Sunday, February 07, 2010


Jim: This is a news and e-mail roundtable. We're grabbing a number of topics and tossing together quickly at the end of a long writing edition that's produced very little of use. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Ava, and me, Jim; 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; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. This is a rush transcript and Betty's kids did the illustration. Ty, first topic?


Ty: Several e-mails from last week want to know about health care and whether we think it's adead in the water or not?

Dona: It should be. That wasn't health care or even health care reform that either the Senate or the House was proposing. I don't personally see many members of the House willing to work on it anymore. It's not popular with the people and they're all up for re-election. Democrats facing real rivals in Senate races will also be less inclined to push for it. I think it's dead but they're trying to offer some sort of face saving measure for Barack so they insist right now that they'll take it up and they'll keep insisting that for a couple of weeks and then they'll just quietly drop it. My guess. I wouldn't even say "my educated guess." Just a guess.

Mike: I'll jump in. I agree with Dona. And I want to go somewhere else because, while it was alive, Ava, C.I. and my mother held their tongues on one aspect, but it's dead now so let's talk about it. The "death panels." Call it what you want to, there will be people deciding whether or not this will be covered or that will be covered. The Democrats looked like the biggest idiots and liars by repeatedly rejecting that idea. The more you knew, the bigger of liars they looked. Barack has bio-ethicsts working for the White House. He's aware of what they are, he's aware of what they do. And there would be bean counting -- as there already is under the system we currently have -- determining whether or not you deserved coverage for some treatment or procedure. They'd examine your age and your illness and was it cost-effective and blah, blah, blah. Bill Moyers, when we had a Republican in office, was more than happy to explore that topic. In 2009, everyone wanted to dummy up.

Trina: It's one thing to object to calling them "death panels," it's another thing to lie and claim that something like Mike just described won't take place. And for those of us old enough to remember the Clinton effort, we can remember the press talking about these issues. Sometimes flamboyantly and sometimes in a more measured manner. This takes place in England and in Canada, any where there is government run health care. It takes place in the US with our private run health care. As Mike pointed out, we didn't want to risk killing it -- even though we didn't support it -- so we kept quiet but I believe that, here, Ava and C.I. did defend Sarah Palin -- who was the most famous of those using the term "death panels" -- and I know that I did as well. That's how she sees them. She's entitled to her opinion. And we could have had an honest back and forth about the issue but not when we're all insisting nothing like that is planned or could ever, ever happen. Look at liver transplants. If you drink heavily and get a liver transplant and you continue to drink heavily, it's very doubtful you'll get another one. These are decisions that are currently made. And that's one that I think a lot of people agree on. I think they agree on it because they know that there are many more people who need liver transplants than there are livers available for the procedure. So, as a society, we largely agree that if someone has received a transplant and damages their liver by continuing to drink, they shouldn't be eligible for a second one. If we didn't agree to that in a large number, we'd be protesting the policy.

Ava: And to go with Trina's example, Joan Smith drinks constantly, gets a liver transplant and continues to drink thereby destroying her liver. To Joan, denying her a transplant is the same as sentencing her to death. You can say -- and we do as a society -- that she had a shot at another one and that was her one shot. But to Joan, she's still going to feel like she's being sentenced to death. Trina chose that example because it is one that, as a society, we've agreed to. There are many other decisions being made, by private insurers, that we did not agree to. And those decisions, those same decisions, would be made under a government run program. Instead of running from the truth, we need to be prepared -- whenever health care comes up again -- to discuss that. To discuss how there will be procedures and treatments that we -- as a society -- will think are productive and ones that we will not necessarily provide to every one every time they need it. It may be due to age, it may be due to the severity of their illness or it may be due to what some see as behavior that brought on the condition. Sarah Palin can call them "death panels" and some people may agree with her. Insisting that's not what they are won't make that charge go away. Addressing how, much like our democracy, state run health would be a societal contract we entered into would be more honest and more reassuring.

Ruth: If I could jump in as well, we already saw what Ava is talking about. The left largely lied and denied that this would take place and they were so busy lying that that they did not fight for what they believed in. Meanwhile the right pushed the notion that, as a society, we did not believe in reproductive freedom and, as a result, reproductive rights were 'death paneled' out of the proposed coverage. That is the perfect example because it happened before our eyes. A group of powerful people attempted to determine what would and would not be covered and our rights were trampled on. We need to drop this utopian idea when health care comes around again and realize we need to be in there fighting for our rights as well.

Jim: Ruth, I don't mean to put you on the spot but since you spoke last and since you are speaking about fighting, you didn't fight for health care.

Ruth: No, I did not. None of us did. Because, as Hillary Is 44 so often says, we all knew any shot at meaningful health care died in Denver in 2008 when Barack was gifted the nomination. Barack Obama was never going to bring about any real change and that is the reality. We made a decision -- and I believe Trina wrote about this repeatedly -- that we were not going to get caught up in the fraud. We were not going to follow it every day or cheer this phony gimmick or that one. People thought they were getting universal health care with Mr. Obama but they were misled.

Ty: Agreed. No one's going to pay attention to this but I am putting it in here. We publish on Sundays. Do not send us something on Sunday afternoon that is time sensitive. That is not directed to our readers. That is directed to a number of groups and organizations that e-mail things they would like to have noted. Most Sundays, we have already posted by Sunday afternoon. Your e-mailing about something on Monday or Tuesday? It'll be over by the next time we post our new edition. That's my pet peeve for the week. Reader Lisel e-mails to say that there were promises -- "new year promises" -- by "a lot of sites" to include more audio coverage and options but that did not happen. She wants to know why that is?

Marcia: First of all, pretty much every post of Ann's, for over the last thirty, have been about radio. So although many of us have slacked, it's equally true that Ann's carried additional weight -- same way as C.I. who regularly highlights more audio than the rest of us.

Mike: I do try to include audio -- even if it's video -- at least once a week. I don't think I'm living up to that even with Politico articles that have the listen option. It's something I'd like to do but not something I always have time for. Sorry.

Trina: Semi-related, I would like to highlight more women when I post. That is my goal. But in looking for what to write about -- if I don't already have a topic -- I'll grab the first thing that catches my eyes just to be done with it.

Stan: Betty and I are always groaning on the phone to each other about Terry Gross and her awful Fresh Air. We could take that program apart every night but, after awhile, it starts to feel like you're beating up on the elderly. She's never going to improve and what's the point?

Betty: That's really true. Equally true, I don't care much for a lot of radio these days. There's a new NPR show I found online, out of North Carolina. I can't think of the name . . .

C.I.: The Story?

Betty: Yes! I really love that program. I think Friday's show was about this group of young men in the military who were in a band. It's an hour long show and it's usually two stories, one for each half hour. And it's just a really in depth look at people. They're people like you or me. This isn't politicians or celebrities. And it's just a really interesting show. If I'd remembered the name of it when I was blogging, I would have mentioned at my site. I'll mention it next week.

Jim: Okay but what do you like about it? Give us an example of a show.

Betty: Well it's just people, like I said. For example, there was a guy in college a few weeks ago. He had decided to go back to college and get his degree. Why? Because he was doing some work -- construction, I believe -- and just realized he couldn't see himself doing that for the rest of his life. He'd left college frustrated and now he went back to get his degree. In the course of his story, he revealed an uncomfortable work experience where this one woman tried to use him to make her husband jealous. That's one story that stands out. Another is a woman, a Black woman, who started a community bank. Her first customer was her father. He waited outside and waited outside until they opened their doors so he could be the first customer at his daughter's bank. And after he had passed away, people would come to her and tell her all the things her parents had done for them. They'd be out of work and have no food and her parents had a grocery store, and they'd give the family food on credit. That's another story, I enjoyed. It's just thirty minutes of a person being interviewed about their life and sharing what's gone on.

Jim: Kat, do you have anything on this topic?

Kat: I am sick of Haiti. I am sick of the let's-all-be-powerless-and-cry coverage. Prior to the nightly revivals, I was covering Flashpoints but I'm not interested. I'm not interested in people manipulating me. So I'm not really worrying about covering radio. Sorry. I have other things to do. And that will include, in the next three weeks, a review, I promise, for those who keep e-mailing.

Jim: I figured you might want to speak to that last part. One question I saw in the e-mails was if we were planning to watch the Superbowl? I've never missed a Superbowl. I'm not watching this year. For those who usually watch, any of you planning to watch this year?

Mike: I'm on the fence but probably won't watch.

Wally: I'm not watching.

Betty: I'm passing.

Cedric: Same.

Stan: We're doing movies instead.

Jim: Is that everyone? I know Jess isn't planning on watching. Jess is among those who had to say goodbye and get some sleep, by the way.

Cedric: And for those who don't know, after years of refusing various commercials from left adovacy groups and organizations, CBS has decided to air an anti-choice commerical during the Superbowl. I honestly doubt that our decision not to watch will make a dent in the ratings but it's not about that, it's about having some self-respect.

C.I.: From WMC, "JOCKOCRACY, WMC’s Super Bowl Sexism Watch will air Sunday, February 7, 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm, at The multiplatform broadcast will include a play-by-play of the sexism and bias in Super Bowl ads and culture. We will be taking your questions and commentary, exposing Focus on the Family's agenda, and discussing how to amplify women's voices in the media and change the conversation. Watch the show and text WOMEN to 50555 to give $10 in support of WMC’s ongoing Sexism Watch campaign. RT @womensmediacntr Watch Jockocracy! Gloria Steinem takes on Super Bowl #sexism" That's EST.

Elaine: That's cool. I had no idea about that. Ruth was covering Women's Media Center, the radio program, on WBAI, which was a pilot program. It's ended which is too bad because it was a needed program. It may be picked up again in the future. However, I would suggest that they do a website podcast each week that they make available to radio stations for free. I think that would amplify women's voices and that we certainly need to do that at a time when women are being pushed to the margins.

Jim: Elaine, you're not using hyperbole, you really believe women are being pushed to the margins, right?

Elaine: Yeah. In every way, from our culture to our politic. I think having a Stepford Wife -- or a woman willing to play one -- in the White House reflects poorly on all women. Compared to Michelle Obama, Laura Bush looks more self-realized. There was an article at one feminist outlet -- don't link to it, I don't want to get the writer trashed and I know the Cult of St. Barack will rush to do just that -- noting how appalling it was. And it is appalling. I don't care if -- like Madonna -- she's chained herself or not. I only care that a woman well over 40 thinks she'll inspire a nation by playing America's Top Model.

Marcia: A laughable model at that with that right eye that's so much smaller, the scowl and so much more. When you're a manly looking woman, you need to grasp that you have other to focus on then looks. Michelle seems to think that we're all required to 'oooh' and 'aaah' over her because she's First Lady. She's an embarrassment.

Jim: Anyone else want to weigh in on that?

Ann: I'll go. I'm tired of her fetishes and the press fetish with her. If there's one thing we -- Black women -- have been conditioned to in the last two decades, it's the need to be strong. You will hear over and over "I'm a strong Black woman" or "You're a strong Black woman." When we've worked so hard to take pride in our strength we don't need Michelle coming along and undoing that. As Black women, we've always had to worry about outshining the Black male. If we worked and he didn't, oh, we had to act like it was no big deal. We had to hide everyone of our accomplishments. The 90s saw a refusal to continue to play that game and along comes attorney Michelle Obama who made more than Barack for most of their marriage. And now she plays the equivalent of a dumb blond. It's embarrassing. She's doing real damage to Black women.

Betty: I'll back Ann up on that. She's trying to act like a sex kitten. It's disgusting. And someone needs to tell her she is not and never will be Halle Berry. She needs to act like the mature woman she is.

Jim: Ann and Cedric are married. Cedric, do you have a comment?

Cedric: African-American women are strong. I had a strong grandmother raising me -- she's still alive and still strong but I don't think I need raising. But I had her as an example and it seems like a lot of people I knew growing up didn't have the way I did. By that, I mean my grandparents were together. A lot of them had strong women in their lives but there weren't any men around -- like it was their mother but no father or it was their grandmother but no grandfather. And Michelle would do a world of help to the Black community if she'd stop playing ornament and start standing up. I agree with Betty that Michelle Obama seems to think she's now a sex kitten, it's like she's morphed into Lola Falana. It's embarrassing.

Jim: Okay, Isaiah, an e-mail came in with a question for you. At your site, you frequently mention, as you display a comic from 2005 or 2006, that you don't remember drawing it. Roy wants to know if you're joking or serious?

Isaiah: I'm serious. Leave aside the comics I do for the community newsletters and just focus on the ones for The Common Ills. I start those in May of 2005. There's probably about 50 a year because although I take off a week here or there or more, I often do more than one comic a week for TCI. So it's 2010, and I've got roughtly five years of comics, fifty a year, I don't remember all of them. I don't remember most of them. A lot of times, I'll remember when I look at them a detail or something. But there are ones that I will look at and not remember. I can think of three I've re-posted to my site that I really did not remember doing. That's probably because after I do them, I usually don't ever look at them again. The hard copies, I usually pass those out to who ever wants it. Now, two years ago, I think, C.I. and I were working on a banner for TCI. We were going to use block letters for "The Common Ills" and they were going to go over various comics from the years prior. And we worked and worked on how to do it so it looked good. Finally, a scan was the answer with plastic to hold everything in place. But then we were talking about it in a community newsletter -- in a roundtable for one -- and there was this, "Oh, don't change it!" So that got ditched. But that's really the only time I've gone back and seriously looked at the old stuff. I draw it and I'm happy I finished it. Then I usually e-mail it to C.I. and, that's usually late Sunday, so I go to sleep before it even posts. After that, I'm not thinking about it or another comic and knowing that, come Sunday, I'll have to have another idea. I currently have no idea for what to draw tonight.

Betty: Do you think in pictures?

Isaiah: Betty's laughing and I know why, I caught that on NPR last week too. Actually, I will dream in comic panels when I'm really overworked on doing comics. That's when I know it's time to take a break.

Jim: Okay and we'll go ahead and wind it down on that note. Our e-mail address is
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