Sunday, May 18, 2008

Truest statement of the week

"I won't miss reading another treatise by a man or woman, of the left or right, who says that sexism has had not even a teeny-weeny bit of influence on the course of the Democratic campaign."
-- Marie Cocco "Misogny I Won't Miss" (May 15, 2008, Washington Post).

A note to our readers

Hey --
Sunday. Barely. Everything's up but the note that's being written.

Here's who helped out plus Dallas:

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,
Wally of The Daily Jot,

We thank them all. What have we got. As Ava and C.I. point out, the agreement was no more than seven features this week (counting the note). The agreement was supposed to have been followed and was not.

Truest statement of the week -- We went with Marie Cocco. Read her column and see why.

Editorial: The teachable moment -- Ava and C.I. were in Puerto Rico this weekend, Dona, Ty, Jess and me (Jim) were in Oregon. Hence the concerns for doing the edition quickly. Didn't happen. This editorial is not the editorial in the print version. This was actually a feature story that we added to (and took somethings out) to make the editorial and did it tonight. Redoing the editorial did not go over well with Ava and C.I. To put it mildly. This is a strong editorial but we were supposed to be done by 8:00 a.m. EST when Ava and C.I. had to be out the door. Instead we regrouped. This was one of the pieces we reworked.

TV: The return of I Dream of Jeannie -- Ava and C.I. point out that they completed this at 2:00 a.m. EST Sunday morning. Meaning, don't blame them for the delays. They left the roundtable to write this. They were going to focus on Washington Week and to be brief but we begged and begged them to include FAIR's CounterSpin. It's kind of big news. Panhandle Media's declaring war on liberals as they rush to promote Barack even more. Ava and C.I. did it. They did it damn well. It's funny, it's hard hitting and where they got the idea for I Dream of Jeannie, only they know but it works perfectly.

Ty's Point of View -- We had many topics to cover this weekend and on the list of seven musts was the verdict. At 7:49 a.m. EST, Ava and C.I. said this article had to be written. They were speaking in eleven minutes and didn't have time to participate. Ty said he'd write something and he ended up writing a great piece which is why it's bumped so far up. The understanding was Ty would write this piece while we got the other things posted but that didn't work out due to Flickr problems and other things and soon it was time for us to go speak. So nothing was up. When Ava and C.I. learned that this evening, they were shocked. ("Loudly shocked," adds Ava.) The rest of us had decided that the editorial needed to be scrapped and the IVAW feature article pulled to use for this and that other topics needed to be covered, chiefly John Edwards.

Roundtable -- This was the first thing we did. It went easily enough although with Ava and C.I. out of it early on (to go write their piece), I ended up not using topics I'd asked C.I. not to comment on at TCI so we could use them here. I am sure I will be reminded of that frequently this week. C.I. just reminded to include a point Dallas wanted made. Susan of Random Notes gets a link to her site but she was going to be linked to for her Edwards commentary; however, Dallas was on his laptop and Susan has so many videos posted and so many posts on the main page that there were huge problems with her page loading and Dallas had to finally give up after repeated Adobe script errors (due to the videos). We are trying to work e-mails into our roundtables and we do hope to return to "Mailbag" soon.

Dahr Jamail doesn't know how to research -- Jar Jar wrote a bad-bad article. Someone e-mailed it to us and I'll credit them next week but we're tired and no one remembers who e-mailed it. It may be credited in the article. Regardless, he's steals Stephen Zunes false claim and passes it off as his own. Both Jar-Jar and Loony Zunes were wrong. It was wrong in March, it's wrong today. Learn to research.

Come out of your closets before you Awake and Sing... --This is the problem. This is why we regrouped. Readers of the print version (our friends from college) loved this. I had 15 voice mails about this on my cell and Dona and Ty had voicemails as well. (Jess isn't checking his cell today.) This needs to be an editorial was the consensus. It needs to be expanded. We carried some portions of it into the editorial but otherwise left it as it was for the online version.

John Edwards: Professional Boy-Toy -- This was a piece when we regrouped. It wouldn't have been written were it not for Isaiah's comic. Rebecca posted the comic (at TCI) for C.I. and C.I. and Ava were adament that they were tired, that something needed to go up at The Common Ills and that the promise was 7 features this week due to everyone being on the road. When I mentioned Isaiah's comic (which C.I. hadn't seen), I could tell there was a shift and I pressed that. They finally agreed (provided Isaiah's comic was at the top of the article).

Liars & Losers -- We're tired. I wrote all the headlines and obviously picked this one wrong because no one can remember what this feature article is about. Ava and C.I. pulled it up and say it's Katie and Gary. Oh yeah. The liars and losers.

3 Things -- Three highlights.

Highlights -- Mike, Ruth, Wally, Marcia, Cedric, Betty, Kat, Rebecca and Elaine wrote this and we thank them for it.

That's it, we'll see you next week.

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

Editorial: The teachable moment

"At the first Winter Soldier in 1971 one of the vets held up a similar photograph and said, 'Don't ever let your government do this to you. Don't ever let your government put you in a position where this attitude towards death and this disregard for human life is acceptable or common'. And yet we are still doing this to service members every day as long as this occupation continues," Adam Kokesh informed Congress on Thursday.

Iraq Veterans Against the War, including co-chair Kokesh and executive director Kelly Dougherty, were testifying to the Congressional Progressive Caucus which is chaired by Lynn Woolsey, Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee. The three deserve credit not only for calling the hearing but also for remembering what the purpose of the hearing was: Iraq.

As Woolsey noted at the start of the hearing, "You know around here in recent months, we've heard from General David Petraeus, we've heard from Ambassador Ryan Crocker, we've heard from the White House over and over again. And they're all armed with PowerPoint presentations, they're armed with colorful posters, and all the language trying to convince us after five years we are finally making progress in Iraq. Well we know that's not so and what makes this morning so unique is that we now have an opportunity to hear from -- not the military's top brass, but directly from you, the very soldiers who put your lives on the line to carry out this president's failed policies."

It was a strong point and one that only underscored the failure of Panhandle Media aka 'independent' media. Didn't they turn out all in full force for The Petraeus & Crocker Variety Hour's two days. Among others, there was little Spency Ackerman 'live blogging' -- intentionally missing Hillary Clinton's comments and questions because he loves him so Barack. In fact, that's how the bulk of them played it, who they liked, who they didn't. Not what information was produced, not what questions were asked. It was pick favorites. And that's why the Iraq War drags on. The women in Congress who participated in the hearings -- the three chairs, Sheila Jackson Lee and Marcy Kanbur -- deserve credit for staying focused. They are all Democrats and all but one has publicly announced whom they are supporting in the Democratic primary. They are not all on the same page. However, they kept the focus on Iraq. The lone male to participate couldn't do that and felt the need to get a jab in at Hillary. It was unprofessional, it lowered the quality of Congressional participation and it's just that sort of crap that drags the war on.

Credit and resources. KPFA, along with CSPAN3, broadcast the hearing live (click here for KPFA's archived broadcast). In March, Iraq Veterans Against the War held their Winter Soldier Investigation and it was broadcast at War Comes Home (which we consider to be Aaron Glatnz' site), at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA, here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday with Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Glantz anchoring Pacifica's live coverage. (It was also broadcast at the IVAW site.) Allison and Glantz also anchored a live report on KPFA about the lawsuit against the VA on April 22nd. If you've missed any of the testimonies, those are links you can use to catch up. WBAI? During Winter Soldier, they decided they rather spin golden oldies on Saturday than broadcast the hearings. On Thursday, they (as usual) let Amy Goodman babble on past her time limit (which is pissing off other programmers who not only have to stick to the time limited schedule but later have to hear how much money Goody raises), it was then time for Bernard and buddy to make jokes and small talk. Why is that a problem? Thursday's hearing weren't broadcast in full on WBAI. The 'station' decided to join the hearing in progress and Bernard and buddy never thought for a moment how jarring their smooth, jokey patter was at ended and WBAI went straight to a veteran testifying about horrors he had witnessed.

If there's a way to disgrace themselves, WBAI seems determined to find it. That should probably be their new slogan. They're far from alone.

For most 'independent' outlets it wasn't news on Thursday or Friday (when they could have played catch up). Nor was what followed the hearing, a public announcement. From IVAW:

Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, who served in the Army until being honorably discharged last summer after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Phillipines, today publicly announced his intention to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq.
Sgt. Chiroux made made his announcement in the Cannon House Office Building Rotunda after members of Iraq Veterans Against the War testified before the Congressional Progressive Caucus during
Winter Soldier on the Hill.
To donate to IVAW's Legal Fund to support Matthis and other servicemembers who are refusing to support the occupation of Iraq, use our
online donation form and select "Legal Fund" under special projects.
If you would like to send a message of support to Sgt Matthis Chiroux, email

To the surprise of only the ones who haven't been paying attention, "movement child" (not the peace movement, kids) Amy Goodman couldn't be bothered with interviewing Chrioux. The Nation institute forked over $500,000 to Amy Goodman in December of 2006 and she never covered war resisters again. That is apparently the going rate for silence, $500,000. Not only did she not interview him, she didn't mention him in headlines. In fact, she didn't mention the hearing at all in her dopey headlines.

And there's your problem with the radicals who went public with their attack on liberals and liberalism Friday on FAIR's CounterSpin, as Peter Hart and Socialist Bill Fletcher Jr. (posing as a Democrat) made clear their disdain and dislike for liberals.

Are we off topic? No, we're not. Panhandle Media has poisoned the well and it's prolonged the illegal war. All the "radicals" and "progressives" have never been about ending the illegal war. They've been about a fundamental change in global structures and systems. That's why Goody ignored the hearing and devoted her attention (in lengthy segments) to Israel. That's why, in the summer of 2006, when various people were supposed to be focused on Iraq, it dropped off the radar. Do you forget that summer? Jar-Jar Blinks (Dahr Jamail) was raising funds to go to Iraq and report from there. CODESTINK had declared their idiotic FAST FOR PEACE and vowed they would continue it no matter what. (Diane Wilson said she would stay on it until all the troops came home.) Panhandle Media's attention was waning. They were hoping to make the Mexican elections the big international story (never happened). CODESTINK announced they were going to Jordan to meet with Iraqi Parliamentarians. That was the excuse for calling off the fast (one that should never have been called by a women's organization in a country where eating disorders run wild).

Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing would take place in August and so would the Article 32 hearing into the gang-rape and murder of fourteen-year-old Abeer, the murder of her parents and the murder of her five-year-old sister -- all crimes committed by US soldiers.

It should have been quite the month of coverage but Israel and Lebanon became the story. Hour after hour, program after program, there was Goody yammering on, Goody and all the rest. CODESTINK came back to America months later. Andrea Lewis interviewed I-Need-Attention Benjamin who babbled on and on about Lebanon and the horrors she had witnessed. If Lewis hadn't asked her, Benjmain never would have even mentioned Iraq.

Horrors that had already been covered on KPFA (and at all other outlets) for over six weeks and the assault had ceased; however, the illegal war dragged on and I-Need-Attention wasn't overly interested in that.

Last week, IVAW testified on Thursday the 15th. The day prior, CODESTINK sent out a mass e-mailing. Getting the word out on the hearing?

No. Announcing a banner drop! On Iraq? No. Time for another pet issue: Impeachment.

Now we'd love to see Bully Boy, Cheney and all of them impeached. But we're not stupid. We find it hard to believe CODESTINK is so stupid. Congress isn't going to impeach (unless Bully Boy declares war on Iran). They're focused on their own elections, they're not going to do much of anything in the coming months. So CODESTINK is wasting everyone's time with their pet issue that they have to know is not happening.

There is neither the support nor the votes in Congress for impeachment. It is a dead issue (barring Bully Boy bombing Iran). As wasteful as their mass e-mailing was, so was the date they picked to push impeachment: Memorial Day.

That is correct. Allegedly wanting to end the illegal war CODESTINK will showboat on Memorial Day for impeachment. On Friday, someone told CODESTINK the House of Representatives voted the day prior on funding the illegal war. "YOU DID IT!" proclaimed their Friday morning e-mail (7:44 a.m. EST). Well they certainly couldn't say "WE," now could they? Not after they forgot to contact their members about the vote.

They had time for Earth Day in April and for awarding Jimmy Carter a "Pink Badge" (Israel), they've always got time to rush from here to there (and not just them, all the groups supposedly wanting to end the illegal war and all the 'independent' media), they just never have time to make Iraq their top priority.

And that's why the illegal war drags on. Now, on their end, what they're trying to do is to indoctrinate. They say it's all related, it's all connected. And they've spent five years trying to play connect the dots and that hasn't ended the illegal war, has it?

They botched the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina because they couldn't figure out whether they were telling the tale of tragic victims or corporations run wild. They veered back and forth over and over with no constitency and the end result is that September marks the third anniversary and the bulk of America really doesn't care all that much now. The bulk feels: "Three years ago, people should be getting on with their lives."

That reaction is their own fault. Their coverage ensured that. Amping the outrage for the victims over and over ("Babies!") and then either dropping it completely (Panhandle Media really wants to see an end to Israel and that desire outranks even protecting Fidel or Hugo) for another story or trying to walk it back from the victims' suffering with a, "Look who's making money off Katrina!" report.

"I get to wake up every morning, put on that black t-shirt and work to bring the troops home, take care of them when they get home and make sure that Iraqis receive reparations. That is what keeps me going, gets my head off the pillow, every morning," answered Geoffrey Millard in response to Woolsey's question about how he copes with what he saw in Iraq.

It's a shame our 'leaders' in 'independent' media don't have the same work ethic.

If they did, the illegal war might be over now. But it's off to Israel, passport stamp from Cuba, on and on and on. They're doing it for the Party (not the Democratic Party), you understand. They will, by golly, radicalize America.

If a few more thousands US service members and another million Iraqis die, well, that's okay with them. The deaths can be used. They can be "dots" that Panhandle Media can connect to the suffering elsewhere. Over and over again.

They've blown their credibility. They've also demonstrated that they cannot connect the dots. Or maybe just that Americans don't really care about all the dots?

Where the people are is wanting the illegal war ended. Instead of ensuring that by focusing on it, it's time to trot out various 'experts' who will yammer on about various topics and, if you're lucky, as an aside, somewhere in a twenty-minutes or more interview, Iraq will be mentioned for a few seconds.

Five years later and Pacfica still doesn't have a show -- even one weekly half-hour -- whose focus is Iraq. Five years later and The Nation has how many blogs now and not one of them is focused on Iraq. Five years later and the illegal war drags on.

"Take Back America!" and assorted other slogans should have alarmed you because the 'leaders' of that 'movement' were nearly as vague as Barack Obama. But in conference after conference, we've seen Iraq not even rating a panel. "It can be brought into something else," they insist. Dots. Yeah, they can put off one of the dots.

Iraq's not a dot. It's an ongoing, illegal war and the US started it. It is has resulted in the biggest refugee crisis on the planet. The weapons used there contribute to global warming. Over a million Iraqis slaughtered. These aren't dots. This is the big picture.

And in their refusal to treat it as such, Panhandle Media demonstrates that Iraq is only a tool they can use to 'educate.'

'Educate' and elect. They all love pimping Bambi, don't they. They tell any lie. (Jar-Jar's called out this edition for one lie.) They'll offer any smear. They'll over fairytale excuses for Barack's taking of big money (Allan Nairn said it was because he fears they'd come after if he didn't), or for supporting Barack (Dave Lindorff says Barack risked jail, as a 'Black' man, to do drugs), or for his pro-stance on mercenaries (see Jeremey Scahill), they slam Hillary for her vote on the Iran resolution (while failing to note that not only did Barack refuse to show for the vote, he introduced similar legislation himself) because that's what it's all about for them: everything but Iraq.

In the hearings, C.I. caught something. Sheila Jackson Lee referenced a proposal she'd introduced, Military Success in Iraq and Diplomatic Surge for National and Political Reconciliation in Iraq Act of 2007. Read it or listen to her remarks via KPFA's archived broadcast. And think about how Cindy Sheehan ripped Hillary apart. Don't count on Cindy doing the same with Sheila Jackson Lee, there's a different standard for Hillary. That's what happens to real Democrats. Faux ones can call for the downfall of Hugo Chavez and the radicals won't even make a peep. (Barack has repeatedly called for it.)

The Iraq War gets lost every day. The big story for Panhandle Media these days is pimping Bambi and tearing down Hillary. That's not ending the illegal war but that's not what they care about.

When the illegal war finally ends (and it will), look back on it and remember how many refused to challenge it in their own forums. Grasp how important it was to them day after day. A hearing took place on Thursday and you may not have even known. It goes to the laughable claim that we have an 'independent' media in this country.

For more on the hearing, see C.I.'s Thursday Iraq snapshot" and Friday "Iraq snapshot" as well as Trina's "Contentment in the Kitchen," Rebecca's "sergio korchergin speaks to congress,"
Betty's "A red day," Ruth's "Sgt. Adam Kokesh speaks to Congress," Kat's "Luis Montalvan," Marcia's "Vincent Emanuele testifies to Congress," Elaine's "IVAW's Vincent Emanuele testifies to Congress" and Mike's "IVAW's James Gilligan speaks to Congress."

TV: The return of I Dream of Jeannie

Ourselves, we were always Bewitched fans. For many reasons including the fact that, outside of Roseanne, you'd be hard pressed to name another half-hour network show that featured more female regulars. I Dream of Jeannie had Barbara Eden and not much else. While the wonderful Elizabeth Montgomery's Samantha was engaged in the world, raising children, etc., Jeannie more or less was a spouse who just hit the bottle while Tony did whatever he wanted. Who knew Larry Hagman was playing Ted Kennedy?


So it was a little shocking last week to grasp that I Dream of Jeannie could be seen as a template for two half-hour programs airing today -- one on TV, the other on radio. On PBS, Gwen Ifill is clearly attempting to be the Jeannie most are familiar with. She grins a great deal and pretends to master whatever the mortals are discussing. So it was no surprise to see her on Friday devote a half-hour to spin. Not questioning it, not examining it, just wallowing in it as assorted gas bags tossed out nonsense.

Hillary Clinton won West Virginia and that was dismissed . . . Well, because the press dismissed it. The gas bags told you it wasn't important because . . . the media declared it unimportant. Excitedly citing Barack Obama's evening news timed announcement with aging boy-toy John Edwards, it was gas bag city. Should the networks have gone live to that? It was a question the gas bags didn't ask and Jeannie Gwen avoided.

What did the win say? There was no time wasted examining that. It was all as if you were watching five teenagers texting "OMG". They quickly moved on to how Barack Obama will probably announce Tuesday that he's the nominee. Did they question that?

Of course not.

They live to hate Hillary (and Gwen lives to fit in) so they didn't even take the time to point out the damage to the Democratic Party if that takes place. No, we're not just talking about a splintering party splintering even more. We're talking about money. We're talking about spending. As The New York Times reported last week, the RNC has raised $31 million so far to spend on their candidate (presumably John McCain) in the general election while the DNC has only $6 million on hand. If Barack declares himself the nominee on Tuesday, there's a good chance that $6 million will have to be used from Tuesday through the election.

See, if Barack declares himself the candidate while another candidate is still in the race (one who has now pulled ahead of him in the popular vote), he is circumventing the process to become the nominee. If the DNC does not call him out on it, then they are going along with and designating a nominee before the race was over and while another candidate was still in the race. Point? Such an act would mean Barack was no longer in the primary, that the DNC had declared their candidate and that federal guidelines for a general election now applied.

No, you insist, that only happens once the convention is held!

We'd encourage you to read Dan Balz and Thomas E. Edsall's "Kerry Ponders Delay in Party Nod" from May 22, 2004. In it, The Washington Post's Balz and Edsall explain how the DNC and John Kerry campaign, worried that they would enter the general election sooner than the GOP due to the party conventions scheduled dates, were toying with the idea of holding the convention in July as planned but not declaring Kerry the nominee until after the convention: "Campaign officials confirmed that they are actively considering an extraordinary plan, under which Kerry would not be formally nominated at the Democratic National Convention in late July and instead would be designated as the party's nominee weeks later, around the time of the Republican convention at the end of August." So if Barack declares himself the nominee on Tuesday and is not rebuked by the DNC for such an action, don't be surprised when Republicans begin filing complaints with the FEC and insisting that the DNC allowing Barack to anoint himself the nominee in the midst of a competitive race was the same as an acceptance speech and that, therefore, rules for general election spending now apply to Barack.

That would have been a very interesting discussion for Washington Week to offer but they don't offer interesting discussions, they just give play-by-play of the horse race while Gwen beams like Jeannie.

Jeannie had a sister, an evil one, also named Jeannie. And we think of FAIR's CounterSpin as that character. While Gwen beams and blinks as fluff flies around her, CounterSpin actively promotes fluff while pretending they're offering some reality.

The 'look at recent news' ("the week's press" in a week ending on Thursday because that's when they record the show) was interesting this week and really interesting depending on how you listened to the program. If, for example, you went to the FAIR website, you heard a completely different broadcast than what WBAI listeners heard on Friday. On WBAI, CounterSpin was 'live' for the pledge cycle. So the hosts were Peter Hart and Janine Jackson. In the same episode (or same talking points) sent out across the country, Hart and Steve Rendell hosted.

Peter Hart covered a story on the episode the rest of the country got while Janine Jackson covered it live on WBAI. It was about Carol Williams' Los Angeles Times article on Luis Posada Carriles. Kind of. In the broadcast version, Hart referred to a "letter" and listeners might have wondered what all of that was about? Jackson, doing a more 'high-octane' version, let it slip that the exchange between Williams and a reader were e-mails. So FAIR's now exposing private e-mails?

What do you mean now? One of us was the recipient of private e-mails to FAIR from a journalist -- ones that were never requested, just forwarded. That e-mail was responded to by Jess. Jess' e-mail was passed on by the curiously named FAIR to The Nation magazine. FAIR's right up there with Richard Nixon, if you ask us. In sending out a journalists e-mails (plural), they didn't have his permission. In passing on Jess' e-mail, they didn't have permission. On the broadcast (recorded) version, they probably confused people with talk of 'letters.' Jackson was allowing for no confusion and thought she was doing stand-up -- ham-fisted stand-up -- and we will assume that she figured Carol Williams and The Los Angeles Times would never know what was done over NYC airwaves.

LCP is a terrorist. Williams did not identify him as such in her article. She responded to an e-mail asking why that was by explaining that LCP's legal counsel was now stating that he did not have a strong enough grasp of English and misunderstood the question. She explained it was "cumbersome" to go through all of that. Whether you agreed with her on the "cumbersome" aspect or not, she did take the time to respond and was, in fact, in agreement on the issue. So ridiculing her e-mail -- as Jackson especially did -- was pretty low. LCP is litigious and what Williams appeared to be referring to was the back and forth that might ensue had she labeled him a terrorist (LCP's legal team demanding a correction from the paper). That reality never entered into Hart or Jackson's recorded or live 'analysis.'

The e-mail Jess wrote was attempting to be nice as well. FAIR had 'discovered' a news story weeks and weeks after it had already been addressed at The Common Ills. Rebecca had called it "theft" and called FAIR out on it. Instead of writing Rebecca or even writing to Rebecca through the public account at The Common Ills (Rebecca does have her own e-mail account), FAIR thought the thing to do was to whine (to C.I.) at the public account of The Common Ills. And to supply a journalists e-mails. We think, and have stated without naming FAIR, that Jess is owed an apology for his e-mail being forwarded. (C.I. heard about the forward from The Nation and got a copy of it from The Nation.) FAIR never saw fit to apologize to Jess and why that is, why they felt the need to forward what Jess assumed was a private e-mail to a FAIR member in a panic (they don't like to be called out for theft), appears clear having listened to Jackson's attempt to channel Jackie Mason. Maybe she thought she was onstage at The Green Room Theater on Bleecker?

In the recorded program, Rendell labeled support for Hillary "centrist" and in the live broadcast Hart did. Not a surprise when you consider how the organization called "FAIR" has been silent on the rampant sexism during this campaign cycle. It should also be noted that since the start of this year (when primary season began), CounterSpin has featured 32 males as guests (including co-host Peter Hart who was a "guest" -- billed as such -- for the January 11th broadcast and interviewed by Rendell and Jackson) and only 6 females. That doesn't sound very "FAIR," does it? 19 episodes, two guests per episode. In 19 weeks, FAIR has demonstrated that women have a right to be heard . . . almost one-fifth of the time. In October of 2006, we were calling out the imbalance on CounterSpin while noting that FAIR was calling out PBS' NewsHour for featuring "four times as many male sources as women." FAIR's currently doing a worse job than The NewsHour and, back in 2006, they found the one-fourth figure appalling. Today, they just stay silent on sexism and promote Barack non-stop via their "media advisory" e-mailings.

They see racism everywhere and Hart and Rendall (in live and recorded form) would both call out Sean Wilentz "diatribe" noting how the Barack campaign had consistently cried "racism" in this election cycle. (See Wilentz' "Race Man" at The New Republic). They'd insult him as a Clinton supporter (an ugly thing to be in the mind of FAIR) and as a "centrist" but some may have puzzled over the sneering charge of "liberal." Isn't liberal a good thing?

Oh, cookie, you've been out of the loop too long. 1968, endlessly celebrated by lazy media (see Time's cover story and Amy Goodman's nonsense) was reached in 2005. We're now up to 1972 and "liberal" wasn't just something Phil Ochs was ridiculing, it was ridiculed by all the radicals -- be they Communists, Socialists or anarchists. Which is FAIR?

You got an example of it when they interviewed the increasingly silly Bill Fletcher Jr. He already embarrassed himself whining that "red-baiting" was going on to Amy Goodman weeks ago. He was back to float that false charge on CounterSpin. Criticism of Barack's spiritual advisor and pastor was "red-baiting." We weren't aware of anyone calling Wright a Communist. Did we miss it?

No, Fletcher sees "red-baiting" everywhere. Or feels the need to talk of it constantly. It's the old Freudian axiom about the criminal having the compulsion to confess. Fletcher was slamming conservatives and liberals. And that might have struck listeners (of the recorded or live versions) as strange but he was 'helpful' and explained he himself was a "progressive" and a "leftist." Those are certainly interesting words. Bill Fletcher Jr. is a Socialist and there was a time when he had no trouble admitting it -- just like he had no trouble publicly praising the Communist Party for what he saw as their accomplishment in helping to end apartheid in South Africa. But that was years ago and it's really important that the words Socialist and Communist not be used today. Apparently a memo was sent out which is why so many of Barack's 'supporters' in Panhandle Media are now "Democrats." We're guessing the memo explained: "If you don't word it carefully, it will be clear how much Red support Barack has and how an orchestrated campaign is taking place to create the myth of a 'movement'."

So there was Bill Jr. pretending to be a progressive, disowning his previous public disclosures of being a Socialist, slamming conservatives and liberals for their 'attacks' on Jeremiah Wright, insisting the press had no reason to focus on Wright. Who was focusing on Wright? Isn't that a bit of stale topic by now? We aware of the rumors that Michelle is amen-ing and adding to a Wright sermon and that video exists of that. But really, what was the point?

When the press (the Real Press) was recently focusing on Wright there was the fact that Wright was in the midst of a publicity tour. Forget Peter Hart's shameful statements that the whole matter was resolved with Barack's laughable speech in Philadelphia, Wright went on a publicity tour. Wright, Fletch insisted, was never a part of Barack's campaign. He wasn't speaking for the campaign and he wasn't part of the campaign. He was just, you know this is coming, like family.

Forget that Wright was pulled at the last minute from Barack's ceremony announcing his campaign for the presidential nomination. There's also the fact that Wright served on "Obama African American Religious Leadership Committee" for his primary run (Wright is the final name listed in the December 4, 2007 press release). He would remain on that committee until March 14th. Bill's lying about his own political leanings for some reason so it's not all that surprising that he'd also lie about Wright's involvement in Barack's campaign -- but it was sad.

It was sad to listen to Peter Hart as well but, during the live broadcast, he was so 'off' that he referred to Extra! as a monthly magazine when FAIR puts that magazine out bi-monthly (or tries to). Hart didn't condemn Geraldine Ferraro while rushing to prop up Fletcher's 'racism is trying to take down Obama' nonsense, but then he really couldn't. He made the same comments as Ferraro a year ago in an article Extra! published. He did kind-of, sort-of try to raise the issue of Wright's comments about AIDS, but that wasn't to be explored.

Anyone remembering Norman Solomon and Jeff Cohen's efforts to play gatekeepers and 'impose' orders on Pacifica in 2002 about what they could air, who they could book and what premiums they could offer may remember both men claimed that 'crackpot' theories had no place on the left. Solomon was billed as "a FAIR associate" in the live broadcast on WBAI Friday (they were giving away his documentary) and Cohen, of course, is a co-founder of FAIR. Back in 2002, they were screaming that theories were hurting their left! (Ourselves, we though Katrina vanden Heuvel was the source of left embarrassments.) And CounterSpin's Steve Rendell was sliming journalist Michael Ruppert to the Boston Globe as someone "circulating unsupported conspiracy theories". So with all that in mind, many must have found Friday's CounterSpin to be a laugh riot.

Jeremiah Wright claimed in sermons and while on his publicity blitz last month that AIDS was created by the US government to eliminate African-Americans. That would be crackpot science. That would be "unsupported conspiracy theories." But FAIR, who seems to feel its role is policing the left not on the foundation payroll, was happy to wipe that aside.

Joe Klein and others, Bill just knew, were using the 'that' as a side issue. 'That' was about the depth it went into because after a half-hearted attempt by Peter to introduce the topic (he never quoted Wright which would seem the logical thing to do), it was dismissed by both.

FAIR was sending out the message, intentionally or not, that 'those crazy Black folk' should be allowed to spout off any crazy, crackpot theories because, apparently, what else can you expect from 'those people'? It's an insulting message for FAIR to send, a condescending one and a paternalistic one. But remember, Bill Fletcher Jr. wasn't the only ridiculing liberals.

Call the colorist! Their radical roots are yet again showing. It was not a pretty image.

At one point, Bill referred to "polls" where a significant number of Americans (according to him) stated that they would not for a "Black man." He quickly added "or a woman." When mentioning articles, he would cite the publication, but these "polls" were just out there. We found it interesting that he mentioned "or a woman." We know why he did: He didn't want to be seen as undermining his crush's shot at the Democratic nomination, better make sure people know there are obstacles for Hillary as well!

But it was interesting because it only underscored how silent FAIR has been -- in all its outlets -- on the sexism on display this election cycle. We didn't plan to include CounterSpin in this article. We were going to focus -- in depth -- on Washington Week. Then Marcia brought to our attention an e-mail forwarded to her by Heather. Marcia wanted to know if we knew who sent it. Yeah, we knew. Having heard the Barack love-fest on Friday's CounterSpin (via FAIR's website), Heather e-mailed to note how outraged she was by the failure of FAIR to call out sexism. The reply was that they had -- by linking to some articles in their "media views" page (that's nothing but a link to other sites' writing). The FAIR writer wanted it known that they'd linked to stuff. They hadn't sent out the advisories the way they had done on Barack. They hadn't explored it on CounterSpin or in their own writing. But they provided links to nine pieces written about the sexism.

We don't have time to check out the links but are willing to bet the nine include attacks like 'progressive' and 'Democratic' Betsy Reed's recent attack on Hillary where Reed posed as a feminist. [Added before publication. It did include that! A friend with FAIR returned our call early this morning and noted that "of course" that "crap" got linked to.] What we do know is that this claim in the e-mail FAIR sent out is laughable: "This is in addition to repeated posts defending Clinton against what we saw as unfair press coverage that was not explicitly based on her gender." Raking our minds, we remember FAIR, in 2001, defending Hillary from an attack by Bill O'Lielly where he said she felt "entitled." They've not called out their 'liberal' brothers and sisters who've used the same term. (That piece was written by Seth Ackerman.) What we do know is that in 1999, Jeff Cohen ('founder') was ripping her apart for her Senate run in a FAIR piece. What we do know is that Norman Solomon was ripping her apart in 2006 and insisting that only Fox 'News' types and people who didn't know her record would call her a "progressive." Yeah, Normy, and only sexists would refuse to note Hillary's work on women's rights over the years including the incredible ABA speech prior to becoming First Lady. (Norman has a real problem with women, as evidenced by the media critic's recent cut and paste book on the 'media' and 'war' where he felt the need to slam 'reporters' Jane Fonda and Carly Simon.) Normy was -- no surprise -- pining for a man in that column and working hard to try to build the ridiculous Jonathan Tasini into something. Ask the majority of entertainment writers and they'll tell you Tasini is a nothing and a nothing who hurt the East Coast chapter of the Writers' Guild. (C.I. note: "Norman, I love you, but sometimes you're a real ass." We're both attempting to figure out whether Paul Krugman, by Norman's dichotomy, is a Fox "News" type or just uninformed?)

"Media Views" went with a ridiculous assertion by David Weigel in March about Republicans voting for Hillary in Texas and how they accounted for over half her votes in that state. If they were voting for Hillary, they were damn smart Republicans because Hillary voters (as noted in many outlets) actually voted on other Democratic races. From Patrick G. Barkman's "Scenes from a convention" (Cleburne Times):

More than 80 percent of voters in counties heavily carried by Clinton went on to vote in the U.S. Senate race; only 71 percent of the voters in the counties heavily carried by Obama did likewise. This suggests that Obama voters, who tend to skew younger than average, were motivated mostly by him and not a general enthusiasm for the Democratic Party as a whole; this also suggests that Rick Noriega has his work cut out for him in persuading these new voters to pay attention to his race against the singularly inept John Cornyn in November. And it suggests that Rush, Ann Coulter and all the rest of the Right Wing Howler Monkey Media Chorus have absolutely no influence on the electoral process whatsoever, if they ever did in the first place.

Barkman's an actual journalist in Texas writing for a Texas newspaper but, hey, FAIR prefers to listen to and recommend the non-liberal, non-left Reason magazine writer David Weigel. No one's supposed to notice they rush to the right-wing when it's time to smear Hillary, no one's supposed to question that. Ironic considering their "Media Views" also recommended a link to Aging Socialite's Litter Box where Sidney Blumenthal was falsely smeared as having promoted the right-wing. Even more important is that the piece was written by a man as are the majority of their "Media Views" stamped approvals. Apparently no woman is worthy of regular attention. (Disclosure, The Common Ills was once or twice linked to in Media Views. Years ago.)

So what we have are the two Jeannies who, as on the original show, send the message that women really don't matter in either. Jeannie (well played by Barbara Eden to be sure) was never to be taken seriously and never to be a leader, only a reactor or the cause of chaos. Good Jeannie Gwen just smiles through all the sexism. Bad Jeannie CounterSpin encourages it openly.

Elizabeth Montgomery, you are sorely missed. Not afraid to call out the US funded death squads in Latin America, not afraid to go for challenging in your TV movie choices while everyone just wanted you to play 'cute.' I Dream of Jeannie was the copycat, Bewitched was the originator. It's the difference between the Monkees and the Mamas and the Papas. We live in superficial times, as both Washington Week and CounterSpin prove and contribute to. (Hey, hey, they are the monkees!) Women are not valued and only really welcomed if they'll join in or at least smile at sexist attacks on other women.

Ty's Point of View


That's the theme. As the writing edition progressed and progressed, it became clear that no one was going to get any sleep. Ava and C.I. were adamant that a piece had to be written on a landmark verdict last week and, with time all gone, I said I'd write it as a solo piece.

To repeat, I'm gay (I'm also African-American). You'd think anyone coming by would know that since I've mentioned it often enough. But that appears to be 'news' to someone who claims to read our site, who I've exchanged e-mails with and who regularly sends their own writing to this site in order to get links. When C.I. helped me out by responding to a recent e-mail explaining how offended I was by what I saw (at best) as a patronizing attitude towards African-Americans and (at worst) out and out racism, the writer replied they never knew I was African-American or gay. In fact, they thought Ava was my girlfriend. (Ava and Jess are a couple. For the record, Ava's Latina. Just in case that pops up as a question in the future.)

I went public here as soon as I decided I didn't want to be a journalist. For those late to the party (C.I.'s phrase that's become so popular), cake's all gone (ibid), but what happened was a professor (in NY) who I thought the world of loved my work but, upon finding out that I was gay, attempted to ghetto-ize me with assignments and made comments that I saw as homophobic. Jim's father is a member of the Real Press and he told me that there were people who were that way in the Real Press and there were people who weren't. We always covered gay rights issue here and no one was talking about their personal lives in 2005 (the year we started) so I didn't feel I the need to air my own business. (If the topic came up in e-mails, I would inform the reader I was gay.) We were doing group pieces (and Ava and C.I. were, of course, doing their TV commentaries) but we didn't even have roundtables for the longest so there really wasn't much to bring it up with. I believe I "came out" here in early 2006. That's when I made the decision that I wasn't in the mood for journalism. C.I. got me an internship with a friend in the movie industry for the summer of 2006 and that was great (and became a job that I still hold). No turning back to journalism for me.

So that's the history for all those who were late to the party (chiefly because they were never invited). Last Thursday, the California Supreme Court overturned the discriminatory ban on same-sex marriages. It's needed. "Civil unions" are not marriage. They are sop thrown out to gays and lesbians that we really don't need to accept and shouldn't. The Court, in a vote of four to three, found it unconstitutional to bar same-sex couples from marriage licenses and wedding. It's pretty basic, if it's okay for one group, it's okay for another.

It was a great moment but, back to it, panic.


Personal panic for me because there's already an effort to stay the decision and to put a measure on the November ballot that would overturn the verdict. I personally think it's unlikely to be stayed but I'm not so sure it wouldn't be stayed.

Why does that cause me panic? Obviously, it demonstrates how quickly rights can be removed.

But on a personal level, in college, I got involved in a long-term relationship. When I moved out to C.I.'s house (the first! Ava and Jess followed me then Dona and Jim), my long-term relationship became a long-distance one. My boyfriend graduates in May and then moves out to California. It's been nearly four years. We are committed. We've been committed for some time. With all this commitment already, at some point, it's either marriage or the nut house. (My attempt at a joke.)

And while I could see marrying him (and look forward to it), the very real possibility that the verdict could be wiped away in a November vote caused a panic. We haven't talked about marriage -- we don't talk about giving birth either. As a general rule, we don't talk about things that aren't going happen. But suddenly marriage becomes an option and it may only be an option for a few months.

So that put pressure on me and pressure on him. When we spoke on the phone Thursday evening, I noticed that we both avoided mentioning the discussion. We did in a quick (five minutes) call Friday morning. Friday night, we both brought it up at the same time. Neither of us wants to rush down the aisle. (Is that even the right term?) But we've got nearly four years now. We'll soon be living together. And for what may be a brief moment in time, we could get married.

Are we ready for that? No. We both agree. There are couples who have dreamed for years of this day arriving. (And if this were a group piece, C.I. would be telling me the first state to issue a same-sex marriage license -- in Michigan, I think -- back in the seventies -- I think -- and I'd realize how long this has been an issue. Sorry, I lack C.I.'s memory and legal knowledge.) I'm sure there will be a rush of weddings and that they will have the same success/failure rate as in the general (read: straight) population. But while we both fessed up to not being ready, we both also floated the idea that, living together between now and November, we might be ready before the ballot vote could wipe the possibility away.

The practical side for both of us knows that same-sex marriage is inevitable. It's going to happen, across the United States, because part of the history of the country is one of rights denied, battle, rights won. But will that be a few years? Five? Ten?

And if the vote should wipe out our chance to tie the knot and our relationship lasts (as we both think it will), come 2011 would we be kicking ourselves for not getting married?

It's a lot to suddenly to deal with for two people in a committed relationship where marriage wasn't an option but suddenly is for at least a brief moment.

Jim, whose engaged to Dona, tells me I just have the usual groom jitters (not implying that my boyfriend would be the "wife," so please don't read that into it) combined with the ticking down nature of the verdict. And, as we talked about that, I saw there's a lot of truth in that. A straight guy and a gay guy comparing notes on wedding jitters.

No matter what happens next, it's a sign of the nature of progress.



Jim: Hillary Clinton won West Virginia Tuesday and we've got a roundtable. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and, and me, Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!,Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Wally of The Daily Jot, and Marcia SICKOFITRDLZ. Always a lot to cover and we're going to start with Hillary's win.


Ava: Jim, C.I. and I are excusing ourselves from this topic due to the fact that we'll say what we want to say in out TV commentary.

Jim: Okay. So let's get down the basics. By 41%, Hillary Clinton won West Virginia. The media crowned 'nominee' Barack Obama did not win and, in part, the media's response can be seen as pouting. Wally and Marcia were in West Virginia, trying to get the vote out for Hillary so let me start with them.

Marcia: Wally's pointing to me. First off, "trying to get the vote out" is correct because none of us are affiliated with the Hillary campaign or part of it. Wally and I had been doing the same in Indiana. We were supposed to then go to Oregon but after the media pouted over Hillary's victory in Indiana -- aided by the Mayor of Gary who played dirty tricks to prevent Hillary's win from being called in time to make headlines in the next day's paper -- we headed to West Virginia. It is rural, it is working class and the 41% is a clear indication that Barack can't connect with working class voters. All this time later. He's an alien to the non-Black working class. And, let me do my stats: African-American and lesbian before anyone gets bent out of shape. Can't have the nitwits at FAIR bent out of shape, can we? But that's what we saw, Wally and I, over and over. There's been efforts to call those people "racists" and that's bulls**t. I was there. I was campaigning. I experienced no racism only kindness. And, as Betty's pointed out, the most racist state she's visited was Vermont. But it makes uppity easterners feel good to say "oh, they're racist in the south" with the implication that they aren't racist in the north when, in fact, it's becoming a yearly event for NYC cops to shoot down some African-American for some invented crime. But keep kidding yourself that NYC is enlightenment.

Wally: Marcia's pointing to me to jump in. We didn't hear concerns over Barack's race. We heard concerns over the economy. We heard concerns about how he's insulted them. They don't trust Barack to fix the economy. He's offered no plans -- a point repeatedly raised -- and his sloganeering that keeps the Bobby-sox crowd drooling didn't play with people working to stay afloat. I would agree with everything Marcia said. When we got to West Virginia, we were a little nervous because neither of us knew anything about it. All we had was phone numbers of people C.I. knew and C.I. had -- immediately -- put together the first day's events with phone calls. I mean, we told C.I. we were going to West Virginia and not Oregon and C.I. said "We'll talk after you land there." As soon as we landed, Marcia's cell's ringing and we had a full day's events. As we drove to and from them, we were working C.I.'s contact list and lining up even more for the rest of the time. Marcia's written many times at her site how nice everyone was and I just want to echo that. I'll also add that they were aware they'd be stereotyped by the media as 'dumb' which is what really happened, that is how the media played that out.

Betty: And the reason is because the media is saying, "If you don't do what we say will happen, you are dumb!" It's so insulting. As a Black woman living in the south, Georgia, I find more racism when I visit the north including, as Marcia noted, Vermont which shocked me because I thought it was the progressive state. But Hillary won and the media wasn't interested. They had other things to do like pretend the primary didn't matter. She won by 41% and no one can spin that as 'good news' for Barack. Barack's a loser and the Democratic Party needs to wake up to the fact really quick. Crackpot Donna Brazile can argue that the Democratic Party doesn't need working class Whites and Latinos but that loser is proof that the "Peter Principle" is alive and well in the Democratic Party. The more you fail, the more you get promoted.

Cedric: I was really astounded that so telling and so major of a victory would be so dismissed by the Democratic Party. I could see the media stamping their feet because they love them so Barack. But the Democratic Party's interest is supposed to be in winning elections. Nothing that happened last week convinced me of that.

Jim: Ruth, I'm assuming since Kat hasn't jumped in that she knows what Ava and C.I. plan to write about and assuming that's true of Elaine as well, so I'm tossing to you. But first, here's the lineup for those participating. Dona, Ty, Jess and I are all in South Dakota. Rebecca's in Oregon. Mike, Marcia, Wally, Cedric, Betty and Ruth are in Kentucky and Ava, C.I., Kat and Elaine are in Puerto Rico. So Ruth, any thoughts on the West Virginia results or on what you're seeing in Kentucky?

Ruth: I wrote at my site -- and I really hate to make predictions -- that Kentucky feels like Hillary's state. I was not in West Virginia but the things Wally and Marcia were talking about, those are the issues we are seeing in West Virginia. In terms of the dismissal of Hillary's victory, I think we will see that again Tuesday when she most likely wins Kentucky. I share Cedric's concerns about the DNC and why they're not seeing this.

Ava: They are seeing this. I have to leave it at that because we're dealing it with it in the TV feature but I can't let that stand. It's the media narrative, I know, but it's false. C.I., Elaine and I are on the phone with super delegates all the time. Elaine might want to grab this?

Elaine: Sure. Hillary's victory -- downplayed by the media, no question -- did resonate. They are following Kentucky right now and her results in that state will matter significantly. The ones I've spoken with -- and let me note that we're all only lobbying super delegates we know -- stress the fact that Oregon's not an issue. If it goes to Barack or Hillary, it's not considered an issue. It's assumed it will go Democratic in November regardless. But they are paying attention to Kentucky and they are realizing that there is a problem with Barack's support eroding. West Virginia was dismissed by the media and by some people the Obama campaign steered the media to; however, super delegates are not dismissing it. I should note that I'm personally lobbying two who came out for Barack and both say that if it makes to the convention, they won't be supporting Barack.

C.I.: Super delegates are not pledged. They can vote however they want. Barack has lost some of the support the media runs with but they, super delegates, don't want to look like they're influencing the primary so they're not announcing that. Along with ones who are no longer supporting him, there are ones who have weakened on him. Were they not trying to stay out of the process, the primaries, they would most likely state that they are now undecided. Super delegates are not pledged and they only matter at the convention though Barack's attempting to use 'new math' to claim they matter during the primary. They do not.

Jim: Okay. Though not covered by the media too heavily, Barack had his "sweetie" moment, something we commented on some time ago. In this instance, Barack dismissed a question from a reporter who was a female by calling her "sweetie" and refusing to answer her.

Mike: I got to jump in and say what Rebecca said a month ago: "Sweetie? Who the hell does he think he is? Goldie Hawn!"

Rebecca: Really. Seriously. What kind of a grown man -- for the Democratic Party -- thinks it's okay to call women "sweetie" -- and he has done that repeatedly now! He's such a sexist fop. Male model. It's offensive and as offensive as when that man --

C.I.: Clayton Williams.

Rebecca: Thank you, when Williams was running against Ann Richards and said with rape a woman should just lie back and enjoy it. It's the same sort of crap. It's the same insulting crap and he's a pig. Of course FAIR didn't issue an alert on that. They always give him a pass. If a Republican said it, the media would be all over him. But no one must call out the Christ-child.

Ruth: It is just so surprising to hear that from a Democratic nominee. And so telling.

Jim: Barack got two endorsements this week. In spite of those remarks. Endorsing him were John Edwards and NARAL.

Kat: No one takes NARAL seriously. It's spent the better part of the decade ensuring that no one would take it seriously. From that Jane woman --

C.I.: Jane Hamsher.

Kat: Thanks. She was calling them out in 2006. This community walked away from the in January 2005. It's only the we-don't-follow-women media that believes NARAL's in any way in touch with women today. NARAL's a joke.

C.I.: I think Kat means in April 2007. And sorry to make Dallas look for a link but the title's something like "Don't Reward Failure".

Kat: That sounds like what I'm thinking of. And, by the way, Dallas with Rebecca in Oregon. I doubt he'll jump in but just to note that there is another person participating that didn't get mentioned.

Jim: Kat is correct, my apologies to Dallas. If Dallas wants to speak, he's welcome to but I doubt he will so, if he won't, Rebecca could you explain the process. Ty had three e-mails asking about that.

Rebecca: Well, Ava and C.I. take notes for all transcript pieces. That gets typed up. Dallas finds links to things that people are talking about. He pastes them into an e-mail identifying what they are and then, when the rush transcript is typed up, the ones considered necessary get inserted in. So he's on his laptop doing searches while we're talking. And he's nodding his agreement with that.

Jim: Dallas participates every week and we would gladly include as part of Third's core team, but he's much too modest. He spoke recently in a roundtable and that resulted in questions from newer members. Only C.I. and Wally can ask Dallas to speak and get him to. In non-transcript pieces he participates at length. Ty, you wanted to respond to an e-mail.

Ty: A Barack Loving Fool who runs a blog e-mailed whining that we do not allow comments. Boo-hoo. We're not a blog. We're an online magazine. We publish on Sundays. We started in January 2005. We have never allowed comments. That is due to the fact that comments were closed the month prior at The Common Ills when racists started leaving comments. This topic has been covered and covered again. I'm African-American and Betty, who is as well, and I have shared from the earliest months that blogs with commenting are not friendly to African-Americans unless they are geared solely to African-Americans. If you're not aware of that, you live in a White world -- with Bambi posters.

Dona: I want to deal with the blog aspect. Each week, we offer editorials, feature articles and a blend of other things. That anyone reading would not grasp this wasn't a blog -- I know haters at The Nation can't stop e-mailing about "your blog" -- goes to their own lack of intelligence. We don't do "cat blogging Fridays!" or any of that other nonsense. On NARAL, they are pathetic and anyone who thinks otherwise can visit our very first edition in which we were very clear where we stand abortion -- firmly in support of it -- and what we think of the people who sell out abortion rights.

Ty: Also, we intend to note a press release on the film Meeting Resistance, that we were e-mailed. However, this is the first piece we're working on and time always runs out. In case we don't, the documentary comes out on DVD Tuesday. It's an important film and one we all loved. During the writers' strike, C.I. added links, on the right side of the page, to Medium because Ava and C.I. were dying to review it and couldn't due to the strike and to Meeting Resistance. We strongly encourage you to see that film.

Jim: Okay. You had another e-mail you wanted to address.

Ty: Another male blogger wrote to whine that all we ever link to are female bloggers. I wasn't aware that was the case. Ava and C.I. do their own links for their TV pieces. Otherwise, we're using Dallas.

C.I.: Dallas, you hate men?

Rebecca: Dallas is laughing. I think he's going to speak.

Dallas: I wasn't aware The New York Times and other outlets were women. When a subject is referenced here, chances are it's been noted at The Common Ills already. If it's a blog, it's more likely to be a blog by a woman just because C.I. works in those links more often. I would love to see some hard numbers from whomever's complaining on this. In terms of sexism the Blogging Barkers aren't interested in the topic. And are usually contributing to the sexism. I'd have to see some hard numbers. I can tell you that I've already put two blog links into the e-mail. All are women. One is the Firedoglake post Kat was talking about, another is Tennessee Guerilla Women because there's a desire on the part of many participating to link to them. I'm also trying to find some stuff for Susan at Random Thoughts because C.I. asked me in an e-mail to try to find things by Susan to link to when possible this edition.

C.I.: And I did that because Susan's a strong writer. But it's so hard to link to or quote her at The Common Ills due to the language issue. We're work safe at The Common Ills. But it's also true that along with keeping a running tally of links, Dallas is also on the phone when these pieces are being typed up and there are times when a link will be seen and someone will say, "I don't want to link to that." So we'll try to find something else and we're tossing out suggestions. Dallas isn't to blame and I doubt seriously any blogs have been linked to as much as mainstream media. I think it's a false charge.

Rebecca: Like, and I've told this story before, in the eighties, this idiot male whining to C.I., "All your cassettes are women." C.I. counte dthe over 3,000 right then and not only were all not female, there were three more males than women. It has to do with what you think of women. For some, if more than one woman is present, it's too much! Too scary! Oh, no, too many women! I think that's the case with the male blogger e-mailing to whine.

Dona: I think that example is perfect. And it needs to be noted that we have all asked Dallas, at one point or another to try to highlight some source and that Jess is the converse, he usually will let Dallas know, "Don't bother tracking down something by ___ because I'm sick of them." But Rebecca's right and one feature we hope to do this weekend is "If Women Mattered." I would say right now that if women mattered some guy wouldn't be asserting that we link to X number of women bloggers. Like Dallas, I would need to see the hard data on that to believe it and, again, Ava and C.I. do their own links in any piece that they write. So, setting their writing aside, I just don't believe that's happening.

Jess: Let me jump in and point out that a number of e-mails are saying "Whine, whine, whine, you talk about sexism. Whine, whine, whine. You're just doing that to promote your candidate. Whine, whine whine." You're not a regular reader if you're writing that lie. Ava and C.I.'s pieces have always called out sexism, go back to winter 2005. We have called out sexism from the start in our group writing. We were calling out the idiotic FAIR for its sexism in October of 2006. That issue, that very real issue, has always been addressed here. And if I could back up Rebecca's point that she's made at her site and here since 2005 -- it is a failure of feminist outlets that they have refused to call out the sexism in Panhandle Media. They've been happy to ignore the fact that supposed 'friends' in independent media do the exact same thing the mainstream media does, render women invisible. In terms of FAIR, we called them out following their study of the gender numbers for PBS' NewsHour which, not surprisingly, were the exact same proportion to the number of women FAIR's CounterSpin featured as guests in the same period. Look at the allegedly feminist blogs and how much sexism they let The Daily Toilet Scrubber get away with, from his insults of "women's studies majors" on down the line. Ava and C.I. led the charting of The Nation's publishing in 2007 here. What did we end up with? 491 men published, 149 women. Entire issues could be published without a single woman getting a byline. Where was the calling out on that? Both The Nation and FAIR have been silent on the sexism used in this campaign -- while issuing non-stop alerts on the racism -- they have insulted Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem. Well guess what? Some of the 'leaders' need to own that because they created an environment that said "I'll give them a pass, they're on the left." We never did that. I look at things like Ava and C.I.'s "Katie Was A Cheerleader" or "About the women" now and it's obvious that they were ahead of the curve, they were brave and fearless. Where were the people calling out the sexist dismissals of Katie Couric before she ever even did a broadcast on the CBS Evening News? You saw it here. You didn't see it elsewhere. What The Nation offered was a gay male writing about Desperate Housewives and praising it -- even with it's conservative views and being created by an adament Republican. But I guess it was a gay bond thing since the writer of the crap-ass piece and the crap-ass show were gay. Why two gay men were seen as 'commenting' on women, I have no idea but it goes to The Nation's very low regard for women. So go try to make nice, you Obama supporters, with idiots but we're not in the mood for your crap.

Jim: On "Katie Was a Cheerleader," just let me note, it is now the article we have received the most e-mails on. Though I had no part in that, I didn't even write the headline on that one, I am very proud to be part of the site that published it. It stands as one of the best things written here and it continues to speak to readers. And Jess is right that Ava and C.I. especially have led the way. I can hear groans and I know that's Ava and C.I.

Rebecca: Let 'em groan, we all know they've worked their asses off, we all know they've gone where others feared to go. We all know they created a body of work that stands up to this day. Find others who can look back on the last three years and say that? You won't find many. In terms of FAIR, for those reading who may be wondering why they keep being mentioned, we're trying to talk Ava and C.I. into either including FAIR in the TV commentary or in doing a piece just on the trash that FAIR's becoming. They're becoming nothing but a propaganda outlet.

C.I.: You have no idea how right you are on that; however, it's equally true that this is supposed to be 'light' workload edition and we're all tired. We're not going to decide in this roundtable whether we're including FAIR or not. I do have a call into a friend at WBAI to confirm something I was told. If that's confirmed, we'll be more likely to cover it but that's not something we're going to decide now. Ava?

Ava: Our plan was to grab one show and only one show. We were in Oregon all week, addressing the illegal war and also getting out the vote for Hillary. Now we're in Puerto Rico. We will have 'no weekend.' We will have no day off. Pushing it will only make us refuse to cover it. We're tired and we're cranky. As soon as we're done in Puerto Rico, we fly back to Oregon. Don't poke the bear. Someone else needs to take notes!

[. . .]

Jim: Okay, Ty's going to try and everyone speak slowly. I'm assuming we just lost both Ava and C.I.?

Kat: Correct. C.I. got a call back from the friend at WBAI and they're now off writing their feature article. From what I heard of the call, CounterSpin and FAIR will be addressed in their commentary.

Jim: We have a question on movie stars versus actors to get to and some other things. Anyone have an interesting story, take or opinion before we get to that?

Elaine: Kat's nudging me. I'll tell this and then try to stay silent the rest of the time. If you read my site, you know that I mentioned a book recently that I hadn't read. I should have noted that Stephen Holden gave it a good review. I should have linked to that as well. I didn't see that in time to. But I noted I hadn't read it but planned to and I noted that C.I. was leery of it and not promoting it because of warnings that it contained some hatchet jobs. I did read it and what I thought of it should be obvious by the fact that (a) I never blogged about it and (b) I'm not mentioning the title here. I took it on the plane and Kat was sort of looking through it, not very interested. C.I. was reading over some position papers and, when done with them, noticed the book.

Kat: And asked, "How bad is it?" Elaine just grimaced. C.I. reached for the book then, like it was nuclear, pulled the hand back. But we were all -- Ava, Trina, Elaine and I -- saying, "Read a bit of it. What's your take?"

Elaine: So C.I. opened it to the last third of the book and it was not pretty. "Lie." "F**king lie!" Those were the comments. Oh, Kat and I have just been busted.

C.I.: I came back for more paper. That book is an embarrassment. 17 factual errors in the two pages I read including that an artist didn't have a record label when working on an album. Who released that album? The label the artist had been with since 1986. After that album was released, the artist and the label would part. It was the biggest piece of crap, it was everything I had been warned it was. That writer is an idiot who doesn't know the works she's writing about, even who wrote songs. She has no musical taste or knowledge and has written a cautionary book like those 'anonymous' trade paperbacks of the seventies about young women who run away from home. What a prig, what an idiot. I've got the paper and I'm leaving but that book is hideous.

Elaine: C.I.'s gone. But yeah, the book is really bad. And the comment just now about "no musical taste," dead on correct. How can you write a book about musicians and have no knowledge or even excitement about the music? It was all who screwed who and when. It really was embarrassing. I felt dirty just reading it.

Kat: And it was a cautionary tale. When C.I. was comparing it to those paperbacks of the seventies, I was laughing just now because that is true. For those who don't know, there was this rash of poorly written books supposedly by female runaways, supposedly true stories. You'd find them in super markets. And they were always about how they ended up pregnant, had an abortion, tried suicide, "Oh why didn't I know my parents loved me!" And that's what the book is. Three dynamic women made lives for themselves and it was all a cautionary tale. In one case, the woman is being slammed for life and you can't help but think, what about the man? Oh, Chrissie Hynde sings that in "Chill Factor"! But the man in question is a name, also a recording artist and he's apparently happy and fulfilled but the women, nope. It was a cautionary tale against feminism and women pursuing their artistic desires. It really was insulting and so full of factual errors you'd think the woman who wrote it was Gerri Hershey. But Elaine, Trina, Ava and I were laughing when C.I. was almost picking up. It was like "This is radioactive." When C.I. finally picked it up, like Elaine said, the criticism were instant. And after C.I. put it down, C.I. grabbed it again, flipped to an earlier section and said, "The idiot doesn't even know ___ wrote the music. She's saying ____ wrote these autobiographical lyrics and ___ -- a man -- wrote the lyrics. What a f**king idiot!" At that point, the book was hurled across the cabin.

Elaine: We charted a flight, lest anyone worry that C.I. might have injured another passenger.

Jim: I can see that. I can picture it. There has been a lot of talk about that book for about six months now, people stopping by C.I.'s house and thinking it was going to be real disgrace.We made the mistake here, once, of doing a last minute feature on a book. We thought it would be quick. It was on Laura Nyro, who C.I. knew, and C.I. said, "I haven't read the book." Which, now, we would know meant, "I've been told that book is trash." But we were talking about the book -- mainly Dona and Ty -- and writing the article and you could just see C.I. tense up. C.I. would nicely ask, "What did the book say?" And after about thirty minutes, you could tell C.I. was furious. That's when it was leave the room, come back with the journals and start flipping. "Okay, here's a letter from Laura about how awful it was recording that album. That women -- the writer of the book -- doesn't know what the hell she's talking about!" And it was like that, C.I. had about sixty journals out and was flipping through them to find various journal entries on phone conversations and to find letters -- C.I. staples letters into the journals -- to show us just how bad that book was. I could go into more detail but I know that woman's on C.I.'s list and if she does one more idiotic thing, C.I.'s going to out the way that bad book was written, I'm referring to 'research.' So I'll leave it at that.

Dona: I felt so bad. I didn't realize C.I. knew Laura. I didn't realize the book was bad. Ty and I had enjoyed it, not knowing anything about Laura Nyro. In retrospect, it should have stood out that in terms of any 'discussions' or 'analysis' on music, it was all copy and paste reviews because the writer apparently could not think for herself. But, yeah, what we thought would be a quick, easy feature, ended up being three hours. Like Jim said, when C.I. nicely said, "I haven't read the book," we should have all realized, "Then there's a reason for that." But having seen that, I can visualize the reaction to that piece of garbage. I haven't read it but I've heard friends of C.I. call it garbage since the galleys were available.

Kat: I wish I could talk about the book, I really do, because C.I., in those two looks, just at two pages and then flipping to earlier, really underscored how the woman who wrote it didn't know what she was talking about, missed key events and mainly just copied and pasted Rolling Stone articles and reviews together and called that a "book." I will note that C.I. pointed out, "The idiot took a 1981 Rolling Stone item from Random Notes and put it into the 70s. That never happened then!"

Elaine: Once upon a time, publishing companies had fact checkers. Those days appear to be long gone. It's a really bad book.

Ruth: I am glad to know that because I was thinking of buying it. I know which book, and I am sure most people do, you are talking about. It is a real shame because women, and I think you made that point Elaine in your post, are rarely the topic of books. So when one comes along, it is sad that it is nothing but bad gossip.

Elaine: It treats artists like groupies and sad groupies at that. There's more joy in a book by Pamela Des Barres. And I'm not trying to insult Miss Pamela. I'm just noting that you had artists in charge of their own work and their own lives and the writer tries to tell you that women who do that are doomed to pathetic lives. Even the revisionary Janis tales following Joplin's death didn't go that far.

Jim: Okay well this is the perfect to transition to movies. Braunwyn writes that she will forgive me for never noting her praise of Ava and C.I.'s reviews in a roundtable if I would put this question into one. She wants to know who we would rate as the stars of films after the collapse of the studio system which she pegs as being complete by 1960. So who are the real movie stars, and not just actors written about, after 1960?

Mike: Are we suppoed to go up to current day?

Jim: No, from her e-mail, I think we can stop with the seventies. She's concerned with 1960 to 1979.

Rebecca: Barbra Streisand. Barbra is a very real movie star. She's an actress as well. But Braunwyn has written me with that question before and her pick is Natalie Wood, by the way. But she wonders how many who are just good or even okay actors are mistaken for stars. She thinks there have been very few real movie stars to emerge. I agree with her, for the record. And in my e-mail I made the case for Barbra, whom I love.

Betty: I'd agree with Rebecca on Barbra. I'll stay with actresses but note that Richard Pryor was a movie star. But my pick? Hmm. That's a hard one. Am I talking too fast, Ty?

Ty: No.

Betty: Okay, I'll go with Goldie Hawn.

Ruth: I was going to say that as well.

Jess: Yeah, Goldie's a real star.

Betty: She's always got a presence. And she comes along and creates a characterization that's not like any who come before. There are elements of Judy Holiday and Marilyn Monroe, but just elements. She's uniquely Goldie Hawn and, even now, there's still no one like her.

Wally: I'll jump in on Goldie because I started going around with C.I., speaking out against the illegal war, a few years back, and one time I was worried I wasn't serious enough. And C.I. said, no, you have to stay loose. And told a story about Goldie and how a lot of times on sets, people think she's not working before filming. Goldie's making jokes and all and part of that is to keep the energy high but she's also trying out things and when the camera rolls, everyone sees that all the things they thought were distractions were actually bits Goldie was playing around with for the scene. Like community member Goldie -- who is, in fact, named after Goldie Hawn -- my mother has the Goldie DVD collection and the videotape collection before that. I grew up knowing all of her movies. And she's very funny. But when C.I. was telling me that, it really just made me think, "Okay, I don't have to do it like this or like that, you can find your way." And, if I'm at all successful speaking, that's why.

Betty: Wally, you're a great speaker. And I can see how you do use that method naturally so I can see how the story would validate the process for you. I think it really was Goldie and Barbra. I think there have been other actresses, but Goldie and Barbra are the only real movie stars. Natalie Wood was one but she was a child star and part of the studio process. Like Elizabeth Taylor, to name another real star.

Jim: So among actresses, we're saying Goldie Hawn and Barbra Streisand with Natalie Wood thrown in if we fudge the dates. What about actors?

Cedric: Let me grab Betty's point. Richard Pryor. A true movie star. A successful comedian who crossed over into films and really did in a way that was unique. I'd also throw Lily Tomlin, who I think is very similar to Richard, in the mix but I know she wasn't making a lot of films during that period. But Richard created his own persona on screen. Like Goldie, it has elements of people who came before, specifically African-American men, but he also added his own qualities and he's just a huge breakthrough. I would not consider Paul Newman a movie star. He's an actor who gets a lot of press, if you ask me. He's not really a movie star.

Jim: Really?

Rebecca: I would agree with Cedric and note, on Newman, he had a lot of flops. And if you take Redford, Robert Redford, out of the equation, the films he did with Newman, Newman had very few blockbusters. He was a "thinking man" who was good looking. He wasn't a star. Steve McQueen was a star.

Mike: You grabbed my pick!

Rebecca: Sorry. But Steve McQueen, the audience had a love affair with him. That's never really been the case with Newman. I think some people are too intellectual to become stars, that their over-thinking creates a barrier between them and the audience and I would include him on that list.

Mike: I was going to say McQueen because of movies like Bullet and Thomas Crowne Affair specifically but there are a lot more. We did not go out to the movies in my family, we rented or bought movies. I've got seven brothers and sisters. So taking us all out to the movies would be a huge chunk of change. My parents like older movies and those were usually the ones left when you went in at the last minute, like we usually did. I was always excited if it was a McQueen movie. There's another man I would pick but I don't want to take someone's pick.

Marcia: I'm guessing you mean Warren Beatty and that's who sprung to mind for me. My all time favorite film is Shampoo. But I enjoy all of his films, even Promise Her Anything.

Betty: That is a really bad movie and I love it too. I love all of the sixties sex-romps.

Marcia: Really?

Ruth: Yes. Betty's talked about movies here that I had forgotten: If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium. What's So Bad About Feeling So Good?

Marica: I love those movies. Especially What's So Bad About Feeling So Good? Stuff like that used to be on the UHF channels -- pre-cable -- all the time. I saw all those films over and over and now they never appear anywhere and they're not available on DVD.

Dona: They're bad in some ways, but they have a better look then some of the things coming out these days which look like they were shot with no one paying attention. I'm trying to think of someone that wasn't named and someone who came about after 1960. Shirley MacLaine's first film was 1955, so she's before the period we're covering. The only one I can think of is Julie Christie who probably doesn't want to be known as a movie star but is one. She's a wonderful actress -- all the people listed are wonderful actors and actresses -- but in terms of having that extra something that makes you a star, draws the eyes to you automatically, Julie Christie is one. I'm sure I'll think of someone after we're done and wonder why I didn't say him or her.

Ruth: I can think of one more right now: Cher.

Rebecca: Yeah, Cher would be a movie star. Not just an actress -- and she's a wonderful actress -- but also a star. She's in Vegas right now, by the way. We're hoping to see her, Flyboy and I, in concert when the primary season is over.

Cedric: Jim didn't name anyone. Ty didn't either but he's taking notes.

[Added to stop e-mails since this published: Ava, C.I. and Jim pick: Jack Nicholson, John Travolta, Diane Keaton and Al Pacino. 5-19-08]

Jim: I really didn't have anyone. I think all the choices are strong ones. I'd probably go with Warren Beatty of the males and Goldie for the females. And we love Shampoo. We -- Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, C.I. and myself -- have probably watched that film more than any other film except Cactus Flower which is another favorite. Okay, now on to the topic of Nader and an e-mail that Ty printed up that I'll mention since he's taking notes. The e-mailer, Buddy Walker, wants to know how anyone can consider voting for Nader and feels we're jumping on a bandwagon.

Jess: Well I didn't know there was a Ralph Nader bandwagon. That's good news and I'm glad to hear it. What I see are a lot of sites, Democratic sites, saying, "I may vote for McCain if Barack's the nominee." That's not going to scare anyone. Nader's the threat that will wake up the DNC. They already wrongly blame him for the 2000 election.

Betty: I hadn't thought of that. But, in terms of strategy, Jess is right. Nader's the one that will frighten them. That said, I haven't made a threat to vote for Nader if Hillary's not the nominee, I've made a promise to. Selecting Barack is rewarding the non-Democrats and destroying the party. I will not vote for him if he's selected. I can gladly vote for Nader. And, if Barack's the nominee, I think Nader will have a real shot at the presidency.

Cedric: Did anyone catch non-Democrat Laura Flanders' interview with Nader and his running mate Matt Gonzalez? Where she called them "White" men? Nader's Lebanese-American and Gonzalez is Latino. Talk about trying to misrepresent them. They are America and that's a ticket I will be supporting if Barack's the nominee. Like Betty, I will not have to hold my nose to vote for Nader.

Jim: There's also a point in Buddy's e-mail about how Ralph's not noted that much in the snapshots so I wish C.I. was here to comment.

Kat: Let me comment because I'm there when C.I.'s dictating the snapshots. There's not time for everything. C.I.'s been trying to get the snapshots down to a smaller size. Nader was covered in, I think, two snapshots last week. Two out of five. Hillary was covered in all five. That's not intended as an insult to Nader but it is noting that while he's already a nominee -- one fighting for ballot recognition -- Hillary's in a very close race. There's not time for everything. C.I. was hoping to include Nader in Friday's snapshot but that ended quickly because C.I. had to catch the flight to Puerto Rico. There's a lot that's going on every day, I'm talking about what C.I.'s doing, and there's not time to include everything in snapshots. Were time not such an issue, Nader would be included in every one. But he's not in tight race currently and so, like other topics that aren't pressing, they don't make the snapshot.

Ruth: And C.I. really wanted to hit Thursday and Friday on the Congressional hearing. I know it will be picked up again in Monday's snapshot and that we are hoping to cover that here as well. I think a better criticism Mr. Walker could make is that the rest of us who post Monday through Friday are not noting the Nader campaign except by reposting the snapshot. For myself, that goes to what is the most pressing thing right now and, for me, that is Hillary's campaign.

Jim: I think that's a good point and we'll end the roundtable there. This was a rush transcript. If you see an illustration in this feature, it's done by Betty's oldest son. If you're bothered that Ava and C.I. didn't participate more, they have to be speaking at 8:00 a.m. this morning and they probably won't get any sleep so we knew ahead of time they might bolt in the middle of the roundtable.
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