Sunday, March 30, 2008

Quick Talk

Jim: This isn't a roundtable. We're calling it "Quick Talk" and using it to cover a few topics we didn't get to in this edition. Participating are 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 Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Wally of The Daily Jot, and Marcia SICKOFITRDLZ. If there's an illustration when you read this, Betty's oldest son did it. If there's not, no one had the time to mess with Flickr. As Mike, Betty, Elaine, Rebecca, Wally, Cedric, Marcia and Kat note in "Highlights," I place holds on a number of topics. We'll start with Betty on a topic we never got to here this week.

Betty: Thursday Marcia posted "Jeremiah Wright's words are offensive!" and it needs to be noted. As someone who also belongs to a Black church, it needs to be stressed that, no, all Black churches do not damn the United States and that, yes, it offensive that the media narrative has been this is just something that "those people" do. Repeating, we do not do that. I checked with everyone at work Friday and no one goes to a Black church that damns the United States. I asked, "Would you stay with a church that did?" The response was a universal "no." White media needs to stop acting like this is a "Black thang." It's not our thing. It was one church's offensive way of 'knowing God,' but it is not reflective of the Black culture and I will not be silent while the media tries to imply that it is thereby questioning the patriotism of every Black American. It's insulting and it's offensive. Good for Marcia for blogging on it.

Jim: And Betty planned to guest blog on it at Rebeca's site Friday until she found out I had placed a hold on the topic hoping we'd get to it this week, which we did not do. My apologies. Ty and Cedric are also members of Black churches. Do either of you, or Marcia, have anything you want to add on the topic?

Cedric: If I see one more African-American minister, pastor, preacher, what have you get on TV or tell a reporter for a newspaper that it's not a big deal, I'm going to scream. The immediate follow up is, "Do you damn the United States in your church?" If the answer is no -- and the answer will be no -- the next question is, "Why not?" Because it's not appropriate for a church leader to call down damnation upon the country we live in. This is just like O.J. or when Michael Jackson gets into another scandal. Suddenly, all the useless people go rushing to the microphones to defend them. Jeremiah Wright's words are not defensible. It is not a Black thing. It is an appalling thing. And usually with this, we get to be appalled as alleged Black leaders defend child molestation or a man killing his wife. Today we're getting defense of calling on God to damn the United States. It's disgusting. African-American voices need to leave the knee-jerk reaction to defend any African-American at the door. It's not helpful and, like Betty just said and Marcia wrote, the message coming out is "That's what those people do in their churches." No, it's not. It needs to stop because the message being sent out is that to be Black is to be less patriotic than White people. It needs to stop.

Ty: I'll just back up the others. It's not how it is in my current church, it's not how it was in the church I was raised in. If it had happened, as Marcia wrote, the congregation would have fired the pastor. It's unacceptable.

Jim: Marcia?

Marcia: Like Ty just said, I agree with everyone. I'm appalled that so many Black 'leaders' are so eager to prop up one man who doesn't deserve it that they've yet to realize the message their lies are conveying to America. It is saying very loudly and very clearly that African-Americans are okay with the damning of the United States. We're all being tarred and feathered as unpatriotic as a result. Black 'leaders' need to get their s**t together because I'm not about to stand for that.

Jim: Okay we'll go on to the next topic. This is Kat or Rebecca and I'm not sure which one of you wants to grab it.

Kat: Go to Rebecca.

Rebecca: Okay, well this was Women's History Month. It's about to be April. We saw nothing noting Women's History Month for the most part. We did see Hillary Clinton's website celebrate it regularly. Otherwise, nothing. C.I.'s laughing. Let me stop.

C.I.: I'm sorry. You know it wasn't at you. When you mentioned Obama, I nodded to Ava to grab the notes solo so I could pull up Obama's site. He does note Women's History Month in some form. But Obama 'o8, his official site, has a new name. Want to guess what it is? "Obama for America."

Jim: Everyone is laughing. For those not getting it, Wright damned the US and Obama's been unable to contain the fallout from that. So now he's changed the name of his campaign site to "Obama for America." That's hilarious. Okay, Rebecca.

Rebecca: Let me stop laughing. Or let me explain, I did p.r. for years and ran my own p.r. firm. That's just hilarious and such a bungle you'd assume the 'geniuses' behind Rudy G's campaign were now working for him. But, as Ava and C.I. point out, where was Bill Moyers during Women's History Month. And the feature we were going to write on this was going to open by noting Elaine so let me ask her to talk about what never got mentiomed outside of her own site.

Elaine: Hillary won in Texas and Ohio at the start of this month. While many predicted her losing, she won. And all Panhandle Media could offer was their usual Hillary Hatred. Which was a real shame because Hillary's victory came on a significant date in Women's History. On March 4th, Hillary won the primaries in Texas and Ohio and it could have been, and should have been, mentioned that this was a historically significant day. 91 years before -- March 4, 1917 -- Jeannette Rankin was sworn in as the first female member of the US Congress. Other than Ava and C.I., I believe we were all glued to the TV or radio on March 4th of this year and I did make a point to watch three cable shows the next day. I never, in all the gas baggery on TV or in any I read, saw anyone make that point. If Women's History truly mattered, at least one person in Panhandle Media would've noted Hillary's two big wins, in big states, came on the day that, 91 years before, a woman finally got into the US Congress. That was historic, in 1917 and this month.

Rebecca: I would agree with that. And I'm going to toss to Kat who wrote the wonderful "Not that into Ms. these days" on Friday.

Kat: Well it's shameful. Hillary Clinton is in a dead heat with Barack Obama for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. Cynthia McKinney seems very likely the choice for the Green Party. Where is Ms. magazine? I'm sick of it. I'm sick of their bulls**t. I'm sick of their, "We can't offend the push-up bra set." The push-up bra set already slams you. You didn't have to endorse Hillary or Cynthia to cover them. You only had to appreciate that they were history makers. The contests continue and Ms. has done nothing on them when they should have had, at the very least, a blogger covering it for their site -- which posts no new content, only reposts some of the articles from the magazine. That's a magazine that comes out four times a year and they want to be an online presence? Get real.

Jim: That came up in the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin and I placed a hold on it as well. Kat ignored it, as anyone can, and wrote about it on Friday/Saturday. I'm not sure when it went up. But it's a great post and what I wanted to note was regardless of how feminist you feel Ms. is, it's supposed to be a magazine covering women. As Kat notes, there are two women who could get their party's presidential nomination. Why isn't their a blog covering that at Ms.? It's embarrassing. They, of all outlets, should be covering it. And Kat's exactly right that after the election, if they had done a daily blog, they'd have the material to issue a book all ready, it could be the equivalent of The Boys On The Bus. Instead, they've done nothing and there's no excuse for that because you don't have to be on the bus to cover it. As The New York Times noted last week in a front page story, most newspapers do not have anyone on the bus or plane. The Obama campaign was their example and they noted that reporters are charged $2,000 a day to travel with the campaign on their plane. Due to that, most are filing by catching videos online and other things. Most outlets are filing that way. I think that's pretty sorry, and credit to The Times for actually having reporters with the campaigns, but there was nothing preventing Ms. from blogging on Hillary and Cynthia.

Dona: And Jim's point is not that it should be left up to Ms. His point is that we're all aware of how women are overlooked and due to that awareness and Ms.' natural scope, Ms. damn well should have been covering those two women's campaigns. As Kat notes, we don't need their crappy cover stories in their August issue about First Wives. We have two trail blazing women seeking their party's presidential nomination. How wonderful -- that's sarcasm -- of Ms. to sit this out. It's shameful. I want to get Ava and or C.I. to comment on this.

Ava: Kat, can you grab my remarks?

Kat: Yeah. Hold on. Okay, go.

Ava: You'll probably only get me because one of the computers C.I.'s been trying to upload Isaiah's comic for two hours and 15 minutes now just uploaded it and C.I.'s posting it. Okay, C.I. and I have raised this issue with friends at Ms. from the start when we weren't endorsing Hillary, when we were staying away from endorsements. We weren't even thinking about who we would vote for. And what we got back was that it might offend some women. As that continued, it became it might offend a legal 'expert' who often contributes and it might offend some readers. That's a load of crap. And I said so at the time. C.I. was a little bit nicer, as is to be expected, but the thrust of C.I.'s remarks was "that's a load of crap" as well. As Jim and Dona have pointed out, Ms. knows damn well, not should know, they know, that a woman candidate is always going to end up with less coverage than a male in the current press system. They also know that this is history in the making. For them to sit it out was offensive. And it was a total, my opinion, abdication of their responsiblities. My aunt, who has been published in Ms., is so appalled by this and she's far from the only one. You're done?

C.I.: I had already opened a window, hours ago, and done tags for the comic and written the description. I've just been waiting this entire time for the thing to upload to Flickr. Isaiah's comic is now up.

Dona: Your thoughts?

C.I.: Ava, were you finished?

Ava: Yes.

C.I.: Well, Ava basically outlined it. We did discuss this and started long before we were supporting Hillary in the Democratic primary. This was when there was a full field and Ava and I weren't discussing the primaries but I know I was seriously considering Bill Richards, John Edwards, Joe Biden and Hillary.

Ava: For me add Dennis Kucinich to that list, before he sold out and tried to give Bambi his supporters in Iowa.

C.I.: So this is when we started raising the issue. We weren't in Hillary's camp. She was a possiblity for us but on the same level as all we've named. And, as she pointed out, what we got was nonsense about possibly offending some women who might be supporting Bambi. Who the hell gives a damn? Seriously. Women's Media Center has not endorsed any candidate and they've managed to cover this historic race in the Democratic Party. So has Women's eNews.

Ty: We don't have a link on our permalinks to Womens Media Center. Mentioning that because five e-mails last week pointed it out.

C.I.: While Jim's doing the note, I'll add it. I wasn't aware they weren't already on the roster. But this is historic. And it was historic when Hillary was one of many choices. It's more historic as she's become the first woman to get this far and has a serious shot at being the nominee. I try not to slam Ms. Ava does as well. But I have no problem saying they have failed on in terms of the elections because both Hillary and Cynthia stand a good chance at winning their parties nominations and it should have been covered, it should have been covered regularly. Ava mentioned her aunt and that feeling is true of a lot of women who were there when Ms. started. They can't believe that the day has come when a woman can run for president and seriously have a shot at the nomination but Ms. isn't at all interested. This is an abdication, as Ava pointed out, of all Ms. is supposed to stand for, of all Ms. was created for. I mean, let's get serious, Wonder Woman on the cover was a nice throw back to their roots but Cynthia and Hillary are the roots sprouting and where is Ms.? It's really sad and it breaks my heart that a magazine so many of us have supported, donated money to, fought to keep alive would rather not risk offending someone than to cover history in the making. If we could go back in time right now and pop into the Ms. office the first year the magazine was up and running, if we could talk to the women busting their asses for the magazine and say, "In 2008, there are going to be two women with a good chance of winning their parties nomination. Would you cover it?" I think the reply would be yes, they would. I think the reply would be, "Not only will we cover it, we will do a special issue with both women on the cover." That cover can still come, of course. But not when it's documenting history in the making, only after it's been achieved.

Ava: And by "achieved," we mean the race itself. History has been made. Whatever else happens, whether the Greens go with someone other than Cynthia or the Democrats go with someone other than Hillary, or both parties go with someone else, two women have shown that women can run for president, that women can be electable, that women can garner huge support. At this point, a cover will only document that they won the nominations or that they lost. That's a little late to be noting history and, I agree with my aunt completely, it's, quoting, "f**king ridiculous that Ms. isn't covering this."

C.I.: And in those words or other words, that is the feeling of so many women who have read Ms. Again, there was nothing that required endorsing to cover history in the making.

Dona: I want it noted that any woman reading Ms., regardless of whom she supported, would immediately grasp that Hillary and Cynthia would be the focus of coverage due to the historic nature and the long struggle. You might have a few whiners, like the 'legal' expert who will never be highlighted at this or any other site again, but the bulk of the readers would be fine with it, regardless of whom they were supporting. And, Jim and Kat's point about online presence, it would have driven traffic to Ms. and that traffic would have included the MSM which would have felt required to occassionally cite Ms. because it was providing commentary Monday through Friday. They didn't do that. They have no blogs now and they have no way for readers to share their thoughts. As a young feminist, I find their non-action embarrassing. And, I'm with Kat, don't you dare do a cover on First Ladies again. I thought the 2004 cover story was crap-ass and that, in 2008, we have two women actually competing, still competing, and getting nothing from Ms., don't you dare file a First Lady this year or in the next election cycle. Do it this year and, I swear, I will do a solo piece crucifying Ms. I will nail the magazine to the wall and I know enough from Ava's aunt to make good on that promise. A First Lady piece would mean Hillary didn't get the nomination and possibly Cynthia as well. If that happens, feminist don't want anothe WEAK ASS cover story from Ms. on First Ladies. Leave that crap to Ladies' Home Journal.

Jim: Gee, honey, tell us how you really feel?

Dona: You think you're going to make me laugh right now, but you're not.

Jim: Okay. We're talking about endorsements and Ruth, Mike, Jess and Wally are down for this topic. Ruth, do you want to stay with this topic or do you want to grab Ms.?

Ruth: I am so torn. I'm going to go with Ms. Second wave feminism was my generation. And those who came after. But I started college when JFK was president and I wasn't a feminist then at least not labeled that way. I'd argue I wasn't when I started college but was leaning that way -- still with no label -- as I progressed through college. After college, I held down a job briefly while my husband finished medical school. Then I was children non-stop. And Ms. really made a difference in my life. My husband was not out of touch or someone who needed to be awakened. And I'm very lucky in that regard and should credit a female intern, when he was an intern, with making sure that was the case. Working side by side with her did have an impact as much as anything I did or said. But I could talk in the abstract and he could see it, while he was interning, right next to him. See that a woman could do anything she set her mind to. We only had boys. Every time I was pregant, we'd think, "This one will be a girl." All of our children were wanted but I won't pretend the last two pregnancies weren't planned with the hopes of a girl. I am probably babbling. But we would talk, before we found out it was another son, and my husband and I would both be excited that this child was going to be a girl who would not have the barriers that we saw for women when we were growing up. Tracey was our first granddaughter and everyone knows how much I love Tracey. We did not have a daughter that was able to run down the roads paved by so many others but we did have a granddaughter who was able to. And my husband was thrilled. If she ends up a doctor, it's as much because of him as it her father who is a doctor as well. He was teaching her the names for the bones before she was in first grade. And I think about that and I think about earlier when Ms. first emerged and how much hope and information it provided me, to me, and so many other women. Like C.I. said, it is really sad that they elected to sit this out. Like Ava, I see it as an abdication of their role, of their promised role. I know women who had daughters or, like me, got a granddaughter, and I now have three granddaughters which may seem like a lot until you add up all my grandchildren, and we really thought the future was going to be wide open for them. So it has been an intense shock to witness all the attacks on Senator Clinton and then to grasp that, as the attacks went on non-stop, Ms. magazine chose to sit it out.

Marcia: I'm a floater. I didn't sign up for any topic. But what Ruth said really moved me so I won't go to endorsements and will instead grab this topic unless anyone objects? Okay. No one objects. I'm listening to Ruth, a Jewish woman, and reminded of my mother, who is younger and African-American and she's made so many similar points to what Ruth just said. She's said it again and again throughout the election. There was a time, early on, when she was torn between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and then Barack used homophobia to campaign in South Carolina and that settled it. I'm her daughter and she's not going to condone homophobia. But so many women have come before. So many women have fought for this moment. And I really think Ms.' response has come off as "None of you mattered. None of the work you did matter." I don't think that was their intention but that is the message that was sent out by their being silent. If I can go on for just a moment more, I'm fully aware that the Bambi campaign has used the false charge of racism as a club to beat women down into silence. Hillary and Cynthia are women. If covering them means some idiot ended up screaming "racism" at Ms., so what? If Ms. can't stand up for women in real time, what's the point of the magazine even continuing?

Betty: I'm sorry, I've got to jump back in and I'll try to be brief. I know when we're done with this, we're done [with the edition]. But Marcia is so right that false charges of racism were used and are used repeatedly by the Bambi campaign and its surrogates. They have charged Gloria Steinem with it and Robin Morgan with it. Guess what Ms., this Black woman thinks you did an awful job. This Black woman is currently ashamed to be seen reading you because when women were falsely attacked, when they were attacked nationally, to silence them, you chose to be silent. You should be ashamed. You've dug yourself a big hole and I'm not sure you can get out of it. I have no interest in reading your magazine at present. Short of a lengthy mea culpa, I can't imagine ever plunking down a nickel for your magazine. Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan have fought for all women and have been there for Ms. That Ms. couldn't return that favor, couldn't return for all women, many of whom are now scared to speak against Bambi for fear of being labeled racist, is appalling. Your silence is not just shameful, it encourages the attacks on other women. You should be embarrassed and you should be considering right now, seriously, whether you issue a mea culpa or just close shop because there really isn't much else you have to offer. Apologize or cease publication. It's gotten so bad that The Nation has posted that idiot Gary Younge's attack on women, on Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem specifically. When a British transplant, who can't even vote in the election, feels he can tear into those two women, it happens for a reason and that reason is that feminist outlets allowed men to think there was a space created where it was safe to attack women. Shame on you, Ms. magazine, shame on you.

Jim: As usual, Betty will probably the biggest topic of praise in the e-mails on this roundtable. Betty, jump in anytime. And "Quick Talk," sorry, this isn't a roundtable proper. Okay, endorsement. We have three speakers left. Wally, Mike and Jess. I'm not sure how to go but think Jess should go last of the three and I may offer something after Jess.

Wally: Well I think Mike and my points would be the same and I'll yield to Mike for first dibs.

Mike: Some whiney non-regular readers have taken to e-mailing this site and Ty's passed that on to all of us. "Oh my goodness! You've endorsed Hillary!" Hillary's been endorsed for the Democratic Party. She is the best candidate. We did not endorse until there were two and not until the non-stop attacks on Hillary were ongoing. Wally and I were hoping to see John Edwards in the race, were hoping each week would be the week when he would fight back against Bambi's slanders. Now he may end up endorsing Bambi but I think a lot of people are deluding themselves arguing that he has to. Bambi attacked him in the debates over Iraq. He distorted John Edwards. He also whined about 527s and yet when his 527s turned around and did the same, he didn't call for them to stop. He ran a dirty campaign and John Edwards is among the many victims. Edwards may end up endorsing him but I'll lose all respect for him if he does. We have endorsed Hillary in the Democratic primary. C.I.'s endorsed her in the post-primary, you might argue, C.I. and Ava because their focus is the super delegates. But Bambi is bad for America, is bad for Venezuela, is a danger to Africa and we don't drink the Kool-Aid.

Wally: I think Mike outlined it well. If we had come out sooner for Hillary, no one would have been happier than my mother and grandfather who were both supporting her when there was a wide open field. We didn't intend to. We didn't plan on it. We did so only after others dropped out and only after we noticed how Panhandle Media was playing it. It's been disgusting. And when books are written on this election, they damn well better note the LIARS like Amy Goodman who played like they were ethical and balanced but actually slanted all their coverage to slam Hillary. Go back through the archives, you'll see more coverage of Dennis Kuccinich than any other Democratic candidate. You'll also find coverage of all, equally, when the playing field consisted of more than two. It came down to two. Somewhere, at The Common Ills, C.I. notes that friends are pointing out that Amy Goodman was slanting her coverage and C.I. says something like "I don't want to believe it and they'll have to drive me away from the show," meaning Goodman. They did. They drove us all away from their programs and their sites. Even something like Law and Disorder isn't anything we listen to currently. That's community wide, by the way. Gina and Krista surveyed on that two weeks ago. No one could believe that in their fundraising live special, Michael Smith, showing up late, makes one of his first remarks a stab at Hillary. She wasn't even the topic. But that's how he has to open. When Betty was for Hillary, she noted it here. When Cedric was, he noted it here. When we were all on board for Hillary, it got noted. We didn't hide anything. If you're e-mailing that you're offended, take it up with the likes of The Nation, The Progressive and Amy Goodman who all slanted their coverage from the start -- and we now know that Goody did indeed slant her coverage from the start due to one person bragging about it. We have been very open all along. Talk to the liars about why they launched a two-year war on Hillary and never told you it was to create Obama-mania. Talk to the liars.

Jim: Okay, good points all. And Ava and C.I. will be revewing the LIAR Amy Goodman's book. We're not sure if they'll do that the week before it's released or the week after, they've already read it, but they will be reviewing it and the first two sentences are already classics. Jess has waited for his announcement.

Jess: Okay, I'm speaking on behalf of the site. Should Barack Obama steal the nomination, this site will not only not endorse him, this site will endorse either Ralph Nader or the Green Party nominee, whom we expect to be Cynthia McKinney. Barack Obama is a liar who has been given a non-stop pass from the media and who is tearing apart the Democratic Party. That he wants to be their nominee and at the same time thinks he and his surrogates can launch attacks on the party's last president, Bill Clinton, is disgusting. Howard Dean is a LOSER for not calling that out. I'm a Green. I'm not a fan of Bill Clinton's. But even I'm shocked that a candidate for the party's nomination could get away with smearing and trashing the last Democrat to hold the office of president. That campaign has no manners, to say the least. They are trashy, they act is if they're entitled to the nomination despite the fact that they are in a dead heat. I saw this campaign before, in 2000 and Karl Rove masterminded it. That Democrats can't grasp that is hilarious but, as a Green, I've never thought the Democratic Party was all that smart to begin with. Here's how offended I am by what has gone down. If Hillary gets the Democratic Party nomination, this Green will be voting for her in the general election. I voted for Nader in 2004. I'm proud of that vote. But as an outsider watching the Democratic race, I have to say I have seen attacks launched by Bambi and his surrogates that have disgusted me. I have seen them repeatedly hide behind the false charge of racism whenever any issue was raised. I have seen glee in the beating up of a woman in public. And through it all, Hillary Clinton's kept on going. She's won my admiration for that. The woman's stronger than any other politician I can think of. She's earned the nomination. As an outsider, a Green Party member, I should be amused by the crap Bambi's pulled and laughing at the Democrats. Instead, I'm embarrassed for my country, I'm saddened for my country that someone who is not qualified has gotten away with repeatedly trying to tear down this woman. She's withstood it all and she has my vote. I called my father Saturday morning to tell him about this because my parents are both Greens and I didn't want them to be shocked when they saw this. Dad said, "Actually, your mother and I feel the same way." That's because if you leave the field of Bambi groupies, if you go to people who had nothing vested in this race and ask them their for their objective thoughts, you quickly hear how ugly of a campaign Bambi's run and shock and dismay over the fact that he hasn't been called on it, that he's been rewarded for it. If Hillary gets the nomination, our endorsement of her at this site stands and there will be no other endorsement. If Bambi steals it, we will be endorsing either Ralph or the Green Party candidate.

Jim: And I actually have nothing to add to that. Jess said it very well.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }