Sunday, November 16, 2008

Truest statement of the week

What is there to celebrate in an Obama presidency? Making us feel good about the country again when Obama is trying to unite us to behind what he calls "the good war" in Afghanistan? While people in the US were lining up to vote, a US air strike on an Afghan wedding party killed 34 civilians. Another strike killed 7 more yesterday.Obama, the "anti-war" candidate, wants to leave 50 to 80,000 troops in Iraq, and move more combat brigades to Afghanistan. He promises to increase the US military by 92,000, ready to project American empire further on the lives of kids in high school now. Obama proposed sending drones and special forces into Pakistan - a sovereign country - and the Bush regime secretly began attacks on Pakistan in July, which have killed scores of civilians, as part of the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war.

How could we celebrate "national unity" when Obama's vote for the FISA law opens the way for unprecedented political repression and spying on the people? People expected Obama, who taught Constitutional law, to protect their rights, but Obama went out of his way to make an unpopular vote to bolster the "war on terror" and set the basis for expanded political repression. He voted for an amended USA PATRIOT Act that had more draconian curbs on political protest than the 2001 version.

How can we feel Obama is "for the people" when he put all his backing behind the bailout of Wall Street banks, but tells the people only to have faith in their leaders? When he supports the notoriously racist death penalty, and blames Black people themselves for the huge prison population? When he finds "common ground" with the most rabid Christian fundamentalist plans to do away with abortion and gay marriage? The ban on gay marriage passed in California, benefiting from Obama's expressed opposition to gay marriage.

In the face of huge crimes perpetrated by the Bush regime, Obama said, "I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breaches, and intentional breaches of the president's authority."

There is a responsibility and a way for us to act: This is not the time to "wait and see" what Obama will do after January 20, or after 6 months or a year...or never, because if he does what's in the peoples' interests he won't be re-elected? He's telling us what he will do, and the worst thing would be to get passive in the face of more crimes being done in our name.

-- Debra Sweet's "Going Forward in Stopping the Crimes of Your Government" (World Can't Wait)

Truest statement of the week II

An old friend used to be a very smart Marxist and was an early member of SDS -- a real New Leftist. She refused to be given -- yes, refused to be given -- a copy of of my very careful and respectful book on the Obama phenomenon. "I can't read that," she said. Some of the names on the back of the book (Adolph Reed Jr., Noam Chomsky, and John Pilger) are former icons of hers (she introduced me to the writings of Adolph Reed, Jr. in the mid-1990s.) but now she's in love with Obama. "It's the best thing that could happen," she says about his election. She's repudiated her radical past and agrees with centrist American Enterprise Institute (AEI) "scholar" Norman Ornstein's recent ravings on how "the left" must not press Obama for very much right now (Ornstein's AEI-funded admonitions have recently been broadcast again and again across America's wonderful "public" broadcasting stations ("N" PR and "P" BS) because of, you know, "the economy" and all.
Paul Krugman in the New York Times (a left-liberal Obama critic during the primary campaign) says there's "something wrong with you" if you weren't "teary-eyed" about Obama's election. Yes, numerous other radicals and I need to be put under psychiatric care because we didn't cry over the militantly bourgeois and openly imperialist Obama's presidential selection.
We have the increasingly unglued white anti-racist Tim Wise screaming "Screw You" to Obama's harshes radical critics -- this after recklessly charging racism against working-class whites and Hillary Clinton supporters who had any issues with (the racially conciliatory) Obama.
[. . .]
The local bookstore, run by progressives (left-liberal Edwards supporters during the Iowa Caucus), is willing to sell my book but "too scared" to have an author event.
Few if any of these people have bothered to read a single solitary word of Obama's blatantly imperial, nationalist, and militarist foreign policy speeches and writings. And my sense is they never will. They do not care about such primary sources in the ongoing history of the Obama phenomenon.
For the last two years talking to many liberals and avowed "progressives" I know about Obama -- who I picked to be the next president in the fall of 2006 (I thought he was too simultaneously irresistible to both the power elite and the liberal base not to prevail) -- has been like talking to Republicans about George W. Bush and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and 2004; no room for messy and inconvenient facts.
I am hearing people of color identify with the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq in ways that would be unimaginable without Obama. This may be the worst thing of all.

-- Paul Street, author of Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics, "Barack Obama: The Empire's New Clothes" (Black Agenda Report).

A note to our readers

Hey --
Another Sunday.

About the usual time for us and we're dragging. Dona's already complaining that we were supposed to be done two hours ago (and she'd planned to take a bubble bath but now . . .). We're never done at a reasonable time.

This edition. Along with Dallas, here's who suffered to turn out this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
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 Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends.

And what did we come up with:

Truest statement of the week -- easily the choice, Debra Sweet.

Truest statement of the week II -- Paul Street's big competition here was with John Pilger. While both had strong observations, the fact was Street touched on nearly everything people e-mail about so we went with Street. There was another competitor but he dropped out when Betty (rightly) said, "He's calling Barack 'Black' and my Black ass ain't going along with calling anything that does that a 'truest'." (That nominee, by the way, appeared in WSWS last week.)

Editorial: It's about equality -- It's not about religion and someone needs to start fining Barack a quarter every time he tries to push that lie -- or make him return his law degree.

TV: No fun the house that Cosby built -- Katty van-van on TV last week. Ava and C.I. explain the laughs there and the lack of laughs in NBC's Thursday night line up.

The Homophobia of Barack Obama -- We need (and will) link from the editorial to this piece. This was our longest piece in terms of time. And we realized we need it due to the editorial. We needed something that outlined what went down for those who forgot or never knew.

Soon to be in the White House -- We planned to do a photo essay last week but the photos wouldn't upload to Flickr. Here's a photo essay. Enjoy.

Marcelo murdered by thugs, ignored by 'leaders' -- A hate crime resulted in Marcelo being killed. It should be big news. So where is Panhandle Media?

Can you propagandize with all the colors of the Red?... -- The text is by Jess, Dona, Ty, Betty, Cedric and me (Jim). We wrote this as part of a short feature with another item. It wasn't working. Dona got the idea to put it together with something C.I., Kat, Ava, Wally, Marcia and Mike wrote two weeks ago for a feature that only ended up in the print edition. So they're the ones who came up with the parody lyrics for "Colors of the Wind."

SNL? (Ava and C.I.) -- Ava and C.I. wrote this in less time then it will take you to read it. We had four pieces that couldn't go online. Two because C.I. said they weren't factually sound and needed fact checking if they were going up. ("Conventional wisdom posing as fact" was the wording.) Two didn't really seem as great as we thought. One lost everything in intense editing and the other was probably never that good. So we asked Ava and C.I. to write something quickly and they talked to Ty about an e-mail he'd mentioned. It allowed them to cover SNL (which I'd asked them to do in the TV review but they said there was no room for).

Highlights -- Mike, Kat, Marcia, Ruth, Betty, Rebecca, Stan, Wally, Cedric and Elaine wrote this and picked the highlights. We thank them for it.

And that's it, we're finally done.

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

Editorial: It's about equality

[photo by Fritz Liess, all rights reserved to Liess, Monterey, Nov. 15th]

Yesterday, demonstrations took place across the US. "Unite for LGBTQ equality!" proclaimed Join The Impact. The actions followed election day homophobia expressed by voters in Arkansas, Arizona, California and Florida. But, as Join The Impact explained, "This is not a four-state issue."

Which is why the demonstrations took place in states across the country. Dan X. McGraw (Dallas Morning News) reports:

Louise Young never cast a vote on Proposition 8, but the measure changed her life. Married three months ago in California, Ms. Young and Vivienne Armstrong, her partner, joined more than 1,200 other Dallas-area residents who gathered outside of Dallas City Hall on Saturday to peacefully protest California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in that state.
"This is not a religious issue," said Ms. Young, 61, of Dallas. "This is about legal rights. This isn't right."

No it is not a religious issue and part of the rise in homophobia comes from the ignorant and the liars who try to tell you otherwise. Let's go with the head liar there, Barack Obama.

And let's drop back to Ava and C.I. breaking it down here back in January:

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. Virginia (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.

That is what it comes down to. It is not about churches, it is not about denominations. The state marries you, the government. The same body that can divorce you. Marriage isn't about a religion, anyone male-female coupling can head down to their county courthouse and get married without ever stepping into a church. It's a lie and a dangerous one to say that it's an issue for churches.

And that's the lie Barack's pushed in his effort to court the 'vangical voters. There was always going to be blowback. You can't let homophobia out of the bottle and then expect it to waft back in. Barack Obama's campaign unleashed homophobia and was not called out for it. The campaign said homophobia was "okay" and the media backed it up.

Big Media, Small Media. Take Panhandle Media's token lesbian, Laura Flanders. At a time when Barack was putting homophobes onstage in South Carolina, what was Our Lady of Self-Loathing doing? Writing an advice column to Barack: "Obama Be Bold: Break with a Backer on Torture." Search through that October 29, 2007 nonsense for any mention of Barack using homophobia. You won't find it. [ "Nonsense" because Barack and Michelle Obama both have long standing ties to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, consider him a personal friend and would never break with someone so powerful in the midst of an election.] She had no time for it nor did anyone else at The Nation. Amy Goodman never had time to call it out on Democracy Now! or even note it -- not even when she was interviewing the co-author of an article in The Progressive on the topic of Barack. All Things Media Big and Small played silent on homophobia.*

Barack used homophobia and the press was too busy making like Kenny Loggins singing "Celebrate Me Home" to call him out on it thereby sending the message to one and all that homophobia was okay.

If it wasn't okay, well it would be called out when a presidential candidate repeatedly uses it!


Barack set the stage for all that happened. In California, Proposition 8 was a measure to overturn same-sex marriage. Robocalls in California used his soundbytes about how he was opposed to same-sex marriage. He didn't call it out. As Debra Sweet points out, "While Obama said he did not support Prop 8, he stated publicly many times that marriage should be between heterosexuals only. Instead of straddling the fence, he should have called for people to vote against Prop 8. Obama in fact has pledged to extend Bush's faith-based initiatives that have granted over $2.2 billion to religious organizations."

Though LGBTQ Americans should have the same legal rights as any straight American, the reality is that they don't. The reality is that they are discriminated against and they are targeted. But the media that supposedly exists to hold the powerful accountable and give voice to the powerless wasn't interested in calling out the homophobia appearing on the campaign trail. They weren't interested in confronting Barack on his use of homophobia.

If they had been, maybe he would have been forced to step up and maybe those measures (that passed with the votes of Barack supporters) wouldn't have passed?

But the measure did pass and homophobia appears to be on the rise. So the people have to do what the press refused to, they have to make it clear that they don't support discrimination.

And they did that across the country yesterday.

Sarah Gantz (Boston Globe) reports that "intermittent rain" didn't prevent approximately 4,000 from demonstrating in front of Boston City Hall. Jeff Gammage (Philadelphia Inquirer) notes the Philadelphia march "stretched three-quarters of the way around City Hall." Christopher Dela Cruz (Star-Ledger) highlights Bernie Bernbrock, his partner Glenn Vatasin and their daughter Abby who were among the 120 demonstrating in Montclair, New Jersey. Susan Jacobson (Orlando Sentinel) quotes Human Rights Campaign's Jason Lambert, one of over a thousand demonstrating in Orlando City Hall Plaza, stating, "Time is on our side, and our rights will not be denied." Vince Bond Jr. (Lansing State Journal) reports on the 100 demonstrators at Michigan State University including Tod McMillen-Oakley, married to his spouse Tom three months ago in California, who says, "All we want is to be recognized for the love that we share. We're not asking for a special right. We're asking for an equal right."

And that is all it is. It is a right, a legal right. It has nothing to do with churches. Churches are not forced to marry anyone they don't wish to marry. Were that not the case, the Catholic Church would have been dragged through the courts for years over their refusal to perform weddings where one or both partners is divorced. It is not about churches. The state can grant universal marriage for all adult couples and it doesn't impact on what a church does or does not do.

Josh Rosenson (Foster's Daily Democrat) reports the 100 or so demonstrators at Portsmouth's Market Square chanted, "Gay, straight, black or white, marriage is a civil right." The chant went
out in New Hampshire and across the country including Reno where Jen Jackson (KTVN Channel 2) estimates the demonstrators numbered 300. Approximately 200 was the number in Lousiville Kentucky and Peter Smith (Courier-Journal) explains they included Pam Becker who once protested against recognizing universal rights but now supports them and same-sex marriage as a result of new information: ""My son coming out. I have to support my child." 120 demonstrated in downtown Denton, Texas and Candace Carlisle (Denton Record-Chronicle) quotes Stonewall Democrats of Denton County's John McClelland walking it through on the realities, "If you take away the rights of one, you can take away anything from anyone." They rallied in Indianapolis and Tim Evans (Indianapolis Star) spoke with the event's organizer, Aaron Brown, who declared, "We feel it is important to show unity throughout the gay community and support for our brothers and sisters in California and the other states where these laws were passed." And they were walking in Memphis, over 150 despite "chilly winds," Linda Moore (Memphis Commercial Appeal) observes and quotes Mike McVicker who states, "I'm not big on marriage, but it's part of our civil rights" and Mid-South Peace and Justice Center's Amy Livingston: "Because of our history in civil rights we felt it was particularly important for Memphis' voice to be heard." In Macon, Georgia where over fifty turned out and the organizer Alex Webb told Ashley Tusan Joyner (Macon Telegraph), "Today’s protest is a small piece of the puzzle. This started off as an online movement and has become a national and international phenomenon. There are people in London standing with us right now ... standing with us against our treatment as second-class citizens, standing for equal rights for all."

Equal rights. Legal rights. It has nothing to do with churches or with religions and, in fact, the only legal principle should apply here is separation of Church and State. But that's apparently too difficult for some to grasp. It's about equality and legality. It has nothing to do with 'churches' which can choose to participate in same-sex marriages or not the same way the Catholic Church has refused to marry (and continues to refuse) any person who is divorced.** The facts are on our side. But the lies pop out of the mouths of alleged allies. From Patrick Healy's "Hopefuls Differ as They Reject Gay Marriage" (New York Times, November 1st):

Several gay friends and wealthy gay donors to Senator Barack Obama have asked him over the years why, as a matter of logic and fairness, he opposes same-sex marriage even though he has condemned old miscegenation laws that would have barred his black father from marrying his white mother.
The difference, Mr. Obama has told them, is religion.
As a Christian -- he is a member of the United Church of Christ -- Mr. Obama believes that marriage is a sacred union, a blessing from God, and one that is intended for a man and a woman exclusively, according to these supporters and Obama campaign advisers.

You can't use religious bigotry to deny legal rights. And a Constitutional scholar should damn well know that.

Fortunately, the people are always smarter than any of their leaders which is why the people turned out all across the country yesterday. From the 25,000 in San Diego to the 7 in Montgomery. And praise for those seven in Montgomery. It's really easy for those of us on the coasts and in large cities to participate in large rallies. It takes a lot of character and courage to be one of seven standing up in public.

It's going to take brave people like the seven, strong people, to fight this battle. And it will require awareness and information, not fan club bulletins. Pay attention to Debra Sweet's "Going Forward in Stopping the Crimes of Your Government" (World Can't Wait):

How can we feel Obama is "for the people" when he put all his backing behind the bailout of Wall Street banks, but tells the people only to have faith in their leaders? When he supports the notoriously racist death penalty, and blames Black people themselves for the huge prison population? When he finds "common ground" with the most rabid Christian fundamentalist plans to do away with abortion and gay marriage? The ban on gay marriage passed in California, benefiting from Obama's expressed opposition to gay marriage.



Photo is by Fritz Liess, protected under a Creative Commons Lic., more photos by Liess can be found at Fritz Liess' photostream.

*) No, we aren't forgetting the silence of the useless NOW and Women's Media Center. We called those wasted opportunities out repeatedly already and pointed out that feminist organizations have no excuse for staying silent on homophobia being used in a presidential campaign; however, they did stay silent and they need to be held accountable.

**) Do not e-mail us saying, "Divorced people can get marry in the Catholic Church if they get a Catholic Annulment of their marriage first!" If they do that, their marriage is annulled and it's no longer a case of divorce.

TV: No fun in the house that Cosby built

The fun house that Cosby built should have been condemned and torn down long ago. Bill Cosby steered NBC to laughter and Thursday night ratings dominance in the 80s; many other programs kept it there through the 90s into the start of this decade. But somewhere around the time Joey managed to destroy NBC's Thursday night ratings lead, they should have grasped that they had a serious problem. All this time later they still can't grasp it.


Which makes them as deranged as Katrina vanden Heuvel who went on Bloomberg TV last week to prove that crazy, while not desired, is portable. Night Talk host Mike Schneider should have asked for a matron to accompany Katty-van-van. But, if he had, that might have clamped down on the crazy and what else does she have to offer?

Well, honestly, dandruff.

So let's offer her a tip: Katty, if you're too shy to buy a dandruff shampoo, use a regular one but, after you lather up, rub some crushed aspirin into your scalp. It will take away that white, white dandruff build up your careful part could not hide. Every time it popped up onscreen, we felt as though we were staring at a flaky continental shelf.

Flakey and Margaret Hamilton's old wardrobe is all Katty has left to offer and she did not disappoint in either regard Tuesday night. There she was in one of those outfits that just begs a house to land on her (her pursed lips self-pleasure begs it as well) offering her 'educated' and 'insightful' ditherings.

The high point non-verbally was her interesting hand movements which probably were supposed to come off graceful but just had us thinking of a Johnny Otis song. Not for long though, Katty's Clinton Derangement Syndrome was running wild. Generally, she keeps that under wraps but there she was Tuesday, caught on camera, with it hanging out. We felt like passengers of the Luna 3 seeing things no one had ever seen before and probably should never see again.

"I'm not ecstatic," she purred in a flat tone, "that there are so many Clinton administration people." She was talking about assisting Barack currently and we weren't sure whether she expected him to hire her trained Flying Monkeys or she was hoping he'd outsource his cabinet? But that moment, to truly be appreciated, had to be paired with this statement from van-van:

"I could see sending Colin Powell to the middle east or to Iraq to help facilitate an exit out of Iraq or to really move on a Middle East peace process."

Colin Powell made the case for (illegal) war on Iraq to the United Nations, on behalf of the administration and liars everywhere. He lied. He's called it a "blot" and attempted to play like he didn't know but other accounts demonstrate that he knew he was lying in real time. He lied and his lies (cited by many columnists and editorial board in a "case closed!" rush to war manner) still result in deaths.

Him Katty wants to send to the Mid East or Iraq? Him Katty wants Barack should learn from?

Oh, Katty, not since Fran Fine tried to clean up and fit in has anyone so out of her element provided such a multitude of laughs.

We really think NBC should star her in a Thursday night sitcom, From Katty With Love. She could continue to try desperately to appear younger, continue to 'publish' a magazine that exists in spite of her, not because of her and continue to be loathed by most who work with her. We know it would be a hit because, called Just Shoot Me, it ran for years.

But unlike the current crop of Thursday sitcoms, George Segal, Laura San Giacomo and company actually provided real and intended laughs. The newbie for the night is Kath & Kim, a dreadful remake of the Australian sitcom of the same name.

What's it about? Pissing off the viewers. Selma Blair and Molly Shannon star. Neither has anything to be proud of. Molly's got a bleached out hairdo that looks bad. Not funny bad, in a Mimi on Drew Carey kind of way, just bad. Her acting is as faded out as her hair. In fairness to Molly, that's in part due to the writing but when you've waited for your prime time break as long as she has, you don't go with the flow while the tide's pulling you under.

This badly written show never even bothered to figure out what the characters want. The writers just type up a lot of bad lines and every two or three episodes come up with some sort of visual joke (which sometimes works and sometimes does not) and they call it a "comedy." Then the suits look at the numbers and start grumbling about how women won't watch comedy.

Kath & Kim isn't comedy. It's an awful show that would need a major retooling to work. Molly plays mother Kath and daughter Kim (Selma Blair) shows up one day in the midst of a marital snit. Kim refuses to move out. That could be funny if Kath was more active in pushing her to move out. But Kath's not active at all and viewers shouldn't give a damn about Kim's 'problems.' Kim's a spoiled little princess but not a funny one a la Julia Duffy's Stephanie on Newhart.

Watching the show (any episode) is to puzzle over how this ever made it to air. Week after week, it's as if you're watching a Monday table-reading and not something that's been blocked, rehearsed and filmed. The jokes are never there, the performances are flat and the rhythm is sedate bordering on deep sleep. In fact, were it not for Mikey Day, they could call the series Deep Sleep Nine. Mikey Day plays Craig, Kim's husband. His part is as badly written as everyone else's but he's coming from the world of sketch comedy and adding things. (Molly could be doing that. Why she isn't goes to her mistaken belief that what she's doing in front of the cameras currently can be called "acting.") He doesn't often make you laugh (blame the scripts) but he holds your attention and makes Craig believable.

Before Kath & Kim, viewers have to endure My Name Is Earl. Each year, Earl sinks further and further in the ratings. The Mayberry RFD retread loves being a cellar dweller -- anything enjoyable is quickly sent packing (such as Alyssa Milano as Earl's most recent wife last season) and audiences are left with an endurance test passed off as entertainment. The Office airs after Kath & Kim and the only reason to watch is Jim and Pam. Though the writers don't love NBC's orders that Jim and Pam be front and center, following those commands resulted in the series finally moving from 'fringe' to modest-sized hit. American can relate to and enjoy Jim and Pam.

The fourth sitcom, the one that ends the two hour Thursday night block, is 30 Rock. Thursday's broadcast was an example of how that show never gets anything right. All week long, we laughed at the promos. Not because there was anything funny being shown (there wasn't) but because the show's a loser made by losers. All you got from the promos was "JENNIFER ANISTON! JENNIFER ANISTON!" Aniston is a fine actress but there was no role for her to inhabit and all she played was good sport. (Tina Fey came up with another psyco-bitch for a woman to play -- how very 'progressive' of her.) Aniston smiled her way through the bad jokes (that wouldn't be funny no matter who played the part) and looked lovely. That's all you could say for her appearance in the under-written role.

30 Rock has so little to offer that it's taken to casting and hawking guest stars each week. It's become The Love Boat of sitcoms -- so much so that if Jackie Mason and Florence Henderson showed up next week for a pleasure cruise with Charo in tow, you wouldn't bat an eye. But ABC knew to promote all the guest stars on a Love Boat episode.


In 1992, nearly 25 million people tuned in to watch Night Court's final episode. Thursday night, NBC brought back Markie Post, Harry Anderson and Charles Robinson in a subplot where Kevin (Jack McBrayer) was upset that Night Court never got a proper send off -- including Harry's wedding to Christine -- and Tracy (Tracy Morgan) tricked the actors into thinking Kevin was a small child in need of having a wish granted. Despite the three actors appearing and despite the episode being entitled "The One with the Cast of Night Court," viewers were given no heads up.

Viewers? Oh, that's funny.

Ty quoted an e-mail to us from a devotee of 30 Rock who insists that the show is a hit and we're seeing ratings declines that aren't there.

While we may be the only ones commenting on the decline, we're not inventing it. Nielsen is charting it. "8.5 million viewers!" Ty quoted the e-mail insisting. Yes, that was the season opener. And then it lost a half million viewers the following week. And Thursday's episode? Flip with us to C2 of The New York Times, "Arts, Briefly," "Compiled by Dave Itzkoff." There you will find this news: "NBC ranked third, with low ratings for 'My Name Is Earl' (7 million) and 'Kath & Kim' (5.1 million) but slightly better results for 'The Office' (8.2 million) and '30 Rock' (7.5 million)." Not only did 700,000 viewers bail after The Office went off, 30 Rock lost another half million viewers from the week before. From 8.5 million, it's already dropped to 7.5 million.

If you're not seeing a problem, you're probably not watching the ratings or the show. Thursday was all about how Liz Lemmon's old roommate -- that she once cat fought over a man -- shows up and is interested in Jack (Alec Baldwin). Liz warns him Aniston's character is crazy but Jack doesn't listen. He realizes the truth after he sleeps with her and he needs Liz to help dispose of her. Like an old mattress? The plot has nothing to do with the live sketch show that Liz works on, it has nothing to do with Jack reclimbing the corporate ladder, it has nothing to do with anything.

But apparently, each week viewers are supposed to tune in only to see which guest star will show up. The love boat, promises something for every one . . .

Here's the reality. Earl isn't fixable unless NBC gets firm with Jason. An iron whim is still nothing but a whim and viewers long ago lost patience. Kath & Kim needs a major overhaul and probably needs to switch to taping before a live audience (a live audience might encourage Molly to rediscover zany). The Office's focus on Jim and Pam has made it enjoyable. It needs to expand on that by also utilizing B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling more. 30 Rock?

Judging by the again falling ratings, Tina Fey can turn the world off with her thin smile. The show focuses too much on guest stars and too damn little on characters. Any script that does not advance the main characters is not a script that needs to be shot. This should be conveyed only once and, the first time its again ignored, writers are replaced. Yes, even Tina Fey. NBC has allowed this show free reign and those days should be over. Sketch writers who can't write a half-hour sitcom need to move along. When we stated that to an NBC suit, he immediately shot back that if, for example, it was conveyed to Fey that she focus on acting or the show gets yanked off the air, it would probably mean more male writers. More? Have they noticed who writes for the show and doesn't? A male writer might actually show an interest in the characters of Jenna and Cerie. Plus, Fey's offering nothing but stereotypes so who needs her?

Audiences need laughs and NBC needs an audience. Somehow this very simple relationship has been turned into an unsolvable quadratic equation. It's nothing to head scratch or hair pull over. It's very simple: Entertain the audience and your numbers will grow. Bore them, disappoint them, and your numbers will fall. As 30 Rock has demonstrated this season, your numbers will fall week after week.

The Homophobia of Barack Obama

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Soon to be in the White House

The self-pleased and smug

Either Narcissus caught his own reflection or he just made another insulting remark about Hillary.


There's nothing Barack loves better than an Obama Fan Club meeting.

Clapping for themselves

In order not to embarrass the incoming president or his wife, it's your patriotic duty to always clap for them even louder than they clap for themselves!

Michelle greets

Which won't be easy considering Michelle never learned how to dress herself and often forgets to brush when out in public. (No whines about clothing talk, she's pure decorative value as the Obama campaign made clear repeatedly.)

Michelle and crowd

Did we mention she never learned how to dress herself? Here she throws together an old pair of slacks and, for a blouse, Natasha's Sunday dress.

Flying Michelle and Barack

Did we mention she sometimes forgets to brush her hair when she's out in public?


Did we mention she never learned how to dress? With those shoulders, you can't hide them, so slap on shoulder pads and emphasize them. As for high waisted outfits, she has no breasts to speak of and she's got twice the hips of most women so drawing attention to those areas (as the awful election night dress did) is only begging for negative press.

Marcelo murdered by thugs, ignored by 'leaders'

Marcelo Lucero.

Do you know the name?

Not if you count on Democracy Now! for your news. Marcelo's never been mentioned. Strange when you think about it.

New York Governor David Paterson didn't stay silent the way Amy Goodman has. Monday he released the following statement on Marcelo's murder:

"Today, I ask New Yorkers to join me in mourning the death of Marcello Lucero, a Hispanic man of Ecuadorian descent who was the fatal victim of a vicious hate crime over the weekend in Suffolk County. This disgraceful act should serve as a source of outrage for all of us.
"Suffolk Police tell us that Mr. Lucero and a friend were attacked late Saturday night by seven teenagers who were driving around looking for a Hispanic to beat up. The companion walking with Mr. Lucero escaped, but Mr. Lucero was stabbed to death. This senseless and cowardly attack by these teenagers cannot stand. I am directing State law enforcement agencies to assist Suffolk County officials in any way possible to ensure swift and certain justice for this heinous crime. Our State has zero tolerance for such bigotry and I urge authorities to move quickly to prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.
"Today, I ask that you offer your prayers to Mr. Lucero's family. I would like to extend my deepest condolences as they come to the terms with the enormous pain of this loss. Mr. Lucero's death is a jarring reminder that we must remain vigilant and continue our fight to eradicate prejudice in our words and in our actions."

On Monday, the governor's office could make a statement and yet all last week, Amy Goodman couldn't offer one damn word. Not even a headline.

Kirk Semple (New York Times) describes Marcelo as "a serious-minded, 37-year-old immigrant from a poor village in Ecuador who had lived in the United States for 16 years, mostly in Patchogue, and worked in a dry cleaning store, sending savings home to support his mother, a cancer survivor." Zachary R. Dowdy and Patrick Whittle (Newsday) explain of the suspects, "The teenagers, all of whom are white and who live in either East Patchogue or Medford, have been charged with what police say is a hate crime."

Patrick Young (Long Island Wins) observes, "The horrible murder of Marcello Lucero is the latest and deadliest of a series of anti-immigrant attacks in Suffolk County. The seven young men charged in the attack come from an area a few miles south of the hamlet of Farmingville, the epicenter of anti-immigrant organizing on Long Island. Farmingville first gained national attention in 2000 when two young men abducted a pair of Mexican day laborers and tried to beat them to death. It was in the headlines again a few years later when five high school students burned down the house of a Latino family, whose sleeping occupants barely escaped with their lives."

A brutal hate crime takes place in New York. The victim is a Latino. And where is Amy Goodman?

That's the big question in the e-mails last week.

The most popular theories for her silence include:

1) The hate crime didn't take place in the south so she's not interested. Goodman's only outraged by racially motivated attacks in the south.

2) The victim of the hate crime was Latino and not Black. Amy Goodman really does see "person of color" as "Black." She's made it very clear that she has no interest in Latinos.

3) Latinos overwhelming supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries and Amy Goodman's still nursing her grudge.

4) The Red Diaper Baby's Communist Manifesto didn't include chapters on Latinos.

5) Pampered, spoiled and elite Amy wouldn't be able to mix with likemates (see Friday's Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers hour) if she took the time to cover the news that actually mattered. Better to keep it incestuous and in the family for Goody.

Whatever the reason, Marcelo is dead. And his death is greeted with silence from Panhandle Media.

His funeral was yesterday (NY1 has a text and video report) and his death is felt far beyond New York's borders. Bart Jones (Newsday) reports:

Marcelo Lucero's death Nov. 8 has been front-page news not only in newspapers in the town of about 20,000, about 200 miles south of the capital, Quito, but throughout Ecuador. Police have said that Lucero, 38, was targeted by seven teenagers because he was Latino.

In Ecuador, cabinet-level ministers have issued pronouncements on the case, and thousands of Ecuadoreans fear their loved ones in the United States might be next.

"Everyone is scared," said taxi driver Santiago Cuji, 29, who is worried about his six siblings living in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. "Why do they go out and kill someone if we are all equals, if we are all human beings?"

And still Goody is silent.

Can you propagandize with all the colors of the Red?

Have you ever heard the Stalinist cry to Bath & Beyond
Or asked the grinning Trotyskyite why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of the Osmunds?
Can you propagandize with all the colors of the Red?
Can you propagandize with all the colors of the Red?
Come run the hidden pine nooks of Rocco's
Come taste the secret of Key Bridge Marriott
Come roll in all the cloaks all around you
And for once, never wonder what they're worth
The chekists and the mole are my brothers
The Pollard and the Ames are my friends
And we are all connected to each other
In a secret cell that never ends

Can you propagandize with all the colors of the Red? Amy Goodman can and when she can work in a fellow tourist, she gladly does so. Take gadfly and dried up 'writer' Alice Walker who decided she wanted to Sister Sledge it and talk 'family.' Goody was quick to jot it down and include it in her latest bad column: "Even when they were building it," slaves building the White House, "you know in chains or in desperation and in sadness, they were building it for him."

Him being the Christ-child Barack. The man whose roots do not trace back to slavery. Yeah, Alice Walker is that insane. She really, really is. Homophobic and insane, demented and crazed.

And while that does make Walker's remarks laughable, the kicker, the belly laugh, comes from the fact that Alice wants to talk 'family.'

Alice, you got one daughter.

Woman, you got only one grandchild.

And you've never seen him. Born in 2004, and you've refused to see him or have anything to do with your daughter Rebecca.

That would be your bi-racial daughter Rebecca and possibly you're refusal to call Barack what he is (bi-racial -- even Donna Brazile can and will make that call) is one more stab in the back to your daughter?

Rebecca's the daughter. Alice is the much applauded and lauded parent. So before she next tries to talk 'family' and 'bonds,' she needs to tell whatever reporter she's pontificating to, "I'll call you right back. Now I need to call my daughter. I am an old fool and a petty one for refusing to speak to her and refusing to see my own grandchild."

Call your daughter, Alice.

Don't bore us with another one of your pie-in-the-sky statements, don't expect any of us to fall for that crap. Call your daughter.

Take care of your business.

Clock is going tick-tock.

SNL? (Ava and C.I.)

"Amy Poehler has not left the show!" insisted Twyla in an e-mail last week that Ty grew tired of replying to. Twyla wanted it known that "Saturday Night Live is adding two women to the cast! I heard it on the radio! And Amy is still on the show, that's why she's on the credits!"

Amy is gone, Twyla. Amy was always leaving when she gave birth. And C4 of Thursday's New York Times quotes SNL exec producer Lorne Michaels stating, "I still hope Amy will come by and say goodbye."

Yes, she's still featured in the opening credits. She's even still named (first billed) at the start of Weekend Update. She's just no longer with the show.

Saturday Night Live did not add two women to the cast. The cast is the cast. Featured players are not the cast. SNL did add two women as featured players last week: Michaela Watkins and Abby Elliott. Why did they even bother?

Here's a breakdown of SNL last night.

Opened with "Joe Biden" bragging/warning about his blunders. No, they didn't do a Barack joke, they never have and they may never.

Paul Rudd, the host (and he did a solid job), did a monologue where he was briefly joined by Kristen Wiig (the only female in the cast) playing the Governor of Arizona.

In the next skit it's two college roommates (male) going home to meet one's kissy family. Four males, one female.

Scared straight skit featuring Keenan and homophobia ("You just transformed from man into bitch"; "You're going to have an excellent adventure in a communal shower"; "That's how many guys are going to fit inside of you" . . .). Keenan is one of five males in the skit. No women.

SNL digital short revolving around Paul and Andy painting each other nude (one to catch on YouTube). Fred's featured in a tiny role. Many are features as extras.

Four guys in a car singing along with Ricky Nelson.

Musical guest Beyonce "sings." There's an echo effect going on in her pre-recorded vocals and after Ashlee Simpson, you'd think SNL would refuse to allow any performer to use pre-recorded vocals. This was a slow song so Beyonce didn't even have the 'excuse' that she was dancing throughout the song.

"Weekend Update with Amy Poehlar and Seth Myers . . ." No Amy. Seth opens announcing who he is. As if the 'jokes' don't do that. Laura Bush gave Michelle Obama a private tour of the White House "without once taking her hand off her pocket book." There's never been any indication or suggestion that Laura Bush was a racist. That's just cheap-ass joke from a punk-ass Seth.

And "pocket book"? Is that Seth's name for it when he's dressed up in Mommy's clothes? First off, why would any woman carry one around in her own home? Second of all, "purse" -- that's the funny word, Seth.

"Friday Barack met with Hillary to see if she'd be interested in a role in his administration," Seth declared oozing his hatred of women. "'Of course,' said Hillary, 'I'll take president'." Yes, Barack offered Hillary Secretary of State. But to use that fact in the 'joke' wouldn't allow Seth to continue his sexist rants against Hillary. There's a reason women don't like Seth on screen or off.

Seth's joined by Snaggle Puss (male) and his male lover. Seth gets more gay jokes that really explain why the show is so damn homophobic. And, no, Seth, the stubble doesn't make you look masculine. It just makes you look like a pudgy trick too old to be a boy toy. An observation only made more obvious when Seth's staring at Justin Timberlake's dancing crotch. (Timberlake came on Weekend Update as himself. He sang "Sexy Back" as Weekend Update ended.)

Paul Rudd, Darrell Hammond and Justin Timberlake are among the five males in the dancing skit with Beyonce. Musical guest Beyonce is the only woman. Three males are dressed up as women.

Paul Rudd plays a jumper. Two men try to talk him down. No women.

Beyonce performs her dance number -- she's not singing again. This is obvious when she speaks into her microphone which apparently didn't have a sound check -- possibly due to the fact that pre-recorded vocals were being used?

Paul and Crazy Brows in a skit on gay marriage.

Paul and Crazy Brows in a skit about an ex-girlfriend (not seen) and Fred joins them.

And that's the show. So SNL female featured players or their sole female cast member (Wiig) really didn't even need to show up last night. They were only used in the monologue and the skit that followed. Women were AWOL after that except when the musical guest was given a role (that she bungled and came off looking homophobic in -- but, hey, when your her age and singing about wanting a ring on your finger, you already look damn pathetic, ask Oprah where that road leads).

What SNL and USA Today critics don't get is that women make up over 50% of the US population. SNL's original cast of seven included three women. Today they offer one and expect no one to complain.

Amy had her baby the weekend before the election. She did not get pregnant in August. Lorne knew she was pregnant and knew she was planning to stay with the show up to the birth and then leave. There was plenty of time to prepare for that reality.

In other e-mail news, Ty asks that we note Octogalore and encourage you to check out the website.


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"I Hate The War" -- Most requested post, C.I.'s "I Hate The War."

"Tuna Pasta Bake in the Kitchen" -- Trina tells us she finds the economy so depressing it's hard to blog.

"Not a chapter" -- Betty's latest, as the title notes, is "not a chapter." She can wrap up Betinna's story in two more chapters but community member Kayla pieced all the clues together and grasped how dark the ending was. So Betty's offering her readers the ending or the option of it stopping now and them writing their own ending for Betinna. Betty is transitioning the site over to a blog anyway so she has no preference -- no strong one. ("I'd like for Betinna to have a happy ending as well. I don't have time to write it and I wouldn't know how to.")

"Iraq" -- Ruth continues to hope she can use her Friday night post to update C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot"; however, that may not be possible. As Ruth points out, there's so little interest in Iraq that even waiting until after ten at night did not provide her with any news of Friday's violence because no one -- not even the wires -- had bothered to report any.

"No that wasn't part of the peace movement" -- Elaine makes clear what the media obscures.

"heroes" -- Rebecca offers her thoughts on NBC's Heroes.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bitchy Tina Fey" -- Isaiah capturing the Tina Fey we've all grown to loathe.

"America dodged a close one!" and "THIS JUST IN! DISAPPOINTMENTS SET IN!" -- Wally and Cedric got a hate e-mail over this one. A how-dare-you! :D This is pretty funny. And our attitude these days is we'll treat you the way you treat others. Like teachers in a classrom, we can't treat everyone the same. We have to cater to individuals. So we will adapt for individuals.

"Fancy Nancy goes up against the Bully Boy" and "No to the bailout" -- All last week, Kat covered the potential auto bailout and we were happy to highlight all of those posts but she said "No, no, no." So here are our two favorites.

"Get Smart not that bad," "Homophobia," "Dan Savage," "Read Terrance D.C." and "Isaiah and some quick thoughts" -- We will however note all of Stan's post. Last week was Stan's first full week of blogging.

" Shut up Sherry Wolf, shut the hell up" -- Marcia's important post. Read it. Immediately.

"Jeff Cohen the Damned Liar" -- Mike on Jeffy Cohen aka Maximum Sell Out.

"Same-sex marriage starts in my state" -- Ruth's thoughtful post.

"aids breakthrough?" -- Rebecca: "Sometimes you find a story that interests you and it may be beyond what you're able to expound upon at that moment but you can still highlight. I think this is an important story and wish that scientists were commenting on the American dismissal."

"Debra Sweet, Third, Isaiah" -- Mike breaks down last week's edition.

"Faux pets for faux prez" and "THIS JUST IN! MORE PROPS FOR BARACK!" -- Cedric and Wally on the pet-less First Family.

"Volcker, Leopold" and "picking through maureen dowd's garbage" and "Tim Wise, Condi Rice" and "Crazy Marjorie Cohn and Condi gets an award" -- Media critiques from Mike, Rebecca, Marcia and Elaine.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }