Sunday, January 13, 2008

Truest statement of the week

The Democratic candidate of "change," for example, has raised nearly $100 million in campaign contributions, nearly as much as the Hillary Clinton money machine. Three of his four largest group of bankrollers are executives of Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and JPMorgan Chase.What kind of change is that?Among his other top contributors are executives of Exelon Corp., the largest nuclear power operator in the nation. In 2005, Obama talked in a Senate hearing of leaving "on the table" the building of new nuclear power plants - the kind of change that has Exelon ecstatic.

-- Juan Gonzalez addressing the hype in, "I smell Barack Obama baloney" (New York Daily News).

Truest statement of the week II

So why is the sex barrier not taken as seriously as the racial one? The reasons are as pervasive as the air we breathe: because sexism is still confused with nature as racism once was; because anything that affects males is seen as more serious than anything that affects "only" the female half of the human race; because children are still raised mostly by women (to put it mildly) so men especially tend to feel they are regressing to childhood when dealing with a powerful woman; because racism stereotyped black men as more "masculine" for so long that some white men find their presence to be masculinity-affirming (as long as there aren't too many of them); and because there is still no "right" way to be a woman in public power without being considered a you-know-what.

-- Gloria Steinem, "Women Are Never Front-Runners" (New York Times).

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --
A slow Sunday following last week's early edition.

What happened?

Two people of the core six have worked on every week's edition and only two -- Ava and C.I. If we ever doubt their importance, note how we scrambled this weekend when one of them was sick?

Here's who participated on 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,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
and Wally of The Daily Jot

We thank all of them and we thank Dallas for his help as sounding board and for rounding up links.

C.I. was sick, caught it from Rebecca. We called a break after Ava and C.I. finished their commentary this morning. We had a number of features completed.

We lost two. Ava, Jess, Dona and Ty went to the Green Party debate today. I (Jim) stayed home with C.I. Who had an awful fever and was delusional. I'm not joking on that. Two features were lost and that was noted before we took our break. Throughout the period while everyone else was gone, C.I. would repeatedly ask, "How do you lose two features?"

That really was directed at me who typed up both. They were poems that Kat, Ava and C.I. had written in New Hampshire with Jess and I participating over the phone. They were good. I guess I tossed the hard copies after typing. I was using two screens on the same computer and typing then, didn't save them and got a message about low memory. Both screens closed and they were gone. That's my fault. Though C.I. never mentioned blame, just kept asking how you lose two features.

My favorite moment during that period that I so wanted to turn into a feature was when I was flipping channels and talking to C.I. (who was out of it but talking) and I mentioned there was a musical special on. C.I. slammed the PBS specials and I said something (I don't remember what) and C.I. started going off on "New High School" and C.I. will tell you now, "What?" It would have made a great short story. It's ficitional but C.I. had all the details, they were a copycat of the Mamas and the Papas and, as Michelle Phillips will tell you, they worshipped Nero (there was this whole lengthy thing about Roman government). C.I. was describing their outfits, critiquing their vocals, running down their (low) charting singles. I wrote down what I could (and at the time assumed this was a real group). When C.I.'s fever was gone and I asked about it, C.I. told me I was insane. I showed C.I. the notes I took and C.I. said, "I was delusional, I don't know anything about that. I don't believe there was ever a two man, two woman group called New High School." It would make a very wonderful short story. Maybe we'll revisit it this summer in our fiction edition.

When the fever was broke, C.I. had what is self-dubbed "my long wake up." That delayed us as well.

To be clear, C.I.'s laughing at my note right now but Dona says, "Don't blame C.I." I'm not blaming C.I. C.I. was sick and contributed and then some. And that wasn't our only problem this edition.

Let's talk about what we've got:

Truest statement of the week -- Juan Gonzalez, truth telling practitioner.

Truest statement of the week II -- Gloria Steinem, see above.

Editorial: And then there were three -- We didn't have the editorial before the break. The plan was to get everyone back on the phone before Ava, Jess, Dona and Ty left for the Green Party debate. That wasn't possible. This editorial was dead and lifeless until C.I. suddenly finished the "long wake up." At which point, it had so much that Dona said, "Keep writing but that's the break! These are two seperate features."

TV: The Surreal Life stages comeback! -- Ava and C.I. On a good week they amaze us. When Ava was sick as a dog last year (last fall?), they managed to turn out something amazing. They did so again this weekend. This is amazing and all the more so when you consider that they are bouncing jokes off one another (remember, their point was to be humorous from the start of taking over these commentaries, they raise issues, they take stands but their humor is the thing that has always drawn everyone to glom on their commentaries). C.I. had no voice and was contributing via a hoarse whisper. But they pulled it off and it's one of their finest. Right after they finished this, I read it to everyone. It is amazing.

Roundtable -- This is where C.I.'s voice went out. This roundtable lasted four and a half hours. This is a rush transcript and it has been edited. Ruth participated on this feature. C.I. told her ahead of time, "I don't want you to do a report" for The Common Ills "if this lasts more than an hour." Ruth was around Rebecca Friday as well and wasn't sure if she was coming down with someone. Ruth wouldn't promise not to do a report and C.I. said, "Fine, I'll change the password and give it to you Monday." That wasn't an idle threat. While everyone was at the debate this afternoon, I called Ruth and asked if I had the password wrong (passwords are changed every ten to twelve days). Ruth said, "No, that's the password." Then she remembered C.I.'s threat to change it. At some point, C.I. did. So you could have a morning entry at TCI if C.I. hadn't changed the password, I was happy to do it. We especially thank Ruth for all her participation. We ddin't mean for it to be more than two hours tops but there was a great deal to cover. As always when things are edited, people are allowed to pull their own comments. We generally don't add anything to it. We may drop out something because we've got a transition that was spoken that will work well in the transcript. Ty pulled one word and substituted it with another. Betty says something like "Ty is mad" or "Ty is pissed." And he was. His statements before Betty included a word he pulled. (Which, for the record, could be used on network television at any hour. It's not an 'objectionable' word.) I brought up the e-mails that I could. We kept in what we could from that. To Macy, I didn't get to your e-mail in the roundtable. She noted that Medium is on NBC Monday nights in the second hour of primetime and that "I love the guest star!!!"

Revolutionary broadcast -- Long before C.I. was sick, we had already spoken of how DN! last week needed to be noted in its own feature and we didn't need to make it truest because 'breaking it up' in that regard might not be noting how powerful it was. This is one of the pieces we wrote well after the break. As noted in the piece, Betty, C.I., Cedric and Ty were insistent that Don King 'participation' in the Victory Tour be underscored. After we read over it, we all agreed.

Independent media: Then & Now -- This was part of the editorial. When C.I. finally woke up, there were a ton of ideas and, among them, was this section. This, the editorial and the DN! piece did not make the print edition. Instead we ran Ava and C.I.'s reviews of Spanish language TV (which is not on strike as far as we know -- they write those reviews for the community newsletter El Spirito) and Mike's column that was in today's Polly's Brew.

Graceful exit -- This was started before the break and going nowhere. We're not sure how much we improved on it after the break. But we thought it needed to be noted and, as Jess is pointing out right now, we were calling out here the silence on Richardson's first status, so, in terms of archives and past coverage, it was required that we note his exit from the race.

Highlights -- Mike, Kat, Rebecca, Betty, Wally, Cedric and Elaine wrote this and picked selections unless otherwise noted. They wrote this after the long break, by the way. We thank them for it.

Next week, we plan to interview Isaiah. We were supposed to do that this weekend and had scheduled it for midnight his time. We called to cancel, during the only break of the roundtable -- and explained that we would probably be taking a lengthy break at three in the morning (it went on much longer than we thought -- the break) and explained that C.I. had no voice and was red with fever. Isaiah told us not to worry about it at all and also said to tell C.I. no comic for Sunday "in case you're still sick."

We know community members have been looking forward to the interview. As most of the newsletters have noted, it was supposed to be a feature in the Christmas edition Jess, Ava and C.I. steered and I begged them to please not do it then so we could all participate. We've got it written in marker, underscored twice, for next week.

So that's the edition and we're surprised at how strong it is. Ty and Jess are on laptops and talking about various things that are up. When we finished the roundtable we were pretty sure that would be our only strong feature and possibly Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary though that was iffy with one of them so sick. The poems weren't intended to be included but when I announced we were taking a lengthy break (at that point sweat was pouring off C.I. and we'd turn the AC down to 60 degrees), C.I. said, "The poems!" Kat fished around her purse and found them. It was perfect. The three of them and Jess and I had worked on them so they were "Third" pieces. They were two features, it was perfect. I didn't save the drafts and, either due to out of memory or another problem, Blogger/Blogspot didn't save automatically. That created a big hole in what we were calling "done." But I think we managed to overcome even that.

So that's this week. See you when we run next week's marathon!

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

Editorial: And then there were three

Following last week's New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, Bill Richardson dropped out of the race joining Chris Dodd and Joe Biden who dropped out following the Iowa caucus. There are now three front runners and Mike Gravel in the race. (We only note real candidates and real candidates never make deals -- even 'one state only!' deals -- to trade away their supporters.)

Speaking to Paul Jay (Information Clearing House) last week, Gravel declared:

You recall that Hillary, Edwards, and Obama all said, when asked by Tim Russert, would you have the troops out of Iraq by the end of 2013? And all three of them equivocated, weren't sure that they could do it. And then you heard just last night, oh, yeah; I'm going to start withdrawing them immediately. What are they talking about? Say one thing; say another thing. You know, withdrawing immediately, what does that mean? We'll withdraw ten this month, and then I'm going to change my mind next month? It's gross hypocrisy - is really what it is. It's politics as usual, and that's sad, because we're at a turning point in '08. If we continue with American imperialism, we're done as a nation.

And that is the three front runners: John Edwards, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have no differences on the Iraq War. "But, Edwards," you insist, "Edwards gave an interview awhile back . . ." Yeah, and did nothing since.

Last week, on the day that news of the deaths of 9 US service members made many papers and morning programs, Edwards' campaign sent out an e-mail to its supporters:

On Tuesday night, speaking in New Hampshire, John said, "We know exactly what we aspire to: universal health care, attacking global warming, protecting the environment, ending poverty, and standing up for American jobs and for the creation of American jobs."
If, like me, you believe these are the issues that we need to be fighting for, then it's time for you to join John and hundreds of thousands of other supporters in this fight. You are not alone and together we are a powerful wave of change sweeping across this country.

Now you can't defend the remarks quoted or not based on the narrative of the mainstream media. This was a communication the Edwards sent out to supporters via e-mail and the only ones controlling what they emphasized was the Edwards campaign.

You can view the speech or read the transcript at The Washington Post. In full. Some may point out that 9 US service members had not been announced dead on Tuesday and they would be correct but as the 4,000 mark approaches, Edwards doesn't really need a reminder that the illegal war drags on to include it in his lengthy speech.

And that's John Edwards' biggest problem with the Iraq War. He makes a few comments, jazzes people up and then . . . he drops it. Or stays silent. It's a half-assed sort of call to end the war. But it's been a half-assed sort of campaign.

In the first debate where he was called out, where a candidate bragged that he was against the illegal war in 2002 (and left out his 2004 comments to The New York Times and his 2006 comments to The New Yorker that he wasn't sure how he would have voted had he been in the Senate), there was Edwards onstage . . . looking goofy. Looking dazed. Where's the ball, John, where's the ball?

The candidate, of course, was Barack Obama. We expected Edwards would recover from his very-public punking. Never happened. Not only has he not challenged Edwards, he has (as during the New Hampshire debate) used his debate time to sing the praises of Barack Obama. It's not that he's been unable to call out any candidate. He's tag-teamed Hillary Clinton with Bambi's help.

He just can't and won't stand up to Barack Obama. And he whimpers at the feet of Bambi, exposing his belly, like a scared little puppy. It's disgusting and brings to mind the sure-thing win that was supposed to happen in 2004, when he went head-to-head with Dick Cheney, one of the least liked politicians in the world.

We all heard the lead-up hype, Edwards is a lawyer! Edwards is going to tear Cheney apart!

And Edwards . . . whimpered. Mike Papantonio rightly called Edwards' performance disappointing (very disappointing) on Air America Radio the morning after until Lizz Winstead and Rachel Maddow repeatedly badgered him to change his call. Papantonio made the right call initially.

What saved Edwards from being called out was the work done by bloggers during the debate and in the immediate hours post-debate. They demonstrated that Cheney had lied. They called Cheney out.

Thing is, bloggers weren't Cheney's debate partner. (We wish they had been.) Edwards? He was pathetic.

And, as we see him repeatedly grovel at the feet of Bambi, a man who is supposed to be his rival, we have to wonder if Edwards has a problem standing up to men? He's got no problem tearing into Hillary Clinton. But Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, he makes like a weak-ass child. It's as though, in both campaigns, his real purpose is to demonstrate that George H.W. Bush wasn't the only one needing to worry about "the wimp factor."

Who do we address next? It's hard to address Barack or Hillary seperately because they are (as Glen Ford and Bruce Dixon have noted) siamese twins and their campaigns are so entwined.

Let's go to Barack Love because it is sickening, juevenile and the only adult relationship we would be opposed to granting legal recognition of.

Long before 2008 began, Barack Love was displayed all over alleged 'independent' media. It started with a really bad speech at the DNC convention. Demonstrating that Barack Love is a virus that anyone can catch without strong public education of the disease, Matthew Rothschild caught it. That would be the same I-am-not-a-Democrat Rothschild who stood alone in calling out the nonsense Bambi offered at the DNC convention in 2004 but the Love Bug done bitten Matty.

Apparently the bug induces a high fever which is also why Rothschild could rack up an impressive last few days: showing up to praise Barack's New Hampshire debate performance only to -- after the New Hampshire primaries -- call it "lackluster." Well which was it Rothschild? Worse, he demonstrated how uninformed 'independent' media can be. He accused Bill Clinton of "distorting" Bambi's war record. In one of his most embarrassing moments of Barack Love, Rothschild elected to 'address' the impact of The New York Times on the New Hampshire primary -- despite the fact that New Hampshire has their own media including newspapers -- and, to stack the deck in Bambi's favor, elected to go with just the paper that ran the morning of the primary. 'Unfair!' cried Rothschild, 'Hillary got the front page!' If that passes for media criticism, that is truly frightening.

Rothschild wanted to argue that not only was Bambi relegated inside the paper but that the photo they ran showed a small crowd turning out for Bambi. As Jess notes in the roundtable, over 210 people are pictured in that photo which clearly indicates that the crowds continue beyond the photo's frame on both sides. As C.I. pointed out, the population of Lebanon, New Hampshire is approximately 12,000. If Rothschild's going to pick one day, doesn't everyone know that the Sunday edition of the paper outsells every other weekday? Who made the front page? A group shot of all the candidates, Republican and Democratic, invited to the Manchester debate. Barack Obama's head is clearly visible as he speaks to Bill Richardson (whose back is to the camera). Hillary is at an angle so her face is less clear! OMG! (And on Saturday, before that the front page was Barack Obama only -- he was next to a flag and shaking hands for a photo that took up approximately half of the top half of the paper.) But Bambi love is so intense that Rothschild can see problems where there were none. (Again, Jim and Dona spent the fall semester monitoring the photos run of all the candidates by The New York Times. On the Democratic side, Bambi had the advantadge.)

On Hillary, we'll note that sexism was no longer veiled last week and came out in the open. This included in media. Two voices who spoke up in independent media were Katha Pollitt and Ruth Conniff and, note, Conniff doesn't like Clinton. (Her post the day after New Hampshire included the judgement call of "Yuck!") But the men? Rothschild, Robert Parry and Robert Scheer all appeared to be in competition with one another to be declared this century's Bobby Riggs. It was digusting.

For the record, here's Bill Clinton's alleged distortion of Bambi's record (Clinton was correct, it was Rothschild who distorted):

"But since you raised the judgment issue, let's go over this again. That is the central argument for his campaign. 'It doesn't matter that I started running for president less a year after I got to the Senate from the Illinois State Senate. I am a great speaker and a charismatic figure and I'm the only one who had the judgment to oppose this war from the beginning. Always, always, always.' ""First it is factually not true that everybody that supported that resolution supported Bush attacking Iraq before the UN inspectors were through. Chuck Hagel was one of the co-authors of that resolution. The only Republican Senator that always opposed the war. Every day from the get-go. He authored the resolution to say that Bush could go to war only if they didn't co-operate with the inspectors and he was assured personally by Condi Rice as many of the other Senators were. So, first the case is wrong that way."
"Second, it is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, numerating the years, and never got asked one time, not once, 'Well, how could you say, that when you said in 2004 you didn't know how you would have voted on the resolution? You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war and you took that speech you're now running on off your website in 2004* and there's no difference in your voting record and Hillary's ever since?' Give me a break."This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen...So you can talk about Mark Penn all you want. What did you think about the Obama thing calling Hillary the Senator from Punjab? Did you like that?"
"Or what about the Obama hand out that was covered up, the press never reported on, implying that I was a crook? Scouring me, scathing criticism, over my financial reports. Ken Starr spent $70 million and indicted innocent people to find out that I wouldn't take a nickel to see the cow jump over the moon."So, you can take a shot at Mark Penn if you want. It wasn't his best day. He was hurt, he felt badly that we didn't do better in Iowa. But you know, the idea that one of these campaigns is positive and the other is negative when I know the reverse is true and I have seen it and I have been blistered by it for months, is a little tough to take. Just because of the sanitizing coverage that's in the media, doesn't mean the facts aren't out there. "

"*" It was 2003 when it was first disappeared as Glen Ford pointed out yesterday. Equally true is that Bambi made the same statements about not knowing how he would have voted if he had been in the Senate in 2002 were made to The New Yorker -- in 2006.

A curious thing happened while working on this edition. We'd noticed that Rothschild didn't bother to include Clinton's remarks when accusing him of distorting. Someone who had been with The Progressive phoned C.I. to suggest that maybe Rothschild didn't even know them? That is a possibility.

But where is the distortion?

The link regarding the UN resolution will take you to comments by Elizabeth Edwards. Here are Elizabeth Edwards remarks on what John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and others in the Senate voted on in 2002:

And the resolution, if you remember, was forcing Bush to go to the U.N. first. Of course, we expected him to actually listen to the U.N., which didn't happen. The resolution was actually a slowing technique, so he [John Edwards] felt like maybe it wasn't ideal but I think he made a very difficult and good faith decision.

Is Bill Clinton wrong? Is Elizabeth Edwards? Matthew Rothschild says Bill Clinton is distorting. The statments of Elizabeth Edwards run on page 34 of August 2007 issue of The Progressive. If Elizabeth Edwards is distorting, those comments shouldn't have been printed without a note attached. If something's untrue, it shouldn't be printed. (And Ruth Conniff, who was interviewing Edwards, should have challenged her on them in the interview. The article is a Q&A transcript.)

But such is Barack Love that common sense goes out the window.

We have watched in shock as the Koo Koo Krowd from The Nation have led non-stop attacks on Hillary Clinton's record (note that we said on her record) while ignoring Bambi's public record. We've watched in shock as Katrina vanden Heuvel and Patti Williams have passed heavy panting off as reasoned debate and discussion. We were stunned to see the Roberts not only attempt to take out Hillary last week but Gloria Steinem as well (Steinem of course, wrote the week's most popular column online and the boys are probably hurting over that -- even when they go after her, they're still relegated to the second-string!). But it was Matthew Rothschild that really destroyed our hopes in domestic 'independent' media because he had always seemed the last to join any bandwagon, one of the most skeptical voices in 'independent' media. Someone who saw the Chicken Sop for the Soul Bambi first served up nationally at the DNC convention as mush.

We might have given up on independent media completely. Then came a voice who balances the demands of both independent and mainstream media, truth-telling the way independent media is supposed to. From Juan Gonzalez' "I smell Barack Obama baloney" (New York Daily News):

Maybe I'm getting old, or have watched too many silver-tongued politicians promise heaven on Earth only to shatter our hopes, but count me a doubter of the Obama revolution.
Anyone who delves past his soaring speeches and mesmerizing gaze and follows the money trail will find plenty to question.

Gonzalez, you're not getting old. You've just managed to hold onto your common sense at a time when it is in such short supply.

TV: The Surreal Life stages comeback!

With writers striking for their fair share, TV has resorted to a number of tricks to provide 'content.' We had to rub our eyes last week as it appeared that they'd pulled the 'reality' TV disaster, The Surreal Life, out of mothballs to combat the strike. But as we finished rubbing our eyes, we grasped that it wasn't The Surreal Life we were watching, it was just surreal. And alleged news programming.

On ABC's first hour of prime time programming Tuesday night, Charlie Gibson offered the sort of thing that used to be known as "news breaks" and, once upon a time, the networks actually did that. Tuesday was the New Hampshire primary and Charlie was on to talk about that. Note that he said John McCain had won the GOP primary (with less than 70% of the precincts then reporting) and said he was "predicting" Obama as the winner of the Democratic primary. As Gibson was winding down the logo "Just For Laughs" appeared in the upper right corner of the screen. Though it was to promote the next program (Just For Laughs), we thought it also provided an editorial comment of the 'news break.'

Gibson was back for a regular slot of time in the second hour of ABC's primetime. Though he had predicted Obama the winner earlier, he was now stalling furiously. As viewers waited and waited for comments on the Democrats, Gibson finally said, "And I'm going to talk about the Democrats . . . after this commercial break with George Stephanopoulos." We waited eagerly to see what George Steph had signed on to hawk. Maybe a male hygiene spray? Maybe Just For Men hair coloring? Sadly, Gibson meant that, after the commercial break, he'd be talking with George.

Steph was on the defensive, growling about "people at home" who have these paranoid theories that "we know things we're not telling them or the campaign knows things they're not telling them." Actually, George, the campaign should know a lot that they're not telling, that's just a given and not even open to dispute. But Steph was having an on air meltdown and the only thing to do was sit back and enjoy. At this point, Charlie was still singing the praises of polling -- "the polling is so good."

The polling was all they had and it backfired on them on live TV which more than proved Peter Hart's point on Friday's CounterSpin that MSM journalists need to stop acting like they screwed up because the polling was wrong -- they screwed up because they refused to cover the issues and the policies. [Those preferring or requiring text can click here for a column by Peter Hart on the same topic.] As Gibson lost it repeatedly on air, it was a wonderful indication of just how unqualified he is to be the 'voice' of ABC news. His contributions largely amounted to clarifying a comment an ABC reporter made by stating "with a movie reference," helpful to all those who didn't catch the reference to the apparently obscure art house film The Empire Strikes Back. He grew more nervous through out the half-hour. So much so, that at the end he was signing off by noting that the West Coast (we were on the road, and, in fact, in New Hampshire on Monday and Tuesday) would soon be seeing Good Morning America before correcting himself that he meant World News Tonight.

As many laughs as Gibson provided, it was more shocking what was going on at NBC/MSNBC. Correspondent Lee Cowan confessed on air to Brian Williams that it was "hard" for him to be objective about Barack Obama, whom Cowan was assigned to cover. Now in the world of a functioning mainstream press, Cowan would have immediately been reassigned. And should have been. Reporters are supposed to be objective and just the hint that you aren't, forget confessing on air that you find it "hard," is enough to damage the credibility of the news organization. At NPR, Michelle Norris has a set list of things she can do and cannot do in election cycles due to her husband's work. It's not that Norris couldn't be objective, most assume she could be, but it's that they don't want even the appearance that they're not being objective. Brian Williams, who bragged of his desire to censor the news before he took over as anchor (bragged on air to Jay Leno -- which is where all the really great news anchors go, right?), embarrassed himself by posting to his blog, "Lee was talking about the swirl of excitement that has hit the Obama campaign after Iowa -- the crowds, the hoopla -- all of it. Today we learned that rival political efforts were spinning this as some kind of 'bias' on the part of either Lee, or me, or this News Division, and that's just ridiculous. My response is as it always is in these situations: look at it again, listen to what's being said, and judge us by the quality and fairness of our journalism." Guess what, in a functioning news organization, you're biggest complaints wouldn't be coming from candidates, it would be coming internally. The fact that NBC didn't grasp the problem, didn't immediately pull Cowan off the beat and reassign him, goes a long way towards explaining the destruction of news standards in the MSM.

"Lee was talking . . ." only follows an announcement that, "To avoid the appearance of conflict, Lee Cowan will now be covering the Mitt Romney campaign after having stated on air that he found objectivity 'hard' when covering Obama." But we don't have a functioning press, do we?

PBS seemed bound and determined to demonstrate that fact repeatedly on Friday. And they did so rather well. First up was Washington Weak. Which featured clips of spokesperson Gwen talking to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama before the New Hampshire primary. Gwen was blown away -- when the show was taped on Friday -- that Obama hadn't predicted himself the winner, something she admitted she herself had. Was that why she offered no footage of Bill Richardson (still in the race on Tuesday, he would come in a distant fourth and then drop out of the race) or of John Edwards (who had a strong third place finish -- by weak and strong we're referring to their number of votes and not their rank)? Or maybe the Great Gwynnie just didn't think she could spare a second of gas baggery to note Edwards? Well who would want to miss Time's Michael Duffy declaring, "John McCain was written out of this movie"?

While true that McCain placed first on the GOP side and that was a huge improvement over Iowa, it's equally true that a political campaign is not, in fact, a movie.

Then came NOW with a half-hour look at Latino voters. It should have been Latino and Latina voters but, if you watched the program, you were aware that all sit down interviews were with men and clips from public events showed Latinos speaking and no Latinas. Apparently Latinas are shy and spook easily around cameras. (That is sarcasm and one of us, Ava, is a "loud and proud Latina.") Equally disturbing was to hear that Bully Boy got 40% of the Latino vote in 2004. That figure is contested, as was the original inflated claim of 44%. NBC put out the 40% figure. We had to wonder why PBS was using that mainstream figure instead of the Velasquez Institute's finding of 35%? When there's a difference wouldn't a Latino organization most likely be the best source for information on Latinos?

But then we also had to wonder why it was necessary to interview only Latinos and only Republican ones at that? If you buy the dubious figure of 40%, that still means 60% of Latinos voted for John Kerry or someone other than Bully Boy. So the 40% (really 35%) were not the majority. But they were the only voices that got on air? And when PBS friends complain to us, and they will, we'll let them bicker and dicker about the percentage in 2004 but we will not let them off the hook for airing a 30 minute program allegedly about how Latinos and Latinas will vote that didn't feature one Latina voice as an interview subject?

Just as we thought it couldn't get any weirder Bill Moyers Journal popped up. We've been trashed. We're not sure we would have caught on to the hurt feelings if the calls hadn't come in, but it was obvious that Moyers was trying to make Kathleen Hall Jamieson aka Dr. Kathy more presentable. Boo-hoo, grow the hell up. Among the many complaints was that our criticism wasn't "helpful."

Helpful? Do you really think gas baggery between Moyers and Dr. Kathy about televised moments ('Tell us what we saw, Dr. Kathy!') serves any purpose? How about going into what we didn't see instead of Dr. Kathy doing the equivalent of flipping through a children's picture book? "On this page, the bunny is walking through the woods . . ."

You want helpful? Dr. Kathy looked better in the colors Friday; however, she should wear a silver, white or grey shirt when she's on TV. She will come off better. The blazer should be a solid, of any color. The lighting of her was better this week and the cuffs were a nice touch. Is that helpful enough for you? (We doubt it and are sure our phones will be ringing from PBS friends opening with, "You'll never believe what just got said about you . . .")

Moyers tried to inflate Dr. Kathy's talents/credentials by declaring in his introduction, "Her calling is to mine the facts hidden in all the spin." That would be great, if she ever provided it. However, she doesn't. Now maybe that's Moyers' fault due to his questions or maybe she just lacks that gift. Instead of providing anything hidden she yammers on about the most obvious details that any person lucky enough to have the gift of sight already saw. And we're not sure how detailed discussions about John McCain's age (71-years-old) qualify for "facts hidden in all the spin." McCain's been in Congress forever, so his date of birth is hardly a secret. But was the point of the discussion to "out" McCain's age? Had he shaved a few years off recently?

As McCain doubters, we found the prospect of that delightful and quickly checked to see if The Show Boat Express was trying to appear younger than he was? At his official campaign site, we went to his timeline and were about to click on the photo of him as an infant in an oversized dress but the page finished loading and right under that photo is the heading "1936-1957" -- covering his first 21 years. It didn't appear to us to be hidden but you know the MSM and how they see the "youth" as MySpace obsessed? So maybe he was trying to hide it on his MySpace page? Right at the top, no clicking necessary, was "Male 71 years old Phoenix, Arizona United States." We weren't seeing how McCain's age qualified as "facts hidden in all the spin."

We're not saying there weren't moments we enjoyed, we're just saying that we're not sure any of it qualified as hidden facts. And we're not really sure how the program can afford to carp about us (although we know they will) when the segment put forward the lie that Social Security needs to be 'fixed.' Social Security is solvent and will remain so. And maybe a public affairs show could be devoted to that topic or something of real value?

After Moyers declared, "Clinton is hoping that showing that other side will bring women in particular to the polls, almost as if she had done it deliberate. We don't know whether she did or not," Dr. Kathy, to her credit, noted, "Mm-hm. But what's also interesting to me is you're not sure whether she did it deliberately or not." What's interesting to us is that after two consecutive weeks of praising Obama in various segments, Moyers has never noted that he's not sure whether or not Obama does thing deliberately. Skepticism is still the alleged hallmark of the press, right? What's interesting to us is that gender discrimination is a topic you'd have to search hard for in all the broadcast hours of Moyers.

Yeah, we went there. And we would have even if we hadn't been trashed.

In the longer segment (much, much longer), Moyers sat down with Shelby Steele, conservative, and noted how he was tired of always talking race with African-Americans. We're tired of watching those superficial 'discussions' but are fully aware that, were they not brought on to discuss race, African-American would rarely factor into the Moyers TV universe with the possible exception of those 'religious' discussions.

The Steele segment was built around Obama. Of course. Moyers was raving the episode before about Obama's "preacher" qualities (never a complaint in The Book of Moyers). Now it was time to again 'explore' Obama. But it's really funny that on the same episode when Dr. Kathy actually made sense saying the press needed to be reporting on the policies (she'll be back this Friday and should give a report on that), we weren't really talking about policies in the lengthy segment.

The segment was a promo for Steele's new book. Since we "never say one damn word positive" (a quote, we're told), let us note that we hadn't seen Steele in his new glasses. We're not aware of how long he's had them but they are very attractive on him and make him look much better than he did a few years back.(With those glasses, he should be National Review's pick for Sexiest Conservative Alive this year. With a hot, hot drooling essay from Midget Decter or Jonah Goldberg. Steele's book is built around a PEW "study" -- we haven't read his book so we're not sure the study is credited, it wasn't on air. Steele's thesis is that there are two kinds of African-Americans: bargainers and challengers. We think it takes twelve kinds of stupid to ever reduce more than two people to two kinds. To steal from the late, great Molly Ivins, "The world is full of two kinds of people -- those who think there are two kinds of people and those who don't."

Dr, Kathy had said in her earlier segment, "What I'm watching for next week is whether the substance of the candidates' positions will get through." We doubt anyone would mistake the Steele segment for "substance of the candidates' positions" discussion.

Though it could have been. Steel repeatedly alluded to the cypher nature of Obama and warned what happens to those who attempt to be 'pleasers' when they express actual opinions (he used Bill Cosby as an example) but Moyers never went there, never made the leap on any specific issue. He noted we see Bambi and hear about Bambi for hours and hours of television each week -- certainly true on The Journal -- and it was allowed to pass.

Bill Moyers: What do you mean invisible? Because he's all over television.

Shelby Steele: He's all over television, but if you listen to his speeches, "change," "hope." I mean, it's a kind of-- it's an empty mantra. I mean a surprising degree of emptiness, of lack of specificity. What change? Change from what to what? What direction do you want to take the country? What do you mean by "hope"? There's never any specificity there because specificity is dangerous to a bargainer.

That did not lead to a discussion of Obama's 'policies.' Repeated attempts were available and all passed by. Possibly Moyers didn't feel it was appropriate to allow Steele to weigh in since Steele is conservative? If so it's an Obama-only rule (we've seen many right-wingers on the show weigh in on politicians and policies) and Moyers is the one giving Steele air time.

The segment was a lie. The entire segment. When Steele reveled how he, like Obama, had a White mother and an African-American father, but how two decades prior it was different ("Well, and this is I think a difference in my case than Obama's, in segregation, you didn't get the choice. It was the one drop rule that applied. One drop of black blood and you're black. That was the rule. That's what kept the wall between whites and blacks was this one drop rule. So I was raised with absolutely no ambiguity about that."), a real segment would have gone on to discuss the realities of bi-racial and multi-racial but the closest Moyers got to that was a single-sentence about "children of inter-racial unions". There is a very real racism going on in the continued repetition of "Black" to describe Obama.

If he were the son of an Asian-American mother and a Kenyan father, would he be allowed to self-describe "Black" and would the media run with it? We're champions of self-description. We avoid, repeatedly, ever noting someone's original name. We've never felt the need to go to town on, for instance, Bob Dylan or Muhammad Ali by bringing up their birth names. Many can't get past details like that. They claim that it goes to 'authenticity.' Which it may or may not. But our own observations include many men and women who were the victims of physical and mental abuse (both) and restart their lives with a name change so we tend to honor the self-narrative chiefly for that reason. (We're not stating that's the case with either Dylan or Ali.) The only time either of us haven't respected a name change was when Prince was attempting to use a symbol -- one not found on the average keyboard and one that did not have a known pronunciation -- as his name. Otherwise, even with someone like Bo Derek, whom we loathe, we didn't feel the need to refer to her repeatedly (or even once) by her birth name.

We also fully realize the importance of allowing someone to tell their own story and are perfectly comfortable with accepting that psychological truths may conflict with other truths.

But we don't give that wide berth to the world of politics. And though Barack Obama wants to self-describe Black, we don't see him as such. We think it's pathetic that the bulk of media rushes in to back up his wish. We especially think it's pathetic and dishonest that independent media does because bi-racial and multi-racial people began telling their stories and claiming their own histories in that media. But all that gets brushed aside to honor the desires of a politician.

We don't think that's right or truthful. Just his repeated claim to be "Black" should result in the sort of "Truth Squading" we get on politician's statements. And Moyers decided to 'explore' race (again) and did so dishonestly.

As a private person, if Barack Obama identified as "Black," we wouldn't raise an eyebrow. As an entertainer, we might roll our eyes and offer a comment or two (and have certainly noted those who have tried to pass by publicly claiming White -- hello, Paula Abdul) but an entertainer is selling themselves. A politician is supposed to be representing a great deal more and the words "authentic" are supposed to matter.

In a laughable meltdown online last week, Robert Parry slimed and trashed Gloria Steinem, accused women of playing the "gender card" and yet repeatedly referred to Barack Obama as "Black." Barack Obama had two parents. One was White. Do we need a children's book called Heather Has A White Mommy to illustrate the point? By calling Obama "Black," Parry was playing the same race card the press has repeatedly played.

Could a politician running for office, let alone the highest office in the land, lie like that of any other area of their life and get away with it? Probably not. But people like Parry and Moyers are certainly old enough to have lived during a time when being even one-eighth Black got you labeled (officially labeled) octoroon and your birth certificate stamped Black. And, intentionally or not, they back up that racist system -- that had died -- when they refer to Barack Obama as "Black."

Barack Obama, the politician, is certainly allowed to say, "I'm bi-racial but I identify with the Black culture." He would never say that. We doubt it's true (most who identify with the Black culture -- of any race -- wouldn't invent a tale of a man who tried to peel off his own African-American skin and pass it off as factual), but we wouldn't make a big deal out of it. But it is a big deal when half of who he is, as he runs for the national office in the land, is swept under the rug by both the politician and the press.

They willfully buy into the racist system that if you have any African-American immediate descendents, you are only "Black." They completely disrespect the very real experiences and the very real pain and joy that bi-racial and multi-racial persons have educated our society about.

Barack Obama's Chicken Sop for the Soul campaign results in many lies and distortions and that's probably true of a number of campaigns in lesser degrees. However, the issue of race is the most offensive. In the 90s and earlier this decade, society had finally made enough strides that the terms "bi-racial" and "multi-racial" weren't just in popular usage, weren't just the terrain of left, independent media but could (and were) used on the front page of The New York Times (with a variety of people pictured such as Mariah Carey) and not only were they being acknowledged as a part of the population, they were portrayed as a sign of change and something our society would see far more of in the future due to the fact that so many stigmas against race had been exploded.

In one political campaign, all of those achievements are destroyed. In one political campaign, we find that the views of race have narrowed -- and that the press has willingly gone along with it. We're reminded of the outrage over a Columbia professor in the 90s, a visiting professor, who insisted upon identifying as "African-American." She was born and raised in Scotland and spoke with a Scottish brogue. That caused tremendous tensions for those working on the issue of bi- and multi-racial identity. As it should have. The easiest answer would have been for her to bill herself as Scottish-African-American. She didn't do that. She lectured using a ton of MLK -- in fact, there were classes that in which MLK was all she cited -- and there were serious questions coming from students as to how much denial she was in that she lectured repeatedly on events she didn't live through. As they repeatedly raised their genuine concerns, the professor -- rightly or wrongly, we believe rightly -- became seen as a phony while she lectured on 'authenticity.' As one bi-racial student who confronted her on the issue of self-labeling back then told us last week, "It disgusted me as much as Barack Obama disgusts me today. I am the product of three races. It's who I am and I honor all three. Thanks to Barack, I now work in an office where I'm referred to behind my back as 'Black.' Before his decision to run for the national spotlight, I was 'multi-racial,' but, and this has been said to my face, he's changed that."

He's changed that? That's really not his right. He can self-identify however he wants. He can self-lable however he wants. But, to use Moyers' term, "children of inter-racial unions" have faced stigmas and conflict, joy and love, and their experiences are very genuine and very real. Rendering them invisible does society harm.

Why doesn't Barack Obama just tell the truth? One bi-racial friend believes that he sells himself to White people as "a good Black" and that using the term "bi-racial" would be too off-putting, would note the very real and fluid nature of race relations in this country and scare off White voters. He can lie all he wants, there's no reason for the press too.

As feminists, we had to wonder how quickly the feminist movement could be vanished and who would call it out? Those working for recognition of bi-racial and multi-racial categorization and recognition thought they had finally had their break through and that American society had finally agreed (with a few hold outs on the cranky right) that they do exist. They thought their time had arrived. They found out that all it took was one charasmatic figure for the press to go ga-ga over and all their work was pulled.

If Obama elected to self-identify White, we seriously doubt the likes of Moyers, Parry, et al would repeat that claim without question; however, it is just as valid as their repeating that he's "Black." In fact, since he was raised by Whites, some might argue that it was more valid.

We are seriously disturbed and bothered by what has been done to bi-racial and multi-racial persons all in the name of a political campaign.

We found Moyers' 'exploration' of race both racist and simplistic. We believe that "cultural diversity" isn't a dirty term or one to run from. We think it's amazing that someone running for national office as a Democrat would do more damage to a multi-cultural society than the right could ever hope to.

America has not moved "beyond race." That's the lie that Barack Obama attempts to sell in his run for the presidency and it's the lie that has led throngs of Whites to gather around him in wide-eyed wonder as though he's a modern day Aimee Semple McPherson. We think the press has revealed their own racism repeatedly and endorsed earlier racist beliefs that society had presumably, if not overcome, agreed to address.

But the term "bi-racial" was never used in the overly long 'exploration' Bill Moyers provided viewers with on Friday. How do you do that? How do you do a segment on race, focused on one person who is the child of a White mother and a Kenyan father, and never explore the terms bi-racial or multi-racial?

Maybe the same way race is only an issue in the Moyers canon when it involves African-Americans. Take that, all other racial minorities. Inauthenticity is not unique to the Obama campaign, certainly two generations of Bush 'cowboys' demonstrates just how taken in by a good yarn the press can be. But Obama's campaign has done real damage and caused real pain and that an alleged discussion on race can't address that, can't even use the correct terms, goes a long way towards explaining how it's not just the right that's screwing up the country.

Loving v. Virginia was a breakthrough, a legal landmark, for the United States. In a debate, Barack Obama was asked, "Senator Obama, the laws banning interracial marriage in the United States were ruled unconstitutional in 1967. What is the difference between a ban on interracial marriage and a ban on gay marriage?" Obama mouthed a lot of nonsense about 'equality' and then went on to state it's a decision for different denominations to make. There should have been a gasp heard round the country.

Barack is a lawyer, a trained legal mind. Though we find it difficult to believe he's never studied Loving v. Viriginia (as difficult to believe as Clarence Thomas Senate testimony that he'd never thought about Roe v. Wade), we'll allow that maybe it fell into some gap in his education. But as a trained legal mind, he does grasp court billing. "v. Virginia" means versus state. Not versus a denomination.

In that historic case, the Supreme Court of the United States found the laws of the state of Virginia to be unconstitutional and illegal. That finding meant that all states could no longer refuse to issue marriage certificates to couples of different races. Obama's weak-ass response should have been considered weak ass. (John Edwards also embarrassed himself in that debate noting he was against "gay marriage" and "I do not" support it leading us to shout back at the screen, "Gee, John, we weren't aware you were being inundated with proposals!") But it was also dishonest. A law student, forget the former president of the Harvard Law Review, grasps that Loving v. Virginia was not about whether "denominations" could make a decision, it was about what the government could do. To provide perspective, imagine the issue was illegal search and seizure on the part of the government (forbidden by the Constitution) and Obama had responded, "I think it's up to denominations." The government was discriminating and the Supreme Court stood up for the rights of all. A trained legal mind should grasp that. If Obama didn't, he's either not much of a student or he's a really bad liar.

Obama denies a lot. For instance, that debate, YouTube/CNN, took place at South Carolina's Citadel and we wonder how many are aware that the institution's history, it's very creation, resulted from the desire to enforce slavery? In a society really concerned with racism, Democrats holding a 'debate' there would have been called out in real time (and we did call it out in real time). But the media creation of Bambi doesn't exist to explore race let alone the racial tensions in so much of today's United States.

And that's what's really scary about the Obama campaign -- that the desires of (and for) one person have been judged as more important than the realities for so many. Robert Parry and others rush to assert that Barack Obama has never played the 'race card.' That requires ignoring the many times it has been played but why don't you tell it to someone who's been working on getting recognition for multi-racial persons. It is a movement and it is one that gained governmental recognition in the 2000 census. For the first time, people could check off (from over sixty-classifications) their categories. (Earlier, the option was allowed to the ethnic category "Hispanic," it took intense advocacy for that to be extended in the 2000 census.) Go back to real-time reports that year and you'd see the mainstream media proclaiming that the move would "forever alter the way Americans look at race". As the song goes, "What a wonderful world that would be." It did seem like a significant moment for the multiculture movement; however, in one person's bid for presidency, all of that has been erased. The Center for Disease Control noted:

Multiracial Americans are those people who belong to two or more of the federally designated racial categories.1
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, approximately 6.8 million Americans -- 2.4 percent of the total U.S. population -- self-identify with two or more racial categories.
The Census Bureau has not made any projections about the rate of growth of Multiracial Americans in the coming decades.
The highest concentrations of Multiracial Americans live in Alaska, California, Hawaii, and Washington.

6.8 million people rendered invisible. So don't offer us your gas baggery and claim that you in any way explored 'race' when what you and your guest offered was largely something that PBS could have aired during its initial years. (And in fact, the claims offered were on public radio long before NPR came into being. See WBAI's historic debate between Malcolm X and Bayard Rustin in November of 1960.)

A real discussion on race is needed in this country. We didn't get that from The Journal. It's also worth noting that last week's attacks were on women and that The Journal repeatedly shies from topics of sexism. Online viewers get something very curious as well. We haven't checked the Dr. Kathy segmentout online but we saw it and our notes taken during the broadcast include Jesse Jackson Jr. stating the following the morning after the New Hampshire primary of Hillary Clinton's eyes moistening:

Not in response to voters -- not in response to Katrina, not in response to other issues that have devastated the American people, the war in Iraq, we saw tears in response to her appearance. So her appearance brought her to tears, but not Hurricane Katrina.

Cedric brought this up in the roundtable but went to check the transcript to get a direct quote. It's not in the transcript. There's a brief moment noting that Jesse Jackson Jr.'s clip was played and it's briefly quoted. Cedric asked us, "Did you see it?" We checked our notes and it's in there. We've noted everything we caught on TV this week in this review. We also listened to Democracy Now! But we remember seeing the clip, not just hearing it. Washington Weak is the only other place that could have popped up for us to have seen it. (And we were not even watching local television the morning after the primary.) We have pages of notes on Washington Weak but the Jackson quote pops up in our notes on Moyers and Dr. Kathy. So what's the deal? And if it wasn't included in the broadcast, it should have been included -- subtext: a woman cries about her appearance. Vanity, thy name is . . . it's not women according to CBS friends.

We didn't get a real discussion on the sexism from Dr. Kathy and Moyers and we won't hold our breath for the program to provide prolonged time on that topic. Repeating, what we caught on TV last week weren't the latest installments of The Surreal Life, they just played like it.


Jim: We really didn't plan on doing another roundtable so soon. We're doing it and we will try to draw in questions and comments from e-mails into the discussion because there will probably not be time for the "Mailbag" feature. 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, Wally of The Daily Jot and Ruth of Ruth's Report. This will primarily be about the political race for president on the Democrats side but there are other topics planned, time permitting.

Ty: Jim read the bulk of the e-mails all last week until Friday when he brought me in. Matthew Rothschild had a column that outraged readers KeShawn (also a community member) and Gillian. They're pointing to something that Betty had put down as a question so I'll toss to Betty.

Betty: I go to the Times only to read Thomas Friedman's column if I can stomach it -- and I'm only reading it to write the latest chapter if it's necessary to include it. In a really bad column, KeShawn and Gillian are right to be outraged, among other things, Rothshild wrote: "Or it could have been the huge front page New York Times article devoted to Hillary, and the inside story that said, 'Clinton Goes Face to Face with the Public as Obama Plays Not to Lose.' This story was accompanied by a photo of Obama talking to a small crowd, which must have been a hard one for the photo editor to find." So what's the story with that? He's lying on other issues, is that correct? He doesn't list a day when the picture allegdly ran.

C.I.: I'm grabbing that. I get the Times here and Ava, Kat and I were on the road all week. In terms of here, Jess had already bundled and recycled the papers. So they're gone. But since I wasn't home, I was getting the paper on the road. So I do have that edition. It's Tuesday's paper, January 8th, the morning of primary day. The photo Rothschild refers to runs on A14. His claim that Obama's shown speaking "to a small crowd" is a flat out lie. Obama's several yards from the crowd so there's this huge space -- the crowd's kept at bay by a roped off barricade. Jess?

Jess: C.I.'s handed me the paper. Okay, you've got six rows of people and I'm counting over 36 in the 'first row' and it's obvious that the people continue standing on both sides out of picture range. In addition, you have at least 35 people off in the distance, not part of the crowd, watching Obama speak. It's nonsense, Matthew Rothschild wrote like an idiot. What he may really be pissed about is that the photo of Hillary Clinton shows a woman happy to meet her and another woman standing behind waiting her turn. Two other people -- besides Hillary and the two women -- have their heads featured in the photo. But what's he probably mad at is that Hillary's obviously standing within a crowd of people and Barack Obama's speaking to a huge crowd that Obama's got a huge distance from and the crowd's roped off.

Dona: I'm grabbing the front page from C.I. This was after Hillary's 'media moment,' the first day after and the front page has her photographed among women from that talk. To be clear, 'media moment' is not my insult of Hillary. We'll get to the 'media moment' shortly. But Hillary was news because the media chose to make that 'moment' news. Of course she was going to be on the front page that day and the paper did not do a disservice to Obama by running a photo of him speaking to a huge crowd. It was not 'sparsely attended' as Matthew Rothschild claimed. He can grab a new pair of glasses if he needs to. But he can't lie and get away with it. He's lying.

C.I.: I've got the paper back from Jess and let's note Obama's speaking in Lebanon, New Hampshire, outdoors, there are well over 200 people pictured and it is obvious that the crowd continues, on both sides, beyond the photo's frame, there's snow on the ground and it's daytime. Okay, Lebanon, New Hampshire has a population of little over 12,000. The photo features over well over 200 people with the clear implication that beyond the photo's frame, more people are present. The photo's obviously an ink blot and Rothschild's interpretation reveals more about himself than it does about the photo. Ruth, The Diane Rehm Show, Friday, dealt with the issue of the media.

Ruth: Yes, it did, in the first hour. The point being made was that the people of New Hampshire have their own media -- though that may be a shock to Mr. Rothschild -- and they were following their daily papers and their daily broadcasts. I really think Mr. Rothschild is far out on a shaky limb because he obviously places importance on The New York Times than New Hampshire does. For the record, the San Francisco Bay Area is the next largest audience for The New York Times after NYC according to KPFA.

Dona: Hillary's core support was said to be from low income Democrats, it's very hard to believe that with their own papers that they read every day, they're going to blow a buck and twenty-five cents to read The Times. Matthew Rothschild's column is an embarrassment and especially an embarrassment to Jim and myself because we tracked the photos of presidential candidates for a project last semester, the photos run by the 'paper of record,' Obama was more likely to be featured by the paper than any other Democrat, was more likely to be shown smiling in a close up and more likely to be shown amidst a group of smiling groupies. That's reality. Rothschild wants to pull one photo from one day -- not even a bad photo -- and make a ridiculous argument. I don't know what the standards are supposed to be at The Progressive, but there were no journalistic standards in that column, only a raging and wounded ego on display.

Cedric: That really gets to it. I want to emphasize this from the rant that reads like Psychosis on Parade: "Bill Clinton gave us that indication loud and clear on Tuesday when it still looked like Hillary might lose. Wagging his finger and looking directly into the camera with that same mean, trapped-wolverine look that he showed us when he talked about not having sexual relations with that woman Monica Lewinsky, Bill said the media had fed the public a 'fairy tale' about Obama, and then he distorted Obama's record on the Iraq War." It is a fairy tale, the media's coverage of bi-racial Barack. "Mean, trapped-wolvering look" and he goes to Monica Lewinsky, is Rothschild proud of that gutter statement? Is he proud of being wrong? Bill Clinton didn't distort Bambi's record. I want to get Bill Clinton's statements in here:

"But since you raised the judgment issue, let's go over this again. That is the central argument for his campaign. 'It doesn't matter that I started running for president less a year after I got to the Senate from the Illinois State Senate. I am a great speaker and a charismatic figure and I'm the only one who had the judgment to oppose this war from the beginning. Always, always, always.' "
"First it is factually not true that everybody that supported that resolution supported Bush attacking Iraq before the UN inspectors were through. Chuck Hagel was one of the co-authors of that resolution. The only Republican Senator that always opposed the war. Every day from the get-go. He authored the resolution to say that Bush could go to war only if they didn't co-operate with the inspectors and he was assured personally by Condi Rice as many of the other Senators were. So, first the case is wrong that way."
"Second, it is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, numerating the years, and never got asked one time, not once, 'Well, how could you say, that when you said in 2004 you didn't know how you would have voted on the resolution? You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war and you took that speech you're now running on off your website in 2004 and there's no difference in your voting record and Hillary's ever since?' Give me a break."
"This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen...So you can talk about Mark Penn all you want. What did you think about the Obama thing calling Hillary the Senator from Punjab? Did you like that?"

Cedric (con't): Bill Clinton is correct. I'm using the thing where C.I.'s added links. It's also true, as C.I. has pointed out -- and pointed out before Clinton's statements -- that Barack Obama told The New Yorker in 2006 that he wasn't sure how he would have voted on the Iraq resolution in 2002 if he'd been in the Senate. We've made that point here repeatedly. Barack Obama is not an anti-war candidate. That is a lie, a fantasy and a fairy tale. Bill Clinton brings up the "Punjab" remark Obama made which is racism on Obama's part. There's the homophobia that everyone ignored when Obama put homophobes on stage -- known homophobes -- at a South Carolina event and let them 'preach' homophobia from the stage. It pissed off a few gay rights group and the Obama campaign dismissed their concerns and/or feelings saying they got what they needed from the event. Barack's got a buddy under federal indictment for trying to influence politicians and Barack, in 1998, appears to have tossed favors the buddy's way. His entire being is a fantasy.

Betty: I would agree and --

Jim: Betty, I need to cut you off. I'll let you get back to your response in a moment but an e-mail came in last week that offended me and I want to give you the chance to respond. Norman, who's never e-mailed this site before, e-mailed to complain about your son's illustration of Obama. I e-mailed Norman back to find out his stats. He's 21-years-old, a college student, whose family home is in upstate New York and he's White. Here was his complaint, "You are running an anti-black painting and hiding behind a child is crazy. A child can be anti-black and this child obviously is and is a racist. I am writing to object to your racism." Betty?

Betty: Norman, kiss my Black ass. Thank you, Jim, for bringing that up. Norman, my child, like his mother and his father, is Black. That's a painting my son did and if you're seeing anti-Black in it, that's your problem. My son, this is my oldest son, is not anti-Black because he'd have to be anti-himself. His favorite comic strip, the only one he reads, is Boondocks and I'm sure that's influenced his opinion of bi-racial Barack Obama. But the reality is Barack Obama is not black and my youngest son saw him on TV last year and his immediate response was a question, "Mommy, he's not Black, is he?" No, he's not. To White people he probably does look Black with his QT shade of skin. But to Black people, it's very obvious that he's a bi-racial man because of his features. Now it's one thing for Diana Ross to wear what she called her "White girl hair," meaning wigs, to cross over. And certainly a light skinned woman like Lena Horne crossed over in part due to her skin shade. But neither of those women were attempting to pass. They couldn't if they wanted to, they are clearly Black women. Barack Obama, who did not grow up in a Black community, is not Black. He's bi-racial, he grew up outside the United States and then in Hawaii where he went to a posh, private school. He's lived a White lifestyle and been raised in a White world. He offers a pass to Whites like Rothschild and that's what they really like about him. But the message isn't that "anyone" can achieve. It's that if you're half-White and you act White, the White community will welcome and embrace you as their token "Black" as opposed to creating a space at the table for a real Black person.

Ty: Can we talk about the bi-racial aspect for a second because I feel like online it's been C.I. insisting on that point and talking about how hard it was, what a struggle, for bi-racial and mutli-racial people to be recognized. I've read Rebecca Walker's first book --

C.I.: Her second book, Black, White and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self.

Ty: Thank you. She's the daughter of Alice Walker and a White man whose name I forget --

C.I.: Mel Leventhal.

Ty: Thank you again. I do have bi-racial and multi-racial friends and they do face stigma's growing up so no one's minimizing that. Rebecca Walker writes about her own experiences in her book. Bi-racial and multi-racial were terms honoring diversity and it was a real struggle to get those classifications into popular usage. So this idea that Barack Obama is going to ride the Black bandwagon, while refusing to carry African-American's burdens, is offensive on so many levels. Now Friday on Bill Moyers Journal Shelby Steele was a guest. I'm not sure how much we want to talk about because I know the program may get mentioned in Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary.

Ava: Which we haven't written yet. Grab whatever you want. It will be less we have to cover. We don't intend to be 'kind' especially after whines came in on last week's commentary from PBS friends. One of whom had the nerve to call C.I. Friday, after the snapshot went up, complaining that The Journal wasn't noted in it. The Journal didn't e-mail the public account of The Common Ills. When it does, it gets noted. But last week was play hurt puppy, all week long. And trashing us and thinking it wouldn't get back to us when the reality was, as soon as anyone we know at PBS heard about it, they called us immediately to say, "Oh, you've pissed them off." Too damn bad. Bill Moyers is a journalist, yes, he's an old one, but he is an active journalist and we're grading what's being done now. We were actually kind to him last week. We went out of our way to be kind to him. The Dr. Kathy remarks pissed them off. Too damn bad. They're the most ungrateful people in the world, in my opinion. I praised the Maxine Hong Kingston interview to the producer of the show and got blown off, all out mistakes and get non-stop carping. I told my father about last week's whines and his response was that Moyers was known as a primdona at CBS as well. I doubt we'll be 'kind' to the program this week and that's really not our obligation, so let it rip and grab whatever you want to from that progam. However, note that C.I. and I will not be commenting because to do so would mean raiding material we might use for our own commentary.

Cedric: Well C.I. called me, this was late Friday, to give me a heads up to The Journal. C.I. noted Betty would be watching, because she always does, and suggested that I'd be interested in weighing in on one segment. C.I. also called Ty.

Ty: Shelby Steele, who was born in 1946, made this comment, Steele also had a White mother and an African-American father, "Well, and this is I think a difference in my case than Obama's, in segregation, you didn't get the choice. It was the one drop rule that applied. One drop of black blood and you're black. That was the rule. That's what kept the wall between whites and blacks was this one drop rule. So I was raised with absolutely no ambiguity about that." That reminded me of the point Betty's made repeatedly about how racist it is for Barack Obama to be called "Black."

Betty: Correct. I usually make the comparison to "octoroon." In the pre-Civil Rights era, if you were 1/8 Black, you were "Black." Your birth certificate noted that. And this rush to call a half-Black and half-White man "Black" is really offensive and a throw back to the days we all thought were over. To get back to Ty's point about bi-racial and multi-racial persons, they are raised with their own sets of issues and it's important that a space is created and carved out for them to weigh in and be heard. It is racism to continue to call Barack Obama "Black." It is an insult to Black people because we don't get the passes he gets and never could and it is an insult to bi-racial and mutli-racial people who are being told -- by the media Big and Small -- that if they are half-White or half-Asian or half-Latino or whatever, if they are even some part Black they are seen as Black by the media. It's racism. And that's one of the most appalling things about Barack Obama's run for president, how craven he is and how willing he is to turn the clock of progress back for his own personal gain.

Cedric: I love Betty. And if I can drop back to Norman's e-mail for just a second, Norman, like most Bambi groupies, isn't too smart. If you go to Betty's site, give me a second because I'm pulling it up right now and it's taking forever to load, okay it's up. If you go to Betty's site, you don't have to scroll down, the first sentence on the left, is "I'm a black working mother." If Norman wants to accuse a child he's never met, Betty's oldest son, of racism, it's really important that he do a little research. It doesn't take any research for Norman to find out that Betty's Black. You don't have to click on her profile, it's right there, first sentence about her, on the left side at the top of her blog. That painting by Betty's son, a wonderful painting that we all love, was used in "Roundtable on the media" which is what Norman is commenting on but if he read the roundtable, he should have caught Ty explaining that he, Betty and I are all African-American though Betty uses the term Black. To me this underscores how stupid Bambi's White groupies are.

Ty: I would agree with that completely.

Cedric: Shelby Steele, who is a conservative, to point that out, did have a different experience being born in 1946. At that time, you were just "Black" in the eyes of White media and White society. I'm sure he can talk and write at length about the reaction in the Black community growing up. But time is supposed to have progressed and Bambi was born in 1961, raised out of the country and then in Hawaii. The product of White dominated campuses. There is nothing Black about the man. He's bi-racial and he has his own experiences which are rich, I'm sure. But I think it's telling that he LIED in one of his books and claimed he first became aware of race when he read an article in Life magazine about a Black man who tried to peel off his skin.

Kat: That's discussed in Andrew Stephen's "Obama unmasked" (The New Statesman).

Cedric: Right and that's a very telling moment. Life had no such article and there's no such article that's been found in any magazine. So Bambi's created a lie. I think African-Americans need to raise an eyebrow at that story -- one I'm sure the White groupies get emotional over -- and ask what it says that Barack advances a story, bi-racial Barack, a false story about a Black man trying to peel off his Black skin. I'd argue that lie is telling in terms of Barack and that the lie really indicates his own need to move away from Blackness and pass. Stephen wrote a great column but he's White and I don't think he gets what that lie says to African-Americans who have been encouraged to bleach their skin and pass for White for decades. I really think that is the most telling detail about Bambi, that he puts a story into his book -- one he's created all by himself -- about how a Black man tries to peel off his skin due to its color. No such article existed so we're left with the reality that Bambi created a tale of a Black man who can't live in his own skin.

Betty: That is really something and I think Cedric's exactly right. That's the sort of thing that some Whites might get, in terms of how offensive it is, but I think most Blacks will immediately get. To get back to Rothschild, who is White, the column we were noting, how many times did he use "teary" -- and he was clearly mocking Hillary Clinton.

Kat: I hate Matthew Rothschild. I know some others present don't. But this is him being nasty and his real self, in my opinion. He plays loveable and light but this is the real Rothschild and we've seen it before, the one that lashes out when he doesn't get his way. This is him in one point of that column and I want to see if anyone catches how there is another explanation besides Rothschild's efforts to slam Hillary, "Hillary got in her own dig during her victory speech when she said that the young people of New Hampshire came out and 'asked the hard questions' and 'voted their hearts--and their minds.' (The putdown being that Obama supporters only vote their hearts.) "

C.I.: I think I know where Kat's going. Rebecca should know. Do you want to grab it, Rebecca?

Rebecca: Sorry, I'm lost.

C.I.: Okay, who wrote the song that Chelsea Clinton is named after?

Jim: Joni Mitchell.

C.I.: Correct, it's "Chelsea Morning." And on For The Roses, one of Joni's classic songs begins, "I am a woman of heart and mind." That's it, right, Kat?

Kat: Exactly. And that's exactly where I went when I first read Hillary's quote. But Matthew Rothschild sees only evil and he needs to note his own f**king sexism that allows him not to know the works of Joni Mitchell when he's repeatedly quoted male songwriters over the years and may have in fact been among the many stripping Yoko Ono out of her co-writing credit for "Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)." So no, the 'putdown' is not so obvious and Rothschild sees it because he wants to see it. That's not the first time Hillary's alluded to a Joni Mitchell song in her speeches, by the way. For the man who wanted to act like he uncovered the secret subtext of Bully Boy's speeches -- subtext that was noted in the right-wing as far back at least as Gloria Steinem's Outrageous Acts & Everday Rebellions which, incidentally, Rothschild didn't credit -- it's amazing that he goes for the obvious and flaunts his ignorance of Joni Mitchell.

Jim: Okay, let's talk about the 'teary' and I know Betty's got another thing that will most likely come up in this discussion so work that in whenever you want Betty. Elaine?

Elaine: What an ass Rothschild was. I'm with Kat. He was wrong in his column and he has refused to correct it. Bill Clinton didn't distort Obama's record, as Cedric's already noted, and Rothschild refused to correct his false claim. To move to a postive, for a moment, I got up Saturday morning because I heard Trina walk down the hall with her grand daughter. I was at Mike's, in his room, obviously. I grabbed my robe and followed Trina into the kitchen where C.I. was crying. Rebecca had been really sick and C.I. rushed to assure us that Rebecca was fine. C.I. was working on the morning entry at The Common Ills and was crying because of a highlight Micah had e-mailed, Juan Gonzalez' "I smell Barack Obama baloney" (New York Daily News). And I read it out loud to Trina who was giving her grand daughter a bottle and we were all just in shock that Gonzalez had written that. There's no 'win' for him telling the truth but it was a very brave thing to do. I didn't cry but I hadn't been up since Friday morning or on the road all week and that's really the thing that will make C.I. cry, when someone stands up to speak truth. When we saw the really bad film Somerby, I know most people cry when Gere's dying at the end, if they cry, but C.I. only teared up when Gere's explaining how he's not going to make a statement just to save his ass. And that was a really brave thing for Gonzalez to write, it bucked the system and I doubt there's any 'win' in it for him. The smartest thing would have been to have kept his mouth shut if he couldn't join the bulk of indymedia in pushing Obama. Instead, and he's got a long history of truth telling, he called it like he saw it. I wanted to note that and I know C.I. won't bring it up because I doubt C.I.'s been to sleep yet, since Friday morning, and I know C.I. would start crying trying to bring it up.

C.I.: You're correct.

Elaine: Okay, so having given credit to Gonzalez, let's return to Hillary Clinton and the 'media moment.' Rothschild is all over the 'teary' and mentions it twice. It needs to be noted that people defending Hillary Clinton last week, men or women, weren't necessarily Hillary supporters -- I'm not -- but we do recognize sexism when it's on display. There were two moments that could have been 'media moments.'

Ruth: And it's interesting because, it was discussed how the evening news in New Hampshire reported the moist eyes on Monday but they didn't glom on it. The point was made that the national media made that a story.

Dona: And they did so at the expense of "Iron My Shirt." As Elaine's pointing out, there were two moments. Big media went with only one. Little media, and Mike pointed out this would happen, ignored the second incident in real time. When it was finally noted, the day after, by one, he -- one of the Aris at The Nation -- buried it at the end of his post. That was so insulting, the "Iron My Shirt" thing and, if you're not aware of it, two men chanted that and held a HUGE sign with that on it at a Hillary event Monday. That Little Media had nothing to say about it goes to how willing they are to ignore sexism. It was only made worse when Mike called it out and noted Little Media would ignore it, by the likes of Robert Parry showing up on Thursday, three days after, to do two posts on it and claim that it was all a 'prank.' I don't care what it was. I'm sure many racist remarks are garbed in the "it's just a joke" pose, that doesn't make them any less racist. But there was Robert Parry -- who we've delinked from -- showing up to minimize how offensive it was when he's forced to write about it days after it happened. We saw the sexism on parade last week and I want to go to Rebecca because she noted it on Monday night. I know Ava and C.I. probably won't talk about it, but Rebecca overheard a conversation and blogged about it Monday night.

Rebecca: Right. Ava and C.I. were meeting with an editorial board of a newspaper to talk about Iraq. I didn't know that. Where I come in, my phone's ringing and I check the caller i.d. It's Ava. I pick up the phone and I hear C.I. talking and think I said, "Hi." But C.I. wasn't speaking to me. That's fine. It happens a lot. C.I. will be on one or both cell phones and needing to check in or just say hi so I'll get called and I'll wait a minute or two while C.I. finishes up another conversation. In fairness, I should also note that I generally leave about six to seven messages for C.I. on any given day. Then I'm hearing other voices and realize C.I.'s speaking to a group of people. The editorial board. Ava had called me so I could hear what was going on because she was so stunned.

Ava: I'm not identifying the paper and I'll keep my remarks brief. But we went in, C.I. and myself, to talk about Iraq. C.I. knows the editor of the paper and my father's friends with the publisher. Instead of Iraq, we got these questions hurled at us -- and usually statements, editorial statements -- about the Democratic candidates which is not why we were there. And I'll note that before I called Rebecca so she could hear this crap, C.I. and I had repeatedly said, "We're not here to promote a candidate or discuss one. We're here to talk about Iraq." Rebecca?

Rebecca: That's the first thing I hear C.I. saying, in fact, how "I'm here to talk about Iraq." And they are just, the editorial board running down the candidates, the Democratic candidates, except for Obama. I didn't write the John Edwards thing in it because it wasn't surprising but I'll note here that they insulted him as an ambulance chasing, trial lawyer to which C.I. responded if any of them was in an accident you damn well better believe they'd hire a trial lawyer. But the one they really glommed on was Hillary. They had one remark on Bill Richardson, who was still in the race on Monday, and C.I. and Ava both called that out with both of them saying, "Okay, let's talk about Iraq since Richardson is calling for a withdrawal, a real one." They weren't interested. They were interested in trashing Hillary in ways that shocked me. There was so much hate in the room, it was like Matthew Rothschild had been cloned many times over. They were claiming Bambi needed to be president because it would "send a message" to the world and that is loony, as C.I. noted, and then a woman -- some sexists are women -- says that the president of the United States is very important and how it's important "to have the right president" because "he is the most important man in the world." There was this pause and I could just picture the look on C.I.'s face and knew there was about to be an explosion. C.I. just exploded, in clipped tones, rapid-pace, which is how you know you've pissed off C.I., and says, "The best man? Well no wonder you are supporitng Obama and so down on Hillary. How could Hillary ever be president when you think the president is a role for a 'man'?" And of course, the woman starts trying to retract her remark, to wipe it away, but it's already out there and there's no taking it back. And the man who did the bulk of the talking when I listened tried to smooth it over by saying Bambi was "comforting." And Ava asked him to explain that. He says Bambi has "transcended race" and, yes, it does matter that he's a man. In that moment, it was obvious just how sexist and racist the press attitudes were in the coverage. Only someone who has "transcended race" -- by rejecting it -- would be embraced. By rejecting race, Bambi is "comforting." Comforting? My God what an embarrassing thing for a member of an editorial board to say about someone running to be president of the United States. But racism and sexism clearly benefit Bambi.

Ava: I'll add that there was one person of color on the board and he caught us as we were leaving to say he didn't necessarily agree with the remarks made. I'll say what I said to him then, "Well you should have spoken up." Why are you even on the board if you're going to let those kind of remarks go unchallenged?

Betty: That's disgusting, I'm glad you called him on it. The thing that Cedric gets e-mails on is racism. I'm tossing to Cedric.

Cedric: We, Wally and I, have repeatedly called out Bambi in our joint-posts. And some people will e-mail me to complain. The bulk either explain they are White directly or do so indirectly in their remarks. But their big beef is why I'm not "supporting" the "Black" man. Bambi's not under attack. Bambi's being elevated as an example, being used as a ruler to strike African-Americans and say, "This is who you should be." As Betty's pointed out, we're never going to be half-White so there's no way we can "achieve" like Bambi. I want to toss on that to Wally.

Wally: Cedric and I do joint-posts and I guess some e-mailers don't get that Cedric and I are on the phone all the time. It's assumed or known that I'm White and some of the same Whites making arguments to Cedric turn around and e-mail me with a different tact in their argument. Cedric and I do talk about those e-mails and we laugh at them. Here, at this site, Betty has led on the bi-racial aspect of Bambi from the start. And I'm glad she has, we should all be glad, because I'm White and could have fallen into the same trap otherwise. I think Betty was leading on it even when other people -- outside of this community -- were silent. I was in class last week and there was an African-American student trying to make a similar point in a discussion and she was being ripped apart -- by Whites -- I was able to jump in there and crib from Betty's many points to quiet down the mob. And as soon as they'd shut up, I turned it back to the woman so she could make her points. I wouldn't have taken part in that mob because I don't usually go out of my way to shout down anyone and I certainly wouldn't shout down someone who was having a really difficult time making a point -- there was Bambi love in the room before she spoke and when she started speaking, she was pausing to choose her words carefully -- but I'm not sure if it weren't for Betty that I would've been any help in that discussion other than shouting, "Shut up and let her speak." I gave Betty credit, by the way, after class when the woman and I were talking and she asked me how come I got the points she was making? But Betty's called out this out from the start and it's one of those things she does in roundtables that make her so popular. She tells it like it is.

Betty: I think I may cry from all the praise. But that's something, what Wally's talking about happening in his class, that my friends and I have noted very seriously. How a significant number of White people praise Bambi and seem shocked that, because we're Black, we're not thrilled with their remarks. I mean, my oldest sister was told, last week, by her boss, "You finally got yourself a leader." About Bambi. Her boss is White. He thought that was a great thing to say. He had no idea how insulting and dishonest the remark was. The Black community has had many leaders. Bambi isn't one, let alone the first. My nephew had an experience in his high school class, like Wally's talking about, where a woman was shouted down by White students when she tried to talk about the realities of Bambi. Whites are very vested in Bambi. And Steele, Shelby Steele, on Moyers, was correct that we, Black people, are suspicious of those who do not reach out to the Black community and get embraced by the White one. My aunt says it reminds her of how people thought, in the late seventies, that Donna Summer must be huge in the Black community because she was singing disco. Disco isn't soul music and Donna Summer's chart hits were on the pop charts. When she lost her pop popularity, there was no becoming a Betty Wright or anyone like that for her, a woman who may not top the charts but gets steady airplay on Black stations, because she didn't have a Black audience. By the same token, Barack Obama is a White phenomenon. I saw this thing at The Huffington Post and I'm debating on whether to name it or not. I appreciated the writing but I hate the comments [by readers]. I'll name it but no link, it was by Erica Jong, a White feminist, and she was pointing out that sexism is very real and that Black women face sexism and racism. She was torn apart in the comments including for not speaking about the racism. Erica Jong is a White woman and we don't want people speaking for us. Jong was right to note the fact that we, Black woman, face both sexism and racism and she was right to not try to explore that because she would be doing so as an outsider. I didn't fault her for acknowledging it and then moving on. Had she wrote about the problems for Black women, I would've thought, "Come on, you're White. Let us speak." And that goes to my problem with The Huffington Post, we don't 'speak.' We're not featured writers there. Another remark in the comments was a Black woman who wanted to sell out her gender, and I will call it that, and I just thought, you are a stupid, stupid woman. I'm quoting something else, "There is a great stir about colored men getting their rights, but not a word about the colored women; and if colored men get their rights, and not colored women theirs, you see the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before." That's Sojourner Truth, speaking in the 1800s, from Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. Any Black woman who does not know Sojourner Truth and does not know the way she struggled for Black women is an idiot. Any Black woman wanting to act like racism is the only problem we face is an idiot. I don't really know Erica Jong and only stumbled upon her post because it was linked to by a man, whose post was on Yahoo, slamming her and, no surprise, distorting her. He was calling her a racist which only demonstrates his own stupidity because Black feminists have made clear for years that we do not want other women speaking for us. That's because we can speak for ourselves, and Sojourner proved that oh so many centuries ago.

Jess: It would be interesting to know whether Yahoo reposted Jong's piece. What is known is that Common Dreams posted an idiot's response to Gloria Steinem but failed to have posted, before or since, Gloria Steinem's column "Women Are Never Front-Runners." And for anyone trying to give Common Dreams a pass on that by saying, "It was a New York Times column," Common Dreams regularly reposts NYT columns and editorials in full with their "fair use" tag at the end. They made a decision on Tuesday, when the column ran, not to post it. On Thursday, they made a decision to post a Bambi's groupies' trashing of Gloria Steinem.

Cedric: When I read that crap, my thought was, "That could only come from a White woman." Steinem is known for the work she's done with the community and it really took a White woman to try to trash Steinem's long legacy. No African-American on the left, male or female, would have done that.

Mike: That's the Bambi groupies, ignorant of facts and reality.

Jim: On that point, an e-mail came in last week screaming, a Bambi groupie naturally, that C.I. had insulted students. I looked and looked for that entry and couldn't find it. C.I.?

C.I.: I made a comment about about the lack of intelligence in the Bambi groupies. That's not going to stand out to you because it's a remark you've made yourself. I did not insult all students. But the Bambi groupie on campuses can be summed up as a White student who doesn't do a thing to end the illegal war, who doesn't do anything for anything. They get their internships for the summer, Mommy and Daddy foot all their bills, they may have one token African-American friend, they grew up in all White neighborhoods and --

Ty: They feel the need to patronize African-Americans! I'm sick of the Bambi groupies. I saw them mainly in NY. It's not so bad out here. But they are part and parcel of the Modern Day Carrie Nations. They are looking to burnish their resumes and don't do a damn thing that won't look 'good' on them and they go out of their way to take a stand on anything that might be 'contorversial.' They are pathetic. Specifically, C.I. wrote that the Gloria attacker needed to get a job, a sentiment I agree with.

C.I.: On that, yeah, I said it. If you're whining about spending your own money -- and it's not your money -- get a job. That is the Bambi groupie, again, they don't pay their way. That puts them at odds with the bulk of college students today who are going to classes and working. That is a huge shift from when Rebecca, Elaine and I went to college when a large number of people didn't work. I can think of a relative who pissed me off back then by getting married. He had no job. He may have been trying to avoid the draft. He had no job, had never worked and he's getting married -- there was no baby due for anyone thinking, "Well maybe give him a pass for that." He was someone whose every expense was paid for. He'd known the woman for about six weeks -- they divorced naturally -- and he didn't believe women should work at that time. He believed that the man worked. Well how can you get married then? How can you get married when you can't even buy the engagement ring? Maybe I'm missing something here but I've never understood anyone who would go to a parent and ask them for money to buy an engagement ring. To be clear, Elaine's trust fund kicked in when she started college. That was her money. Mine didn't kick in right away. But she had her own money. I'm not talking about people like her. I'm talking about people with no money other than what they ask their parents for. If you have to ask for money to buy an engagement ring, I honestly don't think you're ready to get married. My opinion.

Elaine: And C.I. worked in college. Even after the trust fund kicked in, C.I. worked several jobs.

C.I.: Just because that was my schedule by that point. If I had the full day to do whatever I wanted, nothing would get done. Knowing I had X hours to do this or that meant I had to stay on schedule. Ava doesn't work at a paying job but I don't think less of her. She doesn't have to work ever at a paying job if she doesn't want to. She's wealthy, it is now her money and she is out there on the road every week speaking out against the war. We're not talking about people like Ava. We're talking about lazy students doing nothing and living off Mommy and Daddy. I mean, look at Dona. She was busting her ass at a job for the last year and making nothing.

Dona: And C.I. said, "Since you're already scheduling all the speaking events, quit your job and I'll pay you twice what you're bringing home." Which was a very nice offer. I turned it down but I did quit my job and get another one. I'm a grad student, Jim's one, Jess is in law school. We all have paying jobs. Not full time. Of course, Ty turned his student job into a career and we're all very proud of him. And no one thinks, "I hate Ava!" Her family is rich, she has her own money. That's how life is. She could be laying out by the pool all day, instead she's doing her part and then some to end the illegal war. I mean, it's fun to go on the road. I don't want to imply that it isn't. But ask Kat and she'll tell you that there's a world of difference between doing it when you can grab time and doing it every damn week.

Kat: That's exactly right. Living in hotels and airports week after week isn't fun. I don't know how Ava and C.I. do it. It gets old very quickly.

Elaine: Just to jump in, I want to again note, I've mentioned this at my site, that Ava's also making a sacrifice. To do this, she's putting her life on hold. I identify with Ava in so many ways because I did what she's doing during Vietnam. And, like her, or like C.I. then or now, I had the money to do it. But it's also true that while you're putting your life on hold for the illegal war, other people aren't. And you're going to find, when the war is over, and all wars end, that you're going to be starting aspects of your life that your peers from college have already moved on from. My big dream was to do research. Instead I have a private practice. That's not cry for me. But that was my goal, research. But Vietnam ended and I had spent so much time on that. My college peers had already done the entry level jobs in research and moved on. I was competing with a new crop of students, just graduated. I was older than they were and I had my own money so the attitude I got, repeatedly, was, "We're not sure you'd be interested in this job. We think you'd be bored. Thanks for applying." I'm sure sexism also factored in. Research was seen as more 'masculine.' So Ava's making a huge sacrifice and I really want that noted.

Ava: And Elaine called me when I made the decision to make sure I knew what I was giving up. Elaine's never regretted her own decision because it was important to end the earlier war. But she wanted to be sure I knew what the score was. She lost a lot and that includes a longterm, allgedly exclusive relationship. One of the many benefits for feminists my age, from the work earlier feminists did, is that I'm in a relationship, with Jess, where he's not freaking out that I'm not here every minute.

C.I.: It's also true that Ava worked at a paying job her senior year in high school and her first year in college.

Ava: My parents sat me down right before my senior year and said they wanted me to work and they wanted me to grasp what that was like before the trust fund kicked in because they wanted to be sure I didn't take it for granted. Which I easily could have. My first year in college, they paid only tuition. I was expected to work for books and everything else. That's not, "Oh poor, Ava." First of all, it was a great lesson and I thank them for it. Second of all, we're talking two years of my life when I had to work. So that's nothing compared to what most people do. But yeah, it did teach me valuable lessons. And I'm not talking glamor jobs. My parents told me, "Don't go to our friends, don't ask them for a job." In high school, I was working fast food. I worked all day on Saturdays and Sundays and then throughout the week to get a forty hour week, sometimes more. It was a real lesson and a real grounding. Again, I thank my parents for that. They actually broke their own rules because my car broke down and I was supposed to be paying for everything. I couldn't afford the costs of fixing the car so I was doing public transportation. After I'd done that for a number of weeks, I came home to find my car fixed, they took care of that. Their logic was that I was late to school too many times, that's how they made the argument to themselves. I wasn't ever late to work, they were proud about that. But otherwise, I was expected to pay my own expenses which, in senior year, included rent to them. They wanted to be sure that I grasped what it was like. I know we're off topic but my parents caught some flack from other family members for that and I just want to be clear that it was the smartest thing they could have done and the best thing. I didn't like it at the time, especially in high school, and there were some family members who would tell them they were being silly because we had money. But there's no other time in my life I could've learned that lesson. They did the right thing and I thank them for that. Dad reads everything that goes up here so I want that left in.

Rebecca: Whoever was offended was being silly, whoever e-mailed. A student taking care of a relative or working on something real -- like volunteering in a domestic violence shelter -- isn't being told to get a job. But I didn't work in college, I did do a lot of volunteering, and we really didn't in my day. People were always shocked that C.I. worked multiple jobs every semester. But volunteering for a campaign isn't working. If you believe in a candidate, you can volunteer your time. But don't confuse volunteering for a War Hawk with actually making a contribution of any kind to society. To join Ava in giving credit, I should add that my family wasn't rich or wealthy. Believe it or not, I had an academic scholarship. In addition, my grandmother sent me a check each week. That was from her and my grandfather and they wanted to be sure I was taken care of. That was very nice of them and I have the greatest grandmother in the world. But I really didn't need it. We weren't, or those who cared about ending the illegal war weren't, as obsessed with money as others in college at the time. It was nothing to wear second hand clothes and, for many, a sign of being genuine. It's equally true that I didn't pay rent. I'll toss out a personal story and then try to be quiet for the rest of the roundtable but C.I. got our apartment and made a deal with the landlord that rent wouldn't be paid for until the third year, when C.I.'s trust fund kicked in. C.I. knew the man and I was refused all offers I made of payment. So the sixty dollars a week -- which was a lot of money back then -- from my grand parents was just money for me to blow. Back then, to bring this back to topic, there was actually an attitude towards us, towards students, of "You're living sheltered lives on your parents' dime, what do you know about the world?" If someone had said that to me, my attitude would have been, "Not a great deal." I didn't. But the world has changed and when Ruth and I go with C.I. and Ava and Kat on Fridays to campuses, they always try to end their week in our area, we see so many students who are balancing college and work. That did take place for some but not for all. Today it's not just common, it's really the hallmark of most campuses.

Elaine: And let me note to that, I was refused as well. C.I.'s attitude was the trust fund kicked in at 21 and the rent would be paid then and not till then and Rebecca and I weren't contributing to it, 'so don't offer any money.' But we all three did split the bills for the telephone, the electricity, the water, the gas. Cable didn't exist back then. And I doubt we would have had it if it did. We weren't zombies in front of the TV, though it was usually on with the sound turned off, if we were all home. Usually that would be the sign off and test pattern which I'm sure many reading this will wonder about since TV is now 24 hours a day. I think Mike wants to say something.

Mike: Yeah, along with Jess, Jim and Dona, Wally and I are the only other ones in college. Wally works on campus at one of his campuses' gyms. I work a part-time job that I've had since high school. C.I. pays my tuition and has done that since 2005, thank you, and C.I.'s told me befor, and my folks have as well, that I can quit my job. And I appreciate that. Elaine's also offered to help me out, we're a couple. But if I hadn't worked, I mean, I'm thinking about the story C.I. shared, about the guy asking his father for money to buy an engagement ring, I don't know that I would respect myself. Like Rebecca was saying, a lot of college students have to work. The ones who don't, I don't think they're stupid but a lot of them don't seem to have any idea how the world is. I mean, I don't have an ogre for a boss, he's my dad's best friend going as far back as either can remember, but if you're not having to deal with people to make a buck, I don't know that you get how the world works. You may have better grades than me and you may be more spiritual or something, but I don't know that you get the real world. And though I've got a good boss, I remember being in California back in 2006 and this guy comes over to say hello to Ava and he's a total ass. She blows him off, insults him and after he's gone, explains to me that was her boss -- at the fast food place -- and all he did was yell at everyone who worked there. He was in college and the bulk of the kids were in high school and he just got off yelling at them for everything.

Ava: His big deal was to haul us all over at least once a week and scream that "This is how you make a hamburger!" And he'd be screaming at us that we were stupid and it was just a pain in the ass. And a lot of people have to put up with that, some for their entire lives, and I could hear stories about that and think I understood if I hadn't worked. But it wouldn't have been the same. I had to keep that job and I had to put up with that nonsense. I know Ruth's grand children work and they're from well off families.

Ruth: Yes. Tracey got a job in high school on her own and Jayson has done the same. There are others as well but they are the only two comfortable with being named. It really is different today. I went to college and that was well before anyone here did. I was in college when JFK was assassinated. I was getting a home perm from my aunt, in fact. We were so shocked by the news, my hair burned. But it was different back then. The country was better off economically. Tuition had not skyrocketed the way it has over this decade. You could get a decent paying job, if you were a male, even better if you were a White male, without a college degree. Today, the college degree is the equivalent of what a high school diploma was in my day. But, like Rebecca said, we always encounter students who are juggling everything. They are working and they are going to school and they are doing their part to end the illegal war and so much more. I think that is why so many of them identified with Hillary Clinton's honest remarks about how the schedule she was on was grueling because students today, unlike in my day, are just doing so much. Or the bulk of them are. There are a number of spoiled kids who do not have to do anything and think because they donate a few hours to a campaign the world owes them respect.

Mike: And to get to that aspect, I'm sick of seeing my generation being free labor for campaigns. Do something real. Work on ending the illegal war. On my campus, the Obama groupies are the worst. They lie a lot or else avoid issues. That's reflective in their candidate. The ones supporting Hillary and John Edwards seem to have an idea about the world we're living in and can back up their support to some degree. But Bambi's got a lot of drama majors and others who float around campus in their own special haze.

Jim: We're not sure what's going to be in this edition. There may only be four pieces. On the West Coast, we're freezing because C.I.'s got the air conditioning down to 68 degrees.

C.I.: I'm sorry.

Jim: No, that's fine, you warned us.

Rebecca: I was sick as a dog Friday night and C.I. spent the night taking care of me. I'm so sorry for passing that on to you.

C.I.: Don't worry about it. My stomach hurts and my lower back hurts but the burning up is the only thing I can't handle.

Jim: So the point is that I want to get to something before we finish and I'm not saying we're about to call time. Dona's agreed this can run as long as needed because it may be one of our key pices and one of the only ones. C.I. made a point on Tuesday and I claimed it in the name of The Third Estate Sunday Review. On Tuesday, Hillary had won the New Hampshire primary, for anyone who missed that last week. And C.I. was looking at the exit polls with a friend with the wire service and I'll turn it over to C.I.

C.I.: I think this has been reported at length but I don't know that people are grasping it. It was true in Iowa as well. And this isn't an endorsement of any candidate. But what I was explaining to Jim over the phone was that the smartest thing for the Democratic Party -- strategically -- would be to nominate Hillary Clinton. Her base continues to be the Democratic Party and what's showing up is that her base is lower income Democrats who are not always prone to voting. There's a great deal being made about how Bambi's bringing in 'independents' and Republicans and that's actually not a good thing. I'll get to that in a moment. What Hillary's doing is bringing in lower income Democrats in larger numbers than is generally expected in a primary. Having voted for her in the primary, one could expect them to show up in at least similar numbers in the general election. Why is that a plus for the Democratic Party? Because they need to turn out as many Democratic voters as possible. The Dems can win, because they have more people than the Republicans, in any election if they can just turn out their base. Now the Obama phenomon isn't helpful to the party though bean counters -- who make their lives out of doing the easiest thing -- would argue otherwise. First off, a primary cross-over doesn't have to be genuine. I know of efforts by Democrats, most famously in 1992, to cross over to the Republican Party primary and vote for Pat Buchanan in an effort to make him seem more popular and that certainly paid off since Buchanan's speech at their convention was a huge shock to most of America. But if you want to assume that the ones crossing over, independents or Republicans, are doing so genuinely, the issue becomes who is at the top of the ticket and who benefits from that? If Obama's at the top, due to 'independents' and Republicans, it's less likely that they will be voting straight ticket. Since Hillary's turned out the base thus far -- which could change -- the difference is that if she was at the top of the ticket, you'd be most likely to see, judging by available data currently, more people showing up who would vote straight ticket. In terms of control of Congress -- I'm speaking strategically -- the indication from the results so far indicate that Hillary as the nominee, this could also turn out to be true for Edwards who is not polling high on independents or Republicans, would mean people voting Democratic on every office. The Republicans face the same problem if they nominate McCain. Some Democrats, who foolishly believe he's a straight talker, would cross over. If they do cross over for his race, they aren't likely to cross over for House and Senate or municipal, county, etc. races. They are likely to vote McCain and then vote Democratic. I don't know if I explained that well, I'm sick so pin it on that.

Jess: No, I get it. I'm a Green so I really have nothing vested in the Democratic or Republican parties. But what you're saying is that a candidate whose strength depends upon pulling over people from outside the party will likely lead to the top of the ticket doing well and other candidates in other races doing poorly. On the Republican side, a Democrat voting McCain for president is probably not voting straight Republican. In fact, if they're a Democrat, they'll probably feel some guilt over their vote and go out of the way to 'prove' they are still a Democrat by voting Democratic in every other race on the ticket. By the same token, Obama at the top of the ticket might or might not be good for the presidential race but since his support is not from the base him being the candidate risks the Democrats losing control of the House and maybe even the Senate.

Wally: That really is a good point. In my area of Florida, Democrats have to fight for every office and then fight some more. Bambi at the top isn't going to help us. Hillary or John would. And since the low income voters are showing up for Hillary, and John, I think it's fair to assume they would in the general election as well. I also think it's a good point about the primary cross overs because since the Democrats are threatening not to seat my state's delegates, I know of at least 20 Democrats that are thinking about voting for the biggest loser in the Florida Republican primary instead of voting in the Democratic primary. They're all thinking about voting for Rudy G who they hate. They think he's crazy and they think by voting for him they'll be making things harder for Republicans because he's so far from the GOP base. We have closed primaries, by the way, in Florida, but you can change your registration before the primary and several already have. If we get a chance, I'd like to come back to John Edwards but I think we got side tracked in terms before the sexism aspect was really dealt with.

Dona: Yeah, we got off that topic. So let's get back on it. Someone earlier, and I don't remember who, made the point that calling out the sexism on display didn't mean you were supporting Hillary Clinton and that's very true. But sexism was on parade and it was really something to watch that. In many cases, they not only attacked Hillary, they also attacked Gloria Steinem and Erica Jong. And none of the White men in independent media were calling out the sexism. Most were, like Robert Parry and Robert Scheer, contributing to it.

Elaine: As Betty was pointing out, she suffers from both racism and sexism. Reading the commentaries of White men, it became obvious that they don't suffer from anything except a sense of entitlement. Matthew Rothschild, to offer another example, as C.I. pointed out, was hailing Bambi's performance in the debate in New Hampshire and then, after the primary, suddenly, I'm quoting C.I., "Rothschild ponders how Hillary won in New Hampshire last night and offers, among other things, 'It could have been Obama's lackluster debate performance Saturday night . . .'." I'm all for revaluating and reconsidering, but in his second column, mere days later, there is nothing to suggest that he did that. His baby lost and he wants to find a reason for that. Suddenly Bambi gave a "lackluster debate performance"? Go back to earlier in the roundtable and use the link to Rothschild before, you'll find, as C.I. pointed out, "eloquence" used repeatedly to describe Bambi's performance during the debate. So which is it?

Dona: And I was reading a thing at the Times, at one of their blogs so no link, where a male writer was explaining how he and another male thought Hillary had just lost that debate and a female reporter told them that was being sexist to think Hillary or any woman couldn't be strong and call out the record of a rival. The debate was cited in a number of exit polls and it's interesting that so many wanted to play like Bambi won it in their commentaries before the primary. We all saw Bambi scowl and make that saracastic remark about Hillary's likeability. But maybe if you're vested in Bambi's win and you hate Hillary, you're too busy chuckling about Bambi's catty performance to be offended? Or maybe you just think a woman has that coming?

Mike: I'm going to take us off topic in a way but I want to stress this 'recount' nonsense. We all know Iowa doesn't require proof of i.d. and no one bothered to worry about the Iowa caucus. Even though a first time Iowa caucus participant wrote about being in the wrong room, at The Huffington Post, and how easily she was accepted. But Hillary wins and suddenly it's "we must have a recount!" And it's coming from outside of New Hampshire. There were no reports in real time of any problems with the machines and New Hampshire's not screaming for a recount. The fact that some on the left are begs the question of whether they'd be asking for a recount if Obama had won and I doubt they would.

Jim: And to be clear, the Iowa caucus is something we have called out since the start of this site. Repeatedly. We would have called it out before there was a winner because WE DID call it out before there was a winner. So anyone wanting to accuse of, as two e-mails did, of just raising the issue of Iowa last week due to Bambi's win, you got us. In 2005, when Bambi was first being sworn into the US Senate, we knew he was going to run for president and we knew he would win Iowa. It was our big conspiracy plan from the start.

Ty: Jim's being sarcastic. I need to note that because, sadly, someone will e-mail to say, "I knew it!" And they will be serious. We have called it out every year. We have repeatedly noted Dan Savage's column in The New York Times. We have noted that the 'results' the press is given are not transparent, though they are on the Republican side. Iowa has serious problems and should not be allowed to kick off every presidential season.

Cedric: I'm actually censoring myself in this, as a fan of Ava and C.I.'s writing, because I'm trying not to grab anything they might comment on in their TV report. But are you going to comment on Jesse Jackson Jr.?

Ava: I know what you're talking about and you grab anything you want.

Cedric: Jesse Jackson Jr., having refused to run for Chicago mayor, has turned himself into a Bambi groupie. By the way, I'm leaning towards Hillary. I'm the only one here who is declared that and I'll go ahead and note, I am now, due to last week and how she conducted herself, firmly behind Hillary Clinton. No longer, leaning, she's my candidate and I will be voting for her in my state's primary. So on Moyers' show, there's Jesse Jackson Jr., in a clip from one of the cable networks, trashing Hillary. I don't zone out in front the TV but I find it interesting how the left stays silent time and again when Bambi's people attack -- when they tell The Atlantic that they need to probe Bill Clinton's sex life, when Bambi makes the "Punjab" remark, etc. -- and when Hillary responds, the press goes crazy with "Hillary's attacking!" I'm also offended, and Ty and I were talking about this Friday when Bill Clinton went on Al Sharpton's show to explain his remarks, remarks that required no explanation, of how any calling out of Bambi must be racism. Bill Clinton noted that Bambi's campaign was built on fantasy, he called it a 'fairy tale.' African-Americans are supposed to be insulted by that? I know some alleged "leaders" who are eager to get some hand out from Bambi in South Carolina -- crooked as they were then and still crooked today -- are trying to turn that into an issue. It is a fantasy, it is a fairy tale. Bambi stands for nothing and rejects race. I wanted to say, during the interview, "Are we supposed to be insulted or half-insulted?" because, again, Bambi is not African-American, he is bi-racial.

Ty: Correct. And there's a world of difference between the media coverage. Or in Bill Clinton's remarks. I read something about "roll of the dice" being "racist" according to Hustle & Flow joke Michael Eric Dyson.

Betty: Ty's pissed.

Ty: I am. I'm sick of that for-show-brother who is an embarrassment to the community and took a real attitude with Glen Ford on Democracy Now! and I'm sick of the left that offers his shuck & jive act as authentic. But at least this time Hustle & Flo Joy admitted reality, he was supporting Bambi. And that's the thing about the Roberts -- Scheer and Parry -- and how stupid they are. Hillary was being attacked for crying when she shed no tears and they were claiming that she and people defending the attacks on her were playing 'the gender card' or 'identity politics.' Here he is shucking and jiving -- and I'm African-American and will use that term -- on Democracy Now! in July of 2007: "Sure. Well, you know, hip-hop at large certainly has to answer and account for the way in which women have been degraded, the vicious assault upon women, to use B and H as the common parlance in reference to women. And it’s an interesting irony, maybe even a cruel paradox, in hip-hop. They love their mamas, but hate their baby mamas, love the women who produce them, but hate and loathe the women with whom they produce children. That’s not a good recipe or an equation for something healthy and productive. Now, to its credit, at least we can understand where they’re coming from." Right there, his ass should have been stopped. Instead he's invited back to the program over and over.

Betty: He's a huckster. "Nas and Jay Z wrote the intro to my book, can I get a hey-hey!" I mean, shut up, just shut up already. And Amy Goodman does my community no favors by bringing that con artist on. But, yeah, Dyson won't call out sexism in rap and he'll excuse it. But he's so convinced Bill Clinton was making a racist remark. First of all, so-called 'professor' Dyson, dominos are more popular than craps in the Black community. When you're done making the rounds of White indymedia, try visiting the community. And we don't "shoot dice," we "shoot craps." There was nothing racist about Bill Clinton's statement. Michael Eric Dyson is an embarrassment to the Black community and an apologist for sexism. He embarrasses himself every time he speaks and since we have so few people speaking in the media, he embarrasses all of us. Shut up, just shut up. And we're sick of, Ty, Cedric and myself, sick of Blacks going on indymedia programs and saying "My brother Obama." Cornell West, he's not your brother. You're supposedly an educated man, not someone standing outside the Mobile station on a Friday night, drinking a 40. Act like an educated man and stop embarrassing our race because we don't need you 'helping' us like that. I am a very religious person, so why does the hair on the back of my neck stick up when West is trying to act like the stereotype of a preacher? Indymedia, can you please make a committment to interview educated African-Americans, to have them on as guests, who do not use the terms "brother" or go on and on about religion. Could that be a goal for 2008, to break that stereotype? I value my church tremendously but I'm sick of everytime a Black person is on Democracy Now! the show turns into That Old Time Gospel Hour.

Cedric: Support! And does Bill Moyers know that there are African-Americans who don't believe in God? He gets that wild eyed look in his eyes every time he goes off on religion. And he really loves doing it with his African-American guests. It's really kind of crazy and ripe for parody. Friday's interview contained serious elements of racism. And let's note, this was Ty's point, the 'race card' has been played repeatedly with Barack, who is bi-racial, to his favor.

Betty: And, it was three or four weeks ago when C.I. was passing on that the campaign was about to get even "Blacker" to get votes. C.I. went on to write about that in a Sunday "And the war drags on . . ." entry so hunt it down there. But it has. And the closer Barack gets to the south the more he starts trying to sound like a preacher. And, Bill Moyers, who not last Friday but the Friday before, was raving over that in such a way that I was embarrassed for him, that's not a good thing. I expect my preacher to tend to our chuch. I'm not looking to elect him to public office. I agree with Cedric completely. I like Moyers but I never feel more distant from him than when he's trying to shuck and jive and act like he 'gets' us. Such as when, last year in that speech independent media couldn't stop posting and playing, Moyers felt the need to speak "Black" and include a "Yes, massa," which really doesn't come off well from a White man his age. I really found that offensive and still do. So it was really surprising to hear him this Friday praise Bambi for affecting a southern drawl -- Bambi who grew up in Hawaii when not outside the US -- he states, "Hillary Clinton did the same thing by the way. She tried to." And Steele shoots back that it wasn't pleasant to listen to. No where is it noted that Hillary was quoting from, as she said in her Selma speech, James Clevland's "No Ways Tired." But it's cute that "she tried to" and Steele agrees it wasn't pleasant. I had no problem with Hillary's speech, I thought it was electrifying. I did not feel the same way about Moyers including "Yes, massa" in what he appeared to think was a Black person's way of speaking. And, if you'll note, we keep coming back to race and that's because we are a diverse group and we regularly address it. TruthDig and Consotrium News aren't interested in race. And they both lie and claim that Bambi's not playing a race card. Just by putting out that he's the supposedly first Black man, it's a race card. And it's really insulting to those of us who are Black -- I could never pass, my children can't pass -- that White people repeatedly want to say, "Bambi's transcended race." (A) I'm not sure that's anything to brag about -- though his tale of peeling off Black skin, which is sick, does imply that's always been his goal. (B) Unlike Bambi, I grew up in a Black church, in the south and I'm Black. Bambi wasn't raised out of the country and then in Hawaii which isn't known as a hot bed of race riots. He didn't discover the Black church until late in life. He makes a lot of Whites feel good about themselves and that's really all he has to offer. He's a fairy tale. He plays the race card to his benefit and I don't need some White old man telling me how Bambi's transcended and he's not playing the race card. I don't need an explanation on the Black reality from White Robert Scheer or White Robert Parry. Again, Erica Jong wisely grasped that Black women do not want her speaking for them. It's something that Parry and Scheer fail to get. They also fail to grasp that what was done to Hillary -- including by them -- was very real sexism. Parry especially writing about the 'tear.' There was no tear. I loved C.I.'s comment about how you cannot pull back the tears and if you're crying, you cry.

C.I.: Well it's very hard to do. Very few, I'm speaking of professional actors, can do it. Jane Fonda can do it. She can give a variety of crying performances. An incredible one is the final scene of The Morning After and when you realize how long that shot was and how she timed the moment for that tear, it's just amazing. Hillary's not an actress. She doesn't have the skill to fake that moment. She didn't cry, no tear ran down her face. Her eyes welled and that's as far as it got. So all of the men talking about 'tears' need to grab a clue. I'd love to see a camera placed on everyone and for them, in the midst of a crowd asking questions, be expected to have their eyes well up and to stop it. Hillary was genuine and it kills a lot of people to note that because they are so vested in hating her.

Dona: Could you talk about the 'cackle'?

C.I.: I know Hillary and that's her laugh when she's tired or nervous. It's not a cackle and it's not faked. But I mean, Rebecca's pointed this out, 'cackle,' cleavage. It's one thing after another. And it's sexism. Those who came to Hillary's defense last week were not all doing so because she was who they were backing for president. Ruth Conniff can't stand Hillary. But what we can all agree on is that sexism is very real and Hillary will rise or fall on her own merits and we won't allow her to be victimized by sexists. Calling out sexism didn't require support for Hillary. I want to repeat that because there are so many lies out there.

Kat: Including that Gloria Steinem was saying "All women must . . ." Steinem has never said "all women must" anything. So know what you're talking about before you go after Gloria.

Dona: Sorry, but I want C.I. on the record here. Robert Parry trashed Gloria and this is Parry, farting out of his old ass, "In a New York Times op-ed, feminist Gloria Steinem went so far as to argue that American women have suffered more political and economic discrimination than American black men." C.I.?

C.I.: We've delinked from Parry at The Common Ills. You don't lie about Gloria, you don't slam her. Friends have known that for years and I'll be damned if I'll 'live' online any differently than I do offline. First off, alleged journalists should grasp that Steinem did not write an "op-ed." She wrote a column. Op-ed refers to the op-ed pages, editorials and opinions, shortened as op-ed. Steinem didn't write an op-ed, she wrote a column. A journalist should know that. Steinem did not "argue that American women have suffered more political and economic discrimination than American black men." Try reading, Parry, it's informative. Gloria Steinem wrote, "I’m not advocating a competition for who has it toughest. The caste systems of sex and race are interdependent and can only be uprooted together." She is noting the very real sex barrier. Parry probably isn't educated enough to know about that or grasp what she's writing about. So he lies about her. His history, such as it is, is not unlike a number of left leaners or liberals: Racism was in the south! Racism was all across the country. Diana Ross grew up in Detroit, she can talk at length about those segrated counters. On segregation, long after the barrier was broken in public spaces, the gender barrier continued with it being okay not to admit women. Not only did it continue, it still exists. See Martha Burke this decade on the golfing club that wouldn't allow women to be members. Gloria was not saying, "African-American men have it easy!" She said no such thing. She did note that sexism is still tolerated today -- and it is -- in ways that racism isn't. As Rebecca noted, if the sign had said "Shine my shoes" and been held up at one of Obama's events, it would have been immediately called out. Instead it said "Iron My Shirt" and was held at a Hillary event. The left's response? Silence. After Mike rightly called it out and noted that men weren't writing about it, they weren't, you get Air Berman at The Nation, burying it in the last paragraphs of his blog post and then, at the end of the week, you get Parry minimizing it. A candidate running for president. "Iron My Shirt." It was offensive. It sent a message. The message wasn't called out when it happened and it goes to how devalued women still are in this society but most especially in independent media. But, that's the thing. It's gone on repeatedly. I know Rachel Maddow called out Chris Matthews last week and everyone wants to act like that's some significant moment. Taking nothing away from Maddow, you don't have to go to Matthews to find sexism. You don't have to go to cable TV. You can find it independent media and examples include The Nation magazine thinking that women's opinions matter so little -- or maybe that they're all ironing shirts -- that 2007 can produce 149 articles by women and 491 articles by men. You can find sexism at Air America Radio, Maddow's home, where women have repeatedly been fired -- on air women -- and the air waves that were once semi-gender equal are now dominated by men. Every show except Marty Kaplin's weekday show, when the network started, had a female co-host. As their ratings have sunk, they've lost those female co-hosts. It's basically Maddow and Randi Rhodes during the week. Do people not notice that? At Parry's own Consortium News, what's the ratio of women to men posted? It appears to be something like once in a blue moon we feature a woman, but here's Parry, his sons, the former CIA guy, a conservative man -- with an introduction from Parry about how important it is to get the other side which never includes the other side of gender. Look at Margaret Kimberley. If she were a man, she'd be invited on indymedia programs. If she were a White man, she'd be invited on many more. Instead, she's basically shoved aside. Look at Deepa Fernandes, anchoring a live Congressional hearing and being shut out of the discussion and having every point she raises -- on a live broadcast -- dismissed by one of her two co-achors. I don't mean Mitch by the way. It was by one male anchor. I'll be kind and avoid saying his name. Verna Avery Brooks would later have the exact same problem. Do we really want to keep pretending that the problem is something other than sexism? In the case of Verna, she's an African-American woman, Deepa's from Mumbai. Now Verna's a veteran broadcaster and her bonafides should be clear. Deepa is the future of Pacifica Radio though I don't think they've really grasped that. When both women are demeaned on air by the same White man, there's a problem and you can pretend it's not sexism all you want. I'd love to hear your 'alternative' theory. But in those cases, there are many more examples to provide of that man's sexism. And, that's the thing regarding the treatment of Hillary, no one came along screaming "Pig" because of one incident. It was a long series of incidents. It went from snide jokes to outright hatred and spilled over onto all women -- though Bambi groupies were more concerned about advancing their poster boy. Hillary's a War Hawk and why she is, I have no idea. I could offer theories. But the point is that Ava and I have repeatedly held her accountable. And Ava and I still haven't decided who we'll vote for. So this, in our cases, wasn't an example of Hillary supporters rushing to rescue their candidate. It was about the very real sexism that had gone from subtext to text, it was no longer hidden, but right out in the open. It had a pattern to it and it wasn't isolated cases. Women, and men -- I'll assume Bartcop called it out -- who spoke out were speaking out for fairness. Men, and teen queens, who refused to see the problem were wallowing in their ignorance.

Rebecca: Well said. And your voice is giving out. Again, I'm so sorry that you caught the bug from me. Regarding the points you were making, I flat out hate Hillary. I don't pretend otherwise. I've disliked her for years. I disliked her when you'd drag me along to the White House. So if I'm forced to defend her -- and with the attacks, I really was forced to defend her -- then it goes to exactly what you're talking about, the non-stop pattern of sexism that would be called out if it were racism but is not only allowed to slide instead, it also finds supposed left men joining in. Everyone knows I was a huge Robert Parry fan, until last week. I think what you wrote was really true. When they went after Gloria, they did us a huge favor. With Hillary, we could have wondered if it was just the hatred for one woman. When they were ready to go to town on Gloria and distort what she said, they really were revealing their true selves. Parry was calling Steinem's column "offensive." Learn to read.

Ruth: I will get e-mails on a comment C.I. made so I want to follow up. Deepa Fernades hosts WBAI's Wakeup Call Radio and she's very popular with young community members as well as with my grand children. So I'm not disagreeing that she could be the future of Pacifica. But I will get e-mails, since radio is my beat, asking about that, so could you just talk about that for a minute more.

C.I.: Yeah, thanks for pointing that out because you will get e-mails. As Ruth said, Deepa's hugely popular with community members period. But especially with younger members. Deepa speaks to them, not down to them. When we're speaking in the WBAI listening area, over the airwaves, it can be streamed anywhere, college students generally know Deepa and think favorably of her. She has raised awareness of the station among young people, an important thing for WBAI. And they may appreciate her, hopefully they do. However, she is still not being utilized by Pacifica nationally in the way that she should be. Deepa is your co-host on special programming. She has a voice perfect for radio and she boils it down to the essance live. She is the future for Pacifica if it's going to grow. She is a new voice for a new generation. That's not an insult of older voices or denying their importance. It is saying if I was on the Pacifica board, every time there was a national programming special, my first question would be, "Can we get Deepa on this?" or, better yet, "How do we get Deepa on this?" As a general rule, with the exception of each year's Pacifica Radio Archives special, I think we see men dominating the airwaves. Amy Goodman, who is the most well known voice of Pacifica, has a daily show to do, among other things, so I always remember that when she's not anchoring or co-anchoring. But when I'm hearing two or more men and I'm being bored out of my mind with minute details that are not pertinent, I'm always wondering why the Pacifica women are not better utilized. To name other strong women -- not a complete list and I'll focus on the East Coast since I live on the West so that no one can say, "Why didn't you name ___?" -- Heidi Boghosian does outstanding work. If tomorrow she decided "I'm sick of the law" and wanted to become broadcaster, she could do that in the mainstream as well as in independent media. I'd also give high marks, and then some, to Dalia Hashad. Janet Coleman is a pro. She can handle anything from a guest who goes nuts to technical problems and never lose her footing on air. I could go on but let me pull a Kat and say, "The other names on the list are the ones you were thinking of!" All of those women are strong. They all add to and enrich the listening experience. Deepa's a new talent that ten or so years back wouldn't have been recognized. She's very much of today and Pacifica needs her to bring in new listeners so that the pool doesn't just vanish when older listeners die off. Did that answer the question, Ruth?

Ruth: Yes, I think I so.

Mike: I'll just jump in to add that she's one of my favorites. She brings a real excitement when she's on. I don't mean 'fun' because I don't want people who don't know her to think she's telling jokes or clowning. She just gets really into the discussions or the topics and, sorry WBAI, there are some shows that I try to listen to and, an hour or so later, I'll remember it was playing. I will have zoned out on it.

Dona: I think we could, pulling from all the Pacifica Radio stations, come up with an impressive list of talented women who address real issues. I'd put Boghosian and Hashad at the top of the list. So the question is why these women are not featured as guests on other Pacifica programs -- they seem to be ghettoized into their slotted time while Pacifica males travel from program to program as guests -- and why print independent media can't seem to find women with both hands. On that, and I know we need to rap up, C.I.'s got a rasp now and this has gone on so long, but I want to discuss Lotta Links. Lotta Links offers nothing but a webpage of links, day after day, and women are seldom to be found on that page. As C.I. noted, Lotta Links felt the need to do 'original content' and inform us, after New Hampshire, that we didn't need to go into 'identity politics.' Of course, that wasn't a concern with Iowa. But a woman wins and Lotta Links feels the need to give a lecture, from a man, to all women. I think that goes to the patronizing attitude on display in independent media towards women.

Elaine: I would agree. And loved C.I.'s comment about how it wasn't like women in New Hampshire spent all day thinking about the strappie they wanted to buy and then, in two minutes, said, "Oh, primary day, I'll vote for Hillary!" It was so insulting and it goes towards the disrespect for women voters and for female candidates.

Ava: Elaine's not done but I want to jump in real quick to note that Lotta Links linked, after that 'editorial'/lecture, to a man who is a sexist and is strongly anti-choice. I'm sure that the allegedly left site didn't think twice, they don't look back. And that was a clue to the journalist for anyone wondering.

Elaine: I know who you mean. Bob Casey Sr.'s best friend. But that lecture was also insulting to the voters of New Hampshire because men did vote for Hillary. It wasn't just women. She won more of their support than did Obama. But she had the support of men and she had the support of the base. The lecture refused to acknowledge that and it also fits with the long efforts to step away from the party's base. I agree with Mike that the 'recount' nonsense is nonsense. I'm not voting Hillary in the primary, by the way. I think it's amazing that New Hampshire voters are being portrayed so dumbly by the media. Did anyone ever consider that they just thought Hillary was the best candidate out there? Or is it impossible for them to grasp that because we're talking about a woman? Hillary's not my candidate but of the three front runners, she is strongest. If Gravel's still in the race, for any wondering, I plan to vote for him. I know he doesn't stand a chance but he was there speaking out against Vietnam and he speaks out against Iraq today. Otherwise, I may go over to the Green Party, which will be holding a primary in my state. Then again, just to stick it to The Nation, I might go ahead and vote Hillary in the primary if Gravel drops out. Independent media, not the right-wing, made 2007 all about how evil Hillary Clinton is. The base in New Hampshire rejected that argument. I guess The Nation isn't as all powerful as it would like to be? Possibly because when you do nothing on Iraq, people against the war really have no need for you?

Jim: Well said. And Katrina's 'thank you and you and you' e-mail was a joke last week. I don't know how many saw that but it was a huge joke. I loved how Italian currency was in the return address. Now we're going to wind down and I'm going to toss to Mike and Wally and Cedric. Or really just Mike and Wally. Cedric's decided on Hillary and we all respect Cedric's decision. But until Cedric decided, the three of them were trying very hard to support John Edwards. So Wally and Mike, what does John Edwards have to do to firm up your support?

Wally: There are two real issues. And Mike's covered one of them repeatedly and Cedric and I have as well. That's the weakness factor. He won't fight Obama. He's been punked onstage by Obama last year and he just took it. That was bad enough. But then there's the fact that he spends his debate time running an Obama fan club. It looks pathetic and he looks weak.

Mike: I'd agree with that and point out that his wife is actually stronger there. She can, and has, criticized both Hillary and Obama. Strongly. John Edwards acts like he's really hoping Bambi will ask him to prom. It's a HUGE deal on my campus among men. That's in Big Mass and true of Florida as well.

Wally: Not a day goes by that guys on my campus aren't talking about it but Florida's actually the 'bigger state,' Mike. We're joking with each other, a running joke we do, before anyone gets offended or Florida residents start thinking that Mike's anti-Florida. But it's this big question mark and it goes to his lousy performance in the 2004 vice-presidential debate where he refused to really call out Dick Cheney. As C.I.'s noted, bloggers saved Edwards ass by immediately posting the times Cheney had met with Edwards. Edwards didn't defend himself. If someone won't defend themselves, how can they defend you?

Mike: That's the question. Obviously, people who don't stick up for themselves frequently stick up for others. But the apperance is 'weak.' When you add in that he's repeatedly gone after Hillary Clinton, the impression comes off as John Edwards is scared to take on men but comfortable attacking women. He needs to stop praising Bambi and he needs to start calling him out. Otherwise, he's too weak.

Wally: And the illegal war is the other big issue. He gets a headline or two for speaking out and then he doesn't follow up. It comes off like he doesn't have a focus.

Rebecca: And there's the non-issue of the hair cut. As long as we're talking Edwards. That was also brought up by the editorial board and I think it was Ava who asked, "Are you really going to discuss a hair cut?" And, yes, the board was. So when you put that in with other flaws, and the media will, he's just too weak. I said months ago, before he attacked Hillary, that he was coming off too weak in the debates and he needed to call out Obama. He didn't and he has continued to come off weak. Matthew Rothschild thinks he comes off articulate. No one gives a damn about articulate. If they did, there would have been a national uproar when Bully Boy seized the White House. They want to see that you're a fighter.

Cedric: And they'll just say, if Edwards got the nomination and was debating the GOP candidate, "Well, he's a lawyer. Of course he knows how to make points."

Mike: Agreed.

Jim: Okay. That's the roundtable.

Ty: No, it's not. My topic was Hillary and LBJ and the way that the Bambi campaign and its stooges are trying to spin that as racism. Hillary rightly noted that LBJ signed legislation. MLK made equality and fairness his life's work and Hillary before and after has paid tribute to Dr. King's work; however, she is running for president and her comment was what presidents do or do not do. The conventional, accepted wisdom is that LBJ's signing -- and passing, he knew how to strong arm Congress -- of that legislation meant that the Democratic Party was writing off most southern voters for decades. Southern Whites were thought to be lost. It's equally true that working class Whites elsewhere in the United States took offense and we can see that in the backlash that followed. Hillary, running for president, was pointing out the powers a president can have. I think it's a huge disservice to the Civil Rights Movement and to history to fail to give credit to LBJ for signing that legislation. LBJ's not perfect and he's not one of my heroes but the Bambi campaign and their stooges need to cut out the nonsense. If LBJ's actions are noted today, they are noted as a warning by the mainstream. Hillary's remarks put his actions into context.

Betty: I agree with you 100%. The Bambi crowd is trying to drum up a phony issue going into South Carolina and they're distorting history to do so. At that moment, we needed bravery and LBJ showed it. I personally don't care for him on any other issue but, in that regard, I give him tremendous credit. This goes back to C.I. telling us weeks ago how the Bambi campaign was geared up to make South Carolina all about race. It'll be interesting to see how quickly that vanishes as other primaries show up. We need to note the reality that there was huge Congressional opposition to that legislation from those representing Southern districts, those in the Democratic Party. LBJ was from Texas and was not unfamiliar with that response. He could have vetoed the legislation. He chose to sign it and created committees and, of course, the programs that fall under the Great Society.

Jim: Dona's passed me a note. This is our key piece. Ava and C.I. are going to try to do a TV commentary, but note that C.I. is really sick. If you don't see one, that's why. We'll also try to do an editorial and while they're working on the TV commentary, we'll try to start some short pieces.
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