Sunday, April 01, 2007

Truest statement of the week

I wish people could recognize this for the hate it is. All those people laughing with Ann Coulter, supporting her as she says these terrible things about gay people. You cannot talk publicly anymore about Jews that way. You cannot talk publicly anymore about people of color that way. Why are gays allowed to be still and forever endlessly the whipping boy? How can the general, who has 65,000 gay men and women under his command, talk about his soldiers that way? It really makes them feel good as they're going into battle. I mean, that’s unconscionable, what he says.

-- Larry Kramer on Coulter and General Peter Pace's homophobia, "Larry Kramer on the 20th Anniversary of ACT UP, the Government's Failure to Prevent the AIDS Crisis and the State of Gay Activism Today" (Democracy Now!). Community member Marcia enjoyed last week's article "How we got to this point" and e-mailed that after some of the points made in that, "There's no way you can pick this as the truest." Agreed. It is hate speech, both Coulter and Pace, and it should have been called out as such.

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --
Sunday. If were back in NY, we'd be cold and blue, and much later than now . . . California . . .

Hey, it is only 10:00 a.m. where we are as we finish this note (or start it).

We honestly wanted a short edition, planned short pieces. We hit a wall several times. In the middle of the editorial (the last thing we write other than this), C.I. and Dona both insisted we had two pieces in one editorial. We looked. Well what do you know. One more article. We needed three more paragraphs before it was done, but maybe it rounded out the offerings.

Here's who helped with the writing of this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and 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 Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
and Wally of The Daily Jot

We thank all the above, we thank Dallas for his help, for locating links, for being a soundboard. We thank Rebecca for photoshopping, We thank Isaiah for the use of his comic (including cropping one portion of it).

Now let's get into new content:

Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Cedric, Kat, Betty, Rebecca and Wally wrote this (and picked except where noted). We thank them for doing this feature.

Reality -- Robert Knight had a very strong week last week -- and that would be true of any week. A strong job ended up looking like a miracle because so few would tackle it. So credit Knight with the breavery to addres the topic when others took a pass. (Everyone worked on this and all below except for the TV commentary.)

On music and Kat reviews Holly Near's Show Up --Over two years ago, we started this site and, in our first edition, we highlighted a really important review by Kat. We do so again this week.

The Nation Stats -- Maybe when the laughable StudentNation goes to campuses, female students and male students alike should holler out, "Why does The Nation not care for women writers?"

Crazy John -- John McCain, John McCain, that grumpy old pain. Showboat is either lying intentionally or off his rocker.

Mailbag -- Ty told us there were too many e-mails this week and we needed to offer this feature. (How many, the rest of us will be helping out later today -- much, much later). This ends up being a roundtable and not at all the quick feature that was planned.

Loving the Dems -- Mmm mmm good! -- Yes, we're being sarcastic.

The Big Waah -- Torture matters but sometimes we need to say, "Just because we will take care of the new baby doesn't mean we won't still take care of you."

TV: Nothing Great About Cheese -- An excellent piece by Ava and C.I. Not at all planned. Ty mentioned the e-mails and, while doing so, brought up that the last few weeks have been all about a Rod Stewart special. Ava and C.I. had seen it. They watched the DVD to refresh and then wrote the review.

Editorial: War resistance continues and increases -- Where are the war resisters? Out there and growing but you've got a better chance of learning about them from big media than small media.

Truest statement of the week -- Marcia picked this one. She wrote three e-mails last week about a feature we ran last Sunday. She loved it and then she found the quote and said we had to go with it because it's touching on a point in our essay. Well, we didn't "have to" run it. But we like Marcia and it was one of the most important quotes of last week.

That's it. We're done for today.

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

Editorial: War resistance continues and increases

Hey, remember that Jeremy Hinzman? The US war resister who self-checked out of the military and went to Canada to seek asylum there?

Trippy times, huh? Nobody does stuff like that anymore.

What's that? They do?

Yeah, as a matter of fact they damn well do. Independent media hasn't heard the name "Dean Walcott."

Independent media hasn't uttered most of their names. Talk to war resisters and many will usually cite Jeremy Hinzman. He made a difference with his stand. In his book The Deserter's Tale, Joshua Key writes of finding information about war resistance online. Well, good for him for knowing not to check out the pages of The Nation.

Last week, war resister Mark Wilkerson (sentenced to 9 months at his court-martial last month) spoke with Cox News Service about how when he first went AWOL, he would "call the Army's deserter hotline" to see if he was listed as AWOL yet. Turns out the Army admits they have a few problems with their numbers and haven't been classifying people gone for six months as deserters. "Hundreds" is the conservative estimate.

That report followed Paul von Zeilbauer's (New York Times) report which found that the US army was undercounting their figures and that the "new figures also show a faster acceleration in the rate of desertions over the previous two fiscal years than the Army had disclosed. In 2006, for instance, desertions rose by 27 percent, not 17 percent, as the Army previously said, and Army spokesman said."

Remember the independent media (or so-called) who treated it as no-big-deal? Who couldn't see a movement going on right before their eyes? Yeah, they missed it last summer and they're missing it now.

Does it matter? Well you tell us.

Jeremy Hinzman was turned down by Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board and is appealing the decision. Every one who has followed has been turned down by the supposedly independent body. Friday, Corey Glass became the latest US war resister to argue his case for asylum to the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Now do you think the Immigration and Refugee Board could keep issuing blanket denials repeatedly if they knew the world's press was watching? No, they couldn't and, no, they wouldn't. Because they pride themselves on that "independent" myth. They don't pride themselves enough to use the independence on their own, but with enough attention, they would use it.

That apparently doesn't matter a great deal to much of independent media. It's just Jeremy Hinzman's life, or Patrick and Jill Hart's, or Joshua and Brandi Key, or Ryan and Jen Johnson,

or . . .

There's a lot of them, hundreds, in Canada. Around forty have applied for asylum. Most just lay low due to the very unencouraging stance (today) by the Immigration and Refugee Board. "Today"? Well, in the past, Canada could be welcoming to war resisters and with the glare of a media spotlight -- if they're still independent as they claim -- they could be welcoming again.

Coverage does matter. It matters in terms of making a board take the right action and it matters in terms of getting the word on resistance out.

Here's Kyle Snyder (illustration is of Snyder) speaking last Monday on Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees:

I joined when I was 19. . . I sat back, I put my weapon down beside me, and then, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, real quick, very, very loud, I could just remember the look on the man's face. . . . I was a .50 cal. machine gunner and I was an escort for very high-ranking officials. What drew the line for me was one mission in particular where I had witnessed an innocent civilian shot in front of me. . . . I was first angry at that. And then I became angry at the fact that there were no repercussions. This -- there was nothing done to prevent this from happening again. . . . I made my decision off of the things that I personally witnessed in Iraq. I didn't just wake up one morning and say, 'I'm going to leave my country, I'm going to leave my friends behind, I'm going to leave everything that I know and everything that I love and built my entire life on,' nobody does that. . . . I can walk around shops here and, you know, I see "war resisters welcome here" signs. I see community getting involved and getting together. High schoolers come up and say, what can I do to support the anti-war movement?

Where's independent media? We have no idea. It's not like the majority spent last week addressing the Iraq proposals. It's not like they covered the story of Canadian police arresting Snyder (and hauling him off in his boxers, the day before his wedding) at the request (or on the orders of) the US military. That's becoming an issue, over a month later, in Canada. It should be an issue in the US.

Let's close with the words Ricky Clousing spoke March 17, 2007 at a rally in Fayetteville:

Hello, my name is Sgt. Ricky Clousing. I was stationed here in Fort Bragg in the 82 Airborn division. I served with the 82nd in December of 2004 in Iraq as an interroagtor and after witnessing the abuse of power and the injustices that happened on a daily basis I decided I no longer could be a part of not only the 82nd airborn but also the organization of the military. So after deciding to go AWOL and serving a few months in jail, I'm here to say thank you guys because I received amazing support through my process and my journey. I'm not going to share my whole story because a lot of you might be familiar with it but I really want to just let you guys know how much it meant to me the support and letters and the organization for events like this and what not that you guys really blazed a trail for people like me for refusing to fight anymore and my brothers here that decided not to do it. So I just want to say that a lot of the times since I've gone and spoken at a different place that people, a lot of times, put things on a pedestal and different situations or people or places. And I think that it's important to express that we are all part of this bigger puzzle and this bigger of collective idea of peace and how to attain that Just be careful of putting people in those positions because it takes the responsibility that we all have to do our part -- and part of that is being here today and marching and walking and spreading the word on an individual level. So just remember that war isn't good for children and other living things. Thank you guys very, very much.

It matters. The stand makes a difference and coverage of it would make a difference.

TV: Nothing Great About Cheese

Some things and some people should close shop if what they're giving the public is the best they can. If it's not, they need to stop faking.

That's how we (Ava and C.I.) arrived at PBS for this week's review. Ty will tell you PBS is one of the biggest topics we don't cover. PBS is not a network in the way ABC or CBS is (other than the fact that all three run advertisements -- though PBS tries to act as though it doesn't). Stations aren't required to carry programs. They, in fact, pay the CPB to carry national programming. So, as we noted long ago, what you get depends upon where you live.

One topic in the e-mails of late was a Rod Stewart special. We're not sure where it recently aired (we know some members were gearing up to watch it in some areas) but we caught it on our PBS station Christmas Day in 2006 as part of the Great Performances series.

We thought that deserved comment. Great Performances has won many Emmys . . . for programs it produced. The Rod Stewart special, One Night Only, like all too many PBS telecasts these days, is nothing but a DVD put out long before PBS ever got the rights to air it. One Night Only is the name of the concert DVD. And though PBS wants to put it under the umbrella of "great" (and in some areas use it for fundraising), there's not much great about it -- or even good.

Here's the great. For one song, "The First Cut Is The Deepest," Stewart puts across a song with a performance that demonstrates why he became a rock star in the first place. On "As Time Goes By," while Rod embarrasses himself repeatedly, Chrissie Hynde demonstrate that her magical voice can find new life in anything. In her own way vocally, she's the closest living approximate to Dusty Springfield in that regard.

If you think cheese is great, if you think seeing your grandpa acting like he's drunk and off his rocker, One Night Only truly was a great performance. Possibly, if you don't own a DVD player or weren't planning to rent or purchase One Night Only, PBS offered you a distraction for one night but it didn't belong under the banner of "art."

"You Wear It Well" was the opener. Either due to nerves or because his voice hadn't opened up yet, it was a pretty awful performance as he mangled the melody throughout each verse but occasionally managed to soar in certain spots on the chorus. He also felt that this was a song whose lyrics could be mucked with and while "sinking" and "thinking" rhyme, "thinking" and "thinking" merely repeats -- helping to destroy what his lousy performance didn't. He sweats a lot and plays with his hair a great deal as he clomps around the stage which isn't a good sign for the first number and honestly reminded us of Whitney Houston's disastrous AMA performance (January 1999) where she clomped around a lot, sweated like a pig, stomped the stage with one foot repeatedly, wiped herself with something she pulled out of her sleeve, and never hit the right note on any of her songs. With Houston, it was obvious the problem was drugs. With Rod it appeared to be sloth and indifference. (Though some may wonder what the dark liquid in the glass he repeatedly drinks onstage is.)

Next up, Rod offerd that Robert Palmer (the singer and "a great drinking buddy") has died as he launched into "Some Guys Have All The Luck." If you're confused, so were we.

Is he suggesting that Palmer's "luck" was in dying or that Palmer didn't have luck? We couldn't tell you and chances are Rod couldn't either. A woman does a sax solo in a short skirt. During the rock numbers, women appear to be chosen for the band based on how they looked in a crotch cover (don't call those skirts). Rod wore clothes poorly but he was always covered by them. Watching him grind into a backup singer (female, of course) on "Hot Legs," was like watching Grandpa hitting on his nurse -- you had to look away.

Rod's voice opened up on "Some Guys Have All The Luck" and he was starting to hit his stride as he began another song ("the A-side to 'Maggie Mae,'" he informed and advised that someone should record it): "Reason to Believe." A number of people, including Rod, have recorded Tim Hardin's classic over the years (we'd argue the underrated Wilson Philips did the best cover, it's certainly the one that caught Rod's ear and led to his recording it for his live MTV special many, many years ago).

So Rod and the audience are singing the song to sparse accompaniment and it looks like he'll have a winner. Then the band kicks in and it's as though you're back in the seventies, at Sears, and some twerp is testing out the rhythm buttons on an organ. To make it really clear, "Reason To Believe" shouldn't be a hip shaking number; however, with the arrangement performed, it's no surprise that the women the cameras kept ogling couldn't help but shake their hips.

At this point, what you'd seen wasn't enough talent to rate an appearance before the microphone in the lowest of dives -- not even on an open mike night. But he brought out old partner Ron Wood (who is much better off these days in the Rolling Stones) and Rod had a nice bit of stage patter before launching into a performance of "Stay With Me" -- a performance that would result in a resounding "NO!"

"Rhythm of My Heart" has always been an embarrassment -- sounding like it was intended to be background music for a Joanie Greggains audio cassette workout tape in the 80s. His stage patter doesn't save it. The concert was recorded in 2004, much too late in the game to cut Rod any slack for claiming Iraq was a war about "our freedom." You're left to wonder if, in one of his many very public break ups, someone else got custody of the brain as well as the talent.

The break ups? Should we go straight to Britt? We wish the special had. Instead it went to the career graveyard Rod now inhabits. Dame Edna (who was the host of this so-called great performance which included Edna making old and tired cocaine jokes) advised you it was now time for Rod to sing "great songs of the past" -- and no, she didn't mean his 70s hit.

Rod emerged in a tuxedo. He does not wear it well. The black t-shirt and red jacket used at other times in the special hearkened more to Huey Lewis than Rod but at least he appeared comfortable. In a tux, he just looks fat and all the less graceful. If the dash across the stage he did during "Some Guys Have All The Luck" looked klutzy (and it did), that was practically a ballet compared to whatever he thought his body was doing in this segment.

"They Can't Take That From Me" may be the worst performance but it's a hard call. On "For Sentimental Reasons," he sounds strangely like Louis Armstrong. Yet on Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World," Rod sounds like Eartha Kitt coughing up phlegm. He rarely sounded like Rod and he rarely honored a melody. By the time Chrissie Hynde joined him for "As Times Goes By," he seemed like he was doing a send up of a drunken Dean Martin. He continued that throughout his duet with her (one that he had to stop and start over) which is why only Hynde came off well.

If you've make it that far, wait a bit longer. "The First Cut Is The Deepest" is Rod being Rod, Rod doing what made famous in a style that would still make him famous today if he was just starting out. But that's really it. The concert goes on (and on) but there's nothing worth seeing. To mark time, you can count how many times he plays with his hair standing up and how many times he does that while bent at the waist. Tina Turner could offer him some tips on hair pieces that hold up under hot lights but it probably wouldn't do any good. He never learned any dance steps from her -- as he demonstrates throughout but most obviously during "Hot Legs."

"Hot Legs" is an audience sing-a-long. Now those can be quite powerful. It worked in "Reason To Believe" before someone decided the band needed to kick in with a cheesy beat. It works in "The First Cut Is The Deepest." It doesn't work in other songs like "Hot Legs" and "Maggie Mae" where the audience isn't adding to the song, they're carrying it. Singing and stumbling around the stage is apparently a lot of work for Rod, so much so that he turns whole sections of the songs over to the audience.

Night of the Living Rod is a scary sight. That PBS wants to pass off DVDs that are over two years old as PBS product and, worse yet, as a Great Performances is grounds for a class action lawsuit. They have another type of music special they're fond of these days. It's the clip job. Often they get two or three specials out of the same concert. They feature an artist performing a song and then go to another artist and then, months later, if you pay attention, you'll note the 'new' special with pretty much the same performers take place at the same hall with performers wearing the same outfits. It's a way to pay for the expenses of one concert while milking into it several specials. In the mid 90s (1994), Carole King actually gave a concert for PBS. It was later a CD and video, but the concert was seen first on PBS. These days, they take an old Fleetwood Mac concert (like the one for The Dance) that HBO or another cable channel has shown repeatedly and then trot it out as their special -- or worse, trot it out as their special during pledge drives.

Where does the money go at PBS? In 2005, Peter Hart and Steve Rendall (FAIR) noted, "The CPB provides approximately $400 million a year to NPR and PBS -- about 15 percent of the two entities' combined budget." Where does the money go? We're not seeing any chunks of it going for original music production.

At The Huffington Post last week, Eric Williams noted the PBS pledge drives:

It's an amazing bait-and-switch. Every few months, your local PBS station begs you -- and Viewers Like You -- to support their programming for the rest of the year, yet they do this by cramming their schedule with shows which they ONLY air when they're pleading for dough. We get Eagles: Hell Freezes Over and Pink Floyd: Pulse and tributes to doo-wop and the British Invasion. We get Suze Orman and Dr. Wayne Dyer and some guy who'll teach you how to play the piano in an afternoon.

As viewers in some areas get Rod Stewart's nothing special as evidence of the best that PBS can offer (we all got it billed under the Great Performances' umbrella), you really do have to wonder where the money goes. Suze Orman, coming off like a carney barker each pledge drive, should be paying PBS to air her infomercials. We've missed the piano in an afternoon bit on PBS but we have seen one late at night on cable, where it's clearly an infomercial.

So PBS pledge drive programming these days is like a trip to the musical section of your local video rental combined with infomercials. Exactly where does the money go? Regular programming seems to consist of home repair and glorified garage sales. Is this really the best that millions and millions a year can buy? So many questions.

The answer for Rod Stewart's career as an artist should have been to strip down to basics. He didn't do that. He's pursued the Andy Williams route and may it inspire a musical revolt -- the same way some of his work was often groused about by early members of the punk rock movement. But Stewart's not the only one wasting a lot of money and getting applause for just showing up. The same is true of PBS.

Years ago, Rod was sued for palimony by Britt Ekland and Rod, to appease her, and hold on to the money, wrote "You're In My Heart (The Final Acclaim)." Ekland, mollified, walked away from millions. Rod can't walk away from Britt. He still has to perform the hit song and audience favorite. He does so in the special and, in one embarrassing moment, points to "Celtic" on the back of his jacket and sings "You're the best football team I've ever seen." Britt long ago moved on. Rod's stuck singing the same old song, even when he pairs it with other, even older, songs. He can pretend it's about a football team and maybe even fool himself for a minute or two. PBS can air this corn and maybe fool a viewer or two. But there's no denying that both Rod and PBS are in dire need of reinvention.

The Big Waah

Have you heard the Big Waah yet? Alberto Gonzales may go down for conspiracy to defraud the people and the Congress, for actions regarding the firing of the 8 prosecutors and lying about it. The Big Waah, which, no offense, sounds a lot like the child of a certain star whining that the school bills weren't paid STILL, goes, "But he authorized torture!"

Big Waah.

Big f-ing Waah.

Demand Congress release the photos they are keeping from the people of Abu Ghraib (much more violent than what made it into the news), file freedom of information requests, or go pout in your corner. America, collectively, saw a limited view of Abu Ghraib and gasped. Then they looked away and no one's done anything that's made them admit that, yes, this government has authorized torture.

What you have with the prosecutors is the same pattern with torture and every thing else the administration does -- lie to the people and plot far from the sunshine. Lie when you're caught and lie some more after.

You haven't hit hard enough on torture to reach enough Americans. That's the reality. A lot of them are willfully living in denial. It'll take a lot to pull them out of that. Now the conspiracy Gonzales and the White House hatched likely included plans for disenfranchising voters again. Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) notes it would be African-American and Hispanic voters:

Make no mistake. The controversy over the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys by the Bush administration is a race issue. It's often difficult to recognize this essential truth, because the leadership of the Democratic Party is determined not to frame any conflict with Republicans in racial terms. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic honcho Harry Reed actively suppress the racial aspects of the scandal, fearing the subject of race is a turnoff for white voters. The American corporate media also pretend that race is a sideshow - unless it involves the race or ethnicity of a major player in the story.

Now maybe you're not aware of that aspect of the story? If that's the case, you're going to have to really work to get aware because this is one of the buried stories about the conspiracy. If you already were aware of it we have a phrase for you, "That's mighty White of you."

Truly, to dismiss the disenfranchisement of voters based on race and ethnicity as unimportant and a sideshow is pretty disgusting.

As Rebecca has pointed out, Watergate was the crack that brought the whole Nixon presidency down. No one has any idea how far this scandal will go but it's already disgusting. When the White House and Justice Department decided to fire prosecutors and worked out a cover story for Congress and the people, that was a conspiracy. If the Democrats don't buckle, this could be the thing that finally forces them into action on impeachment. Read Majorie Cohn's "Patriot Act Unbound" (CounterPunch) if you're still not getting the potential this case has or check out Robert Parry's "Prosecutor-gate": Bush's Power Grab'. Saturday night, on RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Laura Flanders noted how they were going to try to play it as a Latino issue. They've actually been doing that. The article she was referencing picks up on a point Gonzales made in his March 12th speech. C.I. pointed out the line and can't believe no one wrote about it then. (We can't either, we think we're just missing it. C.I. didn't use it because The Common Ills focuses on Iraq.) But this is what they've tried to fan since Gonzales offered his not-so-sorry.

[C.I. just remembered where it was used, here. From "The Alberto Gonzales Show:" "When he brought up the line about 'I've overcome a lot of obstacles in my life,' we thought he was referring to ethnicity (in which case, he is aware that David Iglesias is Hispanic -- one of the eight who got fired?). Then we read Andrew Zajac's laughable piece (Chicago Tribune) and decided Gonzales was playing drama queen.]

So you've got a number of issues here.

Now let's be very clear on the point here beyond the conspiracy: We're not saying, "Shut up about Guantanamo."

We're not saying, "Accept the system for what it is." Please, we're not Sirota, we'd never be caught dead in poly-blends. What we are saying is that the ones saying "Well torture is more important" are all great communicators. They have informed us on the situation in more ways than we could ever count and we say "Thank you" loudly and clearly.

But the reality is that we're already listening to and/or reading you. You've got to up the ampage (not shut up, not accept, not settle) because there are still a lot of people in denial. (There are still a lot of people uninformed. Some of whom honestly believe that Abu Ghraib, for instance, was immediately shut down after the photos became public.)

Everyone uttering the "Big Waah" is brilliant in their own way. They can reach people. They reached us. But it's not reached far enough.

A few say, "Oh, this is just Dems playing politics." No question, it's easier for Congress (spineless Congress) to address this issue than to address torture. We are in no way saying, "Settle for this and shut up" or "Kiss Congress' butts for finally doing something." Of course Congress is doing something, they were lied to and they (it's Dems and Republicans, not just Democrats) are furious because hard evidence (e-mails and, as of Thursday, Kyle Sampson's testimony) exists. Hard evidence, it should be noted, that the public's aware of. So Congress (Dems and Republicans) aren't just insulted, they're insulted publicly. Of course, they're going to tackle this.

Torture's a tougher issue. Dick Durbin caved under pressure when he was right. He did his public blood letting and probably has no inclination to go near the subject again unless he's forced to do so.

Instead of coming off like an issue, the Big Wah is making the ones crying it look like Susan Newman's character in I Want To Hold Your Hand, running around decrying the Beatles while she insists everyone listen to Joan Baez. We love Joan Baez, we love the Beatles. We listen to both. Sometimes one after the other. Torture is not a minor issue. But this isn't either. African-American voters were sold out in 2000 and some said never again. They were sold out in 2004 despite that 'never again.' If the conspiracy aspect doesn't bother you, if the cover up and the lies to Congress and the people don't bother you, the disenfranchisement should.

But that doesn't mean you shut up about torture or that you have to lead the charge on the Gonzales scandal. It does mean that the wattage needs to go through the roof on torture if you're wanting to get it across.

Ava and C.I. still get e-mails on their 24 commentary that ran some time ago. They note that West asked them to do it and that West asked because Matthew Rothschild had mentioned it in a sentence or two on Progressive Radio. But 24 (and other shows -- including Alias) made torture palatable for many Americans, put forth the lie that you could get reliable evidence from torture, put forth the notion that it was what Americans did and it was very much an American principle. You're up against that and you need to up the action if you want to traction.

Loving the Dems -- Mmm mmm good!


Oh, those brave Democrats in the leadership positions in the House and Senate!

They're postively manly! Even the women!

Not afraid to let their war flag fly.

Even 4 years after the illegal war began.

We love photo-ops!

Who needs action when you have photo-ops!

We learned a lot from the photo-ops.

Like . . .

Harry Reid is apparently rhythmically challenged. There's got to be a cure or at least a support group.

Nancy Pelosi doesn't like the cheek bones she was born with. She doesn't think they're prominent enough. That's why she sucks them in tight when she smiles. If she'll open her jaws while she's doing that, let the insides be pulled in over the teeth and naw repeatedly, she could, like an actress friend of C.I.'s, make the cheeks even more prominent by making the skin inside the mouth thinner. Sounded crazy to us but if Pelosi's worried about it, we're here to assist.

Assist? We want to enlist!

How cool it must be to be a Democratic Party Hack. You get to do all the important stuff on a campaign, like shake male candidates' hoses at the urinals -- no need for trouser tracks!, and you get to write for supposedly independent magazines. Now if Howie Kurtz forgets to disclose something he's covering, it's boos and hisses time. But if you're a Democratic Party Hack, supposedly independent magazines really don't care. It doesn't matter if you write about a politician whose campaign you worked on it and never disclose that you were campaign staff.

And writing? It's so easy. You just jot down the party's talking points and, BAM, you're in print.

You know how the left sometimes complains about the revolving door between press corp and White House? Tony Snow's only the most recent example. Well, if you are a Democratic Party Hack, the rules don't apply. You can work on Ned Lamont's Senate campaign (after he wins the primary) and you can go back to 'reporting.' You can work on a governor's campaign and brag about him and his campaign's wonderful excercise in tricking voters and nary a peep from your supposed employers.

The idea that there shouldn't be a revoling door only apparently applies to the right wing. And why not? Corruption only happens to the right! Democratic Party Hacks writing for supposedly independent magazines are independent just because the magazine claims to be. Besides, James Carville and Paul Begala aren't going to live forever -- someone's going to have replace them.

Being a butt smoocher to the Democratic Party means your outlets aren't even concerned when you call people conspiracy theorists just for noting what a respected poli-sci professor noted or what was reported in many major media outlets.

Your outlets appreciate your efforts to clamp down on People Power. They love you for all your efforts to put the people in their place.

The people can get a little uppity and start thinking they have some say in the running of this country -- what do they think this is, a democracy? -- and your employers love it when you tell them to shut up and root for the Democratic Party, or when you take a real tone (and start reaching for allusions you really can't grasp) with the readers, or when you write a column where you refer to the Democrats in the House as "we."

It's really obvious that it is easy to love the Democratic Party blindly. All you have to do is ask WWPHD? -- What Would Party Hack Do?

When the Bully Boy was talking about escalation, the Democratic Party couldn't come up with anything besides non-binding, symbolic resolutions.

Now each house has passed a new one and that's called "trend."

It's nothing to be alarmed about. We're sure symbolic measures mean more than anything else in the world. If we had the choise, in fact, we'd rather be paid in symbolic money.

Well maybe we wouldn't go that far.

But Symbol Man, yeah! So much cooler than Burning Man and none of those irriating people around.

And besides, we sing "Walking on MoveOn's good side, I was walking on MoveOn's good side, MoveOn's good side." (To the tune of Laura Nyro's "Lu.")

Life is good when you're a faux populist. Life is damn good.

The only real cost is all the Chapstick you have to apply before kissing another set of buns.

Be a faux populist and/or fetch a dyanamite cup of coffee and you can write your own ticket -- work on some campaigns, work in socalled indepenent media.

It's a great life, great life.

And the Democratic Party is so happy to fax you the daily points. If you do a good enough job pimping, they'll even script your after hours sex scenes for you.



A popular feature and one we got a lot of e-mails asking for this week. Dona said, "Keep it short. We need short pieces." And we're all trying to avoid last week's nightmare edition. Ty works the e-mails more than any one else, so he's pulled the ones included here.

"How we got to this point" resulted in a lot of positive e-mails. Marcia wrote one of the most passionate noting that the Ann Coulter moment "did accept, from most libs, the construct that gay was evil, wrong, bad or not as good. The defenders were as offensive to me as Coulter. Thank you for including that." Rod wanted to wanted to know if Jess was afraid of pissing his father off. ("A Note to Our Readers" explained some of the portions pulled, as did Mike's "Sunsara Taylor, Third Estate Sunday Review.")

Jess: It wouldn't have been a problem like that but my dad had the same question as Rod. The point in pulling the prison sections is that this is a very serious issue and it's a very big issue to my father. What was originally written was strong in that section. In terms of editing it down, the sun was already up by then and I didn't want to take a serious subject and screw it up because I was tired. Would my dad have been pissed? No, but I wouldn't want him disappointed. Pissed I can handle but knowing how important this issue is to him, I'd rather pull it then disappoint him. He thinks it gets enough bad coverage as it is.

On the same feature and on "Parody: Mud Flap Gals," Jen05 e-mailed the dissenting voice saying she thought it was sad that the Mud Flap Gals are under attack.

Rebecca: I'm grabbing this and anyone can go after. C.I. and I have argued for years about whether or not it is "good" for feminism, the term, to be popularized by everyone using it? While it does make it easier for others to use it, it's also true that some who use it don't necessarily agree on it. C.I. would say, "That's because feminism has many different branches." That's true. But I'm not in the mood for the weak branches. I'm not in the mood for things that hurt feminism. Feminism is a system of beliefs. So many have come along and said, "I'm a feminist!" And they seem to think it means something small and tiny -- such as "I can wear whatever I want" -- and only that. It's a great deal more than that and it gets distorted far too often.

Elaine: I'll jump in while Rebecca's taking a breath or done and note this really is a topic that Rebecca and C.I. have strongly disagreed on over the years. The three of us have been friends forever and the easiest way to start an argument is to pursue this topic. Rebecca's opinion is valid and so is C.I.'s -- and I don't just say that now, or when an argument's going on, to avoid the fireworks -- but we have seen something really sad develop. Take Madonna, whom I consider a no talent. In real time, she was called out. Now days, there are feminists who seem to be the children of Madonna and find her the height of feminism. I believe that's the kind of danger Rebecca saw. And it is a serious problem. I don't think feminism is factoring in.

C.I.: Well, one point that Rebecca's made consistently is that this nonsense of all choices are feminism is nonsense. I agree with her on that. Feminism is about everyone having the right to choose for themselves. When people extend that to every choice is a feminist choice, no, it's not. Some choices are very much backlash and hurt other women. Feminism, my opinion, being about choices should be looked at as free speech. Both give you the right, but not everything is worthy of praise. And one thing that's really hit home over the last few years, and I've told Rebecca she was right and I was wrong on this about a year ago, is that a lot of 'feminists' are doing damage. Now in terms of the Mud Flap Girls that Jen05 is writing of, she's taking two different pieces and seeing them as the same thing. That may or may not be accurate. One, however, is clearly billed as a parody. The other is in response to Martha, a Common Ills community member, being very upset that Maryscott O'Connor, who runs a political blog for the left My Left Wing -- -- was being pulled as a link from various sites that linked to her. Martha's point was that the Mud Flap Gals are being linked to by political sites and she didn't understand why that was happening at a time when O'Connor -- and others at her site -- address issues like Iraq? That's a good question. Should supposed political sites be dropping the woman that's actually addressing issues but keeping the site that's consumed with what Vanity Fair tossed on the cover? A site that has nothing to say about Iraq? It's a valid question. In the essay, we're addressing that question and how, when the token links go to the Mud Flap Gals -- which is more than just one site -- it does give the impression that women are superficial, obsess over sex and consumerism and don't have any thoughts about a larger world around them. When a voice like O'Connor is purged but the Mud Flap Gals are kept, by political sites, that's sending a message which appears to suggest that a sleight paragraph or two better represents women than does a woman like O'Connor who rips herself apart, or appears to, as she tries to address Iraq and other topics. On the parody, my opinion it captured those sites perfectly, it's intended as humor. If you didn't find it funny, I'm guessing Jen05 didn't, then you didn't find it funny. Rebecca's dubbed this type, offline, the Madonna babies and they came of age around the time of the Porn Wars. You had a wide variety of opinions on the topics of pornography and erotica and that was largely reduced to one group screaming "Prude!" at the other. The second you come out on the side of sexuality -- which the other large group was not against -- you win the approval of men and end up with one of those "Women We Like" Esquire features. The reality is those sounding the alarms about pornography were not "prudes." They had very serious, very real concerns -- and that debate is not over and will flare up again. But it was an easy out for some women, who identify as feminists, to scream "Prude!" and win the approval of men. They would point to some right-wing, Christian group, who for different reasons, supported a measure some feminists did and accuse those feminists of being in league with that group of right-wingers. The New York Times fave 'feminist' of the 90s was in the "Prude" screaming group -- and that woman is no feminist -- but you didn't hear the feminists seriously concerned about pornography saying, "You're just like C--- P---!" If the ones who screamed "Prude" are bothered now by some of the current fashions, and some are, I've heard them complain, they have only themselves to blame. They won't own up to it, but it's true. They boiled a multi-faceted discussion down to "Prude!" and passed themselves off as the sexual beings who were pro-free speech unlike those "prudes." They distorted what was at stake and I think a number of the Madonna babies came of age with a very poor understanding of the period that preceded.

Jim: Are you offended by the fashions today?

C.I.: No. I could care less what anyone else wears. But I have heard some of the "prude" screamers talk about that. And it's always interesting because they never connect it back to the own climate their writing created.

Jim: Jen05 was especially offended by the parody and the remarks about an upcoming book.

C.I.: My reply: "Too damn bad." That book put out by a feminist press could feature a nude woman, in full on the cover, and make a point about our bodies and body images and much more. That book put out by a non-feminist press, with that photo which is about titillation and that title which is doing the same thin,g is exploitation. We'd call it that if a man did it and it's the same thing coming from a woman. It's not 'reclaiming' sexual objectifying -- as if that's a goal a feminist should stride towards. It's just sexual objectifying. It didn't make anyone working for the publisher nervous. When Gloria Steinem posed, fully clothed, for Moving Beyond Words, it made the publisher nervous because of the stance she was sitting in. Tossing a portion of a naked woman on the cover isn't feminism. It's using sex, which generally means using women's bodies, to sell a product. That a woman wrote the book doesn't make the cover any less objectifying. Maybe the woman thinks the book's cover follows in the footsteps of Germaine Greer? If so, I never found Greer to be that much of a feminist. Even before she entered her own personal backlash, she was cooing and flirting with men she was supposed to be debating. I believe the big debate, at Town Hall in NYC, prompted no discussion of the issues afterwards, just wonderment over whether Greer and Norman Mailer hit the sack after.

Dona: And I'll jump in because I personally find the Mud Flap Gals offensive. I've seen the guys who giggle over those sites and use words like "Slutty" and "Smutty" and when I identify as a feminist to a group of people my age, there's always some moron in the bunch who'll bring up one of those sites with a leer often backed up with some really bad come on.

C.I.: In fairness --

Jim: Everyone just exploded with groans.

C.I.: Well let me just insert this and then we can go back to the conversation; however, Dona, this is already not a short piece. But in fairness, it needs to be noted that it's when other voices are eliminated, such as O'Connor's voice, and the Mud Flap Gals are all that is promoted that the stereotype sets in. The fact that every male political blogger in the world seems to feel the need to link to that site as opposed to women like O'Connor makes that appear to be "the" voice of feminism.

Dona: And that's a good point and I agree with it. But I also think it's true that the Mud Flap Gals are immature sites. I mean, Sandra Day O'Connor has announced she's retiring and day in and day out they're blogging about their vacation? It's superficial, it's immature. They're like my sister when she was 12, trying to be naughty for attention. But my kid sister outgrew that phase.

Jim: Anyone else want to jump in?

Kat: If Jen05 thinks she's offended by last week's edition, she certainly doesn't want to hear my thoughts on it.

Betty: I'll just toss out, and I'm glad Ava and C.I. included this in their review of Madonna's concert, we hadn't talked about it beforehand and it was one of those moments where I was really hoping they'd address something but not sure they were aware of it, Madonna's really not the 'friend' to the Black community people seem to think she is -- in her work. I don't know her personally. In her work, there's been a lot of stereotypes and, certainly in her documentary, stereotypes abound. I just want to add that because there's a whole other level going on that's often overlooked.

Ava: Well, I'll jump in. I agree with Dona 100%. If you're a woman and you're trying to address issues seriously, the last thing you need to hear is what smutty little thing the Mud Flaps did today. I don't think they are the face of young feminism and I'm bothered by the fact that so many men seem to think they are. What Dona talked about, the way other male students will look at you because of that crap, I get even more than Dona because toss in that I'm Latina and that's runs with the "Latin spitfire" or whatever other nonsense. I've got more on my mind than sex. And I come alive and come out fighting on more issues than just abortion. I'm strongly pro-choice. I'm strongly against the illegal war. But the Mud Flaps only seem to get their Flaps in a wad when the issue can be taken back to sex. And I'll never forget hearing, on campus, about that stupid post they did on the idiot woman who attended an Abu Ghraib hearing carrying the book C**t which they seemed to find delightful, a real "You go, girl!" moment. It wasn't. But it did lead to two men pressing in close and asking me if I was turned on by Abu Ghraib as well? I think they do far too much damage and never get called out on it. I'm with Rebecca, the term is not elastic, feminism, and it's not just 'every woman should do what she wants.' Some choices hurt other women. You have the right to make them, as C.I. was saying, just like you have the right to use your free speech, but don't try to pass it off as feminism.

Dona: I'll just back that up by noting that the same guys who would think they were flirting with me re: Mud Flap would just crowd Ava. With me, they gave me my space. With Ava, and it did have to do with her ethnicity because they'd usually toss out a reference to that, they wouldn't just leer from a distance, they'd be crowding her. Just to finish this out, unless someone else has something to add, as long term readers know, Ava will be a little more reserved. That's when she's with friends or people she's not sure of. With friends, she'll wait her turn. But from the start, the first day I met Ava, she's never had a problem telling some creep to get the hell away in much stronger language than that. One guy reached over and grabbed her breast, this was the first week I knew her, and Ava hauled off and punched him out. She gave him a bloody nose. I love to tell that story because people always assume Ava's this delicate flower and, you push her and you'll see really quick that isn't the case.

Ava: Well all the women in my family are feminists. And that sort of thing was drilled into me, how you don't just gasp or scream and run off -- because he's probably going to chase after you. But in terms of punching, that's my father. The women in family taught me, and I'm talking when I was very little, that you use your knee on their groin. In 3rd grade, there was some little creep running around the play ground grabbing girls' butts and my father said, "Forget the groin, punch him in the nose, make it bleed and he'll back off." And he drilled it in, where to hit. I don't normally hit people. But if someone's grabbing my butt or breasts or is threatening me, I will haul off and give them a bloody nose. And I want to be clear that you can talk about sex in a feminist way. But I don't think you write smutty little posts. Leave that crap, the whole zipless fuck, to Erica Jong whom, for the record, I've never considered a feminist.

Ty: I just want to note that 8 women e-mailed about the crap they have to put up with on campus because of that kind of writing and the fact that it's promoted as feminism. When I read those, that was the first I was aware of it. But I promised Roberta we would address it some form so I guess that takes care of it.

Okay, the next e-mail was from Nicholas who wanted more music covered and also wanted to know when Kat was going to "finally" do another review.

Kat: Well, I've just done one. It'll be up here, reposted, and it's already at The Common Ills. In terms of music, the gang wrote an intro for the piece that addresses music coverage here.

Wally: And we're still hoping to do a thing on David Rovics DVD and a thing on Dolly Parton's singles.

Mike: And Ava and C.I. review a music special this week.

Next question was do you have any real regrets about anything that's gone up here. That was from Matthew?

Jim: Not a bit.

Jess: I think when we have a regret it's that we had to cut something or we didn't go far enough.

Dona: And Kat and I were talking about this last week in a way, we were noting that it's written in the present, if you're talking about criticism. We say what's on our mind. Kat compared it to EST. We get it out and we're usually done with it if the person being criticized moves on. If they repeat the same behavior that infuriates us, the criticism repeats.

Cedric: Betty has a regret.

Betty: I really do. C.I. and I both did. The same feature.

Jim: What was it?

Betty: I figured it wouldn't be remembered. When the Diana Ross retrospective was written, C.I. and I both enjoy her music and we weren't expecting the piece to turn out the way it did.

Jim: Really?

Betty: Really and we expressed that but it seemed to sail over heads. What we would have liked was something, anything, just a paragraph even, that would have reflected what we did enjoy about her work. And it's a strong piece and the overall points are good. I'm not saying pull any of them. But I felt like it could have had something and C.I. offered, "A list of some her strong solo tracks?" and I immediately agreed to that. It would have been nice because even on her worst albums, for me, I can find a track I like. But the point was she'd made a lot of bad albums and that's a strong point and not one that I disagree with. But, yeah, that's the only time I ever considered saying, "Don't put my name on it." I don't disagree with it, I want to be really clear about that, but I did fill like it could have had something else with it.

Jim: Well I am sorry about that and we can put a Diana tracks thing on a future list of features to do. I wish I'd caught on before we put it up.

Cedric: I didn't catch on until the next day. Then I called C.I. because I didn't want to bother Betty at work and I said, "I'm only now registering the comments you and Betty were making, you two weren't pleased were you?" That's how I found out. If you think about it, you'll remember they were being loud about this, it wasn't a case of them not speaking out, but it was being treated by the rest of us, including me, as a joke.

Betty: We just felt, C.I. and me, that the point being made was she wasn't really an album artist for the majority of her career and, within the text, some songs were noted that were strong on each album. We just felt like that should have been emphasized at the end. We weren't sure it was. Then when it got the title --

Ty: That Jim and I did.

Betty: Yes, it was like, "Ooo-kay . . ." Again, it wasn't a case of disagreeing or thinking, "Well they are wrong." It was a case of feeling that it needed something more. Now everyone was tired and that played into it and I can live with it and think there are many strong points in it. I reread that feature. I enjoy it. I just wished it had contained a listing like "Top 10 tracks" or "Top 20 tracks."

Dona: C.I. want to add to Betty's comments?

C.I.: I think she's made her comments very well. The track list would have been a good idea because we were dealing with a Motown artist, someone who grew up at Motown, and the label didn't generally produce album artists. Of the 60s performers, my opinion is Stevie Wonder was the only albums artist. I don't think Marvin Gaye was. I think it goes to the fact that the single was the most important thing to Motown. 60s' 'albums' were rarely albums. They were plucking songs from recent sessions, older sessions, and just tossing it on a disc and calling it an album. I think Marvin Gaye could make a good album and that Marvin could make a lot of stuff, I'm referring to the post 60s period, that didn't qualify as an album. Smokey Robinson had even less success, my opinion. Stevie Wonder has a few bad albums in his discography but even when you're dealing with those that didn't quite pull it off, you're still aware that they are albums. His worst album, you can listen to it and appreciate what he's striving for, grasp it even though it doesn't come to pass. So to deal with a singles artist, like Diana Ross was groomed to be, a list could have made that point. But it was a long piece, and Betty and I both knew that, what were we covering -- over 50 albums?

Betty: Right. So to steal from Kat, "It is what it is." But that's the only time I had a regret and as Jess was saying earlier, it wasn't over anything said. It was over something not being said, due to time mainly. That was a really long piece.

Our last e-mail will be the one from Chuck who feels that Kat's "NOW members endorse Dennis Kucinich" (Kat's Korner -- Kat wrote it, we signed on), Elaine's "I endorse Dennis Kucinich for the 2008 primary" and Rebecca's "this now member is endorsing kucinich" was the entire community endorsing Kucinich. He's offended by that and says he's supporting Hillary.

Mike: Well I haven't endorsed anyone and Kat wrote "NOW members endorse Dennis Kucinich" but a number of women signed onto it.

Jess: And I'll note, I'm a Green. I haven't endorsed any Democrat.

Dona: Kat's entry reads "of The Third Estate Sunday Review," it reads: "Dona and Ava of The Third Estate Sunday Review." It does not read "Dona and Ava for The Third Estate Sunday Review." That was us doing a thing by ourselves.

Kat: I think Chuck needs to get a life. C.I. didn't sign on. C.I.'s name isn't listed as a sign on and I made a point to includes "notes" with that post and I make it very clear that C.I. isn't signing on to it.

Elaine: NOW PAC, not NOW, endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. NOW can't legally endorse. But everyone's going to confuse the two. I had said no when Kat called me about it. My reason for saying "no" was that I really wasn't interested in doing an endorsement. Kat understood and it wasn't a problem for us. After I got off the phone, I started to blog and was thinking about it. NOW had removed the dove and the slogan "Peace is a feminist issue" from their website. Then NOW PAC goes an endorses War Hawk Hillary. Dennis Kucinich is the only one standing up for peace. As someone who believes in peace, believes in what Kucinich is saying, it made no sense for me to refrain from signing. I needed to stand up for peace. So I finished my post and called Kat to ask her if it was too late to sign on. If Chuck's bothered, that was one of the reasons I didn't want to endorse. But I don't regret doing it and would do it again.

Rebecca: I'll just say that I have endorsed at my website before and will do so again. When Kat called, I said, "You bet!" She said, "I'm working on the statement and I'll call you back." I said, "Kat, you're going to be calling everyone to get them to sign on. Just put my signature down and call me when it's up." I think Kat did a great job and think the choice to include the excerpt from Ava and C.I.'s review as brilliant because it was exactly what they predicted in 2005.

Betty: I'm going to talk about something and if C.I. wants to pull this, that's fine with me. I was for Hillary before the speech about if you need someone against the war you can look elsewhere. When I was for Hillary, I was very well aware that others weren't or might not be. I was really moving strongly towards her. I called C.I. and shared that and shared that I was worried it would be a problem. I was told it wouldn't be -- and it wasn't. No one here criticized me for it or ragged on me about it. But on the phone, I was explaining my reasons and C.I. said, "I'm not going to tell you who to support but Hillary Clinton does have some good qualities and if you're feeling that you're choice is seen as wrong, we can go over them. And we can do that with any candidate." And C.I. proceeded to go over good qualities with me. I have no idea who C.I. will support, I couldn't even guess. But I do know that when I was for Hillary, I got support from everyone. And when I was afraid that I wouldn't, C.I. was more than happy to listen to my reasons for supporting Hillary and to offer other qualities she had that were good qualities for a president. There was no attempt to change my mind or to embarrass me. I was undecided between Kucinich and John Edwards and I made my choice last week. I'd still be on the fence if NOW PAC hadn't forced a decision with their own endorsement. But I'm proud of my decision and proud to be supporting Kucinich. [Note before the e-mails come in: C.I. said there was no reason to pull Betty's statement.]

Crazy John


The Showboat Express came pulling into DC last Tuesday so John McCain could cast his vote against the Democrats silly measure while, as David Espos (AP) reported, claiming, ""we are starting to turn things around". Oh really, Showboat?

Karin Brulliard and Robin Wright (Washington Post) last Thursday:

Iraqi insurgents are increasingly hitting Baghdad's fortresslike Green Zone with rockets and mortar shells, officials said Wednesday.
Insurgents have struck inside the Green Zone, which includes the U.S. Embassy, on six of the past seven days, once with deadly consequences.

Kristin Roberts (Reuters) last Friday:

A U.S. general on Friday said suicide attacks and car bombings soared 30 percent since the start of a security crackdown in Iraq last month, and that insurgents had used a child in a second suicide attack last week.

Reuters today:

Violence in Iraq killed 1,861 civilians in March, a 13 percent increase from the previous month and despite a major security crackdown in Baghdad, Iraqi government tallies showed on Sunday.

Steven R. Hurst (AP) today:

The U.S. military death toll in March, the first full month of the security crackdown, was nearly twice that of the Iraqi army, which American and Iraqi officials say is taking the leading role in the latest attempt to curb violence in the capital, surrounding cities and Anbar province, according to figures compiled on Saturday.
The Associated Press count of U.S. military deaths for the month was 81, including a soldier who died from non-combat causes Friday. Figures compiled from officials in the Iraqi ministries of Defense, Health and Interior showed the Iraqi military toll was 44. The Iraqi figures showed that 165 Iraqi police were killed in March. Many of the police serve in paramilitary units.
According to the AP count 3,246 U.S. service members have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.

Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) Thursday:

The death toll throughout Iraq was more than 123, an indication that despite initial signs of a downturn, violence is returning to previous levels throughout the country.
[. . .]
In recent weeks, the U.S. military and Iraqi officials have said marketplaces are safer because they've been cordoned off from vehicles, but Thursday's attack - at least the fifth attempt on the shopping district and the worst so far - showed the limitation of those measures.

Bushra Juhi (AP) yesterday:

The Iraqi Interior Ministry on Saturday raised the death toll in last week's suicide truck bombing against a Shiite market in Tal Afar to 152, which would make it the deadliest single strike since the war started four years ago.
A spokesman for the Shiite-dominated ministry, Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, said the number nearly doubled from previous estimates after more bodies were pulled from the rubble in the northwestern city.

What is sadly obvious to everyone but John McCain is called "reality."

Are you tired of reality? Life getting you down? It doesn't have to and I have the answer. Vote for me, Crazy John, to be your next president and you'll have no more worries.
I'm not saying that I'll end the war.
I won't.
But what I will do is say it's going better, say a corner is turned. And, as your president, I'll teach you to stop worrying about reality as well. All common sense must go!
We are a country of self-made men and women. We can self-make our reality too.
All it takes is for you to tell yourself, "It's getting better."
Ignore news from the world, that's more time you can spend watching Rupert Murdoch's high art for the masses, American Idol.
So in November 2008, Go Insane, Vote McCain!


[Illustration from Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts. In full at the top, cropped at the bottom.]

The Nation Stats


Editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel is the belle of the ball in the photo (above) of a staff meeing.

We have two new issues of The Nation since we last checked in. Jordan wondered if they're delivered by the Pony Express? No, it just feels that way.

March 26, 2007
Editorials & Comment
"Time To Fix Healthcare" -- unsigned editorial. (Sorry to shock AlterPunk.)
Stephen F. Cohen's "Conscience and the War" (best thing the magazine has published all year)
William Greider's "Senator Inevitable"
Victor Navasky's "Schlesinger & The Nation" (capitulation from the CJR fundraiser)
Liliana Segura's "Bush Amigo Para Pals"

Four signed articles
Score: 1 woman, 3 men

Calvin Trillin's "A Dispiriting Thought..."
Patricial J. Williams' "Judge Not."
"A Consequential Life" (AlterPunk with Morrie)

Three articles
Score: 2 men, 1 woman

David Corn's "Cheney on Trial"
Karen Houppert's "Who's Afriad of Gardasil?"
Barry Yeoman's "Putting Science in the Dock"

Three articles
Score: 2 men, 1 woman

Jeremy Hardin on Susan Sontag
Siddhartha Deb's Luce & Kamdar
Stuart Klawons' Film reviews

3 critics

Score: 3 men, 0 women

Total Score For This Issue: 10 males, 3 females

Year to date score: 122 males, 33 women

April 2, 2007 issue

Editorials & Comment
"The December 7 Massacre" -- unsigned editorial
"Congress End The War" -- another unsigned editorial (AlterPunk must be pssing his pants)
Lakshmi Chaudhry's "Soft-Core Sexism" -- the film Chaudrhry can't find (it's not Misery) is Three In The Attic. A man who sleeps around is held as a prisoner in an attic by three women. Misrey is not about sex or sexual desires (it's cloaked in romantic fantasy -- he'll love me! he'll love me! I'm his biggest fan!).
Fletcher the Coffee Fetcher's "Antiwar Students Rising" -- plugs Campus Progress without noting the connection to the magazine -- something even Peter Rothberg did in a recent online piece.
Walter Mosely's "King of Calypso"
Jason Mark's "Swords into Plowshares"

4 articles
Score: 1 female, 3 men

Calvin Trillin's "Additional Troop Increase Approval"
Alexander Cockburn's "Here Comes Another 'Crime Wave'" -- first mention of Abeer in print.
Katha Pollitt's "Europeans Do It Better" -- Pollitt peers into problems facing mothers outside the US and goes to Europe -- it's simpler than writing about Iraqi women

3 articles
Score: 2 men, 1 woman

Jeremy Scahill's "Bush's Shadow Army"
Roberto Lovato's "The Smog of Race War in LA"

2 articles
Score: 2 men, 0 women

Perry Anderson on books by Traub and Meisler -- titles never concern The Nation
Steve Fraiser on books by Nasaw and Cannadine

2 article
Score: 2 men, 0 women

Score this issue: 9 men, 2 women

Total score: 131 men, 35 women

Women couldn't even pass the muster (or the hiring practice doesn't allow for many to weigh in). The average is four men so far for every 1 woman. (Full number is 3.82 men for every single woman.)

The lack of women being featured in the magazine was brought to C.I.'s attention by a group of women late in 2006. For a column at Polly's Brew, C.I. went back and compiled the stats for that year. What we had discussed was following 2007's issues each time they arrived in the mailbox. Ava and C.I. were in charge of the December 24, 2006 edition and that was the first week that a 2007 issue had arrived (January 1, 2007 issue). They immediately started up "The Nation Stats." "The Nation Stats" ran again in our December 31st edition (covering the magazine's January 8, 2007 issue -- a "double issue"). January 21st, we covered the January 22nd issue in "The Nation Stats." Last week, "The Nation Stats" covered two issues since two arrived the same day for three of us participating in this feature. February 4th, we covered the Feb 12th issue in "The Nation Stats." February 11th we covered the February 19th issue in "The Nation Stats." February 25th, we coved the February 26th issue in "The Nation Stats." March 4th we covered the March 5th and March 12th issues of the magainze in "The Nation Stats." March 11th, we covered the March 19th issue in "The Nation Stats.)

On music and Kat reviews Holly Near's Show Up

We used to highlights in full. They were a pain in the ass. The way it would work was we'd copy something, paste it in our "create post" screen and every damn line would run together. We'd be tired and trying to get done with the entry. We'd have to space for every paragraph and catch words that also ran together. Our eyes were tired, our bodies were tired. C.I. came up with the idea of e-mailing them. Suddenly it was a breeze. The core six (Ava, Jess, Ty, Jim, Dona and C.I.) would get on computers and grab the decided on highlights, paste them into an e-mail and send them to the site. No problems with spacing, no problems at all.

Blogger/Blogspot couldn't let a good thing last and, since the Beta switch, we haven't been able to e-mail things to the site. So we've been doing highlights (or rather, Mike, Elaine, Cedric, Betty, Wally, Kat and Rebecca having been doing them) by including a link, a sentence or two about the highlight and that's it.

It may have been the first highlight we ever did, but the week we started, one of the things in our first 'issue' was "Kat's Korner: Green Day vs. The Disney Kids." Back then, that first weekend, C.I. was kind enough to help us (Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava) and probably thought/hoped, "This is a one time thing, just a one time thing. Damn Jim for recognizing me, but this is just one weekend and then I'm done with these crazies!" C.I. and Kat had met and were on their way to becoming good friends but the rest of us knew her only from her writing.
She'd done this review first and, by the time we started, about three other pieces at The Common Ills. We'd enjoyed them all but this was the one that shook us, woke us and made us ask, "Who is this Kat?" We probably pestered C.I. with one question after another about Kat.

We've reviewed singles here and we've reviewed DVDs. We've offered lyrical cuttings of favorite artists and we've offered four favorite tracks from four new albums. We've offered the semi-regular list of what we listened to while working on an edition (cribbed from CounterPunch's playlist feature). We did a combo discussion of Cowboy Junkies and Dolly Parton. We did discuss John Mayer's Continuum which was while Kat was in Ireland. Lately, we've been doing retrospectives (Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Stevie Nicks) where we look at a career. But we really avoided a single album review proper. We could say it was out of respect for Kat and that would be partly true. But it's also true, when she's already set such a high mark, we're not going to offer up our second best attempts. (Second best if we're lucky.) When possible, we encourage/beg Ava and C.I. to cover something with music in their TV reviews. Which they've done each with the Thanksgiving specials (Kenny Chesney and Faith Hill, Tony Bennett, Madonna -- and this week they cover another music 'special.')

We're always listening to music while we're working on the editions each weekend, we're always listening to music period. We always try to find a way to work music into more features here. We think it's important to know that there is strong music out there and that awareness needs to translate into support and getting the word out as much as into purchasing.

In our first highlight, we noted:

Music matters. And what your dollars support matters as well. The Common Ills and Kat of Kat's Korner have kindly given us permission to reproduce Kat's initial Kat's Korner in full. "Kat's Korner Green Day v. the Disney Kids" has been much passed around on the net and on our campus.

We say all that to note that we're reposting Kat's latest. Wally and Elaine suggested it and everyone agreed. We wish we could do that with all of our highlights but we don't have the time.
We all found parts of the review that made us laugh and we think it's one of Kat's best. We also all love the CD being reviewed. Kat's response was, "Well make sure you put in there somewhere that it could have been longer. It should have been longer. I pulled a reference to Annie Lennox because I already had too long of a parenthetical. That said, it was fun to write because this is a fun album to listen to. There's a lot of joy on that disc."

There certainly is and this is a favorite of ours so we'll join Kat in recommending it strongly.

"Kat's Korner: Holly Near Shows Up"

Kat: "Where are the reviews?"

That's the refrain in the e-mails of late.

Week before last, we were all headed to a book event. Dona asks C.I., "Ruth knows she's not doing a report, right?"

Ruth's benched. The week in TX. The week driving down there with Treva, Rebecca, Flyboy and Ruth's grandson Elijah. The week coming back. Busy times. Tired.

I'm crouching low like it's 8th grade math, trying not to get called on. Easiest thing in the world is to say, "I'll do a review for Saturday."

Actually, easiest thing in the world is to stay silent and keep crouching.

So that's what I do.

I'm not off music. Yeah, there's a lot of residual anger over Tower closing. But there are two new CDs I'm listing to pretty often. Thinking maybe there's a review in one of them. Thinking 'bout all the e-mail coming in with the question: "Where are the reviews?". Thinking bout how I excel at putting things off.

Always have.

Aunt used to sneer I'd be late for my own funeral. One day she pissed Mom off who snapped back, "No, she'll outlive us all because she'll keep death waiting."

We'd arrived at the bookstore. Hurrying inside, I gave silent thanks to all the fallen saints: Cass, Janis, Jimi, Jim, John, Kurt, Nina . . .

Same weekend, we're working on what's becoming a tough piece for The Third Estate Sunday Review. We're spit balling and stalling, maybe some of the boys are free balling? I don't know. I do know I'm hitting a wall and voices over the phone are as well. Looking at the faces of Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava, it's obvious they are as well.

All of the sudden, in one of those bits of brilliance, C.I. leaves the circle to stop the music we'd been listening to and put a new CD on.

What the hell is that?

I can't place the voice, but it's an interesting way to start an album. It's sort of like children skipping, the sort of thing Cyndi Lauper did when she made a name for herself, back before everyone just knew the best thing for Lauper was to have arrangements like everyone else. (Those who predate Lauper's music should think of "Once Was A Time I Thought" by the Mamas and the Papas -- enjoyable but not obvious track.) Track one gets going and I'm not thinking what an interesting opening of track one, I'm thinking, "Damn, great song." I'll later learn it's "Family Band." Right now, I'm in the dark as track two comes on.

Half-way in, it will hit me that it's Holly Near. It'll come like a "Well of course the sun rose this morning" thought as I'm listening to:

And I feel the witch in my veins
I feel the mother in my shoe
I feel the scream in my soul
The blood as I sing the ancient blue
They burned by the millions
I still smell the fire in my grandma's hair
The war against women rages on
Beware of the fairytale
Somebody's mama, somebody's daughter
Somebody's jail

"Somebody's Jail" is the name of track two, as I'll learn quickly enough. At the time, I'm just thinking of how it seems to be capturing a number of thoughts we're having. Is it too much to crib from Roberta Flack's second big hit and say it was like our diaries had been found and each word read out loud? It's like universal truth being spoken for the first time only it's being sung and it's an amazing song.

Paul van Wageningen deserves special credit for the drum work on this wonderful song. Many more amazing songs will follow. I quickly learn, that first listen, never to tell myself, "Okay, that's my favorite song." A week of listening to this CD pretty much non-stop and I'd argue my favorite song is the last one, "Oh River."

Near's got backup vocals on some songs. On this one she doesn't. I wondered if her voice was double tracked but there's no indication of that. It's got this power on this chorus that seems impossible to be coming from just one voice. The wanting future she sings of ("Someday I will fly so high . . .," "Someday I will dance so far . . .," and "Someday I will sing so high . . .,") are sung in fine voice. But when she digs into "Oh river take it on down, take it on down, take it on down . . ." it's with so much power it feels like she's been joined with a chorus of voices.

She wrote "Oh River" and "Somebody's Jail." She sings other people's songs on the album. She does a wonderful job with Jackson Browne's "Lives In The Balance" but I've always felt that was pretty much a fool proof song as long as someone didn't put an accordion onto it. She does a fine job with Jane Siberry's "Bound By The Beauty" and with the centuries old folk song "Drunken Sailor." But Laura Love's "I Want You Gone Too" is the one I still marvel over. Near's added some words and they only enhance the song. It's a kiss off song, it's a political song, it's a pissed off song.

With Michael Butler, John Bucchino and Jan Martinelli, Near's written the title track which, in the opening, pays respects to "Jailhouse Rock." Threw me for a few seconds, but aren't we all living in someone's jail these days?

At a time when the New York Times decides enough has been written about the fact that MP3s are today's singles and the market has shifted back to singles that the paper can finally weigh in, Show Up is the sort of the album that reminds you why one song wasn't enough back in the day.

One song isn't enough for this sort of broad vista. A pick of a few personal favorites might get you a best of collection but it's not going to provide the shadings and additional meanings that a real artist at the top of her game can do.

The tension in "It's About Time," the intensity of "Drunken Sailor" lead up the release that is "Oh River." MP3s, like singles before them, can be wonderful candy, but for a meal you need a real landscape and for a wonderful meal you need someone who knows what to add where to enhance the entire experience. "Rockin'" is an obvious description for Show Up but, if I can drop back a little further, I think "cookin'" describes it equally well.

Put on the CD and grasp that despite all the talk of new formats, of mergers and panic, the whole thing comes down to music. That may not make the Stats Boys, always eager to flash the back of their baseball cards, happy but then they probably aren't urging to listen to anything that's not in this week's top ten. ("With a bullet!") I am. And if you're looking for a musical experience, you'll find it on Holly Near's Show Up.


As Ruth's noted in her latest Ruth's Report, hearing the truth about the Democratic measures passed by the House and Senate isn't easy. One radio program you could count on was Flashpoints. If you're a believer in the truth, or just a fan from a distance, the idea that the realities of what Congress actually did could be addressed seems a given. On Flashpoints it was and Robert Knight, who does "The Knight Report" Mondays through Thursdays, never felt the need to pick up a pair of pompoms all week. Instead of cheering, he stuck to the news.

From Monday's broadcast:

In today's "Knight Report," House Democrats have passed a bill that would preserve the war in Iraq until August 2008, maintain half the 150,000 troops currently in Iraq, and offer no opposition to a new war in Iran consistent with the Democratic Leadership Council. I'm Robert Knight, in New York.
House Democrats, operating under the strategic vision of the Democratic Leadership Council, Friday passed yet another resolution that would save the war in Iraq from the impatient will of Congressional voters who gave the Democrats a bi-cameral majority and an anti-war mandate in November mid-term elections. By a margin of 218, which is fourteen short of the 232 Democrats currently in the House, Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, narrowly secured passage of HR 1591 -- officially called "The US Troop Readiness, Veterans Health and Iraq Accountability Act of 2007." Pelosi bragged that the measure was "a giant step to end the war and responsibly redeploy our troops out of Iraq."
But in reality, the bill fulfills neither claim. The measure grants President Bush the unimpeded prerogative of maintaining his current escalation in Iraq through October 2007 at which time he is merely requested to self-certify success in his self-defined benchmarks.
Those benchmarks include provisions for the Iraqi occupation regime to reign in death squads
and to enact the US designed and multi-national friendly oil law that is presently before Iraq's absentee occupation parliament.
Regardless of Bush's automatic auto-certifications, no actual troop withdrawals would be required before August 2008 during the height of the national party conventions at which time the Democrats would then blame the Republicans with a war whose continuation they would have guaranteed until the eve of the November 2008 presidential election.
But even when the August deadline matures, Bush would still be allowed to maintain more than half of the 150,000 trooops in Iraq due to a term of art in the legislation that requests the redeployment but not the homecoming of some 70,000 so-called combat troops. This would leave an equal or greater number of US troops in Iraq under the vague but permanent classifications of counter-insurgency, security and training for what New York Senator Hillary Clinton calls "remaining vital national security interests in the heart of the oil region."
The rhetorical flourish of referring only to the withdrawal of combat troops recalls the tactic by which earlier administrations once referred to US soldiers in Vietnam as advisers rather than troops.
Moreover the bill's supposedly stringent requirements that new troops in Iraq receive better training, equipment and recuperation is, in fact, non-binding since Bush could unilaterally waive that requirement by invoking the words "national security" during any future escalations he might contemplate.
The bill also fails to limit war funds or prohibit a new war in Iran and maintains 90% of government funding for the mercenaries and privatized security squads that support military and corporate operations inside Iraq.
It also features a protein-packed pork barrel that subsidizes the spinach, shrimp, and peanut industries to the tune of a quarter billion dollars. The Senate today began debate on its version of the pro-war House measure which faces a White House veto even as the measure is voted through later this week.
Despite the disappointment of anti-war voters who elected the Democratic majority, Pelosi's plan is quite consistent with the latest epistle from the Democratic Leadership Council's Wil Marshall, the president of the 'Progressive' Policy Institute, who declared in January, "It makes little strategic sense for the new majority in Congress to micro-manage troop deployments in Iraq." The neoconservative Democratic maven concluded that, "If there is to be a calamitous, Vietnam style, US defeat in Iraq, Karl Rove would probably like nothing better than to goad Democrats to assuming full responsibility for it. There's no reason to fall into this trap now."
That from the Democratic Leadership Council's 'Progressive' Policy Institute. The conservative Democratic strategy on maintaining the Iraq war, without serious challenge to the Republican White House has suggested to some critics, that the Democrats deserve a new name to match their new vision for Iraq: "The Grand Old Party of the Second Part." From exile in New York, I'm Robert Knight for

From Tuesday's broadcast:

In today's "Knight Report," the Senate stands firm on a soft bill on the war in Iraq which faces a Bush veto if and when it's ever passed. I'm Robert Knight in New York. The Senate deliberated late into the evening to resolve a difference in the Iraq war spending bill, S695, with Friday's House version, HR 1591. The House version of the appropriations measure would extend the war until September 1, 2008 and allow the Bush administration to retainin Iraq more than half of the 150,000 US troops already there through the technical artifice of declaring them "non-combat."
Just moments ago in a preliminary skirmish, Senators voted 50 to 48 along party lines, with the exception of neo-Republican Democrat Joseph Lieberman, to retain that would suggest but not require a US troop redeployment from Iraq by April 1, 2008.
The language of the pending Senate bill being pushed by Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid is even weaker than the House bill since it only expresses the unenforceable goal, but not requirement, that most troops leave Iraq by March 31, 2008.
As with the House's war preservation bill, the Senate version would enable an unknown number of US troops to remain in Iraq beyond April 2008 for counter-insurgency training and security operations.
As of deadline the Senate continued deliberations over the 122 billion dollar appropriation which remains to be resolved with the House measure.
The final legislation will almost certainly be met with a veto from President Bush.
Referring to Iraq's militarily occupied puppet regime and absentee parliament, the White House declared late today that, "This and other provisions would place freedom and democracy in Iraq at grave risk, embolden our enemies and undercut the administration's plan to develop the Iraqi economy."
Passage of the non-binding Senate measure and it's subsequent veto would require Congress to reconvene and override or to re-legislate at the 122 billion dollar military and pork-barrel appropriation is ever to become public law and provide funds to continue the interminable wars
in Iraq, Afghanistan and other venues of the so-called war on terror.
Meanwhile in Iraq, more than 80 died in various attacks today as Shia death squads and Sunni nationalists continued their lethal operations. More than five dozen died after US and Iraqi troops were ambushed by a truck laden with bombs and bakery goods in Tal Afar. That's the town that President Bush described exactly a year and a week ago as "a free city that gives reason for hope for a free Iraq."
And on the political front, puppet prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, under the urging of US pro-counsel Zalmay Khalilzad, made an in substantive promise this week, to consider easement on the ban on former Baathists in Iraqi public life. But the proposal contained no significant details or procedures and is being viewed in the Arab world as a public relations sop to the upcoming Arab League summit whose member states have been demanding an end to Shia death squads and the abolition of the so-called de-Baathification Commission headed by United States intelligence asset Ahmed Chalabi whose serial prevarications enabled the Bush administration initial excuses for launching the war in Iraq.
And finally, the BBC is reporting today that on the basis of freedom of information documents, government scientists inside the Blair regime disagree with the challenge made by the British prime minister and Islamic scholar against a recent report by the medical journal Lancet which found that 655,000 Iraqis have been killed as a result of the Anglo-American invasion of 2003. The study was conducted by Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and the Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. It was immediately condemned by the Bush and Blair administrations but, according to the BBC, science officials say the study properly used, "a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones."
Moreover, the chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence, Roy Anderson, said the methods used were "robust and close to best practice."
The Lancet study estimated that 600,000 of the two-thirds of a million Iraqi deaths were due to violence. An that's some of the news of this Tuesday, March 27, 2007. From exile in New York, I'm Robert Knight for

From Wednesday's broadcast:

In today's "Knight report" and war summary, a new massacre in Iraq as the Senate deliberates and Democrats contemplate a war ending strategy of ready, aim, compromise. I'm Robert Knight in New York.
The sectarian violence between the Sunni and Shia Arab majority in Iraq assumed even greater dimensions today when as many as 120 Sunnis were dragged from their homes and executed by Shia death squads from the Mahdi army and Badr brigades supported by members of the US trained police in the city of Tal Afar -- 250 miles north of Baghdad where a Sunni driven truck bomb killed 80 Shias yesterday.
Today's revenge massacre in the mixed city lasted through the night with assassins roaming through Sunni neighborhoods and dragging residents into the street where they were summarily shot point blank. Current reports indicate 70 known dead with an additional 50 or more missing and presumed dead. Sunni groups blame Shia infiltrated security forces for the killings along with at least 18 police arrested after they were identified by survivors.
The US installed office of Shia backed prime minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered an investigation but the Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars said the murders were " evidence of "the clear plot and coordination between the militias and the government of interior and defense."
Yesterday, a presumed Sunni insurgent detonated a truck purporting to deliver bakery goods to a Shia neighborhood killing 85 and wounding a 100. But Sunni parliamentarian Dhafer al-Ani said that, "If yesterday's attacks were carried out by unidentified terrorists, today's events were conducted by well known criminal police and they must be punished."
Amid the latest breakdown of civil order, despite the current US military escalation, Pentagon publicist and Rear Admiral Mark Fox declared today that "We are seeing preliminary signs of progress but there will be rough days ahead."
Fox went on to compare the US security plan to "backing a rat into an corner and increasing pressure on the extremists."
The crisis generated ripples in the Arab world earlier today when Saudi King Abdullah condemned "the illegitimate foreign occupation of Iraq" during an opening statement to the Arab League Summit in Riyadh.
Abdullah said, "In beloved Iraq blood is being shed among brothers in the shadow of illegitimate foreign occupation and ugly sectarianism. threatens civil war."
Meanwhile in Washington, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid condemned the US escalation saying, "The idea that the 'surge' is working and that it needs more time is a fantasy. What we see today in Iraq is more the same. The same violence, the same chaos, the same loss of life we've seen in Iraq over the past four years. "
As he spoke, Democrat and Republican senators continued quibbling over a 125 billion dollar appropriations bill that would guarantee a continued military presence in Iraq well into the year 2008 if not beyond. The Senate measure ,which awaits a final vote and resolution with a similar non-specifically binding House bill is expected to be voted on later this week even though it faces a presidential veto. Meanwhile Democratic leadership is already announcing that it's willing to negotiate with president Bush to water down the provisions during markup in order to avoid that veto.
But the White House defiantly announced today, "If Congress fails to pass a bill to fund our troops on the frontlines, the American people will know who to hold responsible."
However polls now consistently indicate the American people also know who to hold responsible for the lie-based invasion and Congressional acquiescence that unleashed the sectarian violence in Iraq.
A new USA Today/Gallup poll has found that nearly two-thirds say the current US occupation and escalation "has not made much difference or has actually made the situation in Iraq worse." And that's some of the news of this Wednesday, March 28, 2007. From exile in New York, I'm Robert Knight for

And from Friday's broadcast:

Meanwhile in Washington the Senate a sort time ago passed a long discussed resolution that ties military funding to non-specific suggestions that President Bush accept the goal but not the requirement of removing less than half of the 150,000 US occupation troops from Iraq by the unenforceable deadline of March 2008. Nevertheless, President Bush has promised a veto. Today's 51 to 47 vote was mostly along party lines and now the Senate and House must resolve their respective legislation neither of which require a full withdrawal of US troops from Iraq till well after the installation of the next American president. And that's some of the news this Thursday, March 29th, 2007. From exile, I'm Robert Knight.

File it under both reality and brave voices.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }