Sunday, April 18, 2010

Truest statement of the week

First up is Mother Jones magazine, a citadel of Bay Area high liberalism and the left-wing of the Obama cult, with a long article by one David Kushner. The piece is essentially a critical profile of [Julian] Assange, who is described as an egotist in the first few paragraphs, and it goes downhill from there. Most of the article is a collection of dishy quotes from various "experts" – including from the apparently quite jealous (and obviously demented) editor of, a similar site, who says Wikileaks is CIA front. Steven Aftergood, author of the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News blog, "says he wasn’t impressed with WikiLeaks’ ‘conveyor-belt approach’ to publishing anything it came across. ‘To me, transparency is a means to an end, and that end is an invigorated political life, accountable institutions, opportunities for public engagement. For them, transparency and exposure seem to be ends in themselves,’ says Aftergood. He declined to get involved."

To begin with, quite obviously Assange and the Wikileaks group have a political goal in, say, publishing the Iraq massacre video – which is to stop the war, end the atrocities, and expose the war crimes of this government to the light of day. Surely the video, and the ones to come, will continue to "invigorate" our political life – perhaps a bit more than the Aftergoods of this world would like.

Kushner contacted a few members of the Wikileaks advisory board who claim they never agreed to serve – and gets one of them, computer expert Ben Laurie, to call Assange "weird." Kushner adds his own description: "paranoid: – and yet Laurie’s own paranoia comes through loud and clear when he avers:

"WikiLeaks allegedly has an advisory board, and allegedly I’m a member of it. I don’t know who runs it. One of the things I’ve tried to avoid is knowing what’s going on there, because that’s probably safest for all concerned.”

This is really the goal of harassing and pursuing government critics: pure intimidation. With US government agents stalking Assange as he flies to a conference in Norway, and one attempted physical attack in Nairobi, Assange is hated by governments and their shills worldwide. And Mother Jones certainly is a shill for the Obama administration, a virtual house organ of the Obama cult designed specifically for Bay Area limousine liberals who’ll gladly turn a blind eye to their idol’s war crimes – and cheer on the Feds as they track Assange’s every move and plot to take him down.

Kushner asks "Can WikiLeaks be trusted with sensitive, and possibly life-threatening, documents when it is less than transparent itself?" Oh, what a good question: why shouldn’t Wikileaks make itself "transparent" to the US government, and all the other governments whose oxen have been viciously gored by documents posted on the site? Stop drinking the bong water, Kushner, and get a clue.

-- Justin, Raimondo, "Liberals Smear Wikileaks" (

Truest statement of the week II

Tinny accounts may make us liberals feel good, but they're likely to convince few others.
Two other letters go straight to race. It’s the one thing we liberals know to say. Conservative elements hated Bill Clinton too. Since he was white, we had nothing to say about their war on him and his murderin' wife, or about their later war against Gore. Instead, we rolled over and died.
That approach worked out quite poorly. The tinny approach laid out in these letters isn't likely to help much either.

-- Bob Somerby, "NAME THAT TUNE! Voters deserve to hear the full truth about that catchy new song" (Daily Howler).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Sunday, Sunday. Just barely. This morning, little was working out. We'd leaned heavy on Ava and C.I. to write epic. They did but they were sure there were deep cuts that needed to be made and they couldn't stand to look at what they'd written another moment. We finally decided to halt everything and regroup tonight.

Which is what we did and, along with Dallas, the following helped on this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?

Justin Raimondo. And what a powerful excerpt. Use the link and read in full if you haven't already.
Bob Somerby also got a truest. This goes to several features we offer this week. We were ending the regrouping part of the writing edition and only going to have one truest when C.I. quoted Bob (word for word, though she wasn't sure) and said that might fit with the general thrust of this edition. It did.

This is largely Elaine and C.I. and, were we smart, we would have shut up and let them write it. As is, the Iraq section was ruined by me in editing (C.I. and Jess fixed it somewhat but weren't able to restore the cuts I made -- I'd tossed the original thinking this feature was done). The second part is stronger. We weren't sure for most of the morning what the editorial would be and as we neared the end of the writing edition, it was decided that the Iraq thing could be paired with what Elaine was bringing to the table for an editorial on listening. I think it's a good editorial but I do think it would have been stronger had I not edited down the Iraq section (which I had done -- this is Jim -- because I thought it was too long to be part of an editorial).

They wrote an epic. We asked them too. This is actually a third of what they wrote. When they were done they dropped it in my lap and I immediately read it out loud to everyone. They were not pleased by the reaction which was hugely positive. They said that it needed severe cuts and they were hoping that those would be suggested. No one could think of any. At which point, they said it wasn't going up as is and that there were serious problems with it. One example? They were "on the nose" about the subjective and the universal. They wanted to indicate that, to lead the reader through that but they did not want to sit there and, as they had done in five paragraphs which they cut from the published version, explain it in a cut and dry fashion. They said they needed to sleep on it in order to figure out where the cuts were (again, what's published is one-third of the essay they wrote). I pointed out that that would delay posting at The Common Ills tonight (it's now tonight) and that was "fine" because it had "to be right or it's not worth publishing." I think it's epic and I think it works the reader through the maze without being obvious about it.

This was group writing. Readers are e-mailing us about the financial help books they are seeking out in these tough economic times and especially about ones that offer nothing. So Wednesday night, Betty, Dona, Ty, Jess, Betty's kids, Ty's boyfriend and I went to Borders to hunt down some of the books people were writing about. We bought what we could find and included it in this article.

A magazine round up and Jenette asked if we could just do the next one with "left magazines and no center and no right. As a proud leftist it's bad enough that we don't have a single magazine worth reading, it's even worse when center and right mags get praised." So for this article, we only focused on the left.

Another e-mail inspired selection for a regular feature.

As the headline says, "True Story." We were like, WTF? Even Betty's kids were. And when the couple walked off, everyone immediately began asking, "Can you believe that? She hates books, what's she's doing in a bookstore?"

A short feature. Dona insisted we have at least one.

Mike, Elaine, Cedric, Ann, Ruth, Marcia, Rebecca, Betty, Trina, Stan and Wally wrote this and we thank them for it.

And that's what we ended up with. We actually could have published this morning. Ava and C.I. wouldn't have liked their piece but readers would have loved it and we could have left the Iraq piece alone and made it an editorial. But I really do think we benefitted from the lengthy break and were able to offer a better edition as a result.


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

Editorial: The problem with (not) listening

Stupid people don't even listen! They don't even know how to listen!


That's something some on the left might say about the right; however, it's becoming more and more applicable to the left as well. We watch in amazement as no one bothers to listen. Let's offer two examples.

Take independent media. We're supposed to be listening, we're supposed to be following it. Earlier this month, Scott Horton (Antiwar Radio) interviewed Dahr Jamail and they noted the jockeying for positions in Iraq following the March 7th elections:

Scott Horton: But as far as the narrative of: "Look an election! Isn't that great! The democratic process! Better than Saddam Hussein! He used to re-elect himself with 99%!" And, you know, here in this case, it looks like the current prime minister didn't even try or wasn't able to rig the election for himself effectively and all that. But at the same time, it seems like, the neocons are counting on the ignorance of the American people and because Chris Matthews only talks about what Republicans and Democrats say on Capitol Hill to each other, all day, for about two and a half hours, twice a day, or whatever, the American people don't really know anything about Iraq -- who's in power there, which different factions are doing this, that or the other thing. There might be a little bit of a mention of something but never any real context and so I remember back in 2005 when they did the election, that really -- with the El Salvador option -- helped precipitate the civil war by turning the whole country over to the Supreme Islamic Council and Moqtada al-Sadr basically and the Iraqi National Alliance. Even Jon Stewart was going, "Wow! Maybe George W. Bush was right. Look at this woman with purple ink on her finger. Maybe Iraq is a democracy now." Well, then another few 100,000 people got killed after that. Now we have another one of these. And it turns out Moqtada al-Sadr is the kingmaker and he's sitting in Tehran right now trying to figure out whether he wants to throw his weigh towards CIA agent-murderer [Ayad] Allawi or Revolutionary Guard Agent-murderer [Nouri al-] Maliki. And this is what the neocons and Newsweek are telling the American people, "Look! They've got ink on their fingers!" You don't have a narrative, you don't know who's who, you don't know who's winning or if one group takes power over this group what's that like, what consequences that's likely to have. None of this context is provided. "But, look, a woman with purple ink. We're actually, we're doing okay here, folks." That's why it works. Because the rest of the time they won't tell us about Iraq at all. Then when they say anything, they go, "Hey, look, a still shot. Make up your own 10,000 words.

Dahr Jamail: Well that's exactly right, Scott. And I think that's a really good description and analysis of how this has been perpetuated from the beginning where we have a corporate media that relies on the ignorance and-and a US government that relies on the ignorance of the American public. And, of course, the corporate media has been instrumental in ensuring that ignorance. I mean, we can go back to before the invasion took place and basically what people got on TV was a graphic of Saddam Hussein's head with a bulls eye on it. Or cross hairs. This kind of thing. You know: "This is all you need to know. You don't need to know that the CIA backed him in a coup that put him in a position of power in 1968. You don't need to know the US government supported him through his worst atrocities. You don't need to know that the US supported both Iraq and Iran during that brutal eight-year war that killed over a million people. You don't need to know these things. You don't need to know that we supported the twelve-and-a-half years of genocidal sanctions, that, oh yeah, according to Madeline Albright and the UN, killed over half-a-million Iraqi children. You don't need to know these things. You just need to know this is the bad guy and we're going to kill him and you're going to be safe and you can go shopping in that safety and rest assured that everything is just fine." And it's the same with these elections. You don't need to know that Maliki, even before the election results were released, when it became clear to him that he was not going to get the plurality, that he basically went to the Supreme Court in Iraq -- this is going to sound a little familiar to folks -- so he goes to the Supreme Court and basically has them change the rules of the game so that instead of whoever gets the plurality during the election can start forming their own government, instead he now has until June when the Parliament reconvenes to basically take out as many of Allawi's elected ministers of Parliament as possible. Because, basically, the last man standing in June when Parliament reconvenes, whoever has the most MPs, that is who is going to get to form the new cabinet. So conveniently Maliki's basically given himself two months to go out and hit as many of Allawi's people as possible. And that's exactly what he's done. So far, he's taken two of them into custody, charging them with terrorism. You know, everything's terrorism now, so he's charging them with terrorism. And one person is where abouts unknown. And then another MP in Allawi's list is in hiding. So already, he's at least made it even Steven and probably already taken the lead. And, of course, we have the Sadr wildcard which is a bit of another story but you described it well and all that I just described is-is against the backdrop of the context that both of these guys are US stooges and perhaps this is why Newsweek declares it a resounding success -- aside from just the propaganda value. But, "Hey, it's a resounding success because we have Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum as the two leading candidates in this election and, oh, guess what? The US created both these guys, put both these guys in the positions of power that they're in and they wouldn't exist without the US occupation in that country. And guess what? One of them's going to win, so the US is going to win either way." And maybe that's why Newsweek was so triumphant about their "Mission Accomplished" cover? And, oh yeah, it took a little longer because we didn't have that kind of a rigged deck in the last election but in this one, by golly, we do."

They addressed the spin America was being served versus the knowledge that was needed. Was anyone listening?

We ask that because who has followed up on that? Hours and hours of broadcasts for Pacifica Radio to fill and who has followed up on that?

No one. And the right-wing didn't disappear. They continue to sell Iraq as a "success." They continue to put out propaganda. And the left does nothing. If this continues, in five years time, look for the left to express amazement that people believe the Iraq War was about WMD. The lies keep getting repeated and they are not being shot down by the left.

The left loves to whine about how Noam Chomsky is shut out by the MSM. Amy Goodman loves to refer to Noam as "the dissident scholar." And the apparent implication in all of that is that the left (we're so damn smart!) actually listens to Noam Chomsky.

Do we really?

This month, Matthew Rothschild penned "Chomsky Warns of Risk of Fascism in America" (The Progressive) about a speech Noam Chomsky delivered at the University of Wisconsin. In it, he warned against ridiculing the Tea Party. Rothschild reported:

Their attitudes "are understandable," he said. "For over 30 years, real incomes have stagnated or declined. This is in large part the consequence of the decision in the 1970s to financialize the economy." There is class resentment, he noted. "The bankers, who are primarily responsible for the crisis, are now reveling in record bonuses while official unemployment is around 10 percent and unemployment in the manufacturing sector is at Depression-era levels," he said. And Obama is linked to the bankers, Chomsky explained. "The financial industry preferred Obama to McCain," he said. "They expected to be rewarded and they were. Then Obama began to criticize greedy bankers and proposed measures to regulate them. And the punishment for this was very swift: They were going to shift their money to the Republicans. So Obama said bankers are 'fine guys' and assured the business world: 'I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system.' People see that and are not happy about it." He said "the colossal toll of the institutional crimes of state capitalism" is what is fueling "the indignation and rage of those cast aside." "People want some answers," Chomsky said. "They are hearing answers from only one place: Fox, talk radio, and Sarah Palin."

Chomsky's very clear in what he's saying, Rothschild's very clear in his reporting. So where's the response?

If you can't grasp what Noam Chomsky is talking about, he's addressing the anger that is out there in the country. And that anger's been there for some time. That anger fueled the 2006 mid-terms and swept Democrats into power. It fueled the 2008 elections and gave Democrats even more power. That's the same anger that's out there now.

It wasn't racism when Democrats tapped into for victories and it's not racism now that it's turned against the Democrats.

And yet that's what the left has repeatedly and wrongly insisted upon screaming. When not, of course, using homophobic terms to describe Tea Party activists (thereby implying that there is both something wrong with them and wrong with the LGBT community -- the left scores a double on the insult playing field!). We've heard it from Lila Garrett (KPFK), we've heard it from Kris Welch (KPFA), we've heard it from alleged radical attorneys. Yeah, we've heard it from everyone and, guess what, so have other people.

That's the Tea Party activists, that's the middle. And when they want to look to someone to listen to, you really think that Lila Garrett's going to be a go-to for them after all those insults? After all the hate she's spewed?

We've pointed it out, Bob Somerby's pointed it out and now Noam Chomsky is pointing it out: The left is creating an environment where the right is the 'voice of truth.'

This anger, which we've been charting forever, is free floating and, as we've said before, it will glom on something.

Democrats in Congress and the White House have done an awful job. The Iraq War has not ended, the Afghanistan War has not ended, the Patriot Act was renewed, ObamaCare is neither single-payer or anything to brag about, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" remains both on the books and still practiced, prisoners remain held at Guantamano and we could go on and on.

In the 2006 mid-terms, Democrats were given control of both houses of Congress because the American people were angry, disgusted and worried. The Democrats did damn little for two years but say they needed more seats in Congress and the White House to accomplish anything. America went along with them in 2008. It's now 2010 and they have nothing to hide behind, nothing. They try to hide behind Bush but that's as ridiculous as when George W. Bush tried to hide behind Bill Clinton. At some point, long before you leave office, you own the problems facing the country.

And as people struggle to keep their jobs, to keep their homes, how do you think it looks when Barack Obama flies into Miami for a fundraiser at the home of a Republican and faded musical star (Gloria Estefan) and walks aways with $2.5 million dollars?

The Democratic politicians have no idea how badly they are coming off.

In part, that's due to the disgusting 'independent' media which would rather serve up the ridiculous Melissa Harris-Lacewell at The Nation weighing in how wonderful and amazing closeted Oprah's Christmas interview with Barack and Michelle was. That passes for 'independent media' these days.

Understand that the anger is also being fed by The Nation and various other outlets and individuals who refuse to maintain the same ethical standards they had before Barack was sworn in as president of the United States. Instead, they are, as Justin Raimondo ( noted last week, "Obama administration's media schills".

The left needs to take a moment to recall the way they recoiled in horror during 2001 and 2002 as Midge Decter, Jonah Goldberg and assorted others crawled on their bellies to worship at the feet of George W. Bush. That right wingers might be predisposed to like Bush, a Republican, wasn't surprising. That they would disgrace themselves with the kind of political whoring for a leader that is rarely seen off mainland China was astounding.

A large number of people on the left are making ridiculous fools of themselves today. Elected officials are elected by the people to represent the people. They are not gods nor are they heroes. But a number of people who'll soon be in coffins apparently want to go out pretending as though the Eisenhower era was immediately followed by the Reagan era and as if we learned nothing from 'the sixties.'

When we on the left behave that way, we don't just provide laughter for the right and the middle, we ensure that we will never reach them with anything we say because we have demonstrated we're nothing but whores who will bash Bush with Guantanamo, for example, but rush to justify and excuse Barack breaking his promise (and his timeline) to close it.

You don't come off as honest brokers when that's how you present to the public.

Noam Chomsky is warning about the anger. The anger itself isn't the problem. Even Chomsky notes that it's justified. The problem is only one side is currently able to speak to the angry. The left has ensured that the angry have no reason to listen to them. They've done that by insisting they were just uneducated, they were racists and every other insult in the book. That's not how you persuade anyone to listen to you.

The left likes to pretend it does actual work and focuses on things that matter. Nothing in the last two years from Pacifica, The Nation, et al has demonstrated that to be the case.

Keep it up and, as Chomsky warns, prepare for fascism.

TV: All About Fey

Last Wednesday on CBS' The New Adventures of Old Christine, old Christine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) took new Christine (Emily Rutherford) for a beauty treatment thinking it would cheer them both up and allow them to get ready for the arrival of new Christine’s father. While the very pregnant new Christine emerged refreshed, old Christine ended up with her hair a clown shade of violet because her colorist forgot to check on her even after the timer went off. Enter the Meany Moms -- Marley (Tricia O'Kelley) and Lindsay (Alex Kapp Horner).


Could they really help, wondered Christine? Lindsay explained that before she had submitted to a Marley makeover, she’d been wasting her life by completing her doctorate and staying up to date on world events. Marley and Lindsay are two of the supporting characters on Julia Lousie-Dreyfuss' five-year-old sitcom and they are two very shallow, often very mean blonds. Or as Marley might argue, perfection -- at least for her.

They quickly turned Christine into their triplet and insisted she also dress as them. It was a new experience for Christine and one that spun the plot around in surprising ways, including pulling in an unrelated Barb (Wanda Sykes) subplot in the final moments of the show.

It played to various levels of funny from slapstick, to innuendo, to parody, to allusions. The New Adventures of Old Christine not only boasts one of the strongest leads (Emmy winner Julia), it also boasts a rich cast with diverse approaches and strengths. And you might take a moment to wonder why the gas bags don’t tell you that?

Ken Tucker is among the most sexist TV critics today and, for some strange reason, he’s allowed not only to do his damage at Entertainment Weekly but also as a member of Terry Gross Fresh Air posse -- her all male TV posse.

And always desperate to butch it up, the boys manage to ignore women. In fact, a 'year-in-review' by David Banculli managed to 'forget' that women even existed on prime time. Even stranger, that 'year-in-review' was presented as a conversation with Terry Gross and she never objected to his rendering women invisible. Well, maybe not so strange, when has she ever objected to rendering (other) women invisible?

The often brilliant, always hilarious Ugly Betty aired its final episode last week and, though there was much lamenting of a TV show killed when it still had much to offer, it went off the air without Terry’s Male Posse noting it.

And that's a surprise only if you're the NPR ombudsperson. Anyone else will surely not be surprised. Terry Gross has ten critics on her show, only one is a woman and she covers books -- which is apparently more genteel and 'ladylike' than the 'manly' art of TV criticism. Or is that sport? 'Manly' sport of TV criticism?

They work really hard to pretend otherwise but there's nothing all that manly about Ken, David or John Powers. In fact, we bet we could take all three of them in a bar fight without breaking a sweat let alone a nail.

John Powers is officially a movie critic but sometimes he's so taken with an actor or a basic cable program, he feels the need to weigh in on TV. Strangely enough, when he does, he raves over this man or that man and never feels the need to note that the program features backlash storylines for women. No, he only sprouts a sudden (and uninformed) interest in feminism when he's getting ready to rip Sandra Bullock to shreds.

While all three are sexist piggies, John's closest to the 'people' in that David and Ken generally foam at the mouth raving over HBO or Showtime offerings forgetting that the "P" in NPR stands for "Public." Though John doesn't appear to catch much broadcast TV, at least he aims for basic cable. The reality remains that most Americans don't have HBO or Showtime. That was the reality before our current Great Recession and it remains the reality. As Jenji Kohan (creator and executive producer of Weeds) told Claude Brodesser-akner (Advertising Age) in 2007, "Showtime is great, but it does have a limited audience."

David and Ken aren't interested in reality. Which is how they ignore Weeds and United States of Tara and any show in which an actress does more than deliver a cup of coffee.

Last week, we were noting the rampant sexism on display in the Tina Fey hosted Saturday Night Live. And we expected that to be it. We'd note it. We'd get slammed for it and praised for it in e-mails and that would really be it. As Marcia pointed out last Sunday night, recent history did appear to be repeating as the usual suspects put their critical thinking caps in the deep freeze. But that didn't remain the case and a lot of women participated in a push back throughout the week.

Which is really great news because it's not going to be an issue non-feminists worry over ("Will this lose us viewers!") until feminist treat it like the very real issue it is. And last week, feminists explored it, weighed in and debated. While non-feminists in the MSM never had a clue. It wasn't just, for example, that last Sunday evening the Los Angeles Times' was praising the nonsense without reservation, it was that this lavish (and knee jerk) praise for Fey's sexist comedy continued at other outlets all week. With the exceptions of Slate and Salon, you'd be hard pressed to visit any 'general interest' site and know that a healthy and vocal debate was going on among women about the 'humor' Tina Fey served up.

At this site, Ty noted the e-mails were 97% in favor and 3% opposed. One of the opposed stuck out to Ty and he passed the e-mail on to us. We'll dub the e-mailer Jock Mannish.

Jock is convinced that "the real problem is you don't like funny." We could debate that with a thousand offline examples but we'll stick to online. You'll have a real hard time finding any critics that have advocated on behalf of sitcoms the way we have in the last six years. Yes, ABC has carved out a new night for sitcoms (Wednesday) and now other networks are suddenly interested in exploring whether they could do that as well; however, that's a recent development from this TV season. For years and years, while we advocated for funny, the Water Cooler Set repeatedly churned out "The Death of the Sitcom."

Jock also maintains "and you don't like Tina Fey." We loathe her now. We've been honest about that for some time. We openly campaigned against her to ensure she didn't win Best Actress at last year's Emmys and, as usual, Tina helped us out there by making a statement that no real actress would make. We only had to repeat that public quote a few times and the image was set: Not an actress.

But you can search the archives and you'll find we praised Tina Fey many, many times. We praised 30 Rock as well in its first season. It was a funny show and one that offered promise. But characters have to develop as a series goes along. Ted Baxter in season one of The Mary Tyler Moor Show is one dimensional and it takes many episodes (and the introduction of Georgette) for him to really become a fully dimensional character. 30 Rock has had time to develop and a real writer would have ensured that happen. Instead, increasingly unbelievable events and storylines take place and the show gets campier and campier.

It also gets more and more anti-women as it goes along. There are really just two female characters in the cast: Liz and Jenna. (Don't bring up the blond, she's usually forgotten.) That's not just insulting, it's walking it back. When the show started, there was Liz and Jenna but, now forgotten, there was a third actress on every week.

Rachel Dratch. We're not supposed to remember that. We're not supposed to remember that Tina (and Lorne) sold the show, in part, on Rachel. NBC was more than nervous about a show revolving around Tina Fey who didn't do skits on SNL, just sat behind the anchor desk. Alec Baldwin added to the cast made them feel better because his Will & Grace work had demonstrated he was hilarious. They weren't sure about Tracy Morgan either because of his behavior issues. But Rachel Dratch? She was one half of "The Lovers," she was Sheldon, she was Zazu, she was Debbie Downer!!!! There might be some funny in that. (It's also forgotten now but in its first season, NBC and critics bet everything on Studio 60 and 30 Rock was the 'inferior' product in their eyes.)

There's a theory two behind the scenes toss around which goes Tina used Rachel to get her show on the air but the suits' interest in Rachel resulted in Tina ensuring that Rachel would be a temporary presence. (She was gone by the first half-season.) The theory argues that was done by refusing to give Rachel a character. Rachel, originally cast as Jenna, was instead basically strip-mined for laughs with Tina writing her as an animal handler one week and something else the next. Week after week, she played a different character with a different name.

You really think that audiences are going to buy that? Tina Fey's many things but no one's called her stupid yet. She knew what she was doing.

And if you doubt that -- or that the Queen Bee mentality was at work -- just check out the cast with us. The characters are Liz (female), Jack, Tracy, Jenna (female and played brilliantly by Jane Krakowski whom we hope will soon be on another show), Kenneth, Pete, Frank, Cerie (the female airhead who is hardly ever on and takes up more background than lines when she is), Toofer, Josh, Dot Com, Grizz, Jonathan, JD and Danny.

That's 11 male characters and, if you're generous, there are three female characaters. If you're generous and consider Cerie anything more than a walking sex joke and pretend that she gets actual scenes. The show started with three women in the foreground (Liz, Jenna and Rachel's rotating characters) and far fewer men. It's fallen backwards.

Early on the Bush-loving, Condi Rice dating, Dick Cheney dependent Jack (Alec Baldwin) was the dark side. He was the "suit" and the creative types knew to stay the hell away from him. He wanted GE products put in every TGS skit, he was the enemy. That's an important detail, for example, when considering Rosemary.

Rosemary was a character who appeared in one episode (played by Carrie Fisher). She was a former writer for Laugh In, now pushing her autobiography and Liz dragged Pete (or one of the writers, they all look alike) to a book signing. It was a crowded book signing, by the way. Liz gushed and Rosemary offered to have lunch with her. Over lunch, Liz declared that Rosemary should come to work for TGS. Rosemary agreed and immediately began pitching skits that were too controversial for Liz. Liz stated that the network would never go for them. Rosemary ended up going to Jack to pitch them. To her face, Jack pretended to agree but then told Liz to fire Rosemary. Instead, Liz walked out with Rosemary.

Liz and Rosemary were going to team up and write their own show, they decided, en route to Rosemary's apartment -- in a section of NYC known as "Little Chechnya." Worse than the neighborhood was the apartment itself and the revelations about Rosemary that came one after the other. She was a drug user, she was terminally unemployed, she lived in poverty (no, that does not explain her book which, at the start of the show, appeared to be warmly received by the public) and she had no one in her life (no lover, no child).

This, Jack told Liz, would be her life. And this, Jack told Liz, is what happens to women in the business when they are no longer seen as f**kable.

It was an ugly message but Jack was the bad guy, right? The black hat? The suit?

Only since that time, Jack's repeatedly turned out to be the sage. He says horrible, horrible things but they come true.

Each season has added a new layer and that has endorsed, not rejected, the statements Jack made. It's an ugly, little message for and about women and it's come from the hands of Tina Fey.

Rosemary brought up another issue. Before Jack forced Tracy (played by Tracy Morgan) off on Liz in the first show, TGS was known as The Girly Show. It was a live comedy sketch show from a female point of view. Why is it that Rosemary was Tina's first female hire? The Girly Show? It would seem to require some women writers. But all they had was Liz surrounded by a sea of men. (Check the stats for 30 Rock and you'll see that there are very few women who write for the show.)

Tina Fey created her own show and she repeatedly did so in a way that makes her an elevated princess in a world of men. She deliberately refused to stand by Rachel in the role of Jenna and then (intentionally or not) managed to write Rachel out of the series. Jack may get mocked a little in an episode but he's become the voice of God and how very sad that a show created by a woman worships so at the voice of 'male authority.'

Jock Mannish insisted that Parks and Recreation is the same show as 30 Rock and that we're not slamming it or Amy Poehler. We've given Poehler negative criticsm when she was on Saturday Night Live. We also praised Parks and Recreation but warned Amy needed to pay attention because Leslie was being pushed to the background. And that warning was proven true as season one progressed (we had seen four episodes when we did our review and read several scripts). The second season found Leslie back in the foreground and the notion of The Tom Show dispensed with (as it should be). Parks and Recreation is now dependably funny week in and week out.

It is nothing like 30 Rock. Leslie is not pathetic. She is self-deluding. She has her own warped value system. She is also pro-women and will regularly stop and correct men who make sexist remarks (like the former parks director who patted her on the head and 'explained' women couldn't think because of menstruation). She will set out to honor other women and affirm them. Leading to the episode where she's screwed over by a women's group who hands out an award for work they know Leslie did but instead gives the award to Ron (her boss) because they believe the press will care more if a woman of the year award goes to a man.

And look at the characters, there's Leslie, Ann, Mark, Tom, Ron, April, Andy, Donna and Jerry. Do you not grasp that women are more than two characters on Parks and Recreation?

And here's the most telling detail that lets you know if the people writing the show know the first thing about women: Friends. Despite having fewer women writers than 30 Rock, Parks and Recreations grasps that you want to offer a true portrait of the average women? You better include her friend. At least one.

And Leslie's best friend is Ann. They're such good friends that when Mark became interested in Ann, Leslie and Ann were able to talk it through (Leslie made out with Mark once and had carried a huge crush on him forever). Rashida Jones is a great actress and would be an asset on any show -- even 30 Rock. But, on that show, she wouldn't be Liz's best friend because, of course, Liz doesn't do female friends.

When the show started, Liz and Jenna were friends. These were the scripts originally written to be played by Tina and Rachel and maybe Tina feels a little intimidated by Jane's looks? Regardless, each season has seen Jenna become stronger and stronger friends with Kevin and Tracy. Someone starting with a new episode of 30 Rock today would never know that, when the series started Liz and Jenna were best friends and had a lengthy history together that predated The Girly Show.

30 Rock isn't content to play Tina as pathetic (and vindictive) in love, she's friendless and she's also childless -- as her character can never stop pointing out in some sort of homage to thirtysomething's own pathetic single Melissa. As Susan Faludi pointed out in Backlash, Melissa wasn't the only single person on thirtysomething. There was also Ellyn. Ellyn was the 'bad' single (the sort that Tina Fey ripped apart in her Weekend Update sketch when she did SNL), she had sex and had to be brought down. But, as Faludi pointed out, it wasn't just 'bad' Ellyn and 'pathetic' Melissa who were single on thirtysomething, there was also Gary. But his being single was never pathetic or 'bad.' Ellyn sleeps with a married man and it's a sign of mortal flaw, Gary sleeps with a married woman and no one's bothered or alarmed.

It's a double standard and it's one that Tina Fey's body of work repeatedly reinforces. By being the female mouthpiece for sexist stereotypes, she not only helps popularize them, she serves the system already in place which, in turn, rewards her with praise. It's why The New Adventures of Old Christine doesn't get talked up by Terry Gross and Ken Tucker but 30 Rock does. Tina was always male defined, it's how she became Lorne's pet on SNL. We assumed she'd move beyond that -- it is, for most women, what your early 20s are about and then you grow up. But she's refused to grow up and that was most obvious when Universal explained to her that "Bitches get things done" might be a liability to young men and boys who might be ticket buyers to Baby Mama because they tended to support Barack or a Republican male. Immediately, Tina hit the promotion circuit explaining she didn't mean the skit, she didn't support Hillary, she wasn't a feminist, she wasn't that interested in politics and on and on she yammered. One friend who interviewed her for a wire service (a man) said he'd never heard anything more pathetic. And, Jock Mannish, that's when we did our walk-away from Tina Fey and we noted that in real time.

Jock's convinced that we "want perfection in female characters." We're really starting to worry about Jack and his poor track record when it comes to women. No, we don't need perfection. Christine Campbell (New Adventures of Old Christine) is not a princess. She's not perfection. And that's very funny. But the joke is not, "Christine's single and she's a woman so therefore she's pathetic! Ha! Ha! Ha!"

Christine can be pathetic, all the characters on the show can be. But for various reasons. The key to Christine is that she wants to be a good person but she's not willing to do the work. When you grasp that, when you grasp that she'd love ten fully painted fingernails but will settle for eight when in a hurry and pretend like the other two flaked off, you grasp the character. If there is a short cut to be taken, she will take it. If none exists, she will pretend one does.

Time and again, that is the joke about Christine. You saw it when she lost her phone, her purse and her money recently in the Subway and attempted to sing to earn money. In the end, it was all too much work and she went to sleep on a bench until her son's class returned from the field trip.

In front of her child's class, with slobber on her face and her blouse dangerously unbuttoned, Christine declares that she's had to survive on her wits leading Marley to declare, in front of the kids, that she needed to fix her blouse because one of her "wits" was hanging out. That scene did not paint Christine as Madame Curie. It had a ton of humor and some of the laughs were at Christine. We're not looking for perfection.

We are looking for something relatable and that requires something other than the male frame presented as universal. All Tina Fey's done is grab the male frame and speak through it. It's why her never-a-hit TV show will be back next fall even though no one watches it. Shows with far more viewers are given the axe by NBC but Tina is the little girl repeating the male commandments and so she keeps coming back, year after year. Until, as Jack warned of Rosemary, she's no longer seen as f**kable and then she's off the air. When that day comes, she'll have nothing noteworthy to look back on.

I'm broke! I better buy a book!

The ongoing Great Recession has many people reaching for the book shelves and wasting money on bad 'financial' advice which is anything but helpful. (Apparently few have heard of public libraries.) After a few readers wrote in on the topic of bad books they'd been reading that were supposedly going to help them with their financial problems, we decided to take a look. And what we found was frightening.


Lynnette Khalfani (now Khalfani-Cox) may mistakenly lure fresh out of college readers with her Zero Debt for College Grads. (College drop outs are, apparently, on their own. They should consider themselves blessed.) In a divorced from reality manner, Khalfani hammers the keyboard and churns out the sort of badly written sentences that fit her resume. As a chatter to Rachel Ray and Oprah, she can beam and exude confidence. On the page, however, all her shortcomings are evident.

This book outraged four readers and we were wondering how bad it was? Then we read it. Imagine for a moment that you're a recent college grad who has lost their job. You're on unemployment and you read this:

One of the biggest disservices that we do to ourselves as consumers is when we hide from the credit company or others we oew. Credit card companies shouldn't have to hunt you down.

Doesn't it sound like Kelli Maroney's "Spirit Bunnies" speech in Fast Times At Ridgemont High? Does it sound like anything that will help you?

And, for the record, if you can hide from your credit card company for up to seven years, you stand a good chance of walking out on that debt. It'll be on your credit report but, in tough financial times, that's the least of your worries.

Who does the author work for? If you've just paid $14.95 for her book, that question is especially pertinent.

Robert T. Kyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter teams up to tackle the economy -- which may be the most realistic approach. And unlike our last author who holds a degree in English lit, Lechter is a CPA. Their book is Rich Dad Poor Dad and it's an entertaining volume from page one but probably something better suited for stronger economic times.

"The economy is falling apart . . . but that doesn't mean you have to!" declares Jill Keto and Daniel Keto's Don't Get Caught With Your Skirt Down: A Practical Girl's Recession Guide. This book is surprisingly packed with helpful information. For example, haggling for an item? We've all been told to do this. But there's actually more to it than the, "I don't want to pay that much." For instance, did you realize you had to get the seller vested in the transaction?

They explain (step one) that the price is just a number on paper. You should make an offer (haggle). But there are more steps: "Make the seller show you lots of items. Be quiet and let them expend loads of energy taking you around, blabbing on and on about the variety of the merchandise from which you can select. The goal is to use up their time and physical and mental energy. You need to get the seller invested in the transaction." That's very useful advice. It doesn't end there. If there are two (or more) items you are planning to purchase, bargain on each item individually. Use charm, they advise and, most importantly, "recoil in silence" at the first discounted price you're offered. Keep staring and see if your silence won't force the seller to offer another price.

Not only is the book filled with practical advice and written in a humorous manner, the authors make a point to seriously address the economic realities. With many of the books, you may feel the authors have no idea what it's like to be unemployed but the Ketos get the realities across and do so without talking down to the readers.


Last up, Rosalyn Hoffman's Bitches on a Budget. There are useful tips to be found in the book if, for example, you want to increase your appreciation of paintings and the visual arts. But if grabbing up free wine and cheese at art exhibits doesn't sound of interest to you, you're going to need to pick up another book. This is really geared to a certain group of women and, reading it, we couldn't help but feel that, if the economy were a little better, the title might have been, Bitches, Here's How To Sniff Out Men.

All books reviewed were suggested by readers. Rosalyn Hoffman's Bitches on a Budget is available in softcover for $15.00 (New American Library); Jill Keto and Daniel Keto's Don't Get Caught With Your Skirt Down is also in softcover for $15.00 (Simon & Schuster); Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter's Rich Dad Poor Dad is available in softcover for $16.95 (Business Plus); and Lynette Khalfani's Zero Debt for College Grads is $14.95 in softcover (Kaplan Publishing). As always, remember public libraries are a wonderful resource and a public space.

What's on the mind of mags?

The first thing that stands out as we survey the political mags is how ugly Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery of Mother Jones have become. One looks Ichibod Crane and the other like Anne Ramsey of Throw Mama From The Train fame. There's also something weird going up with their teeth which appear to resemble Chicklets. If it seems unfair to dwell on the exterior ugly that is Bauerlein and Jeffery, we would counter that Mother Jones, under their leadership, is all about the superficial and they've made it a very, very ugly magazine.


In fact, the cover of the April 2010 issue alone gave us pause. "AGE OF TREASON" screams the headline. Is this Mother Jones (named after the muckraker who herself was accused of treason) or The National Review? The subheading continues, "THIS SOLDIER IS READY TO TAKE UP ARMS AGAINST THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. HE'S NOT ALONE." This is what keeps the Mother Jones crew too busy to write corrections? Staff meetings where they dream up these fear mongering covers?

Just holding the cover leaves you feeling unclean, as if Lucianne Goldberg had cornered you in an elevator while insisting did she have a boy for you!

Mother Jones offers nine pages of crazy passed off as a cover story. We'd first point out that MoJo wasn't interested in 'exposing' (or covering) resistance in the military under Bush. But if it has to do with loverboy Barry Obama, they just will not abide it.

Reading Justine Sharrock's purple prose, we were reminded that the real Mother Jones was jailed and that this magazine is supposed to embody her. Instead, it's just another pathetic rag that can't address reality because it's too in love with Barry.

Meanwhile, we feel like Extra! subscribers should thank us (and a few have e-mailed to do just that). It actually manages another issue. The first page with actual text is page three (of a fifteen page issue -- plus ad on back cover) and a headline at the top of the page proclaims, "Better to Mislead Than to Take a Side" which, more and more, appears to be the operating belief of both Extra! and the corporation which puts out the magazine: Fairness andAccuracy In Reporting.

After all, ObamaCare passed and did so not only without objection from Extra! but also without them bothering to inform their audiences of alternatives. They did manage to waste everyone's time by whining about the right-wing. Which, for the record, they do again this issue putting Glenn Beck on the cover.

How stupid are they at FAIR? Tossing your enemy on the cover? They know nothing about publishing and damn little about media which is why FAIR remains a Panhandle Media joke year in and year out.

The watch dog that couldn't bark, Extra! decides to decry ObamaCare (sort of) this issue . . . now that it'spassed via Michael Corcoran's "The Flawed Media Narrative of the Healthcare Debate." Maybe if they were less concerned about George Will's flip-flops on filibusters, they would have had time to cover issues when coverage might actually make a difference? And leave it to the idiots and liars of FAIR to whine about Will's changing position on filibusters while pretending they don't see Rachel Maddow doing the exact same thing. They helped create her and her kind by refusing to call it out. They are the reason there is no functioning media on the left. Steve Rendall -- who does bitchy quite well -- rounds up a litany of "fake quotes" from right-wing media and, Stevie, we'll take you seriously when you join Bob Somerby in calling out Rachel Maddow's creative quoting. Until then, you're just bitchy.

And laughable. Hello, The Nation. "Ten Things" maintains the headline and the subheading clarifies "Ten Things You Can Do to Help Progressive Journalism." As should be obvious to anyone, the number one thing ("Teach Them How To Write A Headline") doesn't even make the list. But it's not a list. It's not about activism, it's about how you can couch potato . . . but for the left!

Watch this, click that, Tweet this, blah, blah, bulls**t. They should be ashamed of themselves to offer such a dipsy and anti-activist piece of garbage. The closest to activism only further demonstrates how out of it The Nation is and remains:

8 Change it. Firedoglake is using its influence in the blogosphere to fire up readers. In its inaugural round of voting, FDL selected Representatives Dennis Kucinich, Alan Grayson and Anthony Weiner as its top three Fire Dogs, for whom the site is raising $10,000 and identifying 500 voters apiece for GOTV activities.

The Nation's a weekly and this is the April 19th issue. March 17th, Jane Hamsher wrote "Dennis Kucinich Will Return Money to Donors" (Firedoglake) and the mood towards Weiner and Grayson isn't what we'd call "hospitable" at Firedoglake currently.

Raising money's a passive activity. That's all The Nation is: Passive.

Harper's Magazine charts "The Vanishing Liberal" -- an article by Kevin Baker which presumes to answer "How the Left Learned to Be Helpless" -- we believe we just demonstrated that repeatedly with the above magazines. We also believe Kevin Baker jerks off for nine long pages. He starts off noting that Barack may be a disappointment (may be?) and, by page three, is back in 1870, beginning a curious sort of historical survey. Curious?

Where are the 90s? Where are the eighties other than a single sentence? This is nothing but gas baggery. It ties in nothing from the past to today and does little to inform the readers. It, quite honestly, wasn't worth printing.

It, quite honestly, wasn't worth printing not only describes Baker's cover story but the left print media today. No wonder The Nation passes off begging for money as a "activism."

4-20-2010, Ty note: This article originally and wrongly called The Nation a "bi-weekly." I have no idea what we were thinking. I have corrected it to weekly.

Comics: Marvel, Dark Horse, Wildstorm

The problem, reader Leith explained in an e-mail, is that we keep doing the same comics. He always knows, for example, that we'll "include the Wonder Woman title." (Really? Our last comic feature didn't note a Wonder Woman title.) He wishes we'd mix it up and "cover some stuff that hasn't been a million TV shows and a thousand movies already." Short of covering regional comics (which we're not opposed to doing), we're not sure how many under-the-radar comics exist these days among devoted readers?

There are comics we've highlighted in the past that have resulted in e-mails saying they didn't know the comic existed or that they're glad we included the cover of it because they couldn't believe that a comic like that existed. So it depends to a large degree on just how much you follow the comic world.

That said, we're going for a different sort this round-up.


Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game obviously sees itself as more than a mere comic as evidenced by the fact that the inside page is a full of list of credits -- including three different editors, a person for script, for art, for color art, for lettering, for story consultant, for cover and Orson Scott Card pops up himself with credits for "Creative Director & Executive Director." It seems a bit much for a comic that's really little more than a solo Will Robinson Lost In Space adventure.

After a space mission, Ender and friends and 'friends' end up in the cafeteria and quickly Ender's back in his own bedroom/quarters with a friend.

Valentine: Poor Ender.

Ender: Feel sorry for yourself. I led the rankings. I'm a toon leader. I've got so much damn respect I want to scream . . .

"So why do I hate my life, Valentine?" he asks looking not at the computer screen but towards the reader.

Angst In Space. How very. Everyone spends the rest of the comic attempting to discover what the end of the world means to Ender. We think Dionne Warwick put it better years ago when she asked, "What's It All About, Alfie?"

That's a Marvel Comic and a limited series, "5 of 5" -- so apparently this 'exploration' of the soul is how Ender's Game concludes. Another Marvel title is Wondeful Wizard of Oz and it's also a limited series -- "5 of 7." In this one the kindly and non-powerful Oz is actually a demented quack how cuts off the Scarecrow's head to give him a 'brain' -- he fills Scarecrow's heads with "many pins and needles" and then he tears apart the Tin Man to insert a "heart." It's gross and graphic and you're wondering if readers are catching on that it's all a fraud and that Oz is apparently demented when the Lion shows up needing courage. Oz pours booze and the Lion leaves drunk He creates a monstrosity he calls a balloon for Dorthy and himself to sail to Kansas on but when it's time to depart, Dorthy has to run after Toto and misses the departure.

As the Lion, Tin Man, Scarecrow and Dorothy walk out of the Emerald City they once again look a bit like their characters have in past books and movies which may be foreshadowing for the wrap-up since the teaser last page appears ton indicate that they are walking to Kansas.

That one had an actual story but, despite the deviant touches, it wasn't anything millions haven't seen before. So we left Marvel and headed for Dark Horse. Hellgate London was the first title and, not unlike the Mamas and the Papas' classic ("Dedicated To The One I Love"), it opened advising us, "It is always darkest before the dawn." This was actually a mistake. We intended to pick it up but it wasn't supposed to be out at the comic store. This was a limited edition and it completed in 2007. It is now a collector's item. We'll be returning it (C.I.'s friend owns the comic store we use) but should you come across one and pick it up, hold onto it.


Next up is Emily The Strange. This is yet another limited edition in the Emily Strange line and this one started last October. It's dubbed "The 13th Hour" and revolves around her 13th birthday when: "A mysterious and powerful gift from a long-lost aunt sparks a rivalry with a creepy creature she's never seen before. Soon Emily is whisked into her foe's weird and wild world". These days, Emily Strange is more a piece of merchandise than a fictional character but the story and visuals of a little girl with Marlo Thomas That Girl hair traipsing through a strange world holds the interest for at least one comic.

We moved over to the Wildstorm comics. World Of Warcraft features a typical cheesy cover that all but screams: "Dungeons! And! Dragons!" Inside it offers little of surprise or interest. We were more riveted last year by Prototype and Resistance -- two Wildstorm titles rooted in reality.

And that may be one things some readers object to? We're not really into the fantasy and renasancie comics. For us comics will always mean first and foremost: Super heroes and heroines. Though some of us (Dona and Betty) read Richie Rich and Casper and the Archies growing up, we all read the super hero comics and when we grab a group of comics to do a feature, we're going through all the titles looking for action. So Ender's Game, for example, is not one we would naturally pick it up. It's not targeted to us. An entire comic about what a little boy thinks the end of the world is? As Jim put it, "That sounds more painful than watching Davey & Goliath on Sunday mornings."

True Story


"Oh, honey, look," declared a woman. "This is that book Laura's been talking about. Things Not To Eat."

The woman, in a too-short skirt that would have looked appropriate on Pebbles of Flintstones fame, sat in a chair loudly monologing to her bald and too-thin boyfriend who had just walked up. Oblivious to how sad she was -- or maybe thinking she was participating in an 'intelligent conversation,' she babbled away about how you shouldn't eat a Chick-fil-A or CiCi's Pizza.

The whole thing was rather sad. That she needed a book to tell her fried and fast foods were fattening. That she had discussed the 'book' with a friend. That, in a huge bookstore, this was the only book of interest she could find.

It was a Wednesday night and she'd been sitting in a chair at the Borders Bookstore on Post Street in San Francisco for over an hour, flipping pages. Her boyfriend held four books in his hands as she babbled on. Aware that her loudly shared 'wisdom's ("salt is really bad for you") were attracting attention from people (not just us), he asked her if she wanted to buy the book.

"No. I told you, Laura and I've talked about it. Besides, why waste money on a book?"

He hurried her off as everyone in that section of the bookstore shook their heads.


This was written by Dona, Ty, Jess, Jim and Betty based on our visit to the bookstore Wednesday night to pick up how-to finance books readers were noting in e-mails (and they are addressed in another feature this week).


For the record, we don't slam magazines for taking advertisements. That includes ads for cigarettes or alcohol. So we're not slamming The Progressive for the advertisement which continues to appear at their website.


But we will slam the useless for the ad and we will note how very sad and non-left it is to attempt to harass the Discovery Channel into dropping Sarah Palin for a reality show. Censorship, for those who have forgotten, is supposed to be a tool of the right-wing.

While we won't slam The Progressive for taking the ad, we will note that they are selling sex, they are using sex to sell their own magazines. That's what the sexualized drawing of Palin on a previous Progressive cover was all about and it's apparently the most arresting image they could find to market their magazine. Even on the left, apparently, Sarah Palin is media gold. Again, sad.


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

"I Hate The War" -- most requested highlight by the readers of this site.

"Iraq snapshot," "Walter Jones discusses strain on the Guard," "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," "Military Personnel Subcommittee"and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I., Ava, Kat and Wally cover Congressional hearings they attended last week.

"Kat's Korner: The return of Natalie Merchant" -- Kat's latest album review. There will be a second one either tonight (and Isaiah will have the night off).

"book 'em friday," "skimming kitty kelley," "How To Be A Movie Star II" and "books" -- book coverage in the community from Rebecca and Marcia.

"The final frontier" and "THIS JUST IN! LEAVE IT TO A SPACE CADET!" -- Barack attacks the space program.

"Hey, Melissa, F.U." -- Marcia weighs in Melissa Etheridge's latest break up.

"Under The Yum Yum Tree" and "Blackmail, movies, Bette Davis and more" and "Movie post"
-- Stan's Friday at the movies as well as Stan and Ann weighing in on movies.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "No Lasting Consequences" -- Robert Gates feels 12 deaths have no lasting consequences.

"Lily Tomlin," "Connect the Dots with Lila Garrett," "Obama tanks in approval ratings and so do I! " -- Ruth, Elaine and Ann cover radio, Ann's listed below:

"They killed Renee," "24, the Surpeme Court, Chuck, DPC (e-mails)," "If I like it, it always gets cancelled," "Polls, Eric Massa, 24," "Ugly Betty," "The sexist Tina Fey," "Ugly Betty,"
"Fringe," "The ones who get it right" and "The unthinking sexism of TGW" -- TV coverage in the community.

"Crimes and war" -- Betty on the issues few seem interested in.

"Disagreeing with Ed Rendell" -- we're hoping to work this into a piece here. Hoping? At six in the morning (EST), it wasn't working. It was proposed we go to sleep. Which we all did then got on about our normal Sunday business. The Third crew worked on what was written and there are six or seven features ready and we're rushing to complete the rest now.

"Condi Takes Time Out To Perform Again!" -- Isaiah dips into the archives for this one.

"THIS JUST IN! SUPERMODEL TIME!" and "Raking in the big bucks" -- Barry can't get to work on the economy but, don't worry, he is fund raising for Democrats.
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