Sunday, September 27, 2009


Jim: This is an e-mail roundtable where the focus is solely on readers' e-mails. Our e-mail address is Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Ruth of Ruth's Report; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. The illustration is done by Betty's kids. Ty's selected e-mails and we'll work through as many as possible in our designated time. This is a rush transcript. Ty?


Ty: First up, community member Megan notes how much she enjoyed Dona's two recent solo articles ["Pet Peeve (Dona)" and "Raed Jarrar tries to 'correct' Ava and C.I. (Dona)"] and she wonders why more solo pieces aren't done?

Dona: We believe in group writing and always have. Before we turned over the TV commentaries to Ava and C.I., those were group projects. In that case, it clearly did not work because all the e-mails were about Ava or C.I.'s contributions or their contributions together. So it made sense for them to write together. Ty does "Ty's Corner" from time to time and Jim does a column every now and then as well. Which he plans to do this week but we'll see. In addition, Jess is supposed to start a piece this week that will carry through the next weeks. Halloween is coming up and we thought instead of piling on Ava and C.I. as we usually do, we might each grab a week -- we is Jim, Ty, Jess and myself -- where we wrote about a Halloween in our lives. Jess is supposed to be first up this edition.

Jess: Although, honestly, the feature's mainly because Jim needed an excuse earlier tonight on a snack run to buy a ton of Halloween candy. He swears the wrappers -- empty apparently the way he's scarfing down that candy -- will make a good illustration for the piece.

Jim: The trick, as any candy expert knows, to not harming the wrapper for a scan is to open from the back, tearing along the seam.

Ty: This is one for C.I. Reader Lowell notes last week's "Roundtable" and wonders if C.I.'s "ignoring Cindy [Sheehan] because of what Dahr [Jamail] said on her [radio] show?"

C.I.: No, sorry. I didn't care for what Dahr said after the break and am honestly surprised no one complained about one section of his remarks --

Ty: Someone did.

C.I.: Okay, then I'll leave that alone. But, and this question is about what I do at The Common Ills, we're utilizing a huge number of sources and that's because people call me. Sometimes it's a friend wanting to highlight something they or their outlet did, sometimes it's a friend wanting to highlight something they saw or heard. In the case of Cindy, it's one friend. He burns Sunday's radio program each week and brings it over Sunday evening. I ask him, "Is there anything on Iraq here?" If there is, I'll make a point to listen to it during the week and see if we can use it in a snapshot. Now last Sunday was the Emmys. So I wasn't home Sunday evening, I was at the awards. I didn't get a copy of the disc before I left on Monday. I never heard it so I couldn't highlight it. If people are unclear, during the day if Kat, Wally, Ava and I aren't speaking, we're at a Congressional hearing. I'm not sitting around surfing the net, I don't have time. I depend upon calls from friends passing things on and e-mails from community members asking for things to be highlighted.

Ty: Okay, Lowell had a second part. He notes Jess made very clear he doesn't care for Dahr Jamail and Lowell wants to know if that means "Dahr won't be mentioned at Third?"

C.I.: Dallas usually inserts the links for these pieces --

Jim: Thank you, Dallas.

C.I.: And I'm sure that Dallas will be told not to insert a link to Dahr Jamail's website. And that's fine. Jess isn't keen on him and that's Jess' opinion and it's fine. At Third, if Dahr has something to say about Iraq that's worth highlighting, we'll do so. He's not banned or anything. And just to catch up for those who missed it either in the snapshot two weeks ago or in last week's roundtable, Dahr was stating that beggar ass Panhandle Media covered Winter Soldier and, no, they really didn't.

Ty: Okay --

Ava: Wait. I'm jumping in. They didn't. As C.I. noted in that snapshot, we begged for coverage -- the two of us -- we got promises and people didn't keep their promises. They lied repeatedly. And when confronted after the fact, they had a dozen excuses. Now I'm primarily referring to beggar media but in terms of real media, WBAI's refusal to broadcast Winter Soldier on Saturday went a long way towards it not getting network coverage. It was being discussed, it was being pitched and the man deciding said it sounded 'like it might be interesting, flip on WBAI, let's listen a bit and then we'll decide.' They turn on WBAI and it's not broadcasting Winter Soldier. At which point, the argument that this was news and it was important and "we'll look so badly if we don't cover it," all flew out the window because the man -- a centrist -- was able to say that there was no need for the network to cover it if WBAI wasn't even covering it. We were speaking to the woman who pitched that, C.I. and I. We'd begged her and begged her and she ended up caught up in the story of Winter Soldier and we no longer had to beg her. But she was in tears when she called us. We thought at first someone had died. But that's how much she cared about the story after being walked through it and getting some video of it. And we appreciate that she fought so hard for it and that it mattered so much to her. But we will never forget that the decision to kill the piece was because WBAI -- the so-called 'people's radio' -- was broadcasting two-year-old repeates of dead Al Lewis and shows of golden oldy records.

C.I.: And to clarify, the network in question was a broadcast network and it would have made their Saturday evening newscast had the idea not been killed.

Ava: We don't forget that. WBAI is in NYC. It needs to take that a little bit more seriously. It needs to stop being so embarrassing -- and new management is getting it there -- and grasp that when Real Media's trying to find out what the left is talking about, they will tune in for story ideas. Too often, they find none.

Ty: Okay. Still on the topic of the roundtable last week, reader Mercy e-mails to say she found it offensive that in the interview with Cindy Sheehan, Darh Jamail took it upon himself to speak for Ehren Watada.

Jim: We need back story before the issue's addressed. I'm tossing to Mike for back story.

Mike: Okay, but if anyone still needs an overview after I'm done, they can see C.I.'s "Ehren Watada scheduled to be discharged October 2nd" from yesterday. Ehren Watada is the first officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq. To publicly refuse. That was in June of 2006. Following that he had an Article 32 hearing and a court-martial that the judge called a mistrial on because the prosecution was losing. The mistrial call coming when it did meant that Ehren couldn't be tried for the same charges again. In the latest update, latest news, the military is finally supposed to be discharging him.

Wally: And for months before going public, Ehren had offered other things he could do to his superious who did not want him to go public. Among those was his offer to deploy instead to Afghanistan.

Ty: Which brings us back to the issue of Mercy's e-mail. Ehren has publicly and repeatedly stated he would deploy to Afghanistan. Mercy writes, "It was really offensive to hear Jamail say that he hadn't spoken to Ehren about it but he would be pretty sure that Ehren had changed his mind about the Afghanistan War." Anyone?

Jess: Well he hasn't spoken to Ehren. If you haven't spoken to him, then don't speak for him. Mercy's correct. If Ehren changes his mind about the Afghanistan War, that's for him to go public with. What if he hasn't changed his mind?

Rebecca: I agree with Jess. I think it was a stupid remark by Dahr Jamail for a number of reasons. First of all, if you haven't spoken to someone and don't know what they're thinking, don't go on the radio and tell people what you think the person is thinking. Dahr's interviewed Ehren a few times so when Dahr gives a pronouncement, it's given added weight. And that didn't deserve any weight. Second of all, it was stupid because the latest news about Ehren wasn't out yet. The latest news being the military says it plans to discharge him. When someone had prepared a public defense, you have no business chipping away at it in their name and that's what Dahr technically did. Third, Ehren's taken enough crap if, as Jess, he hasn't changed his mind, that's his business. All of us participating in this roundtable have long been against the Afghanistan War. However, we've never said a rude word about Ehren's position on it nor intend to. It took a ton of bravery for Ehren to take the public stand against the Iraq War and we appreciate that and applaud him for it.

Ty: Reader Gerard e-mails to ask for more music features.

Jess: We'll be doing a Carly Simon roundtable at the end of next month. Other than that, we don't know. We'll play it by ear.

Ty: Also on music, Anna e-mails to say she enjoyed Kat's "Kat's Korner: Get Under The Covers" which reviewed Under The Covers Vol. 2, from Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs. Anna likes the album but can't figure out the line "Just give me . . ." "Give me what?" writes Anna.

Kat: "And if you give me weeds, whites and wine." "Whites" is cocaine. The song is "Willin'" recorded in the seventies by Little Feat.

Ty: Okay, now health care and I'm jumping to it because we might run out of time and I want to be sure to get Trina in here. ObamaBigBusinessCare is what Ava, C.I. and Trina have dubbed Obama's 'plan.' Reader George wants to know if we -- and Trina specifically -- are saying we'd prefer nothing happen on health care?

Trina: Yeah. If the alternative is the plans being proposed in Congress, I would prefer nothing be done. It's going to be a lot harder to take on the insurance companies when they've got everyone's business and that's what a mandatory measure would do. Mandating that everyone purchase health insurance means the inusurance companies get a ton of new customers and, watch and see, if that happens we will never have single-payer because they will not let go of those customers.

Ruth: I agree with Trina. There is nothing in it for the American people. There is plenty in the plans for Big Business. I do not believe we do something, anything, just to say we did something. I believe we do something that helps. Barack Obama has said that we cannot have single-payer because it is too dramatic of a step. However, there is nothing in his proposals that lays down steps that could lead to single-payer. As Trina pointed out, everything about the plans being discussed guarantee that single-payer is shut out for good.

Cedric: Ruth and Trina are correct. It is better to have nothing than to add even more barriers to single-payer. It's really amazing that we were so offended under Bush that we could not negotiate pharmacy prices but with Barack offering the same crap people won't even call out Barry O. Barack has blown the chance not only for single-payer but also for something as modest as health care reform. At this point, the best thing would be for the whole thing to be scrapped. Barack blew it. Allowing the proposals to go forward and become law would mean we the American people blew it.

Jim: Okay we need to hear from Elaine, Stan, Marcia, Betty and Ann before time runs out.

Ty: Okay, hold on, Joel e-mailed about Betty's "Bob Somerby, New Adventures of Old Christine." He wondered if The New Adventures of Old Christine is Betty's favorite show and also about Barb and whether she'll be on the show this year even with her own talk show on Fox entertainment -- Wanda Sykes having her own talk show, she plays Barb. Betty?

Betty: Yes, The New Adventures of Old Christine is my favorite show. I love to laugh and that show makes me laugh consistently. As for Barb, the plan is for Wanda Sykes to be on the show all this year. She's going to juggle both jobs.

C.I.: Currently, at CBS', The New Adventures of Old Christine can be streamed and that includes the hilarious season debut that Betty's talking about. A friend at CBS angry about Ava and my "TV: The Fall Season" two weeks ago told me that Friday. Didn't mean to interrupt but I promised we'd work that in somewhere this week. Betty?

Betty: That's great so let me tell everyone that can stream to go there and stream the episode. It was wonderful, you will laugh so hard. It really is the best episode of the series so far and that's saying so much because this show has had so many hilarious episodes. In this one, Matthew gets stoned and Christine has to do favors to get back into the US. It's very funny.

Dona: How about we toss out to those who haven't spoken yet that they can talk about the fall TV season? Any favorites or problems.

Stan: I'll go. Flashfoward sucks. I thought it was going to be good but it is so disappointing. I'm a New Adventures of Old Christine fan and I'll agree with Betty that it was a great episode. I especially enjoyed when Richard wakes up the next morning after sleeping on New Christine's porch and is urinating in the watering can when New Christine comes up. That was a nice bit of physical comedy.

Marcia: And Richard and Barb are engaged. Who saw that coming? Last season, New Christine walked out on her own wedding and now Barb and Richard are engaged so Barb can stay in the country. Wanda and Old Christine are a great comic pair and my favoite part was at the start when Christine went in to how the man she was kissing was engaged. When she's talking about how she had a bad time at the wedding too. Talking to Wanda who's been put in immigration jail. I love how Christine always thinks it's about her. The other show I really like is the one Ava and C.I. are reviewing this week, Cougar Town, on ABC, starring Courtney Cox. I think it and The New Adventures of Old Christine are the two funniest shows on network TV.

Ann: I'm a big fan of Cher and Michelle Pfeiffer and Jack Nicholson and I've seen The Witches of Eastwick multipe times. I wasn't sure if I was going to like the new TV show with a new cast or not and checked with Ava and C.I. with my concerns. They said they thought I'd enjoy it and I really did. It airs on ABC as well and the first episode held my attention. And then some. I really think the three women have a strong chemistry that can carry the show. Oh, the show's named Eastwick. Sorry.

Elaine: Medium was good. It's airing on Fridays now. I'll try to catch Cougar Town because Ava and C.I. praise it through the roof. I'm already Tivo-ing New Adventures of Old Christine.

Jim: Okay, we're going to stop there because Dona's called time. Our e-mail address, again, is
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