Sunday, April 05, 2009

Truest statement of the week

Obama reads his speeches from the teleprompter so I-I'm sure we'll get the advanced text.

-- Andrei Sitov (Itar-Tass) replying to Susan Page's "What do you expect in his speech Andrei?" on The Diane Rehm Show Wednesday.

Truest statement of the week II

Because Obama is now selling us this never-ending war in Afghanistan and talking about making a deal with the Taliban. He is selling us the worst parts of the Bush Administration's war efforts.

-- Elizabeth DiNovella, "Remember When Afghan Women Mattered?" (The Progressive, a rag she far outclasses).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Sunday and we've got another edition. Somehow Someway. We thank all the people who worked on this edition including Dallas and the following:

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 have we got?

  • Truest statement of the week -- We went with one that you really need to hear, for the tone.
  • Truest statement of the week II -- And this one was an obvious choice for many reasons.
  • Editorial: Where it stands -- The thing with this edition was that everyone wanted to be done quickly. Didn't happen that way for us (Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, C.I. and me, Jim) but everyone else went to bed long, long ago. This piece was the left overs and scraps of about seven pieces and Elaine, who had asked for Abby Road to be played in our final hour of writing, suggested we run it together like the suite on side two (vinyl) of the Beatles Abby Road. It worked.
  • Katha Pollitt, Bronze Booby Winner -- Why so high up with the Bronze Booby? Well we did get some input. Hadn't planned on it. But Ty's boyfriend was waking up and wondered what we'd come up with. His fresh set of eyes insisted this and the next piece had to be moved up high in the mix. But not that high in the mix!

TV: Skimming the Surface -- As I was typing this, Dona asked me, "You didn't write anything about Ava and C.I., how come?" It's not there. We forgot to publish it. Readers are freaking out right now as I type this asking, "What the f**k? Four years of never missing a week and they do it this week and we don't even get a note of apology or explanation!" Ava and C.I. didn't take the week off. We just rushed through publishing and forgot to post their article. They cover three TV shows in this and, readers, a request from me (Jim), please stop making requests for Ava and C.I. in e-mails. A) It's not happening. B) They've already got friends who are sure that any and every bit of praise online could make the difference in a cancellation or a renewal. Those friends are begging them for mentions. And they're having to say "no" because they've got to work each week with what fits. That's why a planned article that was announced for this week got pushed back to next week. I love this one but, honestly, did have to look up RD Laing. Sorry. I won't pretend I know everything because I don't. Read this and enjoy. I was talking about how everyone wanted to be done quickly this weekend. As a result, that meant short features where possible which meant pushing off on Ava and C.I. We asked them if they could do a lengthy article this week? They hadn't planned on it but managed to pull it off. We thank them.

  • The Katrina goes to . . . -- Back to where we were. The Bronze Booby and the Katrina were judged by Ty's boyfriend to be too strong to bury in the mix.
  • From The (Male) Vault: Sexism rules at Pacifica -- This one is basically a reader e-mail. Ty was hoping to include it in our roundtable but we didn't have time. So we wrote some stuff quickly to run with it and called it a "short article."

  • Roundtable -- The roundtable. There were so many things Ty wanted to cover and there was only one topic from the e-mails we got to. But it did make for a very interesting roundtable.

  • The non-fashion plate
  • -- Mike and C.I. brought this back over. It was actually an idea Betty pitched last week that we wrote and rewrote every way we knew how but couldn't get anything out of it. What was the difference? Two dead soldiers in Iraq (US soldiers) and three pages of fluff in the "international" section of Saturday's New York Times.

    No surprise -- Shocked is really a bit much, all things considered.

  • With or without a village, it takes an idiot . . .... -- While Ava and C.I. worked on the TV commentary, we wrote this brief article (and worked on illustrations).

  • Don't Steal These Looks! -- Rebecca and Betty largely did this. We offered them a byline on this because it's really them but they took a pass. We'll credit them here.

  • ETAN -- ETAN article reposted here.

  • Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Betty, Kat, Rebecca, Marcia, Ruth, Cedric, Stan and Wally wrote this and we thank them for it.
And that's what we got. We thank everyone and we're glad to say that even though it was long for us signing the note, we were able to say night-night to everyone else by one in the morning.

And one more thing. Kat's "Kat's Korner: When you build your house . . ." went up this morning. It's epic and about Stevie Nicks' new live album. Don't miss the review, don't miss the album, both are wonderful.

ADDED: And one more article this fine Sunday: F**K YOU, MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD. This was written by Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, C.I., Wally and myself. And Wally typed it up. We hadn't planned on this but an outraged e-mail came in over Matthew Rothschild's latest embarrassment (he really needs to be placed in a home). Ty was reading the e-mail to us right after we finished the note. Wally happened to walk through and as we offered twenty excuses for not writing about it, he said, "I'll type!" With that kind offer, we had to make the time. According to Mad Matty Roth, it is now "McCarthyism" to refuse to allow known bombers -- who do not regret their past actions -- to speak at your facilities. Reality check, in 2008 a lot of people learned a lot of things about Bill and Bernardine which they didn't know before.

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

Editorial: Where it stands

Let it be a lesson to you, UPFJ, you can't trash A.N.S.W.E.R. to the press and get away with it. You can't insist to the press that A.N.S.W.E.R. is "controlled by Communists" while hiding your own ties.

Well you can and you did and how'd it work out for you?

You got a little bit of press on your Friday actions. Not much, just a tiny little bit. You might have thought you'd rule the news for your Saturday actions. But no one was interested. Or as Aimee Mann once sang, "No one is watching you now . . ."

Geez, what's the world coming to when closeted Communists can't start a red-baiting whisper campaign against A.N.S.W.E.R. without it biting them in their own useless butts?

As The Red Queen found out in April 2008, piss off the wrong ones and there's hell to pay. So her little event got no coverage. And neither did Leslie's event this year.

Poor UPFJ -- United For Pathetic and Juvenile. Thought they could piss all over A.N.S.W.E.R and, fact of the matter, A.N.S.W.E.R. and other groups turned out a huge crowd in DC for their March event. UPFJ?

Did Saturday's 'crowd' make it to 200?

There's the world of the real and the world of the fake and UPFJ is all about the World of the Fake.

They are far from alone. John Stauber (PR Watch) reported on the Center for American Progress and other front groups last week:

CAP and the five million member liberal lobby group MoveOn were behind Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI), a coalition that spent tens of millions of dollars using Iraq as a political bludgeon against Republican politicians, while refusing to pressure the Democratic Congress to actually cut off funding for the war. AAEI was operated by two of Barack Obama's top political aids, Steve Hildebrand and Paul Tewes, and by Brad Woodhouse of Americans United for Change and USAction. Today Woodhouse is Obama's Director of Communications and Research for the Democratic National Committee. He controls the massive email list called Obama for America composed of the many millions of people who gave money and love to the Democratic peace candidate and might be wondering what the heck he is up to in Afghanistan and Pakistan. MoveOn built its list by organizing vigils and ads for peace and by then supporting Obama for president; today it operates as a full-time cheerleader supporting Obama's policy agenda. Some of us saw this unfolding years ago. Others are probably shocked watching their peace candidate escalating a war and sounding so much like the previous administration in his rationale for doing so.

We're really going to miss John Stauber who's leaving the Center for Media and Democracy. He was always a voice who would call out the faux action, who would refuse to cheer on the do-nothings of We need strong voices even more today than we did when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House.

In fact, they're in such short supply that we debated including Laura Flanders' latest in this editorial. We finally decided that if any of us could quote a full sentence from Flanders' blog post at The Nation without cracking up, we'd include it. None of us could. Because we haven't forgotten the disgrace she made of herself over Barack Obama (starting in November 2007). Haven't forgotten it and can't forgive it until she owns her mistake. She was happy to publicly endorse, she should be happy to publicly apologize.

The Iraq War drags on and on, each and every day. And it does so because faux 'peace' groups derailed the movement. A recent Christian Science Monitor article (no link to trash) attempted to push VoteVets as a peace organization. It's not. It never was. It is a front group which exists solely to elect Democrats.

The same bad article swallowed CODESTINK's claim that they're about 'economic justice' these days. No. They're about being soft and cushy for Barack Obama. Jodi didn't bundle all that money in a (failed) attempt to become a power player for nothing, now did she? (Despite all that money and a PR makeover that's ongoing, Jodi is not and will not be welcome at the White House. As Diana Ross once said to Mary Wilson, "It's taken care of.") So Jodi and Medea got their man into the White House and now they want to pretend that a president's not responsible for a war. Now they want to WalkOn,

The same bad article mentions the Out of Iraq Caucus. Here's the question you should ask: How many months will it be before someone speaks publicly about how Barbara Lee sold the caucus out or what it took to buy her off?

John Stauber's leaving at a time when the loss will really be felt but it's also true that the fakes and phonies in the 'anti-war' movement are doing a pretty good job these days of exposing themselves.

The ongoing, illegal war passed the six year mark without Pacifica ever giving it a program of its own. (Flashpoints, for example, began as an attempt to cover the first Gulf War.) But one thing we do have is Cindy Sheehan's internet radio program. And though it will deal with many topics, you can be sure Iraq won't be disappeared from it the way it has been from so many other 'left' programs and magazines.

In the meantime, those who really believe in ending the illegal war will continue pressing on. And take comfort in the fact that we only have to carry ourselves, not the egos of Tom Hayden, Leslie Cagan, Carl Davidson and so many other do-nothings.

TV: Skimming the Surface

A comment Barack made last week pretty much summed it all up, "Well if-if it's just Roosevelt and uh Churchill sitting in a room uh with brandy uh that's a -- that's an easier negotiation. But that's not the world we live in, it shouldn't be."* But it is what he chose to present. Nothing of value to offer but name checking Roosevelt and Churchill, he hopes, elevates it to the level of 'observation.' It doesn't. But that's all he has to offer and, increasingly, all TV has to offer. All surface, no depth.


Shout-outs and inferences are supposed to take the place of exploration and discussions. It's as though the nation decided to replace Dr. Spock with R.D. Laing. And as the wheels spin in the mud, sending dirt flying, and nothing gets accomplished, remember that.

You won't easily forget it if you caught either ABC's Better Off Ted or another rare live episode of Saturday Night Live. In both cases you saw that they, like Barack, were happy to offer shout-outs in the place of real observations, surface in the place of depth. And still expect to get laughs. Well they can dream, can't they?

Better Off Ted has Portia de Rossi (of Ally McBeal and Arrested Development fame) and that's about all the show can currently call an asset. (For those late to the party, we don't review child performers. The lead character has a young daughter. That actress is not mentioned nor evaluated in this article.) As Veronica, Portia provides the show with some forward momentum that keeps making you think any second the show's going to shift into a lower gear and make it out of the mud. Then Jay Harrington's Ted does something and you realize nobody's going anywhere.

Excuse us, then Ted does nothing because that is the real problem. Over and over. Take last Thursday's episode which featured Ted finally almost kissing Linda (Andrea Anders). Almost. And almost starting a relationship with her. The kiss was prevented by Linda's refusal to remove her HAZMAT mask while sirens were going off. The relationship was prevented by . . . writers who don't know anything?

Who in the world wants to spend thirty minutes with someone who constantly does nothing and then mopes about it?

Despite the title, the show has yet to demonstrate there's anything good about being Ted.

Constantly, he almost does something and . . . then . . . doesn't.

The problem isn't with Harrington, it's with the writing. For example, Ted takes his young daughter to work and brings her to a meeting. The meeting is about bombs but, so as not to frighten her, the word "bunny" is used in place of bombs. For that scene to be funny, it needs to be uncomfortable but every time tension almost develops, you've got Ted walking it back. The same way Ted loves Linda but then walks it back at the end of the episode.

Ted never does a damn thing. He just spins his wheels.

And that's really too bad because the cast shows real promise. No one's really managed to overcome the material except Portia but the actors have created likable characters, characters you want to know and spend time with, characters you want to see do something.

Instead every thing's blunted corners and stationary bike rides. It all adds up to nothing currently. Stronger scripts could make this show better. Sidebar, we really, really hope to review Rules of Engagement again. It is the most improved show on TV. Megyn Price remains wonderful but Bianca Kajlich has really carved out a character and the writers have steadied Adam Rhodes allowing Oliver Hudson to hit notes in that role which are among the year's best. We can actually say many nice things about the show and have a friend with the show begging that the improvement be noted. We hope to offer a lengthy examination of the show but if you hated the show as much as we did in year one, you might be pleasantly surprised if you check it out currently on Monday nights, CBS, after Two & A Half Men. And in a world where Rules of Engagement can actually become engaging television, anything can happen.

Well, almost. Nothing will apparently ever make Seth Meyers a comedy writer. And as long as Lorne's willing to let him continue as "headwriter," Meyers is bound and determined to sink the show.

Saturday was one of those increasingly rare 'new' shows. Hard for some viewers today to believe, but once upon a time, SNL was required to do new shows regularly. There was none of this two or three new shows, series of repeats, two or three new shows, series of repeats nonsense.

But the inability to produce a full season's worth of episodes is the least of Lorne's problems as the first skit last night made clear. It was the Christ-child Barack and it was so unfunny. As a general rule, maybe someone who gave $4,600 to Barack's campaigns in 2008 shouldn't be writing skits about his hero, the one he referred to on air last night as "a super cool Black guy"?

Seth offered another sloppy wet one to his would-be-lover and Fred got stuck in front of the camera trying to make sense out of it. What did we tell you throughout 2008? That SNL never developed a life for Barack. [Click here for one example.] They still haven't. He exists in a vacuum, trotted out for photo-ops which could actually pass for commentary on SNL's part if there was any indication that they were intending that. Instead, you've got an adolescent with a crush trying to write comedy and failing miserably.

Barack took another step towards fascism and you know it tickled Seth so an entire speech was crafted for Fred to give as Barack -- a long, long, boring speech. In this one he talked about bullying and the studio audience dutifully applauded every time the APPLAUSE sign lit up. They just didn't really laugh. This product would stay in business, this would go the way of GM. They came alive for a brief moment when 'mature' Seth introduced skin mags into the routine but, Seth being Seth, that was just to get in a slam against Bill Clinton. Yes, that is stale. But so is Seth. Somewhere around recliners, or maybe after underwear or fake vomit, we lost interest and apparently so did the studio audience. Yet still the skit continued as if accumulating more minutes might make it funnier.

Never did. But it did make it clear just how misogynistic the show had become. That was a thread that ran through the entire broadcast and, word to Andy, stop partaking in it or it's going to kill your post-SNL career before it gets off the ground.

A bad "digital short" with Andy, apparently entitled "I Am the Boss," made no sense on its own but in the context of the show seemed to be yet another portrait of misogyny unbound. ("Suck my d**k" and other choice lines. NBC apparently has no censor issues these days. Gee, if only Gilda, Danny and John could have resorted to those words they never would have had to actually be funny and creative.)

Andy and the host (we'll be kind and leave him nameless) made up two men in a four men sketch (four by the end of the skit). They're talking about strippers and, for a brief second, the skit could have been about something, it could have even created a reoccurring skit. (Has no one noticed that the year appears on the verge of ending with no break out character introduced the entire season?) A cell phone rings and the stripper talk's set aside as it's all baby-coo, lovey-dovey. "Save your girlfriend voice for when you're alone," snaps one but the phones ring (Andy's vibrates) and they all partake. That's actually the makings for funny. The juxtaposition of the stripper talk and bravado versus the way these same characters speak to their girlfriends. We thought just maybe SNL was remembering how to write a sketch.

We thought wrong. It's all surface, we warned you. Instead of exploring that (and creating an alternative to Akroyd and Martin's "Wild and Crazy Guys"), the skit veered into the lead singer of the B52s calling, a call made to a friend on life support ("beep-beep-beeeeeep"), Yoda and many more but the low had to be calling Gizmo.

There's a reason SNL isn't funny and you can see it in the above skit. Given the chance to offer something relatable and funny, they quickly ditch that to offer up recycled pop-culture crap -- the sort of stuff Lorne once accused Anne of doing with Square Pegs (and Lorne really ripped apart Anne's work -- or are we still pretending that never happened?). Given the chance to actually create some memorable characters, they instead tried to shore up a weak sketch by dropping in references to Star Wars and Gremlins. How did that make it out of the writers' room, forget out of rehearsal?

"I'm Seth Meyers and here's tonight's top stories," Seth promised at the start of Weakened Update. Instead we think we found the new drinking game. Take a shot every time Seth works "Black" into a discussion about Barack. Try it.

A drunken stupor might allow you to ignore how underutilized women are on the show. Women finally popped up during Weekend Update -- excuse us, women playing women. Men playing women make frequent appearance. So after two not funny skits, the women were allowed a moment and they stole Weekend Update as Madonna and Angelina Jolie.

That skit also underscored how professional bachelor Seth can't relate to women on any level. At the end of the skit, "Angelina" declared, "Hey, Seth, take this bottle and suck on it like you're a baby." With no emotion and not even a reaction shot to the camera, Seth stumbled through the line, "I have so many mixed emotions right now." It was that line, that awful reading he gave it, which led a cast member to tell us last night that we're right and Seth has to go.

He should go. Kristen did a wonderful Madonna but, really, Madonna and Michael Jackson jokes? Is it 1989 or 2009?

You might have asked that during the awful skit 'spoofing' country music -- or what someone thought was country music. Why are they even trying to spoof country music? Because Seth can't write about his own life. He can't create recognizable characters or situations. But he can point the finger and laugh at the 'other' and that's all he can write, weak, undeveloped skits from a priss-ass point of view.

Doubt us? The host got stuck in a bad skit (as did a lot of other males). It was supposed to be a spoof of an eighties TGIF comedy and was titled Milestone High. Did you watch Boy Meets World? If so, you might remember that the lead character wasn't a sports star at his school. Nor was the lead character of Wonder Years. But there was Seth, the man who probably gave himself a groin injury the first time he pulled on a jock strap, pointing the finger at athletes because ha, ha, they were the 'other' to him as well. There was no skit there. No laugh lines, no characters and the whole thing ended as slowly as it moved. It did give you time to wonder why the students (two) were male and so were the teachers (three)? Maybe it was supposed to be The Facts Of Life in reverse?

Telling a joke about an engagement ring that fell on the Brooklyn Bridge, Seth felt the need to add that there was good news to the story, the man didn't have to get married. If you're not yet smelling the misogyny, you must have tuned out before the 'big' skit featuring ten actors, nine of which were playing The Muppets. There was Kermit, Fozi Bear . . . Wait. The most famous Muppet -- what's her name? Oh, yeah, Miss Piggy. Yeah, despite putting ten actors in the skit, you had no Miss Piggy.

Not even a man dressed up as Miss Piggy. Yeah, Andy dressed up as the comic strip character Cathy again. No, it's never funny. Yes, it does emphasize everything that's unattractive about his nose and remind you that funny alone doesn't make for sexy. We've issued warnings. He seems bound and determined to kill off any post-SNL career.

Having washed our hands of it, we were able to focus on the sketch and grasp something others may not have: It was a repeat. You had a meeting where various characters spoke of ways to save their jobs during the economic crisis. Change it from comic strip characters to Broadway characters and you've got the same skit they already did -- down to the bits about racism when Keenan's character is mistaken for someone else.

How did that one get the green light? The first time it was done, it wasn't that funny and the skit altered for comic strip characters was even less funny.

The problem with both skits, besides not being funny, is you're attempting to get a laugh off of someone else's work. You're not genuinely creating anything of your own. And, once upon a time, Lorne really looked down on that. In fact, we're remembering his actual critique of Dick Ebersol's SNL reign and of that era's dependency on celebrity imitations to get laughs. To paraphrase Dr. Denise Vennetti, Saturday Night Live forgot to look at itself. Or any other human being. The whole show played like the writers went flipping through US weekly during the pitch meeting.

Seth Meyers is the mental midget secretly obsessed with Octomom and whether Reese and Jake will get hitched while pretending to have a genuine political thought in his head. That actually is funny and we'd suggest that Seth either explore that character quickly or Lorne go ahead and fire him before the season's over.

There was one new standout on TV last week, Coming Home: Military Families Cope with Change. That half-hour Sesame Street program aired on PBS Wednesday night and featured Queen Latifah as the host along with Muppets Elmo and Rosita. (John Mayer was a musical guest.) The program's focus was the returning wounded and their families. How do children cope with parents wounded while serving in Iraq?

It's an important question and issues of physical and emotional wounds, issues of distance and detachment, of longing and belonging were all addressed in an intelligent, honest and age-appropriate manner. That last point was lost on a friend who's a veteran from the Vietnam era and pooh-pahhed the special stating it didn't "show the true horrors of war."

A young child wants to play with their father, wants to talk to him but the father can't leave his depression or the couch? Guess what, that's a horror of war if you're a child outside the war zone. And Queen Latifah made that point clear, for those who bothered to pay attention, as she shared her father's issues when she was growing up.

This was a show geared for children. We would have assumed the red, talking puppet heavily featured in the special would have been enough to establish that point but apparently we were wrong.

The special was a long time coming and good for PBS for stepping up. Six years into the Iraq War and finally a program that addresses what many children in the United States are going through. A lot has been made (rightly so) on how coffins were hidden away throughout this illegal war. Even more hidden have been the wounded. A notable exception to the silence has been a 2004 Mother Jones feature. (Clamor also did an outstanding feature but the magazine is no more.) The wounded men and women return to their lives and, for some, their lives include young children. How do you prepare children for that?

In a superficial society that wants to pretend the Iraq War ended just because the bulk of Americans and the media lost interest, how do you prepare the children of the wounded for their parents' return? At a time when everyone from the president to a sitcom to the reigning live TV show wants to earn credit by riding on the shoulders of others, Sesame Street rolled up their sleeves and went to work. It was messy and it was real, it was age-appropriate and one of the few things we've seen in recent years which truly argued for the continued existence of PBS.


*Note. You can hear the Barack quote on Friday's episode of Washington Week.

Katha Pollitt, Bronze Booby Winner

Katha Pollit earned the Bronze Booby for being one and then some.

Bronze Booby Prize

In a piece of pure crap entitled "Mad About Michelle," cyber-stalker and free-range poet Katha wanted to open with, "Someday we'll get beyond obsessing about
first ladies--and by 'we' I mean the sort of journalists who use 'we' to mean 'the vast majority of Americans' when it is usually just themselves and their friends."

Katha's arguing that too much attention/obsession is placed on the ceremonial and usually meaningless role of First Lady and, even in topic choice, she unintentionally undermines her own argument by . . . obsessing over the topic herself and assuming it's worthy of being her month's column. How sad that her editors agreed her pathetic and puny doodle qualified for writing or thought.

When not undermining her own 'logic,' she demonstrates that math wasn't stressed in Socialist day camp as she goes on "half the country" and then "there are those" and 2 and 2 add up to 4 only, if like Katha, you play the fool.

For example, there are many who don't give a damn about Michelle Obama and there are many who are appalled by her embrace of the meaningless and ornamental.

And because Katha is the Charlotte Rae to so many mindless idiots writing today, she has to play den mother and quote one of her charges:

Just after the election Rebecca Traister wrote a terrific piece in Salon lamenting the "momification" of Michelle Obama. Probably it was inevitable: "In part because of the legacy left her by Hillary and her detractors," Traister observed, "powerful couples must now tread as far as possible from the 'two for one' talk, lest the female half get smacked with a nutcracker."

Rebecca Traister the third-wave 'feminist' and fool. Traister (and Pollitt who never calls it out) thinks it is feminist behavior to blame Hillary Clinton for the choices Michelle Obama is making. Again, Katha is the Charlotte Rae, Rebecca's the Blair Warner locked on Katha's nipple. A word of advice, Traister, bite down. Hard.

Michelle Obama's "momified" because she allowed herself to be. She embraced it. She's the one who publicly declared she wasn't a feminist, she then went on to really make that clear by attempting to get a cheap laugh and score political hay (and prove how trashy an ugly girl can be) by implying Hillary couldn't keep her own house in order. She's the one who just smiled and sat there as Barack said she wasn't going to speak, she was just going to sit there and look pretty (she's never looked pretty -- the best Michelle can ever hope is 'well scrubbed') and that was okay with him.

But the mental midget Rebecca Traister wants to ignore all of that (and so much more), all before the election, and present her 'thesis.' Like any student of Katha, Traister's an ahistorical idiot. And so is The Nation for running Katha's drivel. Katha won her Bronze Boob but we also need to give her a "thank you" because she earned that as well.

Thanks you, Katha, for proving once and for all that not all Dumb Blonds are pretty. Way to explode that false strereotype of women!

The Katrina goes to . . .

Scott Horton for a post so bad it could have been written by the award's namesake, Katrina vanden Heuvel. Video blogger and attorney Horton served up "Maddow, Powell, and the Need for a Torture Commission" last Friday and opened with: "MSNBC's Rachel Maddow presents Colin Powell, whom she clearly admires, with a series of very tough questions. Most of the Washington press corps could learn from this technique".

We watched the video of Powell and Chachi that he linked to and, no, she didn't ask tough questions (Horton Hears A Something) but more troubling was his suggestion, via sentence construction, that the DC press corps should learn to "clearly admire" the Blotted Collie Powell.

As any sane mind knows, the press has never been lacking in admiration for War Criminal Collie Powell. Scott Horton earned his Katrina and then some.


Added 4-5-09 by C.I. Joan e-mailed to note that Bob Somerby took on another fool praising Rachel Maddow's clowning (note, we are linking to Bob, we are not including his links to people we do not link to for good reasons, use the link to read in full or seek out his links):

Pushing Powell: In this post, dday applauds Maddow for pushing Colin Powell about war crimes in Wednesday night’s interview. We agree with dday--but only up to a point. Once again, we'd have to say that Maddow's questions were weak and quite mushy. She gave an aggressive introduction--when Powell wasn't present. In the interview, when he was there, she largely backed down.

Did Powell take part in White House meetings where specific torture techniques were discussed and/or approved? That was the charge Maddow discussed in her fiery introduction. But when she actually sat with Powell, the questions were vague and quite soft. What follows is the first Q-and-A. This is the most direct question Maddow asked. Powell was quickly evasive:

MADDOW (4/1/09): On the issue of intelligence, tainted evidence and those things, were you ever present at meetings at which the interrogation of prisoners, like Abu Zubaydah, other prisoners in those early days, where the interrogation was directed, where specific interrogation techniques were approved? It has been reported on a couple of different sources that there were principals' meetings, to which you would have typically been there, where those interrogations were almost play-by-play discussed.

POWELL: They were not play-by-play discussed, but there were conversations at a senior level as to what could be done with respect to interrogation. I cannot go further because I don't have knowledge of all the meetings that took place or what was discussed at each of those meetings. And I think it's going to have to be the written record of those meetings that will determine whether anything improper took place. But it was always the case that, at least from the State Department standpoint, we should be consistent with the requirements of the Geneva Convention. And that's why this was such a controversial issue. But you'll have to go—and in due course, I think, we all will go—to the written record of what memos were signed. I'm not sure what memos were signed or not signed. I didn't have access to all of that information.

That’s the most direct question Maddow asked--and even here, she talks about "specific interrogation techniques," not about "torture" or "water-boarding." Powell's answer, of course, is quickly evasive. Obviously, he hadn't been asked about meetings he didn't attend; he was being asked about meetings at which he was present. The follow-up questions write themselves: If the State Department favored adherence to the Geneva Convention, did you ever hear discussions of techniques that would have violated that convention--of water-boarding, for example? But that isn’t what Maddow asked. Instead, she went hypothetical:

MADDOW (continuing directly): If there was a meeting, though, at which senior officials were discussing and giving the approval for sleep deprivation, stress positions, water-boarding, were those officials committing crimes when they were giving that authorization?

Pathetic. In this question, Maddow does mentions specific techniques. But the question she asks is hypothetical. Powell is removed from the scene.

The topic here was much more serious, but the questioning was very much like the questioning of Shaheen the previous week. Maddow talked a very good game in her introduction to this segment with Powell. But when Powell was actually in the room, she largely rolled over and died.

From The (Male) Vault: Sexism rules at Pacifica

The following e-mail was cc-ed to us:

I thought I was hearing some (bad) specials and not From The Vault recently. Just checked the webpage and, sure enough, For The Vault managed to offer four programs for Black History Month and NOTHING for Women's History Month which is so damn typical of pathetic Pacifica.
Equally true is that all four Black History Month segments were men and all four March segments were, you guessed it, men.
In your White Male world, Brian, that may play. For this African-American woman, it doesn't. Explain to me where I make my complaint about this disgraceful and continuing sexism.

What was our reader talking about?

We went to the From The Vault website to check. The weekly radio show served up offerings in February (Black History Month) and in March (Women's History Month).

January 30th, "we kick off 2009 Black History Month by featuring rare recordings of one of America’s greatest intellectuals, W.E.B. DuBois." No, it wasn't actually Black History Month but they wanted to be sure they got in four programs devoted to the topic. February 6th, " From the Vault continues a tribute Black History Month by presenting the second half of a documentary featuring rare recordings of one of America’s greatest intellectuals, W.E.B. DuBois." February 16th's broadcast was devoted to activist and comedian Dick Gregory. Feb. 20th to Malcolm X. Feb. 27th -- wait! Each month has four weeks. Yeah, but we told you that history was so important to them -- or at least men's history -- that they kicked off in January. Feb. 27th was devoted to Paul Robeson. (Yes, our reader was wrong, they did five programs for Black History Month and not four.)

Wow, what might they do with Women's History Month?

Your answer was in Black History Month. Five programs, all devoted to men.

March 6th: "This week on From the Vault, we present a recently restored and digitized program — A Piper Piping Away: An Interview with Paddy Maloney. Mr. Maloney is founder and leader of the traditional Irish music group The Chieftains, who were instrumental in popularizing traditional Irish music that was in danger of being lost forever." Paddy Maloney? And his all male band? Women's history how? As the rest of the month made clear, From The Archives didn't give a damn about Women's History Month. March 16th, "FTV 149 Shakespeare: This was a Man (Part 1 of 3)". March 23rd, "FTV 150 Shakespeare: This was a Man (Part 2 of 3)". March 27th, "FTV 151 Shakespeare: This was a Man (Part 3 of 3)".

It's not just that they ignored women, it's that they aired a three part series during Women's History Month with the subtitle "This was a Man." We find it hard to believe they'd have dare done anything similar during Black History Month.

But this didn't strike any programmer or station manager as strange or even objectionable. Which goes a long way towards explaining why the likes of Gloria Steinem, et al were not needed or wanted by Pacifica stations for election commentary throughout 2008 until John McCain announced Governor Sarah Palin was his running mate. Suddenly it was time to uncage the women and let them on air long enough for them to foam at the mouth and assure listeners that Sarah Palin was worthless and evil and would give them restless leg syndrome. Then, like any pet at a zoo, they were led back to their cages.

And they stood for it which makes them as pathetic as their zoo handlers.

By standing with them, they endorse the erasure of women and their accomplishments. Which is how From The Vault can get away with nine weeks in a row of programming focused on male accomplishments. All the more appalling when four of those weeks fell during Women's History Month.


Jim: This is an odds & ends roundtable and exists mainly so Ty can get to some of the questions and issues coming up in e-mails for the last four weeks. This is a rush transcript. Any illustration in this feature is by Betty's oldest son and participating in the roundtable 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, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Wally of The Daily Jot, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ and Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends.


Ty: Okay, as I warned everyone when I proposed this roundtable, the bulk of this will be for C.I. Jump in when you want and I'll be mixing in as many questions and topics as I can during our designated time limit, but most of it is questions and comments regarding C.I. For example, Stewart has e-mailed three times in the last three weeks on the same topic. He notes that C.I. sounding the warning bells on Pacifica and how there would be payback for the propaganda they aired throughout 2008. He notes the WBAI transmitter being locked and issues of libel and also losing station licenses being raised by members of the board in the last weeks. He says, "Can't say you didn't warn me." I replied to his first two e-mails and his third he said what he really wanted was a comment from C.I. So C.I.?

C.I.: Well actually, although I did issue multiple warnings at The Common Ills and then sat back and enjoyed it -- Rebecca has a story there -- Ava and I have covered some of Pacifica's problems here. For example, we wrote "Panhandle Media" and that includes some heads up to what was to come -- and that's just one example. But let me toss to Ava and I'll add a statement, if needed, after she's done.

Ava: We did hit on this repeatedly in 2008 and, as C.I. points out, we did it at first as warnings and then we washed our hands of it because the programmers and managers were yet again bringing it on themselves. You can't help the ones who want no help. At that point we just laughed and I'm stopping to include Rebecca really quick and then I'll resume.

Rebecca: Three Fridays ago, there was a hilarious rip-apart in a Friday snapshot about Pacifica and the snapshot was too long. C.I. ended up pulling that commentary -- about six long paragraphs -- from the snapshot. Which is too bad because it was brilliant and hilarious. I complained and was told, "Don't worry, it's coming." But the Pacifica board is not and has not been pleased with the stunts that have been taking place on air. The stations are the most embarrassing and non-professional atmospheres and they could get away with that if they could pull it together on the air; however, they can't. And you're going to see some changes this year. Some of them were noted in the section's removed from the snapshot. I'm not sure how much to share so I'll toss back to Ava.

Ava: Okay. Well, what's happening right now was known and what's waiting to happen is known as well. Unless you're a pathetic programmer or manager. WBAI, there's a memo that's been made public, and the money estimates in it are very conservative, the monthly debt is actually thought to be three times the figure given. And the question the board's asking -- a good one -- is why WBAI bleeds so damn much money? It doesn't really originate a lot of programming. What it does originate is cheaply made and cheap sounding like the three hour call in show every weekday afternoon. Al Lewis is dead. Someone forgot to tell WBAI. He died three years ago. What the hell is his ass still doing taking up an hour of weekly programming? And not an hour buried in the overnights, but Saturday at noon? The man is dead. He should be off the air. And that is one of the biggest indicators of how too much power has been handed to the programmers who refuse to leave when they should and hang on and hang on even though what they have to offer is useless, dated and boring. And they will never shake up their programs -- the ones still allegedly living -- because they have no reason to, they think that own their slots. The fact of the matter is a lot of people need to be fired and, in talks with various board members in 2008, we repeatedly pointed out -- C.I. and I -- that the economic meltdown would provide a means to clean the decks in many cases. I don't know how much C.I. can go into any of the audits that have been going on, but I'll toss on that.

C.I.: There are audits going on, there have been audits going on. How does anyone working for 'community radio' end up with a six or, in one case, seven-figure salary? Howard Stern's broadcasting from WBAI? No, he's not. No one with any commercial appeal is. You want to make those kind of figures, go into commercial broadcasting. But, to use WBAI as an example, they're paying out a huge amount for these cut & paste programs. I'm not referring to Out FM or -- I'm blanking, Ruth, the song you love to the feminist show on WBAI?

Ruth: Joy of Resistance.

C.I.: Okay, thank you. Those two shows, to give an example, are produced on a budget in keeping with community radio. That is not the case for a number of other shows. And, of course, Pacifica should not be paying any programmer six figures or more for a show if they don't own the rights to it. When community radio is paying that much money, they damn well better own the archives. Again, Howard Stern does not broadcast on WBAI. As the ratings demonstrate. There is no excuse for the money being spent and, point of fact, when you are running in debt month after month for years -- this is not a new thing for WBAI -- it's time you started talking to the money hogs and explain it was time for cuts. They didn't do that. WBAI's not the only station with problems but -- especially in terms of the budget problems -- it is the station with the most severe problems.

Jim: Why is that?

C.I.: They spend a huge amount of money and they have very little coming in. They've driven away listeners with Bernard and Amy's petty squabbles with other WBAI staff and programmers. Piss off Bernard or Amy and hit the road because they'll come after you and get their freak squad -- you people know who you are -- harrassing and screaming at people at their own homes. What's been going down at Pacifica nation-wide is disgusting. But when you turn to WBAI and see what's been going on, see how programmers have destroyed other people, it's flat out disgusting. There's nothing free speech about lying to someone's neighbor that they are a rapist or bigot or any of the other smear tactics the WBAI goons have regularly used to force people out. And, another expense, has been the lawsuits. When the lawsuits come in, everybody needs to understand that bulls**t behavior ends, that it is jeopordizing the station. But that wasn't conveyed. The same crap that got Amy Goodman kicked off NPR -- no, it wasn't the Mumia broadcast like she like to imply. She was kicked to the curb because she couldn't be professional, because she thought if you screamed the loudest and cursed the most and threatened bodily harm, you'd get your way. Now that crap plays at WBAI, it doesn't work at NPR and that's what got her kicked out of NPR in the 90s. There has been absolutely no professionalism at WBAI. People are openly threatened. Now community radio -- by its very nature -- is always going to be a pool of backbiters and backstabbers where everyone's competing for crumbs because no one's supposed to get rich off community radio -- though Goodman's managed to. And all the stations have their own problems. But the problems at WBAI are legendary and they have had years to fix them and have refused to do so.

Jim: So there is a legal issue, in terms of the station getting sued for character attacks and threats, and what else? How does WBAI, for example, manage to spend more each month than it takes in?

C.I.: That's the question that's going to have to be answered. This issue did not start with the recession of 2008. The entire decade has seen WBAI waste money it didn't have. WBAI's audience has dwindled in the last four years, you can chart that. It was already a small audience -- and that's not in comparison to NPR or commercial radio, I'm speaking in terms of KPFA or KPFK, compared to them, WBAI has a very small audience. And it has gotten smaller and smaller.

Cedric: Well of course, I mean you saw, in 2008, Bernard White was stating on air, and he's the program director of WBAI, that if Barack Obama did not win it would say this or that about America. Mainly that the United States was racist. What a bunch of crap. I hate fat asses like Bernie White. I voted for Ralph Nader, kiss my authentically Black ass, Bernie.

Rebecca: But that's the sort of stuff that has gotten WBAI specifically, and all of the Pacifica stations, in trouble.

Mike: There's not a bit of difference between the current WBAI and the US government propaganda of Voice Of America. There really isn't. Both exist to celebrate the US government. WBAI does it by tongue bathing Barack Obama daily. Golly, I didn't know the US had elected a radical president. I thought we had a Corporatist War Hawk. But allegedly free speech radio can't stop praising Barry Obama.

Elaine: This is the issue with regards to station's license. They are anticipating serious challenges -- due to complaints -- as a result of their propaganda efforts on the part of Barack Obama. And, I was discussing this with a Pacifica board member C.I. and I have known for years, the response from any of the stations will be, "That's one programmer!" And we have ___ and they'll point to, in most cases, weak ass criticism of Barack. On one show. My advice was their approach was wrong. The programmers are responsible for their content, the station's news division is supposed to deal in reality and be unbaised. What's the little whore on KPFA's name?

C.I.: Aileen Alfandary.

Elaine: Right, I always blank on her name because I've always had zero tolerance for whores pretending to bring you the news. So I suggested they check out Aileen's wonderful Pravda bits during news breaks. And he did and got back to me to ask how those ever made it on air? I said, "You're the one sitting on the board, you explain it to me."

Ruth: Pacifica is public radio and as such and due to its tax status there are things it can and cannot do. It can tilt to the left or the right, even in its newscasts, and that is allowed, but it can not be seen as being an organ for either the Republican or Democratic Party. And the problem, why they ran off listeners throughout 2008, is they became a non-stop party organ for the Democratic Party.

Jess: Ruth, I'm jumping in over you and I'm not trying to silence you but this is a point where I can work in some third party stuff, so I hope you don't mind. I'm a Green. And if any of the Pacifica stations weren't Democratic Party organs, the Green Party would be covered as a real party. I wanted to jump in here because Ava and C.I. didn't just laugh at where Pacifica was headed, they also advised on what was being done wrong and what needed to be done to fix it. In their writing here, they did that. It wasn't listened to. They didn't expect it to be. But they knew people like Amy Goodman were creating problems at Pacifica and creating a huge backlash where the board would have to step in. One of the things they pointed out -- and Dallas don't look it up because it's one of their articles in the summer of 2008 but I can't remember which one -- was how the Greens and Ralph were shut out in every way on Democracy Now. Cynthia McKinney was the Green Party presidential candidate, Ralph was the independent presidential candidate. And every headline that 'followed' the campaign should have included them but it didn't. Instead Amy would say what John McCain did -- what he did wrong, always wrong in her mind -- and then what Barack did. And headline after headline, day after day, it was a two-person race by Amy's decree. Now Ralph and Cynthia were rarely on the program but we got plenty of stand-ins for Barack. We got non-stop Barack supporters on lengthy segments. And then, after that four to five times a week, multiple times each day, we were supposed to be thrilled that about every four weeks Amy would interview Cynthia or Ralph. That's bulls**t and it's bulls**t that Bernard White's endorsing Barack on air. That station is like a sleazy little store with bad lighting and dirt and grime on the windows. Possibly because they refuse to let the sunlight in. But as a third party member, I want to be on record that Pacifica has allowed their stations to act as a Democratic front and a Democratic Party organ and I'm damn tired of Greens who want to whisper that and won't take their complaint public. Back to Ruth, sorry to cut you off.

Ruth: Not a problem. Now one thing Dallas can link to is Ava and C.I. noting the difference between Green Party convention coverage and Democratic Party convention coverage and another is when Democracy Now! could have had a live debate between Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney but instead played clips of Barack Obama and tried to turn the two into Barack boosters. Ms. McKinney and Mr. Nader had been shut out of the presidential debates. Allegedly Amy Goodman wanted to rectify that; however, her program gave less time to Ms. McKinney and Mr. Nader speaking live. They were short changed so that Amy Goodman could play lengthy clips of Barack Obama speaking. But Mike had a really interesting point and he is correct, you expect cheerleading of a current US president from Voice Of America. You expect a critique of him or her -- regardless of who the person is -- from Pacifica Radio. They are not offering that.

Jim: Just to point out, Dallas hunts down links for these roundtables. Ava and C.I. take the notes. Someone will type them up. While we're doing this and Ava and C.I. are taking notes, Dallas will be hunting down links and a have a list at the end that will be included by whomever types this up.

Dona: Or whomevers -- plural because sometimes we divide up the typing duties on the roundtables. I want to add something as well. Jess probably caught this but doesn't want to make it all about third party so I will. Ruth mentioned Ava and C.I. covering the difference between what Amy Goodman offered as Green Party convention "coverage" and what the Democrats got. But Ruth didn't explain it so I will briefly. The Green Party held a multi-day convention which began on a Thursday. Amy Goodman ignored it that starting day and on Friday. When she returned from the weekend, she reduced the multi-day convention, which had wrapped up on a Sunday, to one brief headline. That was it. A four day, national party's political convention was 'covered' in 'full' via a headline. By contrast for the Democratic Party, she went to the convention and made the entire week about the convention. Not only that but the hourly program expanded to two hours for the DNC convention. So the Democratic Party got ten hours of convention coverage from Goodman but the Green Party got about a little over thirty seconds.

Marcia: And that's something I really appreciate Ava and C.I. doing, making that point and doing so repeatedly. I'm not a Green, I'm a Democrat. And I really thought, watching and listening each election year, that Amy was doing some amazing job. Oh look, it's 2004 and there's the third party vice presidential candidates debating. But as they pointed out at the start of last year, that's window dressing. There's no real coverage of third parties. She tosses out some crumbs. Now as a Democrat, I'm not surprised I didn't realize that because, for me, it was like, "Oh, this is an interesting story." But for Greens and other third parties, what are they doing not calling this crap out?

Jess: That's a very good point and I thank you for making it.

Marcia: Well not to put you on the spot, but really, why aren't people calling this crap out?

Jess: Because you have faux Greens like Medea Benjmain who will never call it out and you have victim mentality with so many other Greens.

Stan: Can you expand on that?

Jess: We're so grateful for the crumbs because we get nothing. And we, honestly, read our mission statements, act like we don't deserve anything. We're not interested in winning races, if we were we'd run to win. We're interested in striking poses and being the ultimate victims. That's not an excuse not to feature us, by the way. But it is very true that the Green Party needs to grow the hell up and start acting like a real political party. Elaine was calling me last week, want to talk about that?

Elaine: Sure. I would like to feature the Green Party more. I know Jess is bothered by the lack of coverage year round, year in and out. And I know this community has Green Party members; however, I went repeatedly to the Green Party's national website over the last two weeks and there was nothing. Is it a political party? I called Jess and asked him if he was noticing it?

Jess: And I was. And C.I.'s been very vocal to Greens, I'm not talking community members, that they need to be staking their ground in opposition to Barack. Barack's not going to be anyone you want to stand with -- if you're left -- come 2012. The Green Party should be critiquing every thing he does and doing so daily. They should be doing this to say to the left, "We are the party who can represent you." I mean, Bush? Democrats or Greens can oppose him. But want to reveal how alike the two dominant political parties are? You can really only do that with a Democrat in office. These four years should be about building Green Party membership but for that to happen, the Green Party would have to do their job. And, Dallas, no link for them, they haven't earned it.

Betty: Ty, I know you have a long list because I saw it and I know we're still on the first question or topic. Should I be silent here and wait for another topic or interject?

Ty: I think we're almost out of time. Yeah, Dona's nodding. So Betty's going to speak and after her anyone else that wants to needs to jump in. Though the question was on one topic, the discussion actually expanded it to many. Betty?

Betty: I want to, like Ruth, get back to Mike's point because it is true. I live out in the Bay Area now and though I did get the satellite radio fixed in the car, I will still grab a little of KPFA as I drive to and from work and it's just frightening the way they speak of Barack. They talk about him like he's their lover or best friend. This is a president of the United States and, last time I checked, the war machine continued and was now operated by him. The failure of KPFA to address that is why it's such a joke and it really is becoming a joke. People make fun of it. I don't mean conservatives, I mean people on the left. I was really surprised to see how hated KPFA was. And Elaine's right, Aileen Alfandary is a WHORE. That's the only word for her so-called newsbreaks. And she's called a lot worse by the left crowd at my job who make fun of KPFA.

Jim: Dona's slid me a note pointing out that Wally hasn't spoken and that Cedric and Stan have spoken very little. As has Mike who we probably need to go to since his comments now been noted by Betty and Ruth. Kat hasn't spoken but I'm guessing she will if she wants to. Mike?

Mike: Well it's true of KPFA and all the stations. I don't live in California. I've sampled them all. Since the election, I'll check in to see if it's safe to listen or not, if the Invasion of the Body Snatchers has ended and normal people have returned. I never find that to be the case. The show that's most disappointing for me is Law & Disorder. Michael Ratner's been stronger in his writing and all but I just wasn't up to being disappointed again last month, so I avoided it. I'll check in in April. But there is so much garbage, so much Barack worship. It's disgusting. As Betty pointed out, he operates the war machine and the wars haven't stopped.

Cedric: I'm sorry but when I listen to Pacifica these days, I think, "Oh, how I hate White people." I don't hate White people, but those people on the air, those White people, they really get on my nerves. I was talking about this with my grandmother and grandfather and they were explaining this is how Poppy Bush managed to get the conservative judge on the bench, Clarence Thomas. Liberals critized him weakly even though he was offensive. We're talking about a man who they had to hold hearings about sexual harassment. And he made it onto the bench. Because White liberals refused to criticize him the way they would a White person with the same record.

Betty: Sorry to jump back in, but that really is true. And I jumped in because as Matthis Chiroux pointed out, the wars didn't get any less racist because Barack took over them. I wanted to get that in there.

Stan: I agree with him and am glad you put that on the record, I know you've praised him for that before, Betty. But for every Matthis who sees that the issue is the violence, there are a ton of people who think, "Oh, I can't criticize Barack!" We live in a nation of cowards. Want to demonstrate that you're evolved? Hold Barack to the same standard you would a White president.

Cedric: Exactly and the reality is that the increasingly irrelevant Toni Morrison will show up in twenty years to declare of some other candidate, "He will be our first Black president." It'll have to be a "he" because Toni hates women. And in twenty years, she'll be honest that Barack wasn't Black. The same way she was honest in 2008 that Bill Clinton wasn't. Toni Morrison's a professional liar who is damn lucky academia needed a token because she wouldn't have made it as a writer any other way. Write another bad book, Toni, that White reviewers praise out of guilt and we'll all pretend like it sold. The story of Toni's career.

Jim: Wally?

Wally: Well I'm thinking of a conversation with an academic Friday, a friend of C.I.'s, who pointed out that the shrill and strident patrol, he cited Katrina vanden Heuvel and many others, the rest were men, that wanted to make 2008 an election about Bill Clinton, not about George Bush, is doing exactly what they did during the Clinton years. They did nothing. They cheered and pretended like this was the left president. And then, after, they wanted to scream and hiss. Bill Clinton wasn't left -- I like President Clinton, by the way -- he was center-left and we don't get left presidents in the US. But if Bill's presidency was such a nightmare to the shrill and strident, why aren't they holding Barack accountable right now instead of waiting until he's out of office? They made fools out of themselves in the 90s and are doing the same thing all over again.

Kat: I'll throw in that he's considering writing on that topic but is hesitant because when he brings the subject up with college students, they love it and are all for it but when he brings it up to his academic peers, they are outraged. But he's exactly right, the Katrina vanden Heuvels have rolled over and, six or eight years from now, we'll be carping and hissing about things going on right now that they refused to call out.

Jim: Okay, Ty we need to wrap up. Is there anything you can bring in quickly?

Ty: No. But there's one e-mail I wanted to make a topic for this but I think we can let it be a stand alone feature.

Jim: Okay, that's the roundtable. As someone noted earlier, it ended up addressing just one e-mail.

The non-fashion plate

"And will Michelle Obama ever have something written about her which does not mention what she's wearing?" So pondered the Great Gwynie pretending to be a feminist as she (yet again) sat at a table with four guests -- three men and one woman -- on PBS' Washington Week Friday.

Well for Michelle to have "something written about her," she should try doing something more than breathing, don't you think?

And don't feed us any of that crap that she's "Mom-In-Chief." She's not breast feeding, she's not toilet training. She's got two young girls who go to school each day. On top of that, her mother lives in the White House. And, hate to break it to all the fools in the country, she's got a staff.

It's not a good or talented staff but that's her personal problem, not ours. Take for example her "social secretary" (yes, America, we sadly spend tax dollars on such a position) Desiree Rogers. Desiree, as evidenced by her remarks published in The New York Times April 3rd ("Florist for Six Presidents and Many Guests Is Retiring") believes Michelle has style, "modern style," mind you. And when you get done laughing at that, take a few seconds to laugh at the fact that Rogers thinks there's ever been a DC power player with her first name who wasn't either a whore or a mistress. (Laugh even harder when you grasp that Desiree doesn't know the difference.)

NYT Photo Drama

Yes, America, hicktown has come to DC. The Chicago sticks want to pass for fashionable and, if you doubted it, The New York Times had to splash Michelle's fashion disasters on the front page of the main section and on two pages of the "International" news section. As if that wasn't waste enough, Helene Cooper -- alleged reporter -- was forced to make like a fashion maven in the accompanying text entitled "Panache And Style On Display In France."

They wish.

The ugly red number she wore beside German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it look like she was auditioning for The Crying Game with some major crotch protrusion while the color and fabric screamed Exotic Whorehouse. Her black number with red flowers or bows or whatever the hell that weird ass s**t was only underscored how lumpy she looks. As did her Jason Wu (Jason Who forever and forever more) dress and her J.Crew dress in London both demonstrated that she needs to work on her posture and consider a pair of control top pantyhose (if not a girdle). (Can't keep that hand in front of your belly at all times, Michelle.)

Michelle's efforts at fashionista all fall flat and that's due to the fact that she has no grace and has on idea how to wear clothes.

Granted, she dresses s**t poor, but even if you put her in Armani, she'd still look like a slob because she never learned how to wear clothes and she never learned the importance of good posture.

While many idiots try to set her up as the next Jackie Kennedy, the reality is that Michelle most resembles Barbara Bush -- another First Lady with a lousy eye for clothes and an inability to look chic in them, no matter how much they cost.

Idiot Sarah of Corrente wanted to have a snit fit -- while wearing her potato sack, no doubt -- and insist that designers in the world of fashion (including Calvin Klein) didn't know what they were talking about. And the idiot wanted to praise Michelle for wearing American made products from J.Crew. That is hilarious. It takes a real idiot to believe J.Crew doesn't use sweat shop labor. (And it says a great deal about the 'standards' at Corrente that such a claim went up in article.)

But it takes a real idiot like Michelle to publicize them. Or is she attempting to telegraph to the world that Barack's gay? Hint, the only couples getting J.Crew are usually the ones with a closeted husband who has yet to graduate to the International Male catalogue (from which he will move on to Inches and then, hopefully, out of the closet).

We have no idea what message Michelle's trying to send to the world but a few points. First, Gwen, if and when Michelle Obama ever actually does something, the press might stop treating her as an ornament. Michelle, you're not dainty and you can't hide those shoulders. The only thing to do is build on them. (Which will give you the illusion of being thin.) (Widening her shoulders -- via shoulder pads -- will also make the wide stance you stand in seem less wide -- or has no one else noticed that she's practically bow-legged?)

To the press, we'd suggest you calm down and revisit reality.

We had no intention of writing about this topic but when idiots like Katha Pollitt are acting as if the press is leading this topic, we'll write about it. The press isn't leading this topic. The press isn't the one getting free outfits from Jason Wu and J.Crew. The press isn't a grown and middle aged woman trying to act like she's twenty-three.

Michelle Obama has done nothing of note. She's done nothing at all. Except . . . select. You can't even call it shopping because that implies paying for something and she doesn't pay for the bulk of the clothes she wears. (A fact that would outrage the nation were she a Republican. See Nancy Reagan and the White House china scandal of the eighties.) So she selects a lot of outfits that she can't wear, that are poorly designed, that might look nice on a woman twenty years younger and about six inches shorter. Michelle's making a fool of herself. A working press would point that out. We don't have a working press but we do have a press that plays follow the leader and, in this case, shallow Michelle Obama has dictated the coverage. The next time we're forced to revist this topic, we'll be far less kind. We might, for example, go into the off balance features.

Michelle in London

No surprise

Can't say we didn't warn them. "Them" being those feminist 'leaders' so eager to bed down with Barry Obama who they found too groovy for words (or, apparently, thought). He installed Tim Kaine as DNC chair and Timbo's been in the news for his actions as Governor of Virginia. We'll let Feminist Majority Foundation tell it:

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine signed legislation Monday that will enable the sale of a "Choose Life" license plate in the state. According to the Washington Post, $15 of the $25 fee for the license plates will go towards funding crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). CPCs pose as legitimate health centers and offer "free" pregnancy tests. Some CPCs coerce and intimidate women out of considering abortion as an option, and prevent women from receiving neutral and comprehensive medical advice. They are typically run by anti-abortion volunteers who are not licensed medical professionals.

In a press release, Governor Kaine defended his decision: "I sign this legislation today in keeping with the Commonwealth's longtime practice of approving specialty plates with all manner of political and social messages. Furthermore, if Planned Parenthood--an organization that is already a recipient of state budget funds--or another similar organization ever chooses to seek a specialty license plate in Virginia, I believe the Constitution would require the state to approve that plate to protect against any viewpoint discrimination."

NARAL Pro Choice America released a statement from National President Nancy Keenan and Virginia NARAL President Tarina Keene. Both leaders said "the revenue from the 'Choose Life' plates would go to many CPCs that use deceptive, intimidating, and emotionally manipulative tactics to block women from learning the facts about, or choosing, legal abortion…No pro-choice license plate would make that right."

Virginia NOW released a statement that they are “outraged by Governor Kaine's shameful decision to allow 'Choose Life' license plates to be sold by the state. His rationale in today's press release -- basically, there are lots of message license plates out there, this is just one more -- ignores women's health and safety. It also insults us by suggesting that the remedy is for pro-choice supporters to get their own license plate. Virginia NOW does not think that license plates are the place to debate this sensitive personal issue."

It is offensive but, honestly, shock? It's like being surprised when a scorpion stings you. What did you think it was going to do? Bring you the paper?

Right about now Ms. magazine is choking on that infamous cover.

Ms. Pathetic

The clues were always there. "Mrs. Obama" as opposed to "Ms. Obama." Michelle's eagerness to tell the world she wasn't a feminist. The sexist campaign her husband ran and, hey, her White House bio.

When people ask Michelle Obama to describe herself, she doesn't hesitate. First and foremost, she is Malia and Sasha's mom.

Congrats, America, you've got Dr. Laura as First Lady!

But before she was a mother -- or a wife, lawyer, or public servant -- she was Fraser and Marian Robinson's daughter.

When was she ever her own person? Oh, she's never been that. Got you.

We'll skip the fairy tale version of her parents because we know reality.

A product of Chicago public schools, Michelle studied sociology and African-American studies at Princeton University. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1988, she joined the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin, where she later met the man who would become the love of her life.

Wait. She joined a law firm and . . .

Met the man of her dreams? Did she work? Of course not, college was just one long holding pattern for Michelle. It was about preparing her to be a wife and mother.

After a few years, Michelle decided her true calling lay in encouraging people to serve their communities and their neighbors. She served as assistant commissioner of planning and development in Chicago's City Hall before becoming the founding executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that prepares youth for public service.

Ourselves, we love the rumors that Michelle had to leave the practice of law. But the Disney-fied version where she suddenly decides that a law degree is something to be tossed aside is so very Haley Mills. Let's jump cut and flash forward:

As First Lady, Michelle Obama looks forward to continuing her work on the issues close to her heart -- supporting military families, helping working women balance career and family, and encouraging national service.

Working women without children? You aren't close to Michelle's heart. Get the message?

It took a lot of lying and self-lying to ever dress Barack (or Michelle) up as feminists. This period will be one of shame in feminist history and the longer it takes feminist 'leaders' to come out swinging, the more shameful it will be. Translation, you remember Susan Anthony because she fought the power. What some forget is that she also had to fight enablers among her own movement.

With or without a village, it takes an idiot . . .

It takes a real idiot and surprisingly, there's one at Independent Political Reporter (formerly Austin Cassidy's Independent Political Reporter). During the election season IPR was one of the few real sources of campaign coverage. Apparently ditching common sense along with Austin's name, they're now either a propaganda front or employing the un- and under-educated.

Friday, an embarrassing post entitled "Sat. April 4th: Local and national parties join UFPJ to march for peace in NYC" went up, the kind of weak-ass gush-fest which IPR formerly avoided. Raving over the closet-Communist controlled United for Peace and Justice, the writer blathers:

Some of the national sponsors of the UFPJ March on Wall Street event:
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy & Socialism; Communist Party USA; Progressive Democrats of America; Socialist Party USA; Young Democratic Socialists;

Now we don't blame the writer for refusing to put his or her name to this garbage (the article has no byline) but, for the record, those are UPFJ's board members groups. Yes, Leslie and Carl's groups endorsed Leslie and Carl's marches. When you control the groups, you control the endorsements.

There's nothing "independent" about that and we take as a sure sign that the former Austin Cassidy's Independent Political Reporter just hit the crapper and lost all of its value.

It should also be noted that this weak-ass article is plodding. It's not just factually challenged, it's badly written. For those who can't grasp it, the site's entitled Independent Political Reporter, not Regurgitated Press Releases. If you can find an iota of 'reporting' in that bad post, you're journalism 'standards' are on the level of war pornographer Michael Gordon's.

Don't Steal These Looks!


As a general rule, a fashion plate never fidgets. It's not classy. Neither is a photograph of you in the Notre Dame cathedral where you may or may not be digging something out of your ass. Hands need to be in plain sight, Michelle. You're not a linebacker, you just look like one.


Always a sure sign of cheaply made pants, even when moving, you get crotch lines. From her posture, you might think clumsy Michelle was wearing six-inch heels; however, she's wearing flats. Whomever's behind attempting to sell Michelle as a lady might consider speaking to her about her posture. A lady never slouches.


Ty was checking the e-mails and we ended up having to write one more piece because Matthew Rothschild is a disgusting piece of s**t that you can't scrape off your shoe.

Mad Matty, who finds the c-word amusing, decided to play the violins for liar Bill Ayers:

You’ll recall that his name surfaced during the Obama campaign as Palin and McCain tried to smear Obama with the old guilt-by-association brush.
When that failed, I thought Ayers could go back to his life, and we could all grow up.
So did he. But no such luck.
“I thought it would end,” he tells me, “but it’s escalated in a very weird way. I was canceled at a University last December, and then at the College of DuPage.”
Earlier this week, Boston College yanked Ayers. “After meetings between administrators and students, the decision was made to rescind the invitation,” spokesman Jack Dunn said, according to the Boston Herald. “We feel the appropriate decision has been reached.”

That garbage is entitled "McCarthyism Lives, Just Ask Bill Ayers."

Matthew Rothschild's brain may actually be smaller than his dick. And we didn't think anything could be smaller than that.

Ironically, we almost mentioned Bill and Bore-dine Ayers and Dohrn this edition. Elaine raised it and when we asked, "What's going on?", she replied, "Ask C.I." So we did.

Seems the Bay Area office of the FBI has not one but two people talking about Bill and Bernardine. It's not the they-never-harmed-anyone kind of talk. And it's not hearsay. Translation, there's never been a time where Bill and Bernardine were more likely to face charges in their lives.

C.I. shared the details (much more than what's been offered above) and said that we should take a pass on it because the attention-seekers seem to have gotten the message and gone home. And then Ty sees that reader Kelvin has e-mailed about "Bill Ayers" (Kelvin's e-mail title).

So it's really not the time to be defending Bill and Bernardine, not when the public relations image war that Daddy Ayers' money helped fund is teetering and might collapse.

Here's reality, Matthew Rothschild, you stupid f**k, Bill and Bernardine=Trash.

Once upon a time we defended them. What changed?

1) Finding out some things that may or may not be what the FBI found out.

2) Seeing them WHORE out what they supposedly believed in to get Barry into the White House.

3) Seeing them lie about their relationship with Barry.

4) Watching them come unglued over disclosures about Weather bombing a judge's home.

5) Sharon Tate.

On number five, many years ago, C.I. told Bernardine if she ever found out that Bernardine was lying (she told C.I. she didn't make that statement about Sharon Tate), there would be hell to pay. It's now been established beyond any doubt that Bernardine gave a speech in which she glorified the brutal murder of Sharon Tate and wrongly praised the fetus being removed from Sharon's body. (The gruesome crime wasn't bad enough for some, they had to add to events by insisting the fetus was cut out of Sharon.)

Now that's the couple Matty Rothschild wants to defend.

Maybe he thinks some of those Ayers' millions will come his magazine's way?

Not happening. Bill's daddy knew he was trash. He made sure Bill only got limited funds.

You're talking about people who committed actual crimes. You're talking about Bernardine whose offensive little mouth was prone to trash Sharon Tate (a woman who never hurt anyone and was brutally murdered) and thought it was 'cute' to refer to "oven Jews."

Daddy bought 'em both out of prison, greased the wheels of the Daley machine. A detail other members of Weather Underground never forget. Nor do most activists, especially ones of color, forget that a lot of people went to prison for doing a lot less.

What's happening isn't McCarthyism.

But it sure is nice to know that the disgusting Matthew Rothschild has no intention of ever attempting to recover his sanity.

Well why should he, he already destroyed his good name and now what's left of that bad mazine.


From ETAN:

East Timorese Deserve Justice!
Statement by the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) on the Anniversary of the Liquiça Massacre
Contact: John M. Miller +1-718-596-7668; +1-917-690-4391
On the tenth anniversary of the massacre at the Catholic Church in Liquiça, ETAN urges the international community to finally respond to the demand for justice of the victims of this and other horrific crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor (Timor-Leste). Those responsible for the many crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide committed during Indonesia's illegal occupation of East Timor between 1975 and 1999 must be held accountable. The victims of the Liquiça massacre and their families should not have to wait another decade for justice.
Calls for justice are not calls for revenge.
Only through credible trials and respect for the rule of law will victims find closure.
Only through real accountability will genuine friendship flourish between peoples of Indonesia and East Timor.
The brutal attack on those seeking refuge in Liquiça churchyard was part of the ongoing campaign to intimidate the East Timorese people into opposing independence and to create the illusion that any violence arose spontaneously among the East Timorese. At that time, the Liquiça killings were a clear statement that Indonesia's security forces had no intention of allowing an uncoerced vote. However, a month later, the UN, Indonesia and Portugal signed the May 5 agreement, which called for the Indonesian police to provide security for the coming UN-organized vote and for the Indonesian military to be left in place.
The events of 1999 and the preceding years of illegal occupation continue to affect the East Timorese, who continue to suffer from largely unhealed mass trauma. This is one of the underlying causes of the 2006 crisis in Dili. The failure to hold accountable those responsible for organizing and implementing the violence in Liquica and throughout the occupation has created a culture of impunity. Perpetrators believe they will not be held accountable for their crimes and victims often feel that they must take justice into their own hands. These attitudes contributed to the attacks on the President and Prime Minister early last year.
In Indonesia, impunity for past human rights crimes undermines the rule of law and democratic progress. Instead of facing trial, key figures in East Timor's oppression are running for prominent political offices. BackgroundOn April 6, 1999, hundreds of East Timorese and Indonesian militia, soldiers and police attacked several thousand internally displaced refugees taking shelter in the Catholic church in Liquica after slaughtering several civilians nearby the day before. According to a report commissioned by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [ ], the attack left up to 60 people dead, although the precise death toll is still unknown. The refugees had sought shelter in the churchyard after fleeing earlier militia attacks.
Eyewitness accounts and subsequent investigations showed that members of the notorious police unit BRIMOB played an active role in the attack as did the Besi Merah Putih militia (BMP, Iron Rod for the Red-and-White). Military units, including members of its special forces, Kopassus, were also involved.
According to the OHCHR report, "Although the attack was carried out mainly by BMP militiamen, eyewitnesses have testified that TNI (including Kopassus) and Brimob troops backed up the miltias and fired their weapons during the attack.""The systematic disposal of corpses... [t]ogether with the substantial evidence of TNI [Indonesian military] and Police involvement in the massacre itself, the presence of key officials at the scene of the crime, and the responsibility of those officials for creating and coordinating the BMP... makes it a virtual certainty that the Liquiça church massacre was planned by high-ranking TNI and civilian authorities," the report added.
The assault on the refugees did not end on April 6. Less than two weeks later, more than a dozen survivors and others were murdered on April 17 at the house of Mario Carrascalão in Dili, East Timor's capital.
These murders followed an officially-sponsored rally by militia. Those seeking to provide aid and comfort to survivors in Liquiça had their convoys attacked in subsequent months.All of the security officials tried in Indonesia's Ad Hoc Human Rights Court for their involvement in the massacre and other crimes were acquitted either at trial or on appeal, including police chief Timbul Silaen, regional military commander General Adam Damiri and East Timor military commander Tono Suratman.
In November 2001, the UN-funded Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) indicted nine Indonesian officers and 12 local militia for the massacre. The massacre was also cited in a wide-ranging indictment issued in 2003 by the UN-backed Serious Crimes process. It accused senior officials, including General Wiranto, former Indonesian defense minister, who is now a candidate for Indonesian president, of responsibility for crimes against humanity in East Timor in 1999.
All are currently residing in Indonesia. The Serious Crimes process in Dili convicted and jailed one militia member, who had been indicted separately of three murders, including one during the massacre. Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and brutally occupied the territory until October 1999, with backing from the United States and other powers. The United Nations never formally recognized Indonesia’s claim, and as many as 200,000 East Timorese were killed as a result of the Indonesian occupation. In 1999, Indonesia agreed to a UN-organized referendum on East Timor's political status.
After the referendum, in which East Timorese people voted overwhelmingly for independence, Indonesian security forces and the militia they controlled laid waste to the territory, displacing three-quarters of the population, murdering more than 1400 civilians, and destroying more than 75% of the buildings and infrastructure. Recently, the Timor-Leste NGO Forum urged the international community to "now implement the UN's repeated promises by allocating the necessary political, financial and legal resources to end impunity for these crimes against humanity."
In February, representatives of 60 organizations signed a letter to the UN Security Council urging concrete action to ensure justice and accountability for crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation. They decried "a double standard of justice, undermining the rule of law and respect for human rights in Timor-Leste, Indonesia and internationally." They wrote "A decade has passed since Indonesia's violent exit from Timor-Leste, and Indonesia has repeatedly demonstrated that it cannot or will not credibly try or extradite perpetrators of crimes connected with Indonesia's occupation of Timor-Leste."
ETAN was formed in 1991. The U.S.-based organization advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for Timor-Leste and Indonesia. ETAN opposed the nomination of Adm. (ret.) Dennis Blair, who as Pacific commander, delivered a message of 'business-as-usual' to General Wiranto in the immediate aftermath of the Liquiça massacre.
For additional background on the Liquiça massacre see ETAN's web site:
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