Sunday, September 24, 2006

Editorial: Darrell Anderson Needs You

Darrell Anderson. Here's the back story. In January 2003, Darrel Anderson joined the Army. He was sent to Iraq and injured by a roadside bomb. Awarded the Purple Heart, when facing a second deployment to Iraq, Anderson decided to self-check out (January 2005). Like Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Patrick Hart, Kyle Snyder and an estimated 220-plus others, Anderson went to Canada.

In Canada, he applied for refugee status -- a status regularly granted during the Vietnam era but one Canada has thus far refused to grant to any war resister. Recently, Anderson's attorney apparently missed a deadline for the paper work on that issue.

However, Anderson met Gail Greer when she was working on a film about war resisters and married Greer who is a Canadian citizen. The marriage should have resulted in granting him legal resident status. He is currently waiting on that announcement from the Canadian government.

His mother, Anita Anderson, has filled the press in on this month's developments -- this month is when Darrell Anderson told his mother that he was planning on returning to the United States. According to his mother's statements near the start of the month, Darrell was going to return to the United States if the Canadian government did not offer him status. Anderson himself spoke to Jim Warren of The Lexington Herald-Leader for an article published yesterday and it seems the return is no longer in doubt.

The current plans are to cross the border back into the United States, hold a press conference and then return to Fort Knox. He told Warren, "I decided that I've got to go back and get this over with once and for all, instead of living in limbo up here forever."

During the Vietnam era, activists advocated for an amensty for those who dodged the draft and those who decided to check themselves out. With the end of the war, the fall of Richard Nixon with the Watergate exposures, and a new president named Jimmy Carter, it was thought that such a policy was possible. That did not happen. Carter granted amnesty to those who dodged the draft. Those who self-checked out were to be handled on a case by case basis. That was the best that government was willing to do as that illegal war came to a close.

It is highly unlikely that anything's changed in today's political climate. (The amnesty decision was a political decision.) Those who go to Canada know this. The War Resisters Support Campaign provides them with resources, support and information. (And is a worthy charity to donate to.) It is a difficult decision and coming back to the country for any reason (including the funeral of a parent) means risking arrest.

For Anderson, with no work permit due to his status, Canada meant struggle including living with his Post-Traumatic Syndrome from his experiences in Iraq. Loud noises still startle him after the roadside bomb, sleep usually means nightmares of reliving the experience. For those reasons and others, he made the decision to return to the United States and, in his words to Jim Warren, "I decided that I've got to go back and get this over with once and for all, instead of living in limbo up here forever."

What can happen next? He could be dishonorably discharged and that would be the end of it. More likely, he will face an Article 32 hearing for desertion and then a court-martial (which could result in jail time). What happens to Darrell Anderson largely depends on us. Are we willing to speak out? Are we willing to show support?

We're sure the usual suspects will show up for their one-off "Baby cried the day the circus came to town" coverage and that's not going to be good enough. That's not going to do anything. Well, it will let the usual suspects kid themselves that they "covered" the story. It's not a one-day story.

However the media decides to treat it, we have to be willing to keep this issue alive. Ehren Watada is a success story in terms of attention. It seems, however, as though Kevin Benderman (currently serving a sentence) has been forgotten.

Darrell Anderson remains opposed to the illegal war. He is a war resister. Anita Anderson intends to be outside Fort Knox and maybe some can be their physically, maybe some can be their in spirit. But how much we work to keep this issue alive will impact the outcome. As Patti Smith sang and wrote "People Have The Power." But they have to use it.

More information on Darrell Anderson (and other war resisters) can be found at Courage to Resist.

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --
Sunday and we did tell Kat before we all came to DC that she could return to California on Sunday morning. Knowing how DC sessions tend to go, she didn't want to bail on us. We appreciate that and needed all the help we could get.

Highlights? We got 'em:

Ruth's Report
Music Highlight: Kat reviews "Mommy, May I Pet With Danger?"
Blog Spotlight: Mike on activism
C.I. attempting to walk the slow witted through
Humor Spotlight: Wally & Cedric talk to Super Freaky
Humor Spotlight: Cedric & Wally on Bully Boy Book Club
Blog Spotlight: Kat on how the FDA failed
Blog Spotlight: Mike's pissed
Blog Spotlight: Rebecca's pissed
Blog Spotlight: Elaine answers (a bit) the big (personal) question

If you were online at 6:55 am EST, you saw all the above and probably thought, "At last, they're on time." We were and we had all the features completed and ready to post. What happened? You tell us. Error messages. Knocked offline. Unable to log into Blogger/Blogspot when we did get online. Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary couldn't be accessed. Still can't. It's there in the drafts, it just won't open. (Calm down, they do have a TV commentary this edition.)

New content? We got it and the following worked on it:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and, me, Jim;
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review;
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ils);
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix;
Mike of Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz;
and Wally of The Daily Jot

Here's the new content:

Shades Include Green (Party) -- as community members who are third parties pointed out to C.I. ("Repeatedly"), the Green Party has gotten very little attention from the media. To believe the mainstream and independent coverage, Hillary Clinton, having won her primary, faces no anti-war candidate. That's simply not true.

GreenStone Media -- Gloria Steinem is part of group creating radio programming attempting to reach women listeners who have been tuning out on radio. The New York Times saw it as the perfect opportunity to once again preach their (Mis)Guided Gospel on Gloria. You shouldn't fall for it and you should make a point to check out GreenStone Media.

About the Times Select . . . -- this is really my (Jim) comments with others shouting out. So let me let it rip on this. First The New York Times did run a correction to their error. They did so on September 13th, it was number eight of twelve corrections the paper did that day in print.
On September 22nd, nine days later, when a community member pointed it out to them, they finally added the correction to the story. Why does that matter? Business wise, it matters. It matters when you see online access to your articles as a scholarly tool for students. They call it "your new research assistant" in their advertising.

Nye-Nye Takes a Fall -- it's amazing how many of the right-leaning centrists are taking a fall these days. First little Lee, now Nye-Nye. There are plenty more and we hope that there's time to watch them all, in the words of the Mamas & the Papas, "Trip, Stumble and Fall."

MyTV's Fascist House -- we still can't believe this was popular. We thought it was a one time thing. We were looking for a visual and Kat suggested a collage so, two weeks ago, we had this feature. We didn't do it last week and did we hear about that. We're not sure it will be a weekly feature but it will be a regular one. Enjoy the collage.

The Tears -- photos? Forget it, we've routed all photos to the gina & krista round-robin (which had a special edition today as well as yesterday -- in addition to the regular Friday editions). So we painted. Listened to Nina Simone, Ben Harper and Michael Franti during that. Rebecca will probably tell the story about this visual so we'll focus on the text. We hadn't planned to touch on this topic but Ty checked the e-mails during breaks (being in DC since Wednesday means the e-mails weren't read after Tuesday until today) and there were actually a number of e-mails asking that we note it one more time. We're happy too and intend to note it in two weeks so look for it then.

Bully Boy cloud -- mushroom cloud? No, it's a Bully Boy Cloud. Projection's what the administration works on.

Dick & Bully Boy hiding behind others as usual -- two drawings in this one. This came about because Jess' dad, Mike's dad and my (Jim) dad are with us in DC this weekend. We all loved Jessica Lange's speech last year. It was brilliant and incisive. But "the dads" (as the moms call them) are obsessed with Jessica Lange (as the moms will tell you). Yes, they note her speech and praise her for it but we think a great deal more is going on. Seriously, only a person as brave and beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside could have given such a powerful speech. That's the backstory to this feature.

Talk -- talk, get the word out. Media, big and small, has failed on Iraq. Criticize, complain, make jokes about it (we do) but also get the word out on the war. [C.I. came up with the "wok" joke and we had to beg for it to be included. In the end, my dad convinced ("Him, the judge and jury of all things funny," says Dona) C.I. it was too funny to leave out. Look for that to pop out as you read. Prepare to laugh.] We had an extra helper on this one, Betty's youngest son. While we were painting, her kids were as well. He thought this was something he could add too and he did. Due to me, my fault, because I had set that on the floor to dry. Betty was apologizing when he showed it to us. No need for that. It was a black & white visual. He thought it needed some dark blue. (His favorite color.) Looking at it, we agreed it needed color and quickly added some more to it. We like it better this way. So on this feature, we also need to credit Betty's youngest son.

TV: Heroic Would Be Pasdar in a Loin Cloth -- Ava and C.I. don't read their reviews. When they can avoid it, they don't even read over them. They farm that out to someone else (we're all usually willing and huddled up reading it out loud). You can steal their jokes and, if you do just a sentence at a time, they never notice. Do more than one sentence and by the third or fourth, they'll catch on (due to the rhythm, Ava says) that you're actually quoting them. So the point is, as hard as it is for the devoted readers of this weekly feature to imagine, they really don't know what they wrote after. (In fact, they're already preparing their year-in-review after they shot off a funny Monday about Bo Derek and we told them it should have gone into their review. "It didn't?" they asked. No. They agreed it was too funny, and too accurate, to let it drop so they've noted it for the year-in-review in December.) So, long story short, they wrote their commentary. We read over it. We laughed. The moms laughed, the dads laughed, everyone laughed. Ava said, "Thank God that went easy." C.I. said, "I think you just cursed us." Whether Ava did or not, we couldn't post their commentary. The title's there in our folder, it just won't open. We all tried to help by offering the funny lines we remembered from it. Ava finally told us to all be quiet, that they can't reconstruct a review from a few remembered funny lines, and they went off to write another one. This one is funny too but completely different from the earlier one (C.I. notes not completely, they recommended the show in both reviews).

Editorial: Darrell Anderson Needs You -- War resister Darrell Anderson needs all of us right now. One voice, one person left for the government to do whatever they want with no one giving a damn is one person. People calling out their support for him loudly is using our power. So use it. If you believe the war needs to end, you're in the same boat with Anderson. You wouldn't want to stand alone, don't let him.

That's the features. We thank Tracey and Jasyon for being sounding boards throughout the edition. Ruth and others helped at various stages but, as Ruth put it, "I'm not a teenager." Tracey and Jayson are but that doesn't make it any easier. (Ruth is their grandmother.) We thank Gina and Krista who went straight from e-mailing their special-edition to attempting to help us. (At one point seven computers were trying to log into Blogger/Blogspot, all without succes.) As always, we thank Dallas for being a sounding board, a link locator and more. And, Dona wants this noted "for the record," last week's links problems are not Dallas' fault. He did them the same way he does them every week. For whatever reason, the links had problems and ended up wiping out sentences and whole paragraphs. Hopefully, we won't awake later today to learn that's happened again.

So that's it. That's what you got. Hopefully, you got something to make you laugh or make you think or make you angry. If you got all three, great. If you didn't, well aren't you a greedy son of a gun. Repeat after me, "It's not all about me." See you next week. Jess says get over to The Common Ills. C.I.'s about to do the entry there and when it's done, those of us who've been up all night will be going to sleep. Thirty minutes short of thirty-five hours with no sleep for most of us. (A little less for sleepy head Mike who woke up late on Saturday.) C.I. just pointed out we didn't thank Rebecca. We didn't. Our oversight. Happened last week as well. She tweaks the visuals and makes them look as good as they can. They're illustrations by the way. We're not going for "art." (In fact, Kat's not allowed to pick up a paint brush. She can, and did, use toothpicks and other things. But since she is trained, she's not allowed to use a paint brush. This is very DIY. Mamas and Papas motto: We try to be professional, without being professional. Or something like that -- C.I.'s telling me I screwed up Michelle Phillips' quote. It's late for us.)

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

TV: Heroic Would Be Pasdar in a Loin Cloth

Ever play like you had a super power when you were a kid? Maybe you could fly? Maybe you could talk to the dead? Maybe you had premonitions? Watching NBC's Heroes, it's obvious that Tim Kring wished he had a super power as a child and, apparently, it's the sort of power that pops up in letters to Penthouse Forum. How else do you explain the two female characters?

Take for instance teenage Claire Bennet (played by Hayden Panettiere). She's a cheerleader. Don't worry, you didn't have to pay attention to every line of dialogue to search out that clue. Someone decided to make it much easier and have her wear her cheerleader uniform throughout the first episode. Now, understand, she's not at cheerleading practice, nor is she shown at any games. She just likes to wear it day-to-day, or some creative 'genius' figures a skimpy skirt is what every woman doing stunts would wear. When she walked through fire in it, we were honestly surprised someone didn't have the 'bright' idea to 'strategically' burn it.

Then there is Niki Sanders (played by Ali Larter). She's a mom. She's a working mom. And like any working mom who wants her young son to have a good education, she borrows the money for private school from the mob. We do that too. But for milk money, we usually go to the Vatican. After you get over the stupidity of that plot twist, you're still left with what working mom does for a living. Which is?

Let's let you guess. She's a working mom, she's a single parent. Maybe you're remembering Linda Lavin's Alice and thinking "waitress." Or maybe you're remembering Bonnie Franklin's Ann Romano or Judith Light's Angela and thinking "advertising." You're wrong.

We'll help you out by telling you what she wears to work, okay? Bra and panties.

Bra and panties. That's it. Sometimes, if the patrons have enough money, a little less. That's because she's a computer worker. No, she doesn't repair them. No, she doesn't enter data or program them. What she does is internet porn. A worthwhile vocation, we're sure, and one that keeps the spine supple jugding by the number of times Larter, on all fours, stuck her ass in the air.

But Phyllis Schlafly can breathe easy, she works out of the home.

Now having seen a teenager run around in a cheerleading outfit the whole episode and gotten to see Niki work it in her bra and panties at the start (by choice, Madonna, by choice) as well as be forced to 'perform' by the mob near the end, you might wonder how much male flesh was on display?

But if you wondered that, you're thinking of another NBC, a NBC that captured ratings, won time slots and offered up hours and hours of entertainment. Those days are long gone. Having lost out to CBS, NBC doesn't know what it is and it's perfectly comfortable displaying women like meat on the hoof if it means they might be able to come in second in the overnights.

Masi Oka's character's name is Hiro Nakamura which is strange because we didn't realize that was Japanese for "Tim Kring." Hiro's super power is the manipulation of time and space which allows him to pop up anywhere. (On American TV, that translates as NYC.) And like the creator of the show, he can think of nothing finer to do with his powers than pop into the ladies' room.

Getting the picture? Good.

If the show can get past the leering quality, this is one to watch. The two women added something more than the mere flesh that was scripted. Oka appears to be channeling Bobby Lee (good for a sitcom, bad for an action adventure) and hopefully he will tone it down as the women discover a world with real clothes.

Among the males (all fully clothed throughout and nary a swimmer's speedo or wrestler's singlet in sight), the stand outs were Peter Petrelli (played by Milo Ventimiglia) and brother Nathan Petrelli (played by Adrian Pasdar). That said, this was the set-up episode and the earnest conflict of a brother who does and one who waits will get stale real quick if too many more episodes return to that in scene after scene.

Pasdar is the actor most comfortable in his character currently. Not a surpise because Near Dark put him on some maps but should have made him a star. What that film failed to do, Heroes might. He's really that good.

Nathan's running for elected office. Pasdar's good enough that you don't hold that against the character. But, in spite of the BILL FRIST SAVES LIFE headlines, we're not really seeing a super powered politician. So, when Nathan needs a little cash, we'd suggest to Tim Kring that he now owes it to the audience to have Pasdar strip down to his briefs, hop on a bed and wiggle his butt at the camera. (And let's not kid that, in Profit, it was the fact that his character crawled into a cardboard box at the end of episodes that raised interest, it was the fact that he did so nude and sucking his thumb -- ought to be a market online for that.)

The show hits some strong notes in the first episode. Provided that Kring can stop seeing women as objects (and isn't it sad that the only working heroine does webporn -- get us out from under, Wonder Woman, indeed) or at least become an equal opportunity offender (Tailhook: The Musical), this is a show to watch. It will hook you in. There are continuing elements with all the lead characters so you need not fear that it takes place in 'real time' or that you'll be strung along, suffering cabin fever all year waiting for Prison Break: Road Trip!

The continuing elements mean that some characters get front burner status and some get back burner. On the back burner in the first episode was Sendhil Ramamurthy's Mohinder Suresh. If he can do as much with a real scene as he did with the nothings in the pilot, he could challenge Pasdar for the show's most involving character.

We went back and forth over to what to review this edition. Monday night, due to the fact that we'd be in DC this weekend and busy, we stayed up until three in the morning watching tapes and reading scripts. We're going to wait on a sitcom (which friends swear will get better) and on a drama (ditto). That left us with three shows. Except for the limited view of women, Heroes didn't just strike us as the best of what we were left with, but potentially the best hour long show you'll see this year (Mondays at nine p.m. EST on NBC). With Crossing Jordan, Kring proved that he could captivate an audience. Why, with this show, he felt the need for the non-stop T&A we have no idea. But the concept's strong and Kring's got a strong record of giving actors the needed room to bring characters to life. That said, if there's any more female near nudity, we demand Pasdar in thong immediately.


So here's the reality. Media's still not regained their interest in Iraq. Protests? Not covered. Activism? Not covered. Abeer? Not covered. Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing? Not covered. Ricky Clousing got a day's worth of coverage from independent media and then quickly receeded like all other Iraq related stories. Since that day, he's been charged with desertion. You've heard about that in the mainstream. When it comes to independent media, he and his lawyer apparently have no phones.

What's it going to take to put Iraq front and center? What's it going to take to bring the troops home and end the war?

What it's always taken: People. Forget the media that failed you (independent, this summer). Forget about some 'brave voice' showing up with a microphone. They're either not interested or too busy.

What it's going to take is you. You bring the world home to your friends and family. You be the media. Figure out a way to do that. Two creative community members brought the war to school on Friday in 'spontaneous' actions. (And while administrators are attempting to figure out the hows, we'll leave it at that. One student tells the story in Polly's Brew today.)

Saturday, we all met with a group of high school students (actually 34 high school students, one was a middle school student) to hear what it was like on their campuses, to hear the things they wanted to do and to brainstorm with them.

They know they have to be the ones doing it. They grasp no principal's going to help, no PTA, no media and, sadly, no Congress. What little that has been done came about as a result of people speaking out.

Maybe you feel talked out? (If so, are you in independent media and when did you first starting feeling talked out? We'll guess June of this year.) Well tough.

What are we supposed to tell you? "Take a break"?

Six weeks of a break was what independent media took and the peace movement can't take many more breaks. Not when the American people have turned against the war and now is the time when real strides to end the war could be taking place, could be felt across the land.

You can bring the war home (or to school). In the current issue of Interview, Ethan Hawke and a reporter weigh in about "apathy." Oh, people are so apethetic, the two philosophers tell us. Hawke goes on about how he wished he'd lived through the earlier times (60s), wished it most of his life, and now he does.

How lucky for you and what are you doing with that opportunity? Not real much.

Some people may feel removed from the war due to the simple fact that there is so little coverage of it. For instance, we've hit the 2700 mark on American troop fatalities. Did you even know it was approaching? Did you know that we passed the 2600 mark in August?

The coverage isn't there. By all means, gripe about that fact. But grasp that we hit the four year mark for this illegal war in March and there's not one program, mainstream or independent, that makes Iraq the focus. There's no "America Held Hostage" booming voice from Ted Koppel.
Now maybe if Pacifica hadn't cancelled their peace program, we could get some Iraq coverage there. But where on the peace network is Iraq? Why, all these years later, can no one create even a half-hour, once a week show covering Iraq?

We don't know. But we know that means you need to cover it. You need to talk about it. (We're doing it on our end as well.) You need to inject it into conversations, you need to share the events of the day.

You are the media. Not anyone else. You're now the audience and the broadcaster and that's a lot to put on your shoulders but that's reality.

Reality isn't hawking your wares across the country and telling mainstream reporters (who write fawning pieces about you) that independent media proved it makes a difference with their reporting on Camp Casey. Less fawning might require reporters to ask, "And how often did you visit Camp Casey this summer?" (Answer: zero.) We have no idea what's happened. We read the e-mails you send, we have no idea what happened to that program. But, at this point, if we were in a department store and saw The Amy Goodman Wok (the "alternative" to the George Foreman Grill), we honestly wouldn't be surprised.

There was a time when independent media wanted to talk about Iraq. It didn't have its own show, but you could hear about it or read about it. Now that's pretty much gone. There are exceptions (and the e-mails show you identify the same exceptions we do). Ehren Watada had an Article 32 hearing. Francis A. Boyle, Ann Wright and Denis Halliday testified. Where was independent media?

An Article 32 hearing might be something new to some people. So maybe a law program could walk them through that? Forget it. Just like a woman's program could interrupt a guest starting to discuss the 14-year-old Abeer (she only got to 14-year-old) and change the topic. (Abeer's name was never mentioned.)

Now is not the time for independent media to space out on the war, but that's exactly what has happened since June. World Can't Wait is calling for a day of mass resistance on October 5th. The peace organizations? You've been able to count on them. CODEPINK, United for Peace & Justice, Not In Our Name, Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Vetrans for Peace, A.N.S.W.ER. and more have done their part. Cindy Sheehan did her part and then some. Though largely ignored by indepedent media, her actions did make a difference this summer.

Your actions can too. And here's the best part: You can act without sending anyone thirty or more bucks. You don't have to get on an easy-checks plan. You don't have to have a credit card. You don't have to interrupt yourself to tell everyone what a wonderful job you've done while you hit them up for money. You don't have to do your own pledge drive.

Now you won't get a CD or book or bumper stick or wok (we're sure it's coming) but you will get the satisfaction of knowing you're doing your part to end the war. You will get the satisfaction of realizing that even when ALL forms media fail you, you keep going. And, most importantly, your actions will help end the war. It won't happen overnight.

In fact, thanks to independent media's taking the summer off and still ignoring Iraq, you could argue that the nation missed a defining summer. But they blew it, not you. That's their guilt, that's their shame. Let 'em have it, they've earned it. You just start broadcasting in your own circles.

Dick & Bully Boy hiding behind others as usual

With Ehren Watada and Ricky Clousing facing charges for their refusal to fight in an illegal war, with Mark Wilkerson likely to face charges and with Darrell Anderson intending to come back to the United States, we think it's worth noting who didn't serve.

The administration's always willing to hide behind the military. Lose Florida in 2000? Demand the very undemocratic option of counting votes whether or not they met the requirements for legal absentee voting.

What a load of crap. No one's vote matters more than anyone else's in a democracy. The principle is one person, one vote. There were no exceptions made for Palm Beach voters. There were no exceptions made for the ones wrongly disenfranchised (and targeted due to their race). Those groups were told, "Too bad, we all have to follow the 'rules'." And then they quickly add, "Except the military! They should get an exception! They don't know about rules in the military!"

Especially because the military is set up with rules and regulations, there should have been no goose to help ballots cross the finish line.

But maybe Bully Boy and Dick were insisiting that those votes, and only those votes, be given special leniancy because they just believed in the military so much?

Well, did either of them serve? Nope. Dick was grabbing deferrments like they were presidential pardons. Bully Boy was so 'committed' to serving that he signed up for the champange unit and couldn't even fulfill his promise to them.

Well that was then, some may say. What about now?

Bully Boy keeps talking about 'honoring' the fallen but has there even been an administration so stingy about handing out citations? It's gotten so bad that even the DC press corps makes noises about it.

He doesn't give out honors, he undercuts the healthcare programs for veterans, military families have a better chance at food stamps than at a living wage, men and women have been sent to fight in an (illegal) war of choice, and the latest 'fun' trick is waiting until it's time to ship out of Iraq to tell you, "Guess what? You're staying." (Or for some from that 172 Stryker Brigade, you find out after you return home that you're going right back.)

There is no attempt to honor the military. The administration uses them to hide behind. Question the war and the argument from Bully Boy becomes that leaving would dishonor the dead.

We really wish that in his prep school days, someone had hauled off and knocked the prissy cheerleader on his ass. Priss-pot wants to play "manly" today but he wants to do it with the lives of other men and women.

And the administration doesn't honor them. The way you honor the military is by not using it for a whim, not using it for an illegal war that you want, one you had to lie a nation into.

As Jessica Lange noted in DC on September 24, 2005:

Let's talk for a minute about these masters of war, these same men that are sending our sons and our daughters, our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, to fight an undeclared and unconstitutional and unwinnable war for them. Let's talk about their service records. Karl Rove did not serve, Paul Wolfowitz did not serve, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Eliott Abrams, Newt Gingrich did not serve. Jeb Bush did not serve. The list goes on and on, and we know George W. did not really serve. And yet, they expect the ultimate sacrifice from us -- more than 1,900 American soldiers dead; tens of thousands, a very low estimate, tens of thousand Iraqi deaths, mostly civilian, and in modern warfare 'civilian' meaning mostly women and children. They say there is no way to withdraw now. The truth is they never intend to withdraw.

Dick's giving a salute alright, with the middle finger extended.

Bully Boy cloud

But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.

Thus spake Condi Rice, selling the (illegal) war to the American people, on CNN in September, 2002. Following her fear tactics was the Bully Boy in October, 2002:

If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy or steal an amount of highly-enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year.

And where there is fear there is Cheney. August, 2002 on NBC's Meet the Press:

We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.

And if you grew up with Cheney's face, you'd be used to using fear, so you know he had to return to the fear well over and over. Here's another example from August, 2002:

Armed with an arsenal of these weapons of terror, and seated atop ten percent of the world's oil reserves, Saddam Hussein could then be expected to seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of a great portion of the world's energy supplies, directly threaten America's friends throughout the region, and subject the United States or any other nation to nuclear blackmail.

Ten percent of the world's oil? Wow, he must have really wanted that. Cheney, not Saddam.
Because the simple truth is the administration is most honest when they're attributing motive to others. The medical term is "projection" and the reality diagnosis is that the administration is pretty f**ked up.

So now, like the media, bored with Iraq, Bully Boy's itching for Target: Iran. And we've heard the usual claims presented as fact. We're also dealing with another Bully Boy family dysfunction. From Robert Parry's "The Bushes & the Truth About Iran" (Consortium News):

First, the American people should know the real history of U.S.-Iran relations before the Bush administration launches another preemptive war in the Middle East. Second, the degree to which Iranian officials are willing to negotiate with their U.S. counterparts -- and fulfill their side of the bargain -- bears on the feasibility of talks now.
Indeed, the only rationale for hiding the historical record is that it would embarrass the Bush Family and possibly complicate George W. Bush’s decision to attack Iran regardless of what the American people might want.
The Time magazine cover story, released on Sept. 17, and a new report by retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner -- entitled "
The End of the 'Summer Diplomacy'" -- make clear that the military option against Iran is moving rapidly toward implementation.
Gardiner, who taught at the National War College and has war-gamed U.S. attacks on Iran for American policymakers over the past five years, noted that one of the "seven key truths" guiding Bush to war is that "you cannot negotiate with these people."
That "truth," combined with suspicions about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Tehran's relationship with Hezbelloh and other militant Islamic groups, has led the Bush administration into the box-canyon logic that war is the only answer, despite the fact that Gardiner's war games have found that war would have disastrous consequences.
In his report, Gardiner also noted that Bush's personality and his sense of his presidential destiny are adding to the pressures for war.

And why not war Iran? Bully Boy's thundred (and has been threatening war with Iran publicly for years now). A "report" on Iran's nuclear capabilities turned out not be supported by the IAEA. Elections are approaching and it would make sense if the same government Poppy Bush used for the 1980 October Surprise against Jimmy Carter became the October Suprise for Baby Bush.

Attacking Iran means attacking nuclear sites (or trying to, a lot of innocent people will probably die and someone will say "Collatoral damage" before quickly changing the subject) and it probably means violating laws and treaties by using nuclear weapons on them.

The smoking gun, the mushroom cloud, has always been the Bully Boy. Take them at their words, yes, their words they apply to others.

The Tears

Writing at The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington noted: "Or maybe they have fallen prey to the war fatigue Chris Matthews thinks is responsible for the appalling lack of Iraq coverage on TV -- and the smile on Karl Rove's face."

Where is Iraq? We still have to ask, where is it? On independent media or in the Congress, where the hell is Iraq?

What happened, did you get all Lisa Lisa & Cult Jammed out on it?

Did it go "stale"?

That can't be it because one personality's promoting a new book and can't shut up about the power of independent media and, get this, uses, for an example, Camp Casey.

Are you sides aching?

The personality says Camp Casey is an example of how independent media can make a difference. Now Camp Casy III happened this summer and did you see anything, in the five hours a week, on it? Yeah, you saw, at the very end, some footage of a war resister (Mark Wilkerson) announcing that he would turn himself in. That's it. What was that, a few minutes out of thirty or so hours?

Weren't we informed.

We're a little sick of the "brave voices" who really aren't. They'd rather travelogue than cover Iraq. Maybe it's past time for indepedent media to stop marketing itself and start doing its job?

Oh, but it's so much easier to cover Sudan. It's a "new flavor." And by shutting out voices of dissent on the left, you can march right behind the Bully Boy. Consider Sudan the flag lapel on your jackets. You're all just as 'patriotic' as the mainstream was when they pulled that nonsense.

In fact, you are worse than the mainstream right now because you pointed a finger at the mainstream. You could only name Judith Miller. It's still the only name you can name. Takes a special kind of cowardice to avoid holding Dexter Filkins accountable for the sort of lies that have allowed the Iraq war to drag on.

But you pointed your finger and clucked over the fact that only certain voices were allowed to be heard. Now we come to the Sudan and the only voices you put on are from the Sammy Powers movement. Last week, The Guardian had a column about the Sudan by Jonathan Steele entitled, "Sorry George Clooney, but the last thing Darfur needs is western troops." From that column:

An air of unreality, if not cant, surrounds the latest upsurge of calls for UN troops to go into Sudan's western region of Darfur. The actor George Clooney takes to the stage at the UN security council, pleading for action. Tony Blair seizes on the issue to write letters to fellow EU leaders. In cities around the world protesters hold a "global day for Darfur" to warn of looming genocide. Is it really possible that western governments, in spite of being burned by their interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, would use force against another Muslim state?
Groups in the west have long campaigned to have the government in Khartoum replaced. In the US the Christian right and some of Israel's friends portray it as an Islamic fundamentalist regime. Human rights activists raise the issue of slavery to suggest that Arab raiders, supported by the government, are routinely abducting Africans from the south to use as human chattel. The Clinton administration listed Sudan as a terrorist-supporting state because Osama bin Laden once lived there.
Against this background it was always going to be hard to expect fair reporting when civil war broke out in Darfur three years ago. The complex grievances that set farmers against nomads was covered with a simplistic template of Arab versus African, even though the region was crisscrossed with tribal and local rivalries that put some villages on the government's side and others against it.

Jonathan Steele said what? Strange that he can be featured on programs to discuss Iraq or Egypt, but the same programs won't bring him on to speak about Sudan. Instead we get the English prof who 'extrapolates.' The Sammy Powers movement is on the march and no point of view will hit the airwaves that's not pre-approved by the head after it's passed down from the Bully Boy. Well why else inflate/invent an 'academic' but to use them?

Right now, CounterPunch (although it has no radio program, it has been one of the few outlets willing to question the official narrative) has an article by Carl G. Estebrook entitled "The Darfur Smokescreen." From that article:

But by mobilizing the cover story of humanitarian intervention, the Bush administration should be able to introduce a military solution to its real problem: how to attack another country on the Neocon hit list, another country (like Serbia) on the concentric circle around the cynosure of US foreign policy, Middle East energy resources.
President Carter's National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has frequently expressed the bipartisan consensus of the US foreign policy elite. "America has major strategic and economic interests in the Middle East that are dictated by the region's vast energy supplies," he wrote two years ago in The National Interest. "Not only does America benefit economically from the relatively low costs of Middle Eastern oil, but America's security role in the region gives it indirect but politically critical leverage on the European and Asian economies that are also dependent on energy exports from the region."
And how is Sudan related to this long-term US strategy? We have it from no less a figure than the official hero of Kosovo, Wesley Clark: "As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan."

Instead of a discussion, what we get are marching orders. Way to inform, independent media, way to inform.

With very few exceptions, independent media tanked this summer. Now, as it hops on the Modern Day Carrie Nations Brigade and marches lockstep with the Bully Boy (the same one who gave us war in Iraq, remember?), it seems as if it's bound and determined to prove that their only exception to the ruling press is that independent media wants to cry. It doesn't care for what. Anything will do. Give it something to tear up for. And while it can wring tears out of that subject, it's on it. It's there.

Then it's time to pack up and move on to the next heart tugging drama.

Exactly who's being served by that? Probably the same ones who didn't notice that independent media dropped Iraq this summer. But when you have no interest in informing, try to work up the tears, go for the big emotions, and maybe someone will buy that you're actually in the news business.

MyTV's Fascist House

This week, Bully Boy raids the Federal Reserve for the last fifty cents that hasn't been earmarked for foreign debt and bets it all on the Davis Cup. When things don't go the way he hoped, Bully Boy plots a scheme to take down Andy Roddick. Running onto the court, Bully Boy lets loose with some of the wind he likes to torment underlings with while Alberto Gonzales and Tony Snow, undercover, attempt to rack Roddick and further cut into his chances of winning. Davis Cup judge James Baker, to no one's surprise, looks the other way while judge Lee Hamiliton looks at everything but what he's supposed to be watching (again, no surprise).

To honor Bully Mama's animated TV debut (sixteen years ago this month, The Simpsons), special guest star Elton John performs "The Bitch Is Back."

Fascist House, airing 365 days a year, no repeats!

Shades Include Green (Party)

The world's not black and white. It's all shades and that includes Green. All involved in the writing of this piece have a lot of respect for the Green Party and Jess, in fact, is a Green.

Maybe it's because we know Greens, maybe it's because we think the Party stands for something, but it seems like Greens are forever told to hold their tongues and bide their time.

For instance, the supposedly brave and independent PBS show NOW, hosted by David Brancaccio, sat down with an old time PBS pal, Angus King. After we got over our shock at the heavy use of filters on the camera (Moonlighting didn't use that much on Cybill Sheppard* -- who knew Brancaccio wanted to be an actress?), we were shocked by the supposed answer to the 'divided country.' NOW's bio leaves out King's long connection to public broadcasting. So apparently the filter's not just on the camera. They also left out his most controversial action as Governor of Maine (finger printing all adults working in schools). Guess, like Brancaccio's furrows, that had to be fuzzed out too?

So as we realized this would be pure softball and horse racing (just what PBS needs, more handicapping of elections as opposed to addressing real issues), King got to plug his project -- Unity '08 -- a crap idea if ever there was one. And if you have any doubts about what a crap journalist David Brancaccio is, please note this is a steer both parties to the right organization. It doesn't want those "extremes." That's right and left. According to Unity '08, the extremes are deciding elections. While possibly true of the right (we can think of several who got elected in 2004 alone), exactly where are those radicals from the left? Where is the "extreme" left in the Senate? Nowhere.

Unity '08 is the usual b.s. of the desperate to try to pass off some computer thing ("The kids love the computers!" you can hear old man King saying) as "democracy." Sitting on the fence with a post between their ass cheeks, Unity '08 tosses out the political equivalent of fortune cookies. David Brancaccios was born a dupe and will die one. That's no surprise. NOW's been molded cheese since Bill Moyers left. But we got a heads up about the laughable footage of this interview so we went ahead and watched.

The footage is laughable. Not even Gwen Ifell feels the need for filters and soft lighting. But what was more shocking was listening to King expand on the laughable Unity '08 plan. The stated goal appears to be an American Idol version of the presidency. What should bother people is that Unity '08 is determined to free up the 'partisanship' and intend to do so, if they can get on the ballots, by nominating a Republican presidential candidate and a Democratic vice-presidential candidate on the same ticket. Or vice versa.

Where are the third parties? Why wasn't that question asked? (Probably because, despite the lighting and filter, Brancaccio worked overtime to hold a certain angle. Brancaccio should worry less about the wrinkles and more about the puffyness if he wants to focus on looks.)

So what Unity '08 will do is ballot-ize what many already see as the one-party state.

No, Leonard Cohen, "Democracy" isn't coming to the USA. The Unity '08 campaign is nothing but an effort to futher prop up the two-party (or one-party depending upon your outlook) state. "Choice" becomes you might get someone you can live with at the prez or v.p.

If you look too closely, you'll grasp that your vote just got cut in half (provided you vote for either of the two main parties -- otherwise, you're vote doesn't count).

So there it was, Angus King's latest sad scheme and there was the PBS host so ready to look to what the country needed from politics -- provided it served the two big parties and no one else.

We're also reminded of the guy who was so irritating he couldn't even take down War Hawk Hillary Clinton. You remember No-Name, he tried to talk to Larry Benksy on air, live, and kept screwing up. Was it three times that Bensky asked him about advertising before No-Name finally kind-of, sort-of answered?

No-Name was never getting off the ground. He couldn't even count on support from members of his own union (due to his own actions as head). Whether it was his first appearance on RadioNation with Laura Flanders (as a call-in who couldn't shut up about Wal-Mart -- yeah, that's the way to defeat Hillary Clinton, dig up things from before she was First Lady!) or his last (right before the election -- Reno should have done all the talking, she was funny and she made him seem almost human), independent media got all worked up over him. You had action alerts to force a debate between him and Hillary under the premise that, the more you got to know him, the better you'd like him. Since the alternative didn't seem to hold true for members of his union, you were left with the impression that those sending out the action alerts knew they didn't like Hillary and knew they were forever whomever was against her, but didn't know No-Name.

As the independent media worked like crazy to give him a name (and narrative), some started to wonder, "Isn't there a Green in this race?" Yes, there was. And yes, there still is. No-Name is history. But he won't, as Joshua Frank pointed out, endorse the Green Candidate. No-Name bad mouthed Hillary like crazy (we're not complaining about that), he made his entire campaign about disliking (if not hating) Hillary. Now he's out of the race and instead of endorsing Howie Hawkins (the Green candidate), No-Name states: "I am a Democrat. I ran as a Democrat. I decided not to endorse the incumbent, and to stay out of endorsing anyone else. Between now and November, that could change. Something could happen and she (Sen. Hillary Clinton) could decide the war was really bad and wrong, and then I would reconsider." Translation? He won't endorse anyone but Hillary.

Strange since, in August, Mark Sommer reported him declaring the following, ""I believe the war was foolish, illegal, immoral - it should never have been fought. It cost the lives of 2,600 wonderful American men and women, tens of thousands of Iraqis, destroyed a country and probably left us with a legacy of anger from the Muslim world that could go on for, potentially, generations. I believe on that alone Hillary Clinton does not deserve re-election."

Hillary Clinton, according to No-Name, doesn't deserve to be re-elected. Yet, he won't endorse the anti-war candidate Howie Hawkins because Hawkins is a Green? Guess you're against the war until it means making a real choice, eh, No-Name?

No-Name accomplished nothing. Not because he lost. It was always a given he'd lose. Those not in independent media wrote him off the day he declared. But he accomplished nothing because time was wasted with action alerts and other nonsense when the race always included an anti-war candidate, Howie Hawkins. If the same build up had been given to Hawkins, he'd be a national presence now. Instead, a lot of ink, a lot of airtime and a lot of online activism was wasted on the guy who was always going to lose and who, everyone who knew him when could tell you this, would fall right into line with the big-money line because God forbid No-Name ever go out on a limb.

We say all the above to make it clear how the Green Party has been screwed over this year. A press release was sent to us and we'd recommend (whether you plan to vote or not, whether you're interested in political parties or not) that you read it -- just to know that the Green Party didn't disappear -- just the coverage of it in some forums.

Press Release
Green Party of Suffolk County
September 17, 2006

Press Contact:
Kimberly Wilder, GP of Suffolk County Press Secretary
(631) 422-4702

Suffolk Residents Elected to State and National Green Party

On September 16, 2006 the Green Party of New York State
(GPNYS) met in Albany for the thrice yearly State Committee
meeting. In attendance were several Green activists from
Suffolk County -- Roger Snyder, Ian Wilder, and Kimberly

During the meeting, the Nassau/Suffolk Region 1 Greens met
to elect new representatives. Roger Snyder of Huntington
was elected as one of the National Representatives to the
Green Party of the United States (GP-US). This is Snyder's
second term. Snyder participates in important national
committees such as the Accreditation Committee, which
reviews applications by new states and caucuses, as well as
the Bylaws, Rules and Policy Committee. Roger Snyder ran
for State Senate for the 5th District in 2002.

In addition, Ian Wilder of North Babylon was elected as one
of New York's national representatives to the Presidential
Campaign Support Committee. This is Wilder's second term.
The committee is recruiting and screening candidates to run
for president on the Green Party line in 2008. Ian Wilder
is a co-founder of the Babylon Greens and served as
Co-Chair of the Green Party of New York State from 2004 to
2006. He ran for Supervisor for the Town of Babylon in

Kimberly Wilder of Babylon was elected to the Executive
Committee of the state party. This is Kimberly's third,
non-consecutive term as a member of the GPNYS Executive
Committee. Wilder is eager to support the Green Party's
efforts to regain automatic ballot status by earning 50,000
votes for Malachy McCourt on the governor line. Wilder has
previously run for Suffolk County Legislator District 14 in
2001, and as a write-in for State Senate in the 4th
District in 2004.

Outgoing GPNYS Secretary, Betty Wood of Cortland County
said, "During the entire time I have worked with the Green
Party, Roger Snyder and the Wilders are the most
hard-working and dedicated Greens I have ever met. It is
exciting to have this team supporting our ballot efforts
and representing Greens from New York at the state and
national level."

Part of the GPNYS meeting was devoted to exchanging ideas,
literature, and merchandise to support the five statewide
campaigns. The Green Party of New York State is running
author/activist Malachy McCourt for Governor, and union
activist Howie Hawkins for U.S. Senate. The Wilders and
Snyder have set up a website called "Long Island for
Malachy!" The site is a place for Nassau and Suffolk
voters to come together to send a message of peace by
supporting Green Party governor candidate McCourt. The
web-site,, includes
instructions for requesting "McCourt for Governor" lawn

GreenStone Media

The always cranky Gina Bellafante turned in a piece for The New York Times last week. We can respect cranky, we can even enjoy it. We just can't get behind Bellafante's attempt to be one in a long line of distorters at the paper of little record. Here's the thing that probably got Bellafante a lot of "attaboys" this week from her higher ups:

Ms. Steinem always disdained intellectualism, saying of academic feminists, in a 1995 interview with Mother Jones, that "nobody cares about them" and that their work was "gobbledygook."

Oh that non-thinking Gloria Steinem!

At least that's what the paper of little record, and their handmaiden Bellafante, would have you believe. The paper has a long history of this crap. They set Steinem up against The Ego Of Us All. That was partly due to the fact that Steinem upset the apple cart:

*Ms. wasn't used in the paper, the paper didn't want to use it. They resisted it and resisted it.
*Steinem was a 'betrayer' (leaving the objective pose of journalism)
*The wives! What about the wives! (Most of those 'trend' stories exist to assure the wives of certain persons of the paper that their only goal really should be pleasing their husbands.)

And we could go on. But going on would mean talking truth about The Ego Of Us All and since no one wants to do that, why should we? But for a number of reasons, the paper could get behind The Ego Of Us. (And, one we'll share, The Ego Of Us All was not plain, she was ugly. It was easy to make her the face of feminism. Kept the kept wives in place.)

So the myth the paper's sold for years is that The Ego Of Us All was an 'academic' (it takes a lot of work to copy and paste -- helps to read French) and Gloria Steinem was just a no brainer. Now Steinem went to Smith, she was a professional journalist. But the minute she had her awakening (and wouldn't play the 'objective' pose), she suddenly became a non-thinker.

We could go on and on but that's a longer story. The point is the paper's always placed The Ego Of Us All as the "thinker" and Steinem as the non-thinker. They've had a War-On for Steinem for years. So Little Gina Happy At Last got there by toeing the party line.

Did Steinem slam academics? No, she did not. Carol Gilligan (of A Different Voice fame) is an academic and Steinem's always been very supportive of her work. Gilligan's not the only one. What Steinem was referring to (in the 1995 interview) was the language of some post-modern, academic feminism which, as many besides Steinem have pointed out, exists not to share but to shut down. It's its own language and intended as such. That's part of "professionalism" -- many disciplines attempt to professionalize. But since feminism is about equality, a coded language that many will never grasp really seems anti-feminism. Steinem was not referring to academics who were feminist or academics working in the womens' studies field. She was referring to a sub-field. Gina needs her bread and butter so she plays dumb.

Which brings us to the real point of this article: GreenStone Media. GreenStone Media is a new project and Gloria Steinem is one of the women behind it. It's producing radio shows. They aren't for women only, and have even featured men calling in. But they are attempting to get women's voices out there. Not "the woman's voice." There is no one voice. And that's one of the goals of GreenStone Media.

Currently, they have three programs. (A fourth, Rolonda, will start up soon.) We'll get our negative criticism out of the way first: Fix the website.

That is not a joke. The website needs to be fixed and that needs to be the top priority. Not booking guests, not selling ads. Until the website's fixed it really serves no purpose at all.

How does it need to be fixed? In two ways.

1) You can't listen live. It's not an ISP or a connection. Everyone working on this article attempted to listen live last week. None of us could. You get error messages. You can hear a past program. You can't listen live. This is a huge problem. It's especially a huge problem if you attempt to take call ins and your audience can't listen to you.

2) Whatever that technical problem is and however long it takes to fix, right now there needs to be a list of stations that air any of the programs. People are used to TV Guide telling them what their choices are. When new radio programs, especially aimed at an audience that isn't listening to radio currently, come on, there is no equivalent to TV Guide. If you're getting the word out, that includes getting it out on where the programming can be heard. Some stations that carry the programming may broadcast online and, if so, people could listen live via that.

If those two things seem minor, they're not. They are very important. Listeners need to know where they might be able to hear the shows and listeners should be able to hear them at the GreenStone Media website. Air America Radio has had several transitions. This is not a slam at them or their current business model, but it is true that when they started up, they broke records for Real Player. They broke records for online listenership. A model could have been built around that, a successful one, that would have ensured a stability to the company. They elected to go with a different model and best of luck to them. But GreenStone Media should not underestimate the power of online listeners. Should they reach a segment of their target listeners, even if it is just online, the advertising money should come in.

We actually have one other negative criticism, but let's note the positive first.

Mo Gaffney. We knew we'd enjoy this show. Gaffney's always funny. There were two surprises. The first was how funny Shana Wride is. The two work very well together on air and Gaffney has shown a wonderful ability to field calls, to make callers (especially nervous sounding ones) feel at home, and to demonstrate (after the caller's gone) that someone was listening. Radio can't make Mo Gaffney, she's already a name. But listening to her, you quickly grasp this is someone who should have been doing radio for years. There are people who can do entertaining radio and there are people who can do that and more. Gaffney qualifies under "do that and more." In talking up the project, Steinem's noted an early female broadcaster who was able to reach listeners. That involves the listener being heard and Gaffney, again, is listening.

The program is called Women Aloud and it's already a success story. (Airs, live, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm EST, Monday through Friday.)

Maureen Langan, Cory Kahaney, and Nelsie Spencer are The Three Ritas. Why are they The Three Ritas? We honestly don't know if it's a salute to Rita Rudner or because Jakob Dylan already sang about the "Three Marlenas." What we do know is that they have a wicked sense of humor. Jim was complaining in the car until Corey Kahaney piped up about her husband. She is now Jim's favorite Rita. Listen and you'll find your own. (Airs 6:00 am to 9:00 am, Monday through Friday.)

Both programs noted spinach throughout last week, as they should. We did wonder, however, what else would be done? At other times, The Three Ritas seem to enjoy puncturing 'trend stories' (good for them). This isn't "entertainment radio" and it's not "news radio." That may disappoint some (we'd love to have been listening this summer when we needed an escape from the wall-to-wall, 24-7, one story of independent media that lasted five to six weeks). Iraq's our most pressing issue and, frankly, we were disappointed it wasn't on the radar.

But there seems to be a notion (in the press) that it's all silly (meaning superficial, most of the slams haven't even given the above two shows credit for the strong humor). That's really not true. Just in the two shows, you have five women offering different perspectives. Only a fool would understimate the power of that.

The show that seems to be geared towards more of a news feel is The Lisa Birnbach Show (airs, Monday through Friday, from nine am to noon). Only six of us listened to this show and we only listened once. Birnbach was discussing a subject in a way that felt was post-it. It wasn't a bumper sticker. It was a post-it. We're not in the mood for a superficial look at the news (this wasn't Birnbach attempting to be humorous, she seemed quite serious) and Jim was yelling to shut it off due to the reductionist factor of the commentary. Throughout the week, we considered listening again. We'd say, "It's not fair, we need to try it again." You know what, it's not fair. Neither is simplistic commentary. We have no plans to listen again.

However, you may enjoy it. We may at some point down the road. But right now, we've sworn off that show. (For the record, the topic wasn't Iraq. But having heard the treatment of another issue, that may be a good thing.) Not currently airing, but coming soon, is The Rolonda Show hosted by Rolonda Watts. We'll be sampling when it starts airing.

What the programs attempt to do is to reach an audience that's been pushed aside. They're attempting to have a conversation (think Donahue's daytime show and, if you're too young to remember, that was nothing like Jerry Springer). We think there's an audience for that. We think the mix of topics should be upped in terms of news, but even if that doesn't happen, an audience is being ignored currently and these programs should be able to reach them.

The programs, contrary to the slams, aren't unlistenable. They are very entertaining and they're often very informative. You'll laugh out loud with The Three Ritas and Women Aloud. But that's provided you can hear it. (You may also enjoy the third program. If you're a reader who always likes the books we don't, we especially suggest you listen to Birnbach.)

The slam line/thread is that there's no need for this type of programming. The line/thread then goes on to argue that women are all over the place on the radio dial. They must have different radios than we do (and must know many more than the token personalities they toss out). What we know is that Air America Radio started out with women, not a lot, on the air. The weekday daytime lineup included women. That quickly changed. Currently, you can hear a woman on Air America Radio in the morning if you're listening in another time zone because, EST, it's all men.

And that's "left radio." NPR seems scared at the thought of more than one woman host of a show. (They do like the laughable husband-wife duo that TV does.) Not all that long ago, a number of us were offended at a show airing on WBAI, supposedly geared to women, where the guest, with the host's approval, dished to the listeners (gals?) on how to get and keep a man. Listeners were told, forget that you worked all day and you're tired, get into that kitchen cause men sure do love a woman by a stove. The host lapped it up. We can't imagine that happening on GreenStone Media. If one of the Ritas suggested that, we're pretty sure two of them would be all up in her Kool Aid. That a guest offered that nonsense and that a host lapped it up and encouraged it demonstrates just how much GreenStone Media is needed.

What else can we tell you? Megan Mullally was among the guests. They had two more discussing education. The discussion are lively and funny. The Three Ritas and Women Aloud feature women you enjoy spending time with. GreenStone Media, check it out. Steinem's point, always misunderstood by The Times, is that there needs to be more sharing, the programming attempts to break down another wall.

About the Times Select . . .

Last week, we offered "The New York Times Doesn't Really Do Corrections" about "'West Wing' to West Coast: TV's Aueter Portrays TV" and wrongly stated there was no correction to the error. There was one, in print, on September 13th. (Twelve corrections. The correction was the eighth one.) A Common Ills community member contacted the paper about it and passed on to C.I. that a corrected was supposed to have run on the 13th (which it did) but that there was still no correction (as of Friday morning) to the article online. The member also passed that fact on to the editor who had replied to him.

The paper's now attached the correction (actually attached it twice):

Correction: September 13, 2006, Wednesday A listing in Arts & Leisure on Sunday in a preview of the new television season and an article in The Arts on Monday about Aaron Sorkin's new television series, ''Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,'' referred incorrectly to Amanda Peet's role in the series. She previously starred in ''Jack & Jill'' on the WB; her role in ''Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip'' is not her first on television.

Why does it matter?

Several reasons. First of all, reporters shouldn't jot down what their sources tell them and not check it out. Amanda Peet was not making her TV debut. Press-created 'geniuses' might wish to toss that out, but reporters need to check their facts.

It's certainly a self-pleasing tale, "Look at wonderful me. An actress with a thriving film career who just did Broadway [Barefoot in the Park] choose to come to television due to my creative genuis!" It's just not reality and it's so basic that the claim should never have made it into the paper. But the paper loves (and lives by) their official sources. One would wonder how many times they'll be burned by official sources before they decide to actually do the basic required?
(Answer, never.)

We could continue to list reasons but let's talk what the paper cares about most (after chi-chi parties), money.

It took a member of The Common Ills community stating the obvious to get the paper to what it should have done all along. (And don't kid otherwise. September 13th for print, September 22nd for online? Please.) That's a problem.

It's a problem for any daily, but it's especially a problem if you market your online archives as the research tool that any student would wet dream of or drool over. If students are using it, they need to trust that any correction noted to an article is right there on the article. When you provide/advertise the Times Select service as something parents should pay for, so that their kids can get the facts, you need to have the facts.

Let's hope some student didn't write a review for a class of Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip last week. They could have. They could have watched the show on Monday, pulled up The Times online for background to their assignment and written it up.

If they did, since Amanda Peet is the female star of the show, they might have felt the need to include something on the actress. There was Bill Carter telling them (as he was told) that Peet was making her TV debut. Let's hope, if they wrote that paper, the teacher didn't watch too much TV.

If s/he did, what do you think the marks on the paper would have read?

And what do you think the parents would have said when they saw their child's paper?

Mom: Why did you write that this actress was making her TV debut? Your teacher has scribbled all the shows she's been on in the margins next to "Do you work." Didn't you do any research?

Child: I did! I did!

Mom: Obviously, you didn't.

Child: That's what The New York Times said! I checked with The Times. Just like you and Dad told me to do! You said to use it to research, that you were paying all that money just so I could research my school work!

Mom: Now you just listen hear one minute before you try to push it off on the paper, they have a full page ad stating that they are a wonderful tool for students. Don't you try to pin that off on them!

[We thought of continuing this playlet up to "GUNSHOT -- Body falls." But we think you get the idea.]

If you're going to market yourself as a research tool (and charge money for it! Cedric got his nephew The Times select this summer just because of that marketing campaign), you need to do those corrections online as soon as you do them in print, not nine days after the fact.

Nye-Nye Takes a Fall

The Nye-Nye is exposed when
His crimes are brought to the light of day
Won't be feeling sorry, sorry, sorry
On the judgement day
Wasn't it me who said
There'd be a price to pay
And I won't feel bad at all
When the Nye-Nye takes the fall
When the Nye-Nye takes the fall

Something about the good news of the week and a laughably stupid post by Nye-Nye had us reaching for the Bangles (the above lyric substitues "Nye-Nye" for "Hero" -- "Hero Takes The Fall" written by Susanna Hoffs and Vicki Peterson, off the Bangles' All Over The Place and many compilations). It seems like only yesterday we were writing of the slip-shod techniques of Nye-Nye and his co-horts in "Insanity: How Little Centrists Get Ahead and Destroy America" (actually it was the July 23, 2006 edition).

So Nye-Nye was shoved and wants to say he leaped. We're so busy laughing and filing the whole thing under "Good News" we almost missed his laughable commentary. Striving hard for a Bette Davis' All About Eve quality, but coming off like Joan Crawford in a historical melodram, Nye-Nye does camp like no one living today.

Brendan Nyhan started off a creep so becoming a self-caricature is actually a step up for him.
Why is the nation in such a bad place? Because of little liars like Nye-Nye (as we noted in June 23rd).

His camp post appears at Time (edited by the equally laughable and uninformed Ana Marie Cox who generates much less heat today -- either because the hint of nipple doesn't play as well at stuffy Time or because America woke up to the fact that her Britney Spears impersonation should be left to women -- or rather "girls" -- half her age).

A few comments on the camp post.

1) Eric Alterman isn't someone we enjoy (as is obvious to our readers). Had Nye-Nye the bitchiness to pull off his parting shot to Alterman (for now, Nye-Nye is the Ultimate Cat Fighter), we would have chuckled. But like everything else Nye-Nye does, it pleases only the politically-muddled and socially-clueless. So, for the record, despite Nye-Nye's presentation of Alterman as a "blogger," Alterman is a journalist (regardless of what you think of the journalism turned out), a media critic, a professor and an author of many books. The "blogger"? Nye-Nye.
(Hint to Nye-Nye, an "author" doesn't generally have co-authors. Patti Davis is actually several steps above Nye-Nye because she only required one co-author.)

2) Nye-Nye cites and doesn't tell readers that the site is a joke. It attempts to be a Nielsen rating. It's not. It doesn't measure traffic and it doesn't even get the facts right (for instance, one of us participating in the writing of this did not start a site in 1999 -- despite Alexa claiming otherwise). He uses Alexa to measure the success of The American Prospect and finds TAP severely lacking, the equivalent of UPN. A better, though still problematic rating, is Google Rank which gives TAP "7/10" in terms of popularity. (Daily Kos has an "8/10" rank, Atrios an "8/10.") By not telling his readers what Alexa's pool is (, Nye-Nye again practices the slip-shod journalism he rode to almost-fame, about a decade ago. The bloom is off the rose, Nye-Nye, the toast has gone flat.

3) Nye-Nye uses Alexa ratings (or 'ratings') to argue that he was . . . well he doesn't use the word "fired." Power's important to Nye-Nye so he says he terminated it. Nye-Nye: The Terminator -- somehow the world seems more at risk than in any Ahnuld incarnation.

4) Nye-Nye claims that the left can't critize the left. What he really means is that TAP was uncomfortable with him going to town on the left the way he did at Spinsanity where, as we noted in July, he 'corrected' Robert Scheer by citing a right-winger when, pay attention Nye-Nye, Scheer needed no correction because the 'discovered wisdom' that Nye-Nye noted was in Scheer's original column. Even the right-winger Nye-Nye linked to noted that. It was only Nye-Nye that was lie-lying or else hopelessly stupid. (Disclosure, C.I. won a bet -- but is still awaiting payment! -- from a friend at TAP over the predicition that Nye-Nye wouldn't last a month.) The left gets criticized all the time (especially the non-center-left). Alexander Cockburn has not been fired from The Nation. (In fact Christopher Hitchens just penned a book review for the magazine.) Some outlets do shy from it, but the criticism wasn't really the reason for the parting of the ways.

5) The issue wasn't the criticism. The issue was bad writing. Bad writing in terms of facts, bad writing in terms of thought (or lack of it). Nye-Nye is a bad writer. Has been for years.

6) Nye-Nye was not hired to write for TAP the magazine. He was hired to write for the blog. As even the former Wonketta should have been able to tell him, when you're getting paid for writing a blog, you need to provide the traffic. (Wonketta earned those nickles with her smutty smirks.) Nye-Nye's problems stemmed from the fact that he was taking a check but alienating the web audience. Writing as though you're smack dab to the right-of-center -- for a Democratic Party magazine (TAP might dispute that, some at the magazine though not all, but that's our call on it) -- with lazy attempts at attention getting by distortion doesn't serve the purpose of the website and hurts the magazine. Not because of a fear of lost links, but because online is free, it's a sample. If people are gagging and asking "What is that shit?" -- they aren't very likely to see the magazine in a store and pick it up. Nye-Nye was driving away potential readers of the print magazine, not potential links.

7) Nye-Nye remains a bad writer. On a blog, we overlook typos (we have them ourselves) but we assume that if someone's writing something at a corporate magazine (on their blog or in their magazine), they're going to take a little care. Nye-Nye badly goes where few would dare with this paragraph:

Opinion magazines lose money -- a lot of money -- and are vulnerable to further financial losses. Atrios, Kos, and other liberal bloggers have attacked The New Republic for years, helping to undermine the center-left magazine's lagging popularity among liberals.

The sentence makes no sense at all. If you lose money, "a lot of money," what exactly is "further financial loss"? Logically, that aspect makes no sense. Yes, opinion journals lose money. Yes, it often is "a lot of money" (The Nation is in the black currently) but if you're losing money and it's "a lot of money" there's really no need for the claim "are vulnerable to further finanical losses." If you bleeding "a lot," then you're bleeding "a lot." Period.

But check this section: "Atrios, Kos and other liberal bloggers have attacked The New Republic for years, helping to undermine the center-left magazine's lagging popularity among liberals." What Nye-Nye means to say is that the attack undermines the magazine, not that the attacks undermine the magazine's "lagging popularity." Undermining the "lagging popularity" would mean increasing its (practically nil) popularity. Logic has always been a problem for Mr. Insansity.

And it's that kind of bad writing (an inability to say what you're attempting to say) that destroyed Nye-Nye. It's the same sort of writing that left readers of the Time blog and Nye-Nye's own blog confused. Is he saying he was fired? On his blog he insists he's as clear as can be. Poor muddled Nye-Nye. As one commentator points out, even his defender-in-arms Big Andy Sullivan thinks Nye-Nye's saying he was fired. Muddled writing, not bloggers, not TAP. Nye-Nye did himself in. (Are we surprised that Ana Marie Cox can't edit worth shit? No, we read her 'novel' and realized that even "page-turner" was beyond her grasp.)

As the Bangles sing, "Every story's got an ending, here it comes, here it comes". Nye-Nye's ending? As Rod Stewart once sang, "The morning sun when it's in your eyes really shows your age." Your age is showing Nye-Nye, or at least your sell-by date and your pathetic attemps to bend to the right, bend to the right, bend to the right have left you curdeled.

CORRECTION: This feature originally included an extra "when" in the lyrics to "Hero Takes The Fall." We've corrected that.

Ruth's Report

Remember we told you there was a big difference between Kat and RuthKat's motto is, "It is what it is."  Ruth?  We think it's "I can fix it."  Which she will.  Kat's done with it and passing it on.  Ruth's never done with it.  This report was written last Saturday.  Kind of.  Ruth was shooting for Saturday evening.  She got it done.  But due to time issues, illness and other things, C.I. couldn't post it.  Ruth offered to pull it and work on it some more.  It was fine as is.  But Ruth's always wanting another crack at it.  So below is Saturday's report.  And Monday's.  And we think Thursday's as well.  It's a great report (no surprise) but Ruth's always revising until the last minute.  (That includes calling to say, "Could you change a line to . . .")  She's a perfectionist.  We think this report was perfection.

Ruth's Report

Ruth: In the documentary Sir! No Sir!, Rita Martinson's "Soldier, We Love You" can be heard. The song, written by Ms. Martinson, includes the following lyrics:

Soldier, we love you
Yeah, soldier we love you
Standing strong
'Cause it's hard to do
What you know you must do
Cause it's true
Yes, it's true.
They locked you up in their stockades
Yeah, they locked you up 'cause they're afraid
That you would rap and spread the word
But you can't jail truth, it will be heard.

David Zeiger's Sir! No Sir! looks at war resistance during Vietnam and war resistance continues today. One of the earliest war resisters to go public was Camilo Mejia and State Radio has recorded a song "Camilo:"

Oh my country, won't you call out
Doorbells are ringing with boxes of bones
From another land's war torn corners
To a prison cell in my own

Mr. Mejia was convicted of desertion for standing up against the war and, as Ms. Martinson sang in an earlier time, you can be sure "they" were, indeed, afraid. The list of war resisters continues to grow each year that the war drags on and includes the names: Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Kevin Benderman, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Carl Webb, Katherine Jashinski and Ehren Watada. Those are some of the names known.

In addition, war resisters include, as true in Vietnam, those who refuse to serve in an illegal war and, to use C.I.'s term, self-check out and go to Canada. An estimated 100,000 made the decision to go to Canada during the Vietnam era for this reason and an estimated 200 have made the decision to do so today. This was a difficult decision in an earlier conflict and it remains a difficult one today.

It is legally difficult because, unlike during Vietnam, the Canadian government has refused to grant refugee status thus far. It is personally difficult because there is no blanket amnesty in the United States. When Jimmy Carter was president he issued a partial amnesty to those who refused the draft but not to those who checked themselves out. President Jimmy Carter was criticized for the pardon issued in real time.

There were, as expected, thos who screamed against any type of pardons. There were also those who wondered how an illegal war could only result in one type of pardon? Some believed, at the time, that this was step one for President Carter and that the commission he created would lead to further policies being implemented. That did not take place. The Ford Foundation did a study at that time which found that so-called draft dodgers were predominately white and from a higher economic status positions while those who self-checked out or were discharged under less than honorable circumstances tended to be people of color and from a disadvantaged economic class.

The best President Carter could ever offer for the second class was a case-by-case basis. This was during a time following the exposures of the disgraced Richard Nixon's reign of crimes and at a time when opposition to the war in Vietnam was at an all time high. If President Carter could not or would not offer a blank pardon, as opposed to his two-tiered system, it is questionable whether any type of pardon would come about today even were the Bully Boy to be impeached?

Those who resisted during Vietnam by self-checking out and moving to Canada knew they were making a long-term, if not permanent, decision. Returning to the United States after such a decision, to witness a birth, attend a wedding or funeral, put the person at risk of arrest and the FBI was known to attend the funerals of families of war resisters in the hopes of capturing a war resister.

So the decision to resist by going to Canada, a brave and valid decision, carries with it the prospect that you may never be able to legally return to the United States and that, doing so, may result in arrest. Some of those resisters willing to pursue that option today include Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Kyle Snyder and Patrick Hart.

Darrell Anderson also elected to pursue that path in January 2005. Earlier this month, news came from his mother, Anita Anderson, that Mr. Anderson was considering returning to the United States. At that time, she was opposed to his returning because of the fact that he would surely be arrested and because the circumstances of his case made it very likely that he would be able to remain in Canada legally. Besides applying for war refugee status, Anderson is also married to a Canadian citizen, Gail Greer, whom he met when she was working of a film about war resisters. It was thought that if refugee status was not granted, Anderson would be allowed to legally stay in Canada due to the fact that, as Anita Anderson told Jim Warren of The Lexington Herald-Leader, "he's probably going to get sponsorship in Canada now that he is married to a Canadian girl. But he's constantly stressed out and worried, and he feels like he can't live out the rest of his life this way."

This was updated when Anita Anderson spoke with Phinjo Gombu, of The Toronto Star, and noted that her son had made his decision and, short of a decision being handed down by the Canadian government in the next few weeks, Darrell Anderson would be returning to the United States. Anita Anderson stated that, "He feels that everything he did was a moral stand and he has to follow it through, which means coming back and facing it, telling everybody what's happening there, what's happening to soldiers and the innocent Iraqi people."

Darrell Anderson's plans currently are to cross the border, where a press conference will be held, and to then turn himself into Fort Knox. [C.I. note: More information on Anderson and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.] He is likely to face a dishonorable discharge or a court-martial which may result in imprisonment.

Mr. Anderson is a young man, twenty-four years old, who was decorated with the Purple Heart for his first tour in Iraq. Facing a second deployment to Iraq, Mr. Anderson made the decision to go to Canada.

That was a difficult decision and an honorable one. His current decision is also difficult and honorable and one might question why it is the sons and daughters of America that faces the difficult decisions and the Bully Boy who started the illegal war remains immune to them and receives, to this day, very little condemnation from big media for his actions and deceit that has led to the deaths of nearly 2700 Americans and untold Iraqis. For all of his crimes, and Tricky Dick committed many crimes, the disgraced Richard Nixon could, and did, point out, repeatedly, that he did not start with the war with Vietnam. Bully Boy has no such 'get out of jail free' card though big media continues to act as if he did.

I hope that one of the two avenues, either refugee status being granted or sponsorship being granted, will open and Mr. Anderson will be able to remain in Canada but, regardless of the outcome, it is past time that big media and our Congress began holding Bully Boy's feet to the fire and demanding answers, not evasions, as to his actions in the lead up to the illegal war as well as exactly how the United States government intends to bring the troops home. "When things are better" is not a plan, it is only a postponing or avoiding the creation of a plan for withdrawal.

When Jane Fonda returned from Vietnam, she spoke of the pain of the Vietnamese and the pain of America because the war was a tragedy for people of both countries. Some grasped that at the time, some did not grasp that until later and some, intent on denial, never grasped it. The illegal war in Iraq is a tragedy for all involved and yet, the person responsible for this illegal war, the Bully Boy, got his summer vacation.

He did not spend it camped out week after week on his ranch in Crawford as he usually does. However, thanks to Iraq falling off the media radar, he certainly was able to take a break from the pressure and guilt he should be confronted with each day that the war drags on and for his post-White House days. Others live with the consequences of his actions each day, so should he.


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