I was thinking about how much we talked and remembering how you hate typing.

I hate typing!

So we should probably wind down.

Yep. My buddy Wally, who enjoys a good dick joke, blogs at
The Daily Jot. Check him out.

No, no, Mike. You have to say "I've been . . ."

Oh yeah. I've been talking to Wally of The Daily Jot FOR THE HOUR!


Thanks, Wally.

Thank you, Mike.

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