Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Editorial: Know your enemy

The following editorial appeared in the Dallas Morning News on Friday, Sept. 1:
Trying to put wind into the flagging sails of their Iraq policy, President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld played good cop-bad cop in speeches to the American Legion convention this week. Thursday, Bush said of war critics, "Many of these folks are sincere and they're patriotic, but they could not be more wrong." But two days before, Rumsfeld portrayed journalists as fifth columnists and compared the administration's opponents to appeasers of Adolf Hitler.
Given how badly the war is going and how even some leading conservatives are publicly questioning our mission in Iraq, the president has no choice but to go on the rhetorical offensive. But the defense secretary's crude speech was, to put it with extreme delicacy, not helpful to the cause.

Invoking Hitler is designed not to invite understanding but to obscure it for the sake of manipulation. [. . .]

That's sort-of from Texas' Dallas Morning News. Sort of because we avoid linking to them. Instead you can read it at the Fort Wayne News Sentinal. But it sounds interesting, huh? Billie, Eddie and two others drew this to our attention on Friday. They weren't pleased. If you're thinking, "Well Donald Rumsfeld needs to be called out and at least a silly, conservative Belo corporation paper is doing that" you need to read on.

Aside from the Cindy Sheehan crowd, who in this country is advocating that we should appease terrorists?

They slime so well, don't they? The same paper that gladly and proudly ran a full page ad, November 22, 1963, accusing JFK of being "a communist stooge" and worse. November 22, 1963 is, of course, the day JFK was assassinated in Dallas. It was a 'warm welcome' from the start thanks to the likes of Dallas Morning News.

So the tired paper that drove off competition and now, as Billie points out, can't make it through a day without AP, The Washington Post and The New York Times to fill out their "thread-bare pages" (Billie again), is in a tizzy that Rumsfeld is sliming and they go on to slime Cindy Sheehan (and her "crowd") as terrorist appeasers.

Nice, no? Slimey is as slimey does and no one does it quite effectively as Dallas Morning News which, any of our Texas readers can tell you, launched a, we're sure, uncooridnated attack on those saying no to war in the lead up and early days of the war. That meant trashing Sheryl Crow for a Grammy nomination (and being so stupid that they argued that, instead of Crow, a woman, not eligible due to when her recording came out, who had 'performed' a laughable song, should have been nominated). That was in the arts section. In the metro section they made sport of Michael Moore (who we weren't aware lived in Dallas or visited in during the Academy Awards but all their local columnists had to weigh in). A metro columnist also got in a shot comparing their local peace activists to terrorists. In the sports section, they attacked Steve Nash and others and said they should shut up because the country didn't have a draft. Oh, that's how it works? Only if a nation has a draft should citizens weigh in with their opinions on an issue as important as war? And the Dixie Chicks went from front page news for releasing an album -- front page news of the main section -- to non-stop targets throughout the paper in less than a year's time!

Well, surely in the op-ed section (if not the editorials), readers of the rag could hear the views of those against the war without all the sliming, right? Not likely. Occassionaly, they'll run one of Ellen Goodman's column. Otherwise, readers mainly got War Cheerleader Thomas Friedman, the wacky Cal Thomas, old man Willie (Safire) and others. Why even their local voices were rushing to war. In fact one local voice . . . Oh wait, he wasn't a local voice. And the readers finally forced the paper to stop presenting the reprinted Weekly Standard columnist as a local voice.

We love our Texas readers because we realize the crap they're up against and how hard they have to fight. (And they fight hard.) That includes AP articles running in their state's biggest newspaper that, some would argue, are carefully cut to present only one view. (An AP article on dee jays who locked themselves into a broadcast room and refused to follow corporates dictates not to play the Dixie Chicks' songs is especially infamous among our Texas readers. As Eddie pointed out, "In the pre-online days, they could probably get away with dropping paragraphs and information. These days, anyone can find the original AP article online and see how they butchered it to make it fit their own purposes.") That also includes local stations that air, on sports radio, a call for Susan Sarandon to be shot. What a wonderful media landscape.

All these efforts to demonize and suppress take a lot of time. Which is probably why the state's biggest newspaper has to pad out their main section with so many reports from other newspapers and the AP. Probably don't have a great deal of time to actually cover the news when you're too busy attempting to figure out how to spin it. Time being limited, they dispense with need for corrections. Which is why they never corrected a column (metro) that claimed the "dot" worn by Hindu women signified that they were married. One of our regular readers pointed that out in real time. Though the columnist disappeared for a week or so (punishment?) the paper never ran a correction.

From Snopes:

Claim: The red dot on a Hindu woman's forehead is nothing more than an indicator of her marital status.
Status: False.

It doesn't indicate marital status. But no need to correct it if you're not in the business of informing. Eddie reports that "one of the buildings downtown" (Dallas) "actually has a motto on it about the job being to present all sides. Too bad the paper's not interested in living up to it." We'd agree. We'd also say it's too bad (and we know readers feel us on this) that when the city had the largest rally it had ever had (and one of the largest in the country -- the police estimated it was as large as 500,000 so you know it passed the million mark) an independent media program elected to air a supposed independent voice who was nothing but a flunky for the paper -- it's Spanish version.

We weren't surprised to hear him slam some of the students participating, isn't that the way of The Dallas Morning News? After you've tarred and feathered peace advocates as terrorists (the editorial board only sees them as terrorist appeasers), what's left to do but slam students?

Our Texas readers regularly assure us that a left is alive and well and fighting in Texas. (We believe them). They're up against a lot. Openly right-wing chatterers around the radio dial, sports-talk radio that regularly engages in the sport of demonizing anti-war activists and regularly drops to their knees for the Bully Boy (Eddie notes that although it's billed as sports-talk, the "big boys" also spend a great deal of time discussing TV shows such as The Shield). They've got an NPR station that offers little more than syndicated programming (even airs Gas Air with Terry Gross twice a day -- apparently there's some unwritten rule prohibiting the creation of too much local programming) and brings on a Joe Lieberman-lover to provide bits of local commentary (during their airing of NPR's Morning Edition) from 'the left.' (Billie swears to hear the woman's attempt at "cultured" voice is to break down in hysterics.) We get to read about their local morning Fox "News" Blonde-zilla who snears at the mere mention of George Clooney while providing entertainment gossip. From TV, to radio, to print, it's pretty much wall-to-wall "The right-wing is right!" -- and it's provided not just by the openly conservative but by the jokes who pass themselves off as centrist and neutral. The DFW area (Dallas-Fort Worth, we learned to make the distincintion long ago when an error here prompted e-mails noting "Dallas isn't the Dallas you think! Even the Cowboys aren't actually in Dallas!") does have an Air America outlet but most of our readers stopped listening when Randi Rhodes was shoved aside to air another program in her time slot. (Instead of listening to it hours later, our readers in the area stream the show online.)

We realize what they're up against and we salute them. They spoke out before the war, they spoke out in the early days. It wasn't easy for them to call it a tragic mistake and an effort that would fail when all around them the local media was in cheerlead mode (even the BBC ended up being dropped from their second PBS station for not being sufficiently rah-rah -- they now have only one PBS station, the second one now airs what we understand to be faith healers).

For everyone in a similar environment, we applaud you. Guess what? You were right. You were right when all of your media outlets were wrong. You were right and spoke out when demonization was the only trick in the media's bag.

As you very well know, being right didn't prevent the war. Being right won't end it either. You've demonstrated you can stand up to anything and we applaud you for that and urge you to continue to stand up against the illegal war.

Know your enemy. They haven't change. They were flat out wrong. They won't own up to that. Instead of providing a forum for the voices that were right, they still want to smear. While trashing Donald Rumsfeld (deservedly) their knee-jerk response is still to smear Cindy Sheehan. That's who they are, that's what they do.

If you wonder why they accept the lie that "We were all wrong" it's because if 'everyone' was wrong, then their mistakes (bias) was unavoidable. But everyone wasn't wrong. Alarms were sounded. They didn't want to cover that. They looked the other way to sell you the war they wanted, that they supported, that they cheerleaded. They echoed the administration's lies and presented them as facts. (Hint: Facts don't usually blow up in your face.) They urged the mob mentality. (Apparently, for The Dallas Morning News, that goes at least as far back as 1963.) They weighed in with editorials, op-eds, articles, features, on air commentary that encouraged their audiences to shout down voices objecting to the illegal war. The demonization of so many wouldn't have been possible without the mainstream media.

Why wouldn't they cover the Downing Street Memos? It demonstrates, to audiences who may have absorbed the we-were-all-wrong nonsense, that the claims were being questioned in real time. It demonstrates how miserably they, big media, shirked their responsibilities.

They have no interest in covering that. Just as today, they have no interest in covering the peace movement. Their Bully Boy's lost some shine so they have to treat him less like the Lord Jesus and more like a mere mortal. (Mere mortal still being a considerable step up for the Bully Boy.) The fanzine writing days are over and we're sure they sobbed a little when they had to take down their posters. But don't kid yourself that collectively they're doing a better job today.

When one of them breaks an important story (either through strong reporting or just dumb luck) they don't echo that. They don't echo it the way they did the 'reporting' that led us into war. When Nancy A. Youssef revealed that, yes, Virginia, the US government does do body counts on the death of Iraqi civilians, you didn't see that trumpeted everywhere the way you did the lie about aluminum tubes, did you?

They haven't changed collectively. They know that the public has changed. The public has turned against the war. (And that happened last summer though a number of centrist columnists are trying to tell you it just happened. The shift was last summer and by November of last year, that shift was being reflected in the polling.) They're still waiting to see if the war can be repackaged and sold again to the American people.

It can't be. Short of another 9-11, and the hysteria that would surround it, the shift is set in stone. As they gradually wake up to that, they'll be forced to do a little bit more coverage that might actually aspire to reporting. Not much, but enough to make sure that they still have some sort of audience to justify their advertising rates.

In the leadup to the war, the nation got a lesson in whom big media elects to invite to the table and whom it doesn't. If you look closely, you'll see that, all this time after, not a great deal's changed. So don't fall for the lie that big media's woken up and is now committed to real journalism.

Hurricane Katrina proved that. Sure, people tried to make names for themselves. There was weeping on camera. But a year later and look at the state of New Orleans. Where was the coverage of that? Psuedo-outrage gets spouted for the anniversary but watch and see how quickly it vanishes.

Nothing's changed. That includes big media's desire for further deregulation. How any outlet that got it so wrong on the war can now argue that they need the ability to expand is beyond us? What's that argument like? "We were wrong in only print and the TV and/or radio station we own, but if you give us a chance to own everything, we'll be right!"

Know your enemy. They're still (collectively) the enemy. They're still trying to advocate while claiming they're informing. They're still shaping what's covered not for news value or to help comprehension but to sell you whatever it is they're selling on any given day.

You fought it in the lead up, you fought it in the early stages. Keep fighting it. We'll all need to to in order to bring the troops home.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --

Another week, another edition.


We don't got 'em. How come? Print edition had 'em. Also had new content. We decided to keep it in the print edition and, at the last minute, devise entirely new content for the site. Consider it a double marathon session.

The following did not participate in this edition and we thank them for that:

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 Ils);
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix;
Mike of Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz;
and Wally of The Daily Jot

Wait? "We thank them for that"? Yes, we do. It's important for people to take time off. When we realized (Saturday morning) that we'd be working on some farewell NY features, we decided we'd make it an edition put out by the core six. That way, people could enjoy some time off, enjoy the holiday. We love their input. We love their help. We love their contributions. But, most of all, we love them and they deserved time off.

So new content written by:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and, me, Jim as well as by C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review.

New content:

A note -- We were just about to do the highlights online when we realized, we didn't want the edition we'd completed online. This note was just to alert any early readers that content was going up and we weren't on holiday.

Iraqi army boasts they squeezed out Number Two -- but did they remember to wipe? -- Short pieces! Always the mantra of Dona. And it became even more necessary when, at the time we're usually finished or winding down, we suddenly have to come up with a new edition -- and to do quickly and when we were all wiped out from doing an edition.

'Checks in the Mail!' -- The so-called FactCheck.org. We actually, this is how tired we were and still are, had no idea what this was. We copy and pasted the titles in here and I (Jim) just asked, "Hey what's 'Checks in the Mail!' about?" No one remembered. We had to look it up. We were writing quickly.

Little Lee-Lee Happy At Last? -- Lee Siegel had some unpleasant news. We'd write him some sort of note but we imagine he's too busy reading all the e-mails he sent himself.

The Appeaser Rumsfeld -- This was the first thing we had when we decided new edition.

Somebody's Lying -- Dona was screaming, "We've got to wrap this up! I mean now!" And that's before we started this piece! The latest revelations on Plamegate, to hear many in the mainstream tell it, means that it's a non-story, that it was always a non-story. Not so fast.

Stupid -- C.I. reminded us, when we were trying to come up with ideas for our second edition on Sunday (we hope to never again have to do two completely different editions) that we'd heard a program this week and spoken then of writing of it. We really loved the writing of this. All of us. Dona loved working on this one so much, she forgot to watch the time. We still love it.

Musical Roundtable -- Thanks to reader Ray who e-mailed to let us know this was out of order. It should have been the last thing you saw. It's the last thing we worked on that morning. We thought we'd post it, post the TV commentary, post the editorial and be home free. But we had to do it first. C.I. also did an entry at The Common Ills while we were doing this roundtable. We wanted, all of us, to get some sleep. When we finally got it up (Blogger was acting up), the whole Blogger/Blogspot went screwy. We couldn't get anything up here, C.I. couldn't get Isaiah's drawing up at The Common Ills. We decided, screw it, we're going to sleep. It's a holiday weekend, we'll post the other items later. We felt the roundtable acted as a good end point and that anyone wondering about the 'credits' for this edition would get the idea from the roundtable. But it ended up out of order. Covered are CDs by Michael Franti and Spearhead, Paul Simon, Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Kind of Like Spitting (among others).

Relocation -- A goodbye NY edition meant that yes, the rumors were true (the ones Mike was spreading!) that we were indeed relocating from NY to CA. We actually did that at the end of spring or the start of summer. (We're not sure on the dates. Dona & Jim were the last come out to CA.) But we made the decision after coming out and we've sat on it both to make sure we'd stand by it as summer drew to a close and also because we had other things to focus on. (Wendy wonders if next edition will focus on Iraq? It probably will. In both the 1st edition this week -- print -- and the 2nd edition -- online -- we did work in Iraq but we didn't make it an Iraq focused exclusively edition.) Holiday weekend meant we needed to clean shop. We have relocated. That's our announcement. Reader TJ e-mailed to ask about the comment re: C.I. pulling something from a roundtable (done elsewhere). TJ wondered why that was such a big deal (Ava and Jess being involved). Ava doesn't talk about her personal life is (A). When Ty told us about that e-mail we thought we knew the answer. Then Ava told us, "Actually, that was pulled as was something else that no one but Mike and C.I. knew." Huh? C.I. said it wasn't about anyone working on this edition ("including me") and that it wasn't stated but "I know it's happened, it happened around July and it didn't need to be announced there. It's not bad news, like Ava and Jess isn't bad news, but people have a right to decide whether or not to disclose personal information." So we know that whatever that was, it didn't involve the six of us, C.I. knows, Mike knows and the rest of us are confused. But, TJ, there's apparently something else that was discussed ("Alluded to," Ava corrects me) that got pulled.

TV: Swift Justice -- The two most pissed about Blogger/Blogspot going out were Ava and C.I. "Wait a second," Ava said. "We had to write two TV commentaries [in this marathon] and neither are going up?" They did write two. The print edition contained a review of Don Johnson's show. (They can't remember the title, neither can we. We're all tired. Last week, "Vanishing" is in the title of one of their commentaries because they thought that was the title. Ty caught it in the text as he read over it and they fixed it. They realized the title was wrong after it posted but decided it fit the piece and left it.) It's funny. They hate it. They hate everything they write. (And yet, they refuse to reread any of it. We think they'd laugh as much as everyone else if they'd re-read any of their stuff.)

Editorial: Know your enemy -- Friday, Dallas Morning News slimed Cindy Sheehan. C.I. got e-mails on it and e-mails came in here on it. We love our Texas readers. (We're trying to figure out if we can make a trip to the area sometime soon.) We know they're passionate and involved. We know they don't give up. What happened with Sheehan fits in with a larger picture of big media. But we open with Texas to note how difficult it can be there (due to the media situation) and to say we are amazed at how strong all of you are to keep on fighting. What's the alternative? True. But it still takes eneregy and strength. Ty, Ava, Jess and C.I. remembered the examples that had arisen in the past (about media) and those and the ones mentioned in the e-mails that came in Friday were used.


Though we don't have highlights, we will do recommendations:

"roundtable" and "Roundtable & snapshot" and "Found in the paper" and "A roundtable" all feature the Thursday roundtable that Ava, C.I., Rebecca, Cedric, Mike, Kat and Betty participated in. (We hope we didn't leave anyone out.)

We recommend Mike's "Lotta Links pushes Voice of America -- the war crimes of indymedia,"
Rebecca's "e-mails and iraq", Kat's "Feeling Moody," Elaine's "Taste Makers, time for you to wake up," and Wally ("THIS JUST IN! DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS DO HAVE A PULSE!") and Cedric's ("Democrats do have a pulse") joint-post. (Among many other posts.) In addition, a second roundtable was done (Rebecca, Trina, Elaine, Betty and C.I.) and it's at several sites but we'll note it at Trina's: "Roundtable in the Kitchen."

We do thank Dallas for his help with links and input. We tried to shoo him away but, as he pointed out, "Who are we kidding? Do an edition without me?" We did try to make it as easy as as possible for him (though we doubt we did). We thank him for all of his help. (Dallas also checked our comments re: DFW media to make sure the calls rang true. Unlike us, he actually experiences that media. Thank you, Dallas.)

And that's it for us this week. See you next week.

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

TV: Swift Justice

Do you like to watch TV? Do you like to watch TV watch TV? Jerry Bruckheimer has squeezed out another and this one airs on Fox Wednesday nights. It's called Justice and that must be a joke like the ads which proclaim it's "From Acclaimed Producer Jerry Bruckheimer."

Bruckheimer's in a bit of pickle. Short of CSI: Bathroom Monitor, what's he left to do? Monitor: "It would appear the errant urine poured out of a young male suffering from hypospadia. We're on it." At this point, the franchise is feeling like Weekend At Bernies Part 37. What else can he offer? He tried a sitcom and it failed.

What he really, really wants to be is David E. Kelley. He wants to be critically admired and dreams that impossible dream daily. Impossible not just because he'll never live down Thief of Hearts, but also because he doesn't have the chops. As demonstrated repeatedly throughout his career (most infamously on Dangerous Minds when he cut out all the footage of Lou Ann's personal life), when something may not be working or doesn't test well, his first instinct (and last, he's high-impulse) is to jettison it. Just pull it out. Don't work on it, don't attempt to fix it, just pull it out, turn the soundtrack volume up higher and assume no one will ever notice the gaping holes in so many of his films.

He's gotten away with it enough times that now he wants to construct a TV show that way intentionally. Justice plays like a sports reel on the evening news. It's nothing but highlights.
Now if you missed your favorite game, the highlights might actually offer you some comfort, but we're willing to bet you'd still prefer the game itself if given a choice.

Not Bruckheimer. He just wants the big moments. So he's built this new show around little else. Watching Justice, you wonder, if he got his hands on Shakespeare at this point, would Romeo & Juliet consist of a few lines from the balconey scene and a few bits of the suicide. All the moments that build to those scenes, that enrich the lines? He doesn't care.

Justice is about four partners in a high-priced, high-profile law firm.. Like every other concept (high concept) that's occupied his empty mind, this one is overblown in every way -- from acting to sets. Jan de Bont may have been known for screaming, "Bigger! Bigger!" at actors, but Bruckheimer wants it in everything. Trott, Nicholson, Tuller & Graves isn't just any law firm, it's the law firm to have when you're wealthy and accused of a high profile crime which must be why the firm is housed in what appears to be a sparsely decorated airplane hanger. ("Bigger! Bigger!")

Victor Garber needs all that room to showcase the worst over acting since Joan Crawford decided to spin a disc in Sudden Fear. He barks, he chin thursts, he hollers, he glowers, he exists with flourish. He does all that over and over, so often, that you start hoping someone swapped the Duracell batteries on this Ever-Ready Bunny.

Garber's not the only one who can't find a calm moment with both hands and eyes wide open.
Eamonn Walker has a very uncomfortable scene (as Luther Graves) with an extra he walks through the law office halls. Possibly because the writing never provides connections between characters, Walker can't stop touching and trying to touch the man he's attempting to get information out of in an effort to provide some sort of connection between the two characters. Walker is African-American and this is TV Bruckheimer, so that's his only really big scene. Two other (White) lawyers at the firm will have big moments in court, not Luther Graves.

Rebecca Mader stands around a lot with eyes widened. It gets old quickly. She's suppoed to be playing Alden Tuller but we really think she's playing "I almost look like Lori Singer but I come much cheaper." Mader's performance repeatedly demonstrates that you get what you pay for.

Kerr Smith plays Tom Nicholson. Since he's both White and male, he gets more to do than Walker and Mader combined. He's supposed to be the trial attorney who can win the unwinnable cases, who has a special rapport with the juries. They trust him and instinctively root for him. Apparently the juries are made of Wendys taken with this Peter Pan which would explain the comical hair style. (Even Sandy Duncan eventually dropped it.) But what adds further to the comedy is that his mini-fringe bangs sometimes are straight, sometimes are slighlty curled, sometimes cover his forehead and sometime have a huge space as one portion of bangs is swept to the side. These styling bits come not over a span of time, but while he's in the courtroom. Though he's providing a nightmare for anyone trying to track continuity, it could probably make for a good drinking game.

Unintended laughs is all Smith has to offer. Looking like a young Harry Potter and exhaling so much earnestness that you fear he may rip a hole into the ozone, Smith bring to Fox the acting chops he so obviously honed at the WB (Dawson's Creek, Charmed).

Supposedly, Smith's Tom can get anyone off (in the court room) and that's a bit hard to buy. If he has a public repuation for that (and the character does), at some point don't you think that most jurors would grasp "This is the guy who always gets them off?" and therefore begin to assume that all of Tom's clients are guilty? Wouldn't you think that his reputation would be a liability once he'd built a name (and been given a nickname/tag from the press)?

Well you're thinking too much! This is Jerry Bruckheimer. If he couldn't force audiences to deliver a positive verdict on his lousy films (Gone in 60 Seconds, Pearl Harbor, et al), he can at least create a world where the jury usually finds in his favor. Tom's a stand-in for Bruckheimer and the character he cares most about when he's 'involved' with this show.

The blustering, belicose Ron Trott? Don Simpson. You grasp that in many ways but most of all when Tom/Jerry says that a "little of Ron goes a long way." Instead of deals and movies, the new version of Simpson & Bruckheimer concentrates on law which, if you remember Simpson and are familiar with Bruckheimer, means they concentrate a great deal on getting good/favorable verdicts. This being TV, it actually happens.

When you grasp that Garber's a Simpson stand-in, you begin to grasp the workings of the show. Male bonding and, at some point, Tom/Jerry's going to have to go up against Ron/Don.

In the meantime, Garber works without a net-- or any apparent modesty. One of the most irritating features of the show is watching a TV. Garber's on television being interviewed frequently on a show called something like American Justice. He has to reign it in a bit on those TV appearances -- that the characters watch as you watch them . . . watching. It's supposed to provide some form of media commentary and provide laughs. It doesn't.

It just reminds you of how well Elaine May navigated this terrain with throw-aways in The Birdcage. Her droppings are Bruckheimer's (fools) gold and the show actually comes to a stand still anytime he can make you watch the characters watch TV.

There are many problems with the program but the obvious one is that, like Victor Garber's performance, there's no where left to go. The show starts out with a high profile case of a man accused of killing his wife. If you're thinking, "Nicole Simpson was O.J.'s ex-wife," rest assured that and skin color are about all that's been changed. They even trot out golf clubs. As in O.J.'s case, the police fail to examine everything allowing the defense to rip a huge hole into their case.

For those who missed the show (lucky) and are thinking, "Okay, so it started off showy. That's not a problem." Yes, it is. The show needs to be showy. They're doing high profile cases week after week. This isn't The Practice or Boston Legal. There are no human interest stories. The law firm is set up for the high profile case.

The show is set up so that each case is tried and a verdict delivered in every episode. (Premature Justice?) The verdict comes before the end of the show so that the final moments can be used to show the audience what really happened -- which might make some sense if these were actual real life stories. But the whole conceit of delivering a verdict and then, after, allowing the audience to know what really happpened makes no sense at all when you are dealing with supposedly fictional stories that zip along so fast that you honestly don't care.

The show makes no sense. Not when actors repeat one another's dialogue in the same scene, not when the firm suffers none of the backlash Johnnie Cochran had to go through, not when Garber bounds in and out of scenes offering advice that no one takes. (If he really were the legal guru he's said to be, wouldn't one of the partners be listening to him?)

Somewhere after Ron's provided a for-show itinerary for their disgusted client (who doesn't intend to visit his wife's grave with his daughter in tow for show -- if he does end up following the itinerary, the audience never sees him doing it), Tom explains that the highest compliment one lawyer could give another is that s/he would hire them if s/he needed a lawyer.
He says that of Ron and then explains that Ron's not being hired to be liked.

While they may draw in the clients, will it draw in viewers? What works in the legal world doesn't necessarily work on television. On television, you have to feel something for the main characters. Ron leaves you cold -- or rushing for the Tylenol. If he's not shouting at the top of his lungs, he's delivering dialogue with a smarmy smile (especially when he's being interviewed).
It's all too much and serves only to make you appreciate what William J. Shatner has done with his legal drama role.

In fairness to Garber, sports reel highlights don't usually convey complexity and clip-art's yet to make it into any respectable museum. While that may explain the limitations of his performance, it doesn't explain why he or anyone else involved decided to take part in this travesty of television drama.

Nor does it excuse it.

If there is TV justice may it be meted out in the same manner of this show and Justice find itself swiftly cancelled.


So the print edition differs from the online edition in every way. Reading over it, we decided to do a completely different version online. What's going on?

We've moved. As Mike guessed, we (Ty, Jess, Ava, Dona and Jim) aren't going back to New York. We're staying out here with C.I. It makes more sense for us to all be in one place and it was obvious Ty's intern job was both enjoyable and going somewhere. Jess was taking courses out here this summer and enjoying them. Ava's attitude was she had family here, she had family in DC, she had family in NYC, she was used to being 'mobile.' She also prefers the West coast for a number of reasons including demography which tends to cut down on the assumptions that, as a Latina, she can be called on to explain every issue in any Spanish speaking country.

There's more diversity for us out here. There's also more committment. We're not surprised that much of the media coming out of the East coast can't focus on the war or any issue for long. We'd say that's reflected on the campus we were on. We'd seen the spread of the Sammy Powers fervor. We'd seen those crazies, those zombies with their chants of how the US must unleash the Bully Boy and his military might on Darfur. We saw them get their matching orders from various psuedo liberal profs on what was the focus this week. We saw them rush from cause to cause like chickens with their heads cut off.

We aren't speaking of all Eastern campuses or all in New York but what we saw the same sort of defocusing that the media provides. One of the psuedo liberal professors even counseled Dona that she shouldn't get so involved in the anti-war movement and should focus on more 'humanitarian' issues. We went to a trusted prof to ask what the hell was going on and she closed her office door and informed us that for 'humanitarian' reasons psuedo liberal had cheered on the war with Iraq. We weren't surprised by the connection, we've noticed it in others. The Sammy Powers movement will have to move without us. We don't think they'll suffer, please, they have their leader, they have their right-wing evangicals and they get face-to-face time with the Bully Boy.

We leave behind many friends who will continue working hard on the war issue but they understand our decision (our print edition was a salute to them). Along with our families, we discussed the decision with them. We explained how nasty it would get the next time the Sammy Powers pushed (in class, on campus) one of their "Military might good" talking points.
We see the Sammy Powers (the modern day Carrie Nations, as Mike has dubbed them) as an organized effort to take the heat off the Bully Boy and to pull activism from the anti-war movement and the immigration rights movement. We think they're led by manufactored spokespersons and are disgusted about how they annoint and spread one another, without noting the ties, every press opportunity they get. (We're also question the press access, big and small, they have. The same paper of no record can refuse to run an op-ed against the war on Iraq by Alice Walker -- an actual humanitarian and world renowned writer -- but can fork over space to an otherwise unknown English prof who styles himself as an 'expert' on Darfur.)

Out here, the six of us will be under the same roof and can focus more on activism and the editions. As we noted in the print edition, our first edition began January 16, 2005 following Jim going to an event on campus that C.I. spoke at. Jim, Dona, Jess and Ty were already tight friends. Dona and Ava were roommates. Four of us had spoken about how we needed to do something online. Dona had insisted that if we did, Ava was brought in. There wasn't a day in December on through January 15th that we hadn't spoken of doing something. We'd probably still be talking about it (and not doing anything) if Jim hadn't gone up and asked the question, "You're C.I. of The Common Ills, aren't you?" The first time anyone had made the connection catching C.I. by surprise. With C.I. in the area, it made sense to start then and we did. Dona and Ava knew a student who'd had an abortion and was willing to talk about it so we were sure we had one story in us. We thought we'd be a weekly site. We had no real ideas other than that. But we all gathered at Dona and Ava's (much cleaner than Jim, Jess and Ty's) and did the interview, wrote it up and were pretty pleased. (It still works and that's thanks to the story that was shared and the woman who shared it.) But what else would do?

Ironically enough, TV was insisted upon by Jim. Ava and C.I. weren't interested. Jim pushed it and picked the show. Jim, Dona, Jess and Ty wrote a review. We all looked at it and . . . it sucked. It really, really sucked. C.I. and Ava created some things for the review, to tighten it up and to give it a form. The collaborative writing that we would make our focus was established. And we'd quickly realize that TV was really Ava and C.I.'s beat. Ironic because neither were watching it. In those first few weeks, there were a lot of questions, among us, about the TV commentaries and a lot of doubts as Ava and C.I. began adding more and more of their input but those vanished quickly as it became the most popular feature (it continues to be that each week). Dona was the first to realize what they were offering each week and Jim was the last one to grasp it. Once we all grasped it (readers were ahead of us), we were happy to turn the beat over to just them and, like the readers, just enjoy the writing and criticism which is sharp, strong and funny.

But that first Saturday night, we still had other things to pull together. We managed. It was around three a.m. when we thought we were finished. A friend had designed a wonderful template. We loved it. We were eager to add our links to it. In the process, we somehow damaged the template. It was five a.m. and we suddenly had no template. As we were all in various stages of depression and whining, C.I. stay focused and picked a pre-existing template from Blogger ("see, it's green, just like the other one") and we worked on posting.

The technical difficulties have never gone away and we expect them each week. We are never disappointed. It all set the pattern of the non-stop all nighter.

With future editions, C.I. would sometimes be present and sometimes just on the phone. But C.I. worked on every edition and we were glad when we were finally able to add C.I. to the credited six. We appreciate the help we get from everyone but the core six are the ones responsible for the site if you have a complaint. Since the edition we were working on was our bye-bye NY edition, it made sense that this edition should be put out by the core six. It also allowed us to say, "Take the weekend off" to everyone. (Two were already going to have difficulty participating this edition and another had time issues.)

How it usually works is a conference call (often with phone problems such as echoes, disconnects, you name it). At some point, if C.I.'s not present, Ava would grab her cell and C.I. would leave the line open (to the conference call) and speak to Ava on another phone as they pulled together their commentary. It's so much easier when they're physically together to write a commentary. It's also true that Ava was already contemplating moving out here and, more and more, was traveling out here to see friends and family.

Along with working together on each edition, Dona and Jim became a couple. So did Ava and Jess. (One of the things that was struck from the roundtable by C.I. -- Ava doesn't plan to speak of her personal life but we are noting this here with her permission.) Regardless of whether she was moving or not, she was planning on spending her summer out here which is why Jess signed up for classes out here to give it "an audition" (it passed). Ty's intern job has meant he's switched majors and, fingers crossed, found a career. That left Dona and Jim returning to NY by themselves. (And the way they both fight, they're going to need witnesses to explain the double murder!) If they returned. Jim is from that region and had that as possible draw pulling him back but Dona's midwest and she'd already relocated once for college so doing it again wasn't going to be a big deal. She told Jim what they'd do could be his decision since he'd be the one leaving family. The deciding factors were the weather, the activism and visiting various campuses. And while it was true he would have five friends out here (six including Kat), it was also true that as he worked on a number of issues, he made more friends. ("And also flirted shamelessly with a starlet," adds Dona.) ("She flirted with me. I was just letting her down easy and 'starlet' is too weak a word. That's something I'll tell my kids about someday," replies Jim.)

More than anyone else, Mike sensed the change and has been asking us. We figured we'd make the announcement the first weekend in September and allowed Mike his "I knew it!" moment Saturday morning. For a number of reasons, we made the decision. We'll be back in the NY area from time to time (Jim has family there as does Ava) and that's true of the East coast as well.

The Sammy Powers movement did factor in hugely. We just didn't want to be around those zombies. But, as we prepare for the site to wind down (the plan is November 2008), we thought it made more sense to all be in one place. (C.I. will still be on the road speaking some weekends.) In terms of the site, the hope it it will allow for stronger editions.

And also more rest for all involved. This morning, when Blogger went screwy, we still had an editorial, Ava and C.I.'s commentary and a feature to post. When Blogger went screwy and nothing could go up here or at The Common Ills, we were able to say, "Look, if we'll all agree to just get some rest, we can all stop." Usually, that's not possible. Usually, C.I. still has the morning entry at The Common Ills and Isaiah's comic to post. C.I. did the morning entry while we were doing the musical roundtable and when Blogger went screwy, the comic couldn't go up. It's one thing to say, "Okay, we'll all just get some rest" on the phone. But that usually means, after we hang up, C.I. goes and posts at The Common Ills (or mirror site) and then we end up feeling guilty because it has been an all night session and while the rest of us went on to bed, C.I. stayed up an additional hour or two doing posts. Face to face, we can all agree and, as we did this morning, clean up the mess of food, papers, magazines, books, CDs and other artificats of our evening to night-to-next-day marathons, pop in a CD or DVD (this morning Cactus Flower) and nod out.

And, though C.I.'s saying not to put this in, it's all true that thanks to generosity, we just lost the requirement of paying two rents. There's enough room for all of us here (and more). It reduces expenses for five college students. (C.I. says that if we're noting that it should be noted that the family of all five of us made a point to offer something towards lodging.) (The kind offer was turned down.) Add in that we've got a Pacifica station over the airwaves that is quite a bit more serious than the one we were used to. (We doubt a show supposedly for women, broadcast on independent media, would air urging them to marry "up" because that's the key to "success" and offer that women should come home from work and "cook for their men" because that's how it should be. We hope we're not wrong on that.) Yeah, we'd love it KPFA had more Iraq coverage. But it is true that they provide more coverage period. There are some good shows on WBAI (including, but not limited to, Law and Disorder, First Voices and Cat Radio Cafe) but it's also true that there are shows we listen to and wonder what the point was. (We also wonder where the Christmas Coup Players went? That was a strong show providing insight and humor and we weren't pleased when it vanished.)

So despite the abundance of Smoke Police/Nazis (Dona smokes), we decided to relocate. Gina and Krista have stated they're running all the features in the print edition so for readers who are members, they'll see it in their inboxes Friday in the gina & krista round-robin. (Long term readers of this site that we've exchanged e-mails with can write us at thirdestatesundayreview@yahoo.com and we'll also e-mail you a copy of that edition if you don't receive the round-robin.)

We did like the print edition and had ideas for it throughout last week. But we also felt it was too personal to go up here. (And too self-referential.) We noted a lot of really special friends, Ty shared his hopes to maintain his relationship despite the distance, we noted some of the best rallies and meetings we'd attended and the very real activism (as opposed to the manufactured Sammy Powers movement) that we saw on our own campus. (Ava and C.I. reviewed Don Johnson's show -- now cancelled but airing one more Sunday on the WB before it becomes the CW.) Since that was our goodbye to a very special period of our lives, we also started thinking it should be done in the print edition. (Ty's lovey-lovey plans to continue to distribute to the print edition on our old campus.) Which left us, at four a.m. PST, suddenly deciding to do two editions. We think it actually went pretty well and would have gone better if we hadn't had Blogger go screwy.

When we told Mike Saturday morning (he was the first one in the community we told) he asked that we end our feature on the move with John and Michelle Phillips' "California Dreamin'" (first appearing on the Mamas & the Papas If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears). For Mike:

All the leaves are brown,
And the sky is grey.
I've been for a walk
On a winter's day.
I'd be safe and warm,
If I was in L.A.
California Dreamin'
On such a winter's day . . .

Musical Roundtable

Jim: We're doing a music roundtable of sorts. Just a few notes on some CDs that caught our ears this week. My dad's a huge Paul Simon fan so when I saw Paul Simon's new CD Suprise at C.I.'s, I grabbed it an ripped off the plastic.

Dona: Just to be clear, you did rip off the plastic.

Jim: Yes.

Jess: We all listened to together and C.I. was finishing every couplet, not a word but going two for two.

C.I.: I just know Paul Simon's writing style. I can usually guess the end rhyme.

Jim: "Solistice" wasn't an end rhyme. And it wasn't just the last two words, like Jess said, two lines by Simon and you knew where he was headed with the next two.

C.I.: I know his writing style, I know his imagery.

Jim: I liked Suprise. Ava had some problems with it.

Ava: My issue was -- we've got enough religions metaphors tossed out by the Bully Boy. I appreciated what Simon was trying to do but "War Prayers" is conflating so much that I feel the whole song is confused.

C.I.: You felt the heart of the song was the third verse.

Ava: That's where he's talking about a mother and her children. If the song had started off with that and developed it, I would have enjoyed it. Instead, I felt he wrote a song that a number of people will listen to and think, "Yeah, war good! God wants it!" They'll miss the line about "liars," for instance. C.I. had a funny line about "Sure Don't Feel Like Love."

C.I.: Is that track four?

Ava: Yes. C.I. said, "Well look what Cher's 'Believe' has wrought."

C.I.: Because of the vocal recording.

Jim: I get Ava's point and, if I think about it too long, will agree but I basically enjoyed the CD.

C.I.: I think any Paul Simon fan will. This isn't an album for hardcore fans only. Anyone who's ever sung along with any Paul Simon song, solo or with Art [Garfunkel] should embrace this CD. I do agree with Ava's point, by the way. I appreciate what he's trying to do and think he makes it musically but lyrically, Ava's point, he would have been stronger with the close up and, lyrically, the song trends towards the universal.

Jim: I was going through all the CDs that had been given to C.I. and not opened yet.

C.I.: I speak out of town a great deal, just to clarify, and there's never enough time. It's not meant as an insult when something sits unopened. But before we move on, the first two tracks are Simon classics. I haven't looked at the CD, so I'm sorry I don't know the titles. But they are as strong as "Dangling Conversation" and "The Only Living Boy In New York City."

Jim: We can stay on this a bit longer. I really did love the CD. The two songs that you're talking about are "How Can You Live In the Northeast" and "Everything About It Is A Love Song." I really loved those two. But I think "Once Upon A Time There Was An Ocean" is my favorite.

Dona: Jim really loves the CD. You're not getting it back.

C.I.: That's fine. To close this out, Simon's engaged with the world around him. This isn't an album where you listen and think, "Uh, what year is it?" It's reflecting on today. There's a line in one of the songs about getting back to the 20th century that Jim loves. I understand Ava's point and actually agree with her quite strongly but the album itself is a meditation on today and I think, my opinion, it's the strongest work he's ever done as a solo artist.

Jim: I'd agree with that and I know his albums. Like I said, Paul Simon's my dad's favorite artist. I grew up hearing him the way Jess grew up hearing everyone. There's a searching quality to his songs that's on this album and he's grappling with hope in times of war, with aging, with pretty much everything. I think it's a great CD and the sound textures are just amazing.

Dona: We'll move to the next CD and I wanted to like this so bad. It's Stranger Things by Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians. Brickell is married to Paul Simon so I thought it would be interesting to listen to her CD after we'd heard Simon's. I also did like the New Bohemians. I was so disappointed with this CD. I didn't feel I was getting songs, I felt I was listening to sketches. Did anyone like this? For the record, I paused for thirty-seconds while waiting for an answer.

C.I.: I just don't care for Edie Brickell as a recording artist. I can't evaluate this disc because I've never enjoyed her solo or with the group. I think all of her songs are sketches. I don't hold it against her that her phrasing owes so much to Rickie Lee Jones. I do hold it against her that her writing is so miniscule. It's as though she's handed a huge canvas and decides to do a doodle the size of a postage stamp in one corner. What's your favorite song by her?

Dona: "What I Am."

C.I.: Yeah. I hated that the first time I heard it. When she was singing about someone "pull me out of the shallow waters before I get too deep," my response was, "No threat of that ever happening." That one, that CD, actually would have stayed in plastic. I would've never unwrapped it. I'm sorry to know that it doesn't even make it for fans of her music, but she's never made it for me musically.

Dona: I guess, for me as a fan of the group, the most disappointing thing was that it's been forever since they put out a CD and this is what they put out? I did have the Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars CD. It was my aunt's and I loved the title and the cover and would always beg her to put it on. One time, my parents were helping her pack up, she was moving to a different apartment, and she gave me that CD while she was packing up her CDs. So I've logged a lot of time on that CD. Should I stop?

Jess: No.

Dona: Well the new CD, Stranger Things. It's how many years later? And look at all that's going on in the world and the songs just really don't reflect that. What was the Dylan song she did?

Jess: "A Hard Rain's Gonna' Fall."

C.I.: For the soundtrack to Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July.

Dona: I just felt like, if you're doing these sketches, record something written by someone else. And I didn't love Paul Simon's CD the way Jim did, Jim loves that CD, but I did appreciate the topics he was struggling with, the things we are all struggling with, but with Stranger Things, forget what year is it, I wondered what decade it was supposed to be there's no real indication of a life today. I was just really disappointed.

Ty: And that's really awful, when there's an artist you like and they put out something that just leaves you so cold. It's not a shift, right?

Dona: Like a new direction? No. On that, I could think, "Oh well, it's me and I just need to give this time." Does everyone know what I'm talking about?

C.I.: Yeah. Boys for Pele, Tori Amos, that CD I could not get into and I love Tori Amos. It was probably six months before I could appreciate it and get into it.

Dona: I can see that happening with that album. But that's not like that. This isn't a CD where someone tries a new approach. It's the exact same thing they were doing years ago and it's not as though anything's happened to inspire them or even to effect them. Considering the war and everything else going on today, it's just really sad how superficial the lyrics are and the band always sounds like it's about to get into a groove but never manages.

Ty: If it helps, I love Van Hunt's first CD but the second one disappointed me so much. On the Jungle Floor. Now there, it was a change in sound. And that was my big problem. If you're Van Hunt why do you want to sound like Prince? Prince does a great job of being Prince, most of the time. But if you've established yourself as a strong talent, why would you just trash the things that made you unique to sound like another artists. There are some jams on there that I can listen to but it really sounds like an artist who doesn't know what he wants to say or who he is.

C.I.: Sophomore curse. I haven't listened to the CD but you're describing many, including Terrence Trent Darby.

Ty: It just felt like product and I think that's what Dona's saying about Edie Brickell's CD.

Dona: That's exactly what I'm saying, thank you, Ty. Again, Simon's CD, I could appreciate what he was going for. I could enjoy a lot of songs on it. There was nothing that would make me scream, "Skip that track!" And Jim won't stop playing it. We're making love to it, we're waking to it. He's got it on the CD player in the bedroom and it never goes off. I couldn't take a second listen to Brickell and the New Bohemians.

Jess: One CD that we all loved was Michael Franti and Spearhead's Live In Sydney.

Ava: We did. And we should note that we're not addressing Yell Fire by Franti and Spearhead or Ani DiFranco's Reprieve because we've already noted them here and because Kat's hoping to do reviews of both.

Jess: This is a really great live recording.

Jim: It's also a DVD but we never watched that. I remember when we got back from New Mexico, I was sprawled out on the floor and we were listening to this. Someone, Ava?, said, "You know the other side is a DVD of the concert. Maybe we should watch it?" And there was this pause and then it was like, "No, let's just listen."

Jess: Right. We've listened to this so much and probably formed the best visuals in our heads already. But this is a really great CD. If you like Franti and Spearhead, get this CD.

Ava: The track that hooked me from the start is where he brought a woman from the audience up on stage with him for that number. I'm not sure she can sing, but she is very much a part of that song. And her efforts at following him, he'll sing a line and then she'll sing it, really make the song and add to it. And yes, Jim, I was the one who suggested we watch the concert on DVD. I was also the one who kicked you to wake you up several hours later.

Jim: I thought that was you. "If you can't feel a thing a thing, hold on to me." That's really the key line of that song.

Dona: And that's why song works so well with the woman. Franti's got a warm voice and can sing but the message of the song is strengthened by the mix between them. I also loved "Everyone Deserves Music."

Ty: One thing I'll note about the packaging, the track listing may be for the DVD but it's not the listing for the CD. I'm pretty sure it's two off. The listings. "Sometimes" was my favorite song on the CD. It's track six but the back cover lists it as the eighth one. And the keyboards are really good on that song.

Jess: Bob Crawford.

C.I.: I think tracks one and two, on the listing, are covered with track one and tracks three and four listed are track two on the CD.

Ty: I think you're right. But it made it difficult to figure out the songs sometimes.

Dona: For those who can't write a full song either right now or ever, they should consider recording "Never Too Late" which is actually a song. I really love that song with it's commentary of "Don't fear . . ."

Ava: But do you think "It's never too late"?

Dona: You mean with regards to Iraq? With someone other than Bully Boy in the Oval Office, maybe. With someone as stubborn and mule headed as the Bully Boy, I think it was "too late" long, long ago. But you know what, he can think he's unmoveable by the will of the people all he wants but the reality is that he, the Bully Boy, isn't.

Ava: I hope you're right. I loved the Franti and Spearhead album but my favorite "new" CD this week was Illuminations by Buffy Sainte-Marie. Brenda Norrell's "Buffy Sainte-Marie's censored sounds" (Indian Country Today) had Dona and I interested in more of her music, we've largely just paid attention to the greatest hits, The Best of Buffy Sainte-Maire. And Sainte-Marie is manipulating her vocals on parts of this album, not unlike Paul Simon does on track four of Surprise.

Dona: And the "new" CD is actually an album released in 1969. "Suffer The Children" is probably my favorite song. It's about, or one theme in the song is the teaching of fear and being taught to look outside your country for the 'evil.'

Jim: What stood out to me is what stands out to me everytime which is how few comparisons are made of Patti Smith and Buffy Sainte-Marie's vocals when they share a great deal in common. I think we all enjoyed this one. My own favorite track is probably "The Dream Tree."

Ty: And the sad thing about this CD is that it did come out in 1969. Makes you really grasp how much shallow abounds today. Justin Timberjoke rips off the music of Prince and others to try to sound 'sexy' but he still sings like he's an accountant major in a clip-on tie.

C.I.: And I think that's a good point about a lot of the music today. Neil Young put out Living With War and we're still waiting for anyone to match that. It's still not happening for the most part. And it's not being strived towards. An album I've actually been thinking of lately, but haven't had time to listen to, is Gram Nash's Song for Beginners. Which I'm betting only Jess is familiar with.

Jess: Yeah, I do know that album quite well. "Military Madness" is a great song. And where are those songs today? "War Prayer" tries, and I'll give Paul Simon credit for that, but Neil Young's come alive by engaging with the world around him, Paul Simon's come out of a deep coma by doing that, artistic coma, and you'd think people would see that or Green Day's success or the works of others and that they'd have the guts to dig a little deeper. God save us all from "Sexy Back."

Jim: And there's a lot of work being done on independent label's. One CD that we really loved was by a group we'd never heard of. They're on tour right now and will perform in Oakland on the fourth, Kind of Like Spitting.

Jess: That's the group. The name of the CD we were listening to by them is Learn: The Songs of Phil Ochs. It's a collection of songs written by Phil Ochs.

Dona: And what kills most tribute CDs for me is the glitz factor. It's either overdone or you've got someone damned determined to overwhelm the entire project on their one track. I can list several from the Tapestry and Rumors tribute albums. Because the entire CD is by one group, Kind of Like Spitting, it has a cohesion and it's also true that the songs are done in a more intimate style. Or maybe low-key is the term. But this was an enjoyable CD that you could listen to without grimacing or reaching for the remote. But to the point that Ty and C.I. were making, at some point, you either have to reject the nonsense, the product, or just accept that you are as useless as the product you're listening to. And I'm waiting for some more bravery in future releases. Neil Young has not been stoned. Who else is going to step up to the plate? You'd think a number would be chomping at the bit. Trying to demonstrate, "Oh, well that's Young, look what I can do!" Instead, you have more of the water color, pale word jumbles coming from Bob Dylan.

Jim: The most disappointing CD put out by a grown up this year. Truly. Give it up. Pack it in. His ego's been so stroked, and the usual hand-jobs were given on the new CD, that he can utter such ridiculous statements as, "I own the sixties-who's going to argue with me?"

Ty: I'll argue with him. Old man better not say that around me. MLK. Malcolm X. If we're focusing on music, James Brown, Diana Ross.

Ava: Which is a good point, Diana Ross. Diana Ross and the Supremes had more number one hits than any other American artists in the sixties. James Brown had more popular success. Dylan was like Laura Nyro, whose music I love, his songs were popularized by others. Say "Blowing In The Wind" to some who grew up in the sixites and they'll think of when they first heard Peter, Paul & Mary sing it. Say "All I Really Want To Do" and they'll think of Cher or the Byrds. This is a man who had trouble going gold. His idea that he owns the sixties is a bit of a laugh.

Jess: Well, the Beatles. They were certainly more popular than Dylan. There songs were and are better known than Dylan's. It's an old man trying to grab bragging rights because he's got so little to point to today. "Hey, I don't just make a CD every few years, I'm a disc jockey." Wow. You have yet again underwhelmed a nation. And your use of "slut" in the lyrics reads like a desparate attempt to be "down" with the young 'uns.

Jim: And listen to a radio if you're going to talk about recordings.

Ty: You're talking about when he brags on himself and then feels the need to note that, he thinks, other songs aren't recorded, right?

Jim: Right.

Ty: I noticed something. Did anyone else?

C.I.: I did. Does anyone else want to go?

Ty: I think you and I are the only ones who may have noticed it. If you're thinking of the same thing I'm thinking of.

C.I.: He's really slagging African-Americans. We're talking about the cover story of Rolling Stone's September 7th issue. Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" -- his logic -- must not hold up as well his songs because 'who's recording it?' and Smokey Robinson's 'Tracks of My Tears" in the same way. He's trying to paint himself as the artist, the sole artist in some instances, and compares the Mona Lisa for some reason. To make that comparison, that likeness of his work to the Mona Lisa, he has to dig up someone to slag. Who will it be? He offers Alicia Keys but then decides he doesn't want to go there and settles for Michael Jackson. There's also the creepiness factor of his statement: "There's nothing about that girl I don't like." With an emphasis on "nothing" and the fact that an adult artist's being called a "girl."

Ava: Maybe we're supposed to be relieved that she wasn't called a "slut"? I'm sorry, Ty, I didn't pick up on that when I read it but now that it's been pointed out, yes, it was there.

Ty: That just ticked me off. And I'll offer my theory, for the bulk of the sixties, American ownership of the charts came via Motown, Aretha and others. That was the success. Dylan wasn't a chart success for most of the sixties on the singles chart and he's still trying to disown what others did accomplish.

C.I.: Before some tired hack of a professor takes his hand out of his pants long enough to type out an e-mail, Dylan did once list Smokey Robinson as one of the great songwriters. It's also true that he then took that back and said it was a joke. A fact that's rarely noted but it is public and is probably known even by those who attempt to only note the first statement. The interview's a turn off. How much that has to do with Dylan and how much that has to do with the writer is open to question but, as a general rule, anytime you sing your own praises, you're asking to be slammed. And obviously, "What's Going On?" and "Tracks of My Tears" have been covered many times and will continue to be covered many times. As for Ty's theory, anytime someone's singing their own praises and down grading others, they invite those theories. I don't know what's sadder though because from some of the statements, Dylan's saying compare him to others not his past but either the writer or Dylan at that moment, was stuck in the past. When you've already written one book on your past and are planning another, maybe time can be devoted to discussing the new album. Not the mosit juvenile jottings provided by the author of the piece but a serious discussion.

Jim: Maybe the new album doesn't hold up to a serious discussion, maybe that was the thinking.

C.I.: That may be. I haven't listened to it because I had a feeling it would pop up in a roundtable and I'd prefer to say, "Haven't listened to it yet, sorry." But in terms of the article, that's the writer's fault, not Dylan's. He was plugging the new album. He is always high on the new album, whatever album it is, and willing to talk about it from what happened in the studio to the song writing. The writer isn't interested in the new album. He's interested in tripping back to the eighties with his laughable nonsense. Empire Burlesque's production was an attempt to garner more listeners. To imply that he was of age in the eighties and the production confused him, the writer, is just silly. You can say you don't like the production, but to use Dylan's terms laid out in the article, compare him not to his past but to what others are doing. Empire Burlesque fits in with what others were doing in terms of production. It was only a surprise/shock for those still wanting Dylan behind an acoustic guitar.

Jess: You actually like Empire Burlesque.

C.I.: Yes, I do. I prefer Knocked Out Loaded because you can hear real genius at work on that album. Sometimes it's pulled off wonderfully, sometimes it's not. But the process is there. I think it sums up where he was and where he was looking at, on the horizon. The albums that would follow, after the attempts at U2 polish, would bear that out. He's also charting, lyrically, more directly the themes that he's been exploring of late. "Drifting Too Far From Shore" is a good example of that. What I think, of the critical reaction to Knocked Out Loaded, which was just blistering, is that Empire Burlesque was an attempt at a commercial sound. It got knocked around a bit in terms of the original reviews. That made the pedestal shake a little. Then when it didn't translate, the attempt to update the production sound, into huge sales, a lot of people who bit their tongues were out for blood and Knocked Out Loaded became the target. "Maybe Someday" is so strong that it should be covered by other artists. But I haven't heard the new album, I have no comment on the new album. The article is what I'm commenting on and I found it very poor. It would have been improved if it had been a Q & A presentation. At this late date, I don't think most of us need a listing of highs and lows on Dylan or the moist writing of the worshipful fan. If you were going to do some sort of article, as opposed to a Q & A, then maybe the way to structure it would be to address the new album and, as Dylan points out, put in alongside the work others are currently doing. Instead, someone thinks we really need to grasp that he's embarrassed by his coming of age years in the eighties. He should be more embarrassed by his feature writing today.

Jim: And on that note, we'll wrap up. By the way, if you're wondering about the participation in this roundtable we insisted everyone who usually helps (except Dallas, who we tried to make take a break) enjoy their Labor Day weekend, it's just the six of us.


Stupid is as Stupid speaks.

We were traveling a lot last week and got to hear a number of stations (and shows) we wouldn't normally. One such show aired on an Air America affiliate. The host, Stupid, wanted to get her listeners' feedback on Mike Malloy's firing by Air America. She didn't like the feedback she got and grew even nastier which might be a surprise when you consider that prior to the calls she'd already slimed Mike Malloy and Randi Rhodes. (Often in a faux, chirpy voice.)

Her problem with both stemmed from what she saw as their 'attacks' on Israeli government for it's recent armed aggression/war crimes. She also didn't care for the fact that they talked politics "all the time." She felt Mike Malloy just shouted and it wasn't to her taste. "I know Mike" she offered at different points of the broadcast (both before she took calls and during). She'd offer it in a disgusted voice before the calls (when she apparently thought listeners were going to be dialing in by the thousands to agree with her -- she predicted wrong, only one person agreed with her) and then, when a caller was especially pointed, she'd offer it in a kinder voice and try to backtrack over the hatred she spewed at him.

Mike Malloy doesn't know how to do radio. That was the judgement of the struggling local market dee jay who'd only recently found employment again after oh so many years off the air. The nationally syndicated Malloy didn't know what he was doing.

You can't just scream at people and that's all he did, according to her. She didn't just scream at people on her show, she explained verbally. She also illustrated that point by show-casing her abilities to pout and whine on air.

Stupid noted that she likes to talk politics but she likes to talk other things as well. That was the key to her (questionable) success. She varies it, she mixes it up. She demonstrated this on air as well as she spoke at length about herself. Why talk politics when you can serve your own ego?

There's another probable reason she, unlike Randi Rhodes and Mike Malloy, doesn't enjoy talking politics. Politics is hard. You have to actually know things and be able to cite them. You can't just wing it.

Winging it has gotten her all the way to a D-market and, by gosh, by golly, she was happy to share The Secret of My Non-Success with any and all.

That includes kicking someone when they're down. (She offered that Malloy had a nasty off air personality. We think her own demeanor would curdle Julie Andrews smile so if, indeed, Malloy was ever rude to her, we'd assume it was for good reason.)

But mainly it included making things up and arguing with guests and flaunting her ignorance of anything and everything. That was most laughably clear when one caller asked her what time Thom Hartman's show aired in the area? She didn't know. She didn't know when Malloy's show had aired either (on her station). She wished she did, she really did, but she works really hard and like, sometimes, it's a really slow news day and that means she has to work really, really hard. It's not like, she explained, she just goes on air and that's when her work day begins. (We understand why many listeners might assume that was exactly when and how her work day begins.) And when she gets off the air, she's so tuckered out, she really doesn't want to hear about politics. (Exactly why this idiot is on any radio station is a mystery, why she's on a station carrying Air America is right up there with where's Jimmy Hoffa?)

She wished she knew when those programs aired, she really did, and she wished there was some way she could find out, find someone who could tell her, she'd explain in between cutting off callers who had that information.

One of her key talking points was that, "Even Mike Malloy says they cancelled his show for financial reasons." No, Mike Malloy never said that. It was a nice little lie. It was the corporate headquarters talking point, but Mike Malloy never said it.

She used that to explain that it was all about ratings. And what were Malloy's ratings? She didn't know. But she was sure they were low.

As you can tell, Stupid does a lot of work before going on air.

Malloy was the lowest paid host of a weekday show on Air America. That's a fact that Stupid never noted because she either didn't know or it didn't fit in with the talking points she was working from.

She also praised Rush Limbaugh as entertaining. And slammed the left (remember she airs on an Air America affiliate) for not being able to tolerate opposing views. (She slammed the left for that three different times while we were listening.)

She had stated, before taking calls, that she wanted to find out what listeners thought about Malloy's firing. She didn't want that. She wanted to argue with them. With the exception of one caller in the hour we listened, they all stated Malloy was fired because he handled hot topics in a way that made some people uncomfortable. "No!" she'd scream and tsk and then scream again when she lost her composure. It was because of "finanical decision, even Mike Malloy says it was because of a financial decision!"

Here is Mike Malloy's statement:

There will be no Mike Malloy program on Air America Radio as we have been terminated as of 8/30/06. We are as shocked as you are, especially since as recently as last Tuesday we were told we had the go-ahead to announce our return to NY airwaves and that our contract was "on the way."
We are told its a financial decision. Here's the phone number to call: 212-871-8290 or email to: comments@airamericaradio.com
More details to follow as we hear them ourselves. Members of the press can contact malloyproducer@aol.com to schedule interviews.

"We are told its a financial decision." He did not say, "It was a financial decision." He stated he was "shocked," he noted that the Tuesday prior he'd been told the show was being renewed.

But Stupid kept lying to listeners and saying that "even" Malloy said it was a finacial decision.

Stupid probably hoped everyone was as stupid as she was.

At one point, Stupid's program was critiqued. The caller (male) explained why he preferred Malloy's format to Stupid's. Stupid 'lost' the call (if she can't work the board that's one more indication of how stupid she is) and whined and whimpered about how she thought she was being nice letting the caller be on the air when all he did was personally attack her. (No, dear, he didn't personally attack you. He critiqued your work. Not you. Stupid.)

There's a whole lot of stupid going around these days. A recent interview presented another female broadcaster claiming that Clear Channel doesn't give a damn what you say, they jsut want to make money.

But back to original Stupid who made the same point repeatedly (she only had four points: Malloy sucked, his ratings sucked -- though she didn't know what they were, it was a financial decision and anyone who disagreed with that had better have proof -- something she herself never had to offer).

Clear Channel doesn't just care about making money. Making money didn't factor into a decision to put John Lennon's "Imagine" on a watch list/ban list? Making money didn't factor into their decision not to syndicate Randi Rhodes in the pre-Air America days?

There are blacklists (ask the Dixie Chicks), they've always existed. And pretending that's not the case is just plain stupid.

Pretending, as Stupid also did, that advertisers have no impact is also pretty stupid. She offered a glory tale of a newspaper who refused to allow an advertiser to influence their content. We can match her with a hundred for her one in less than five minutes. Anyone with half a brain knows that ads very often dictate content. (If we thought Stupid actually read, we'd suggest she read Gloria Steinem's "Sex, Lies and Advertising" essay.)

Why was Malloy fired? We're told by friends at AAR (not on air talent or producers of shows) that it wasn't about finances. We're told that it was about the content. They spin it as they're trying to go for a lighter feel now. But, however, they spin it, the point we're getting loud and clear is that it was about content. We asked flat out if Stupid was part of an orchestrated smear?

Long term listeners of Air America Radio are familiar with the disappearance of Lizz Winstead from Unfiltered. We've gone over this before. So we'll merely note that, online, mysterious people, long term listeners who 'always listened' and 'checked out the show's blog all the time' but never blogged there before, suddenly appeared to repeat the nasty (and false) rumor that Lizz Winstead had a serious health issue that had forced her to leave the show and that by anyone asking questions they were making it more difficult for Lizz in a very trying time.

That's called "LIE." That was an orchestrated campaign to clamp down on the shock and anger that many were feeling over the disappearance of Lizz.

After that, it wouldn't have surprised us at all if Stupid was part of some organized campaign. One told us flat out, with no hestitation, that Stupid wasn't part of a campaign, she was just . . . well, stupid. The other had to check it out before answering and then called back to state that she wasn't part of an organized campaign "but is probably just hoping to kiss enough ass to get noticed." That's how awful she was. Even AAR higher ups saw her as a kiss ass.

She was a kiss-ass. Thinking back on how reporters have often (several times recently) stood together to stand up for one of their own (even if they didn't like the person), the fact that Stupid wasn't (and could never be) a journalist was brought home by the fact that her sole aim was to twist the knife in Mike Malloy's back.

She was funny. That's what she said anyway. She didn't offer anything resembling humor on air, but she said she was funny. (She also stated she found Rush Limbaugh funny which adds further doubts to her ability to make rational judgements.) For funny, she and her station offered bits. Like Bill Maher being 'funny' about war resisters.

Oh that was funny. If you were a fat ass War Hawk. Or maybe Jay Leno ripping into the Democrats. Yeah, that was supposed to be funny too. Now Maher and Leno's snippets had no thought and no real purpose in being aired. (They also weren't up to date, many of the clips aired were over a year old and commenting on current situations that were no longer current.) But if that's what it takes to tickle her funny bone, we weren't surprised.

But we were disgusted. We were disgusted with the comedy bits (which could have easily been played on Rush Limbaugh's show), we were disgusted with the historical ignorance on display that big business never attempts to silence if there's money to be made (two words: Lou Grant), we were disguted with the ass kissing that was so intense that we thought near the end she was using tongue, we were disgusted with the attacks on Mike Malloy, we were disgusted with her demands for proof and citations (she had, after all, asked for opinions) while she presented 'facts' that weren't indeed facts and avoided any effort to tell listeners where they could go to find those 'facts' (couldn't offer what didn't exist), most of all we were disgusted with her.

An elderly caller phrased her response nicely (in a trembling voice) but even the way she phrased her remarks or the fact that she was so obviously nervous didn't prevent Stupid from ripping the caller apart once she was off air.

Here's a clue for Stupid: Hire a better call screener. If you say you want to hear what people think and you don't really want to hear it, screen your calls. Otherwise, when you ask for people's opinions, don't scream at them that they're wrong.

And when you don't know someone's ratings and you don't even know when their showed aired on your own radio station, you probably shouldn't make the person the subject of your over long rants.

Some callers rightly complained of how superficial Stupid was. One offered a strong critique and told her exactly what was wrong with her show. We laughed at the on air pouting by Stupid that followed the call. But we laughed most at her claim, without anything to back it up -- remember we're talking about Stupid -- that listeners of her show, of her station even, listened from start to finish. (Which would mean, if you think about it, that Mike Malloy's show couldn't have been as low rated, at least on her station, as she claimed.) She's living in world of self-delusion.

May she rot there alone. Politics is hard. And obviously beyond Stupid's grasp. Maybe she can get a sidekick to do imitations and pad out what she can't comprehend? Oh wait, someone's already doing that. That program is the leverage that was used in targeting Unfiltered. But then, no one wants to see that or talk about it. Stupid.

Somebody's Lying

Let's talk turkey. Plamegate's latest revelation? Doesn't mean a damn thing.

Or rather, doesn't mean a damn thing's changed. Robert Parry makes that point very well in "How Obtuse Is the U.S. Press?" and he covers a wide range of topics. We're not going to do that.

Backstory, Joseph Wilson went to Niger to determine whether or not Saddam Hussein had sought yellowcake as some alleged. Wilson found nothing to demonstrate that this allegation was accurate. He reported that back to the CIA. Then, in the State of the Union speech in 2003, Bully Boy used that disproven allegation. Wilson wrote an op-ed for The New York Times, "What I Didn't Find In Africa," that ran on July 6, 2003. In a syndicated column that ran about a week later (July 13th was the date for many papers), Robert Novak wrote a column that outed CIA agent Valerie Plame based on conversations with "two administration officials."

This was done, our opinion, to silence critics, the same way Team Bully Boy always operates. Taht's the recap. We're going to focus on how the latest revelation is not (or should not be) the "end of the story."

Though Armitage's role as Novak's primary source has been a subject of speculation, the case is now closed. Our sources for this are three government officials who spoke to us confidentially and who had direct knowledge of Armitage's conversation with Novak. Carl Ford Jr., who was head of the State Department's intelligence branch at the time, told us--on the record--that after Armitage testified before the grand jury investigating the leak case, he told Ford, "I'm afraid I may be the guy that caused the whole thing."
[. . .]
Ford recalls Armitage said he had "slipped up" and had told Novak more that he should have. According to Ford, Armitage was upset that "he was the guy that f**ked up."
The unnamed government sources also told us about what happened three months later when Novak wrote a column noting that his original source was "no partisan gunslinger." After reading that October 1 column, Armitage called his boss and long-time friend, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and acknowledged he was Novak's source. Powell, Armitage and William Taft IV, the State Department's top lawyer, frantically conferred about what to do. As Taft told us (on the record), "We decided we were going to tell [the investigators] what we thought had happened." Taft notified the criminal division of the Justice Department--which was then handling the investigation--and FBI agents interviewed Armitage the next day. In that interview, Armitage admitted he had told Novak about Wilson's wife and her employment at the CIA.

Do you follow that? Armitage was Robert Novak's source but didn't realize it. That's the argument David Corn makes in "The Meaning of the Armitage Leak in the Plame Case" (The Nation). Okay, we can go with that. To a point. From Corn's article:

. . . Armitage was also the source who told Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in mid-June 2003 that Joe Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. Woodward did not reveal he had learned about Wilson's wife until last November, when he released a statement recounting a conversation with a source (whom he did not name). Woodward acknowledged at that time that he had not told his editors about this interview--and that he had recently given a deposition to Fitzgerald about this conversation.

There's a problem there. Armitage realizes he's said too much to Novak but is unaware he's also talked to Bob Woodward? That's what Woodward's statements to Larry King would indicate.

Then, the day of the [Scooter] indictment [October 28, 2005] I read the charges against Libby and looked at the press conference by the special counsel and he said the first disclosure of all of this was on June 23rd, 2003 by Scooter Libby, the vice president's chief of staff to "New York Times" reporter Judy Miller.
I went, whoa, because I knew I had learned about this in mid- June, a week, ten days before, so then I say something is up. There's a piece that the special counsel does not have in all of this.
I then went into incredibly aggressive reporting mode and called the source the beginning of the next week and said "Do you realize when we talked about this and exactly what was said?" And the source in this case at this moment, it's a very interesting moment in all of this, said "I have to go to the prosecutor. I have to go to the prosecutor. I have to tell the truth."
And so, I realized I was going to be dragged into this that I was the catalyst and then I asked the source "If you go to the prosecutor am I released to testify" and the source told me yes. So it is the reporting process that set all this in motion.

This is a man handling secure documents for the government and he can't even remember who he talked to? He needs them to jog his mind? It doesn't play right.

Those are Woodward's public statements on the issue. He realized his source had been feeding him the info prior to when Scooter was feeding the info. He maintains that he was brought into Plamegate prior to Rove. He didn't realize that, he asserts, because he didn't know the day Scooter got chatty. When he did, he knew he had to come forward, he states, and he called his source and his source, whom press accounts now maintain was Armitage, stated he'd have to go to the prosecuter because he hadn't realized that. This is supposedly after Armitage has already had one light bulb go off that he was talking about Valerie Plame to Robert Novak. Those light bulbs sure go off slowly for Armitage if the public record is accurate.

Now maybe Bob Woodward's sugar-coated the truth. But it's also true that a lot of this story doesn't play right. There's the fact that, although Robert Novak may or may not have seen Armitage as someone who wasn't "a partisan gunslinger," the rest of the press (which is assuming Armitage was Novak's source -- he may ahve been) has no reason to repeat that lie. Armitage wasn't the reluctant for war with Iraq that he's being made out to be. He had issues with the ways, not the war itself. As early as 1998, he was signing the PNAC letter urging war with Iraq. Portraying him as a reluctant supporter of the war is a bit of a stretch.

But the issue remains as to who Woodward's source was? If it was Armitage, why didn't he remember the conversation with Woodward? And, according to Woodward, it wasn't just one coversation. Woodward told King: "I made efforts to get the source, this year, earlier, and last year, to give me some information about this so I could put something in the newspaper or a book. So, I could get information out, and totally failed."

Was Woody lying? Maybe he was. But, if Woodward's telling the truth, we're supposed to believe that Armitage came forward on his talk with Novak but was unaware of his talk with Woodward? With Woodward making "efforts to get the source, this year, earlier, and last year" to provide more information? With all that going on, Armitage didn't realize, "Hey, I did talk about this with Woodward. Gee, I wonder when we had our first conversation?"

Again, maybe Woody's lying. Maybe he's telling the truth. If he's telling the truth, the latest spin on Armitage just being a "gossip" is a bit much. (The source for that identification is Armitage so it should be treated dubiously.) It's not adding up. Robert Parry is correct that the story isn't over. (That's not suggesting that David Corn is saying the story's over, he's not. We're avoiding discussing Corn because of his co-author. We provided a link to Corn but removed all links to the co-written book. Corn was on this story from the first. We're not commenting on Corn in this article. We have no respect for his latest book's co-author.)

It seems highly unlikely that the story winding down about Armitage and the story Woodward told can be both correct unless Armitage is not a gossip but a habitual liar. (Again, that could be.) As Chris Isaac sings, "Somebody's Lying."

And on that note, Robert Novak. In The Washington Post, Howard Kurtz reported in July that Novak stated he had named three sources to the Grand Jury investigating the Plame outing. One of the three he would not name. The other two were Karl Rove (the Bully Boy's right ass cheek) and Bill Harlow (then CIA spokesperson). With the public record, Harlow would be the unidentified one who stated he asked Novak not to name Plame. That leaves Karl Rove and the unnamed. "They came to me." That's what Novak wrote when the outing became an issue. "They came to me."

Who is "they"? Novak is claiming Karl only gave it up after he called Karl. Who is the "they" who "came" to Novak? According to the spin, Novak went to Rove to confirm what the source (alleged to be Richard Armitage) told him. That's in complete contrast to what Novak wrote in real time: "They came to me."

Even by the conventional spin, Novak and Libby were outing Valerie Plame. Even by the conventional spin, Armitage served the White House. It's still a White House smear.

Iraqi army boasts they squeezed out Number Two -- but did they remember to wipe?

Mouwaffak al-Rubaie, the Associated Press reports, had the flackery duty today in Iraq as he announced that "days ago," the Iraqi army had captured Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi. al-Rubaie holds the post of national security advisor and, if he works hard enough, he just might surpass Condi Rice's own laughable remarks when she held that post in the United States.

al-Rubaie maintains that Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Seedi is not only al Qaida, he's also number two. Something's hitting the fan.

al-Rubaie: "We believe that al-Qaida in Iraq suffers from a serious leadership crisis. Our troops have dealt fatal and painful blows to this organization.''

Now just a few months back, al-Zarqawi was supposed to be number one. That led to the first runner up being declared Miss Global Terrorist and, apparently, put al-Seedi next in line for the beauty crown. With the news that, if the trend continues, the third runner up may soon don the sash, we're guessing al-Qaida's ready to organize another beauty pagaent. We shudder at the thought of the swim suit competition.

The announcement is meaningless to all but those who miss the p.r. concocted playing cards of the supposedly most wanted and dangerous Saddam Hussein loyalists that were such a 'fun' story for the press back in the early days of the illegal war.

We're reminded of the Rolling Stones' "Laugh I Nearly Died" right about now. (Written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, off the CD A Bigger Bang.)
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