Sunday, June 27, 2010

Truest statement of the week

Its very, very clear now that changing from Republican to Democrat rule has not changed the policy. In fact, if anything the policy has gotten far worse under Obama and the Democrats than under Bush in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

This is the Democrat policy. It was the Democrat policy when they controlled congress after 2006. Its the Democrat policy that Obama ran on, remember that he called this the "right war". Its the Democrat policy for 18 months now that they've held the post of Commander in Chief.

To change the policy, we need to change the rulers who make the policy. And its now very clear that voting Democrat did not do that.

Its time to try voting for and supporting anti-war candidates. True anti-war candidates and not the fake Democrats. And this is where an Obama delegate like Mr. Soloman just can't go. He can complain that replacing the General won't do the job. But he can't seem to admit to himself that its Obama and the Democrats that we really need to replace.

If we send a new Democrat congress back next year, the war will continue.

-- Reader Samson taking on pledged delegate for Barack Obama Norman Solomon at ZNet.

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. We made it through, how about you? We is Dallas and 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),
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

What did we come up with?

We do so enjoy it when pledged delegate for Obama Norman Solomon gets called to the carpet.

And to do it on the air, on the Pacifica air waves? It's past time that Matthew Lazar found another gig. He's played at crazy long enough. And Doug Henwood is becoming radio's most bitter aging queen. How Liza puts up with it, we'll never know.

I (Jim) came up with the wonderful title (I'm joking) to this piece by Ava and C.I. This really is a good one and if there had been more time, it would have been even longer.

Elaine has pitched this for weeks. One week, C.I. said, "I'm just too tired." Elaine was as well. The other weeks? They were both on board but others (including me) nixed it. We hadn't done a parody in so long and I (for one) just wasn't sure that we could. Wrong. This is very funny.

Ava and C.I. wrote this in exchange for the parody being done this week. The deal was, "We can take on Laura Flanders, Katrina vanden Heuvel and Lie Face, then we all work on the parody." Who could resist that offer?

Our Iraq feature. The final thing we wrote this edition. Credit C.I., Wally and Mike especially because the rest of us were on the ropes. By the way, the Gulf Disaster was our editorial. We were too tired. Dona found some scraps Ava and C.I. discarded and thought they could be expanded to what became the editorial.

This is an important article and we'll go on the record now before someone is injured or dead.

Still not sure about a parody, I was surprised when Elaine began reading this. "What is that?" I asked. "Ava, C.I. and I wrote it Friday," she explained. This was to be part of the parody but it was too good so I insisted it be a stand alone.

Today is PTSD Awareness Day.

Mike & the gang did this and we thank them all.

That's it. We're exhausted.


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

Editorial: Spitting on Pacifica

"So I'll be frank with you, Doug, I hope that -I hope that the minimum number of voters you need to certify these elections don't surface. I hope the voters don't vote," sneered the lunatic Matthew Lazar*. Apparently blaming the fate of Pacifica on the likes of Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn (among others) is no longer enough for Lazar.

When it's time to bring the crazy, Doug Henwood calls on Lazar. In a little stunt that should get both of them banned from the Pacifica airwaves.


Lazar is stating too much money is wasted on the elections and endorsing (yes, that's what he's doing) not voting. What happens if enough people don't vote in this election?

Lazar knows this. He's apparently hoping you don't.

If an election doesn't have enough voters, another election has to take place. So the costs of two elections is his 'answer' to what to do?

Or three?

Or four?

Matthew was last pushing elections with I-Swear-I'm-A-Communist-Again-Now-That-I'm-Just-A-Programmer-Again Sasha Lily. He's not pushing them now.


Because of the money?

Hell no, he's a damn liar.

Matthew was on with Sasha a few years back pimping elections because he didn't like a certain slate of candidates. Those would be the ones that, yes, won. And now that Matthew can no longer take part in the Big Lie and help his Big Lie candidates win, he's taking his lost marbles home. Doug hates the same crowd Matthew does.

But he loves the Big Lies.

Such as when he insisted to Doug on Behind The News (it stank up WBAI and KPFA last week),
"My estimate -- and this is from audits -- the audits you can see on the finance page, it's actually an incomplete estimate, I think it's close to a million dollars, maybe more"

What he 'forgets' to tell you is that figure is based on two years. From two years, he extrapolates. He only had access to the 2004 and 2005 elections cost. But he wanted to insist that a million was spent. It may have been, it may not have been. But what is known is he's misled and misinformed audiences yet again.

Matthew used to love the elections. But then his people started losing. He told Doug last week that it was time to do away with the elections and just let these positions be appointed.

Appointed is now needed. In 1999, when Matthew's buddies were in danger of losing their jobs, Matthew was for elections. Now that Matthew's buddies have been exposed as gatekeepers and liars and so much worse, he wants to say, "I think that experiment has failed." Joe Stalin couldn't have been prouder if Matthew was his own son.

Freud noted the both the criminal's compulsion to confess and the practice of projection. With those two concepts in mind, read Matthew Lazar writing about 'others' who he feels walked away from Pacifica:

But there were less noble reasons for the abandonment of the cause. Various luminaries in media and the academy (Zinn; Ellsberg; Chomsky) offered rhetorical support to Pacifica democracy on behalf of individual Pacifica programmers and staff who were, in fact, just trying to save their jobs or shows at the stations. Not a few individuals who cheered the process on read the Pacifica fight less as a institution building project, and more as a metaphor for the larger corporatization of media. And the losers in the struggle -- those who supported the old regime -- certainly weren't going to lend a hand to Pacifica's reconstruction.
Wow. People just wanted to save their jobs back then? And their friends' jobs, eh, Matthew?

The elections, Matthew insists, have cost one million dollars! In the last six years! And do you know that Pacifica earned only $12.5 million in 2009, four million less than in 2008. Elections are killing Pacifica, insisted Matthew.

Uh, in a way they are. The 2008 election killed Pacifica. The corpse has yet to be brought back to life. Meaning, look for 2010 to show even more of a loss in donations.


Who the hell needs this crap?

This awful s**t that comes off like you've stumbled into a Communist cell's meeting. Only instead of Joe Stalin, it's Barack Obama.

Has a bigger stooge ever been whored so much?

Does the world really need Aimee Allison incessant garbage about how 'smart' Barack is and how wonderful and well meaning and blah, blah, bulls**t blah.

And she's only one whore working the corner. Don't forget Kris Welch, don't forget all of them. Pacifica is not Democratic Party radio. It did very well for many years (especially 2003 through 2006) by refusing to cheerlead any political party. Air America Radio appears to have proven that a Democratic Party organ does not make for successful radio. (Right-wing talk shows are not Republican Party organs. They show independence and call out their own party -- usually hectoring them to move more to the right, but the point is that they don't sit there praising and panting the way Rachel Maddow did repeatedly on Air America Radio.)

That's what hurt Pacifica.

People are sick of the s**t. They got sick of Pacifica in 2008. When station managers would endorse Barack Obama on air. They really thought that was the way to go? That people listening to Mya and Ralph each Tuesday open with "Brothers and sisters . . ." were really going to get on board with a mainstream, corporatist War Hawk? They got sick of Pacifica trafficking in sexist language -- first with Hillary Clinton and then with Sarah Palin. They took the lessons CounterSpin taught them about the MSM biases and noticed those same biases in Pacifica. For example, when the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination was down to Hillary or Barack, they saw the Pacifica 'national' special bring on one guest after another who endorsed Barack. They noticed that Hillary was savaged and attacked. This despite the fact that Pacifica owns stations in three states: California (two), New York (one) and Texas (one). In terms of Pacifica's actual roots, those areas went for Hillary. California and Texas both went for Hillary. But there was Pacifica attacking her non-stop.

And we weren't supposed to notice.

And we weren't supposed to notice that every damn day the Whitest of public radio networks was forever crying "Racism!" at any criticism of Barack -- be it political satire from The New Yorker or a member of Congress hollering "You lie!" at Barack. It was all and always racism, to hear Pacifica's smug self-stroking hosts yammer away. Funny thing though, they had little to be smug about. They had a huge audience and they ran it off.

They did so by becoming Whores For Barack.

Matthew Lazar won't tackle that reality.

Why should he? It's not going to help his friends. (It might get a few of them fired.) But he'll gladly insist -- in an Orwellian manner -- that the best way for KPFA, et al, to be democratic and fair is to do away with elections.

Matthew Lazar never needs to be brought on Pacifica again to discuss elections. And Doug Henwood has now entered Larry Bensky's Blow Hard status. Not only did he blow off the elections, he whined repeatedly on air after the Lazar segment about how he was forced to give time to the elections. It's time for Doug to leave the airwaves. Larry Bensky ran listeners off with all his whining about Pacifica and Doug's now spinning that tired record as well. Enough.

*Jim note 7-2-2010, Doug Henwood advises us it's "Lasar." We knew that. Anyone using the link can find him (it goes to his site). We used "z" for a reason. Chances are Matthew knows why and, no, it's not a typo.

TV: That which shouldn't remain hidden

Many things are in plain sight but somethings shouldn't be.


In Plain Sight itself is a USA network TV show (click here for its Hulu page) about federal marshalls working witness relocation. The TV show stars Mary McCormack as Mary Shannon. It's a heavily populated show with, among others, Fred Weller as her partner Marshall, Lesley Ann Warren as her mother Jinx, Nichole Hiltz as her sister Brandi and, actually, a dozen other regular or recurring characters -- though we sincerely hope that will not again include Steven Weber.

Weber was once so promising -- and blond -- on the sitcom Wings. Those days are long gone. And after the disaster that was Studio Yada Yada, he's only gotten worse. The hair's dark now, the affect that of a drug addict in sore need of a fix. 2010 saw him bring two TV shows to a grinding halt every time he thought he was being cute, In Plain Sight and ABC's Happy Town. Watching him attempt sexy banter with Mary was actually more effective at inducing vomiting than Ipecac.

Staying on things that make you sick to your stomach: Steve Inskeep. The good news: He's off Morning Edition (NPR) for the next five weeks. The bad news? He's coming back.

Also under "bad news," you could put his appearance all last week on NPR's long running morning show. Wednesday was especially appalling. Before we can get there, we need to explain: David Letterman is not doing a talk show. David Letterman is doing entertainment. With very few exceptions, no one who goes on his show will ever steal the limelight from him. We say that because David Letterman is an awful interviewer. He does a s**t poor job and he does it for comic effect. You're in the middle of a story and he's cutting you off with some glib and stupid remark. That's fine, the TV audiences lap it up.

But what's fine for Letterman is not fine for NPR. Morning Edition is a public affairs show that presents itself as a news program. Last Wednesday, Morning Edition brought on the Center for a New American Security's CEO Nathaniel Flick and the think tank's celeb Thomas E. Ricks for a discussion about what Michael Hastings' Rolling Stone article on General Stanley McChrystal might result in (for any who missed it, the result was that McChrystal was forced out of his command). The two men spoke with Inskeep and Renee Montagne. Excerpt:

MONTAGNE: And Tom Ricks, you're there on the phone. Let me bring you into this conversation. What do you make of that? I mean, let's start with Marjah, the offensive that was touted as being, you know, a model for what was going to happen in Southern Afghanistan. Is it succeeding? And is its success or failure, does this - is all reflected in what we're talking about here?

Mr. RICKS: Well, clearly the situation in Afghanistan is troubled, but I differ with my boss, Nate Fick, on this - I respectfully differ. What I think is...

INSKEEP: Oh, you're not going to be making remarks in Rolling Stone about him, anytime soon. Thats what you're trying to say.

Mr. RICKS: Well, I'd be happy to.

(Soundbite of laughter)

INSKEEP: No, please go on. You differ. You differ with Nate Fick on this. Go on. Go on.

Renee asks him a question and before Tom can complete an answer ("What I think is . . ."), Steve's breaking in with a joke? That's how we discuss what actually was a very serious issue? It's, more and more, how Steve Inskeep behaves on air. We already noted that Weber comes across like a drug addict in need of a fix. These days, Inskeep constantly comes across as wired. And more importantly for a radio public affairs program, uninterested in what anyone is saying but eager to peel off a joke.

And his own destruction only emphasizes Morning Show's problems. Friday Steve did a really bad intro to a really bad report or 'report' by David Welna. Unemployment benefits expired because Congress doesn't know how to do their job. Now, a month later, the Senate Democrats pushed for a bill and the Republicans voted against it. Those are what is known as facts. Steve couldn't handle them and neither could Welna.

In fairness to Steve, he's somewhat tied (for his intro) in what Welna's decided to 'report.' So if Welna's hook is that this is like 1937 (the Democrat's talking points was also Welna's hook -- imagine that), Steve may have to carry it through.

But someone damn sure should have caught the problem. We did. At the start of the segment, Steve explained that the bill the Republicans blocked would have "added $35 billion to the national debt over the next decade." In the midst of Welna's report, Senator Dick Durbin shows up to declare, "We're about to repeat history. The Republicans come to us now and say, We've got to stop putting money back into the economy, it creates a deficit. Yes, it does. But if you don't get the 14 million unemployed Americans back to work, the deficit will get worse." And then Welna's off with an economist who wants you to know that federal spending can help an economy.

We agree with the last point. But did you catch what came before it?

14 million people, Durbin said, were out of work and needed unemployment.

But before you snarl, "Damn Republicans," take a moment to ponder another figure: 35 billion. That's the dollar amount.

What's going on? Unemployment's going to give over 2 million a piece to each of the 14 million unemployed?

Or did Democrats -- controlling the Senate (and the House) -- pack on a lot of pork?

We're all for pork. We believe members of Congress need to deliver to their areas.

But what we're not for, what we're never for is lying.

NPR presented a 'report' in which Republicans objections were treated as silly and you had to listen closely to gather what they might be objection to. Yesterday, Lori Manning (Washington Post) reported, "One day after voting to block Democratic legislation that would have extended emergency jobless benefits, a Republican senator urged Democrats to try again, saying she would support a stripped-down bill aimed solely at guaranteeing unemployment checks to millions of people who have been out of work more than six months." That senator was Olympia Snowe and the article is full of Jim Manley (what a name) deriding Snowe. Who is 'Manley'? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's Girl Friday. Manning reports that the bill rejected also covered Medicaid and tax breaks for business and for individuals and corporations doing research. If Democrats want to cover the unemployed, the need to do that.

Again, we're not opposed to pork. We are opposed to lying. Don't smear -- and NPR did this -- the opposition with lies. They're Republicans, for goodness sakes, you should never have to resort to lying to reject their logic. But that's how weak our Democratic leaders are. They lied. They painted Republican senators (and their own Ben Nelson) as hateful people who got their jollies from picturing America's unemployed starving and being denied shoes for their kids.

That's not what happened but that 'report'? That happens a lot these days. We were talking with friends at NPR about that this week and the reply usually went something like this: "I can't believe you two, of all people, would accuse NPR of liberal bias."

We're not. We're accusing it of power bias.

The problem isn't that they wanting to make the nation liberal. And, a few years back, it wasn't that they were wanting to make the nation conservative.

The problem is power. NPR always reflects the powerful, that is their bias.

And that's why we're so appalled by the cheering on it gets from the left right now. NPR didn't wake up and decide it wanted to be a Democrat because it shared those ideas and ideals. No, it sees a Congress controlled by Democrats and a White House with a Democratic president and it's all on board with whatever Democrats say.

We don't need that. We never need that. What we need from the MSM is objective information.

And that's what we should be screaming for more and more. But we're so thrilled that the media appears to have tilted left that we don't care that corners are cut and facts are omitted, we don't care that slanted stories misinform. We only care that our side is winning.

And by refusing to confront the very real bias NPR has and has always had, we allow it to work against us when Democrats no longer in power. Then suddenly, watch us show up shouting that NPR needs to be factual. And honest! But right now, we're happy with it, we love it because it's lying for us.

That's hypocrisy on our part. And maybe, sick truth, we get the NPR we deserve.

As always, its bias is right out there for everyone to see, in plain sight, but watch how few will call it out as long as our side is benefitting.

We call out the guest spot of Steven Weber but that's about all that's been wrong with In Plain Sight this season. In fact, a recent episode (still up at the Hulu page as we write) entitled "Death Becomes Her" was so perfect that we honestly wish it had been the series finale.

Mary does not make friends because Mary does not trust people because a number of people -- starting with her father -- have burned her over the years. Mary does not make friends with people in the witness relocation program because she must remain objective. In "Death Becomes Her," Laura San Giacomo -- excuse us, the Amazing Laura San Giacomo -- guest stars as a woman providing evidence against her own family -- mobsters.

She's answering Mary's questions when it comes up that there's a detail she hasn't shared with the feds. She asks Mary for confidientiality and, it granted, she explains she's dying from cancer. She doesn't want, she explains, everyone to suddenly start feeling sorry for her. Her refusal to play for the sympathy vote is something Mary can identify with.

And they bond over their mutual strength. When the feds drop the case because the woman's death might risk the outcome of the case and realizing that her health is nosediving faster than she had thought, she decides to go back home to speak to her niece. Mary objects to it, notes how dangerous it is (they've already take the woman's life once) but when there's no backing down, Mary goes along with her and uses her gun to hold the men in the family off while the aunt and niece speak.

That was a powerful episode and we get misty-eyed just thinking about it.

Laura San Giacomo is one of hell of a dramatic actress. Her years on Just Shoot Me demonstrated her comedic talents so well that some may forget how powerful she was in Sex, Lies & Videotape. On In Plain Sight, she had to get across so much in so little time and she was just amazing.

Equally powerful was Mary torn apart by the death and having to face her mother -- who needs a lot of hand holding. After her mother got down recounting her latest battle with self-esteem and drinking to ask about Mary's bad day. Mary says very simply that a friend died and it rips your heart out. It was a powerful moment and the entire episode was packed with them.

It was such a great episode that it was hard for us to watch the ones that followed. And though they couldn't live up to that episode (few things ever would), they were strong in and of themselves and In Plain Sight is one of the stronger shows Hulu (and USA) is bringing you this summer. You'd be a fool to avert your eyes.

US (SR) Socialist Worker (Parody)

socialist worker

Remember, our Socialism 2010 Conference in Chicago was a huge success. Counting wait staff, we had almost 1,000 people present! Now we're taking it to Oakland! Thank you to the ten people who have RSVPed. (That includes Milton who wrote back, "F**k you!" Milton, we put you down for the fish dinner.)

The U.S. Social Forum in Detroit was a smashing showcase and a learning experience. Among the stand out moments was the Bismarck at Supino Pizzeria. Its crust is too thin and there's something gross about a fried egg on a pizza but if you drown it in blue cheese, mmmm, good. I headed over to Hunter House Hamburgers for . . . Golly, I guess an onion burger. I looked at the overpriced biscuit and wondered where the hell my beef patty was? Did they leave it on the grill? With a vagrant, I led a chant of "Where's the Beef! Where's the Beef!" until the police arrived and wrote me up for trademark infringement. I think I can beat the rap next month when I go on trial. On the way back to the Festivas, I stopped in Ann Arbor for the chicken shawarma plate at Jerusalem Garden. As I pushed my plate away and wiped my mouth with my napkin, I began banging on the table and demanding that Israel agree to a full investigation into the attack on the flotilla. Fellow diners were clearly on my side but, intimidated and beat down by Da Man, they refused to make eye contact and determinedly stared away from me. I think with a few more visits, I can really light a fire under this crowd. And I'll for sure try some more of that delicious lentil soup! Back at the Festivas, I attended a discussion sponsored by the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars where we all talked about the last episode of Lost and how ABC really f**ked it up. My big contribution was offering that Lost was basically The Prisoner but with American accents and suggesting that we head to Mario's on Second Avenue to get the linguine with white wine clam sauce. Resist, fight the power and bring a dining out bib!

The New Face of the KKK
In what I plan to be my absolutely last and final column on Arizona -- the most racist and hateful state in the union -- I must discuss the little racists of district 13 who refused my request that they honor The Dave Zirin Arizona Boycott by refusing to play Little League this summer. Speaking to 9-year-old Nathaniel Johnson, I refused to allow the little racist to squirm his way out by accepting his laughable assertion that he didn't know what a boycott was. For shame, Nathaniel, for shame. I chased him around the diamond screeching, "Racist! Racist! You killed Medgar Evers!" After ten minutes of this, Young Nathaniel ran like a little crybaby to his mother and sobbed. Next I cornered District 13 Board President Joe Diaz and asked him why he was encouraging racism by staging little league in the most racist place in the entire world? As he attempted to formulate a justification, I hit him with the hard fact that if he had any self-respect, he'd have moved out of the state long ago. I will be here through July 12th in order to call out these racists.

It's Up To The Teachers' Unions
The only thing that can stop the corporatist steamroller that is the Obama White House is the teachers' unions. But, stupid teachers, they don't appear to grasp that they are under threat.
I don't understand that. And pausing long enough to remove my tongue from Mikel Weisser's ass, I realize I don't understand a lot of things. But I do understand the teachers unions better do something! I didn't do a damn thing. Mikel didn't do a damn thing. We rolled over and played dead. Now it's up to the teachers' unions to do all the work we were too scared to!

Israel still sucks!

Sex in What City by token 'gina
Sex in the City is back and US (SR) Socialist Worker went looking for a woman to hide behind in order to trash the film and you know I grabbed the dough! I've never called out Observe & Report and I never called out any of the many films that don't even have an actress in the lead -- even when they have five leads. But that's how we roll at US (SR) Socialist Worker, we find something with women in it and we tear it apart and trash it and pretend like we're all high and mighty. I mean, have you ever seen us take on Matt Damon's trashy films? We eat that violence up. Those Jason Bourne films glamorize and justify spying, pimp the notion of a few bad apples and toss up on screen everything we supposedly oppose but we never call out no-neck Damon or his films. We only trash women. Now let me come up with my pull quote for this review: Sex in the City? Golly, even the original cast of Star Trek got put out to pasture for the reboot!

A People's History of Children's Stories reviewed by Tony Noloaf
One time Trotskite Zowie Henn may have departed but we can still milk his name. In his final years, having successfully turned "A People's" into a brand and serving it up on books, calendars and even sex toys, Zowie knew he needed "to jazz things up," writes junior historian -- Cub Scouts division -- Tony Noloaf in his incredible introduction where he explains how indoctrination needs to start early. "As only he can," Noloaf writes, "Zowie takes us through the ugly realities that are The Little Red Hen -- a tale of how to squeeze the last bit of life out of the Communist Party -- and many, many more stories that appear to exist only to amuse children but secretly indoctrinate them into lives of capitlist pigs. The Heart Of The Monkey, Zowie reveals, was really just a screed against universal health care." A must read and US (SR) Socialist Worker readers can read an excerpt here.

On whores and karma (Ava and C.I.)

Karma has a way of biting whores in the ass. Which is how Laura Flanders' Grit TV, her shot at independence, has again been co-opted. Yes, The Nation is once again Laura's pimp. You know she's hating that.

The way she hated when her six hour, Saturday and Sunday, Air America Radio program The Laura Flanders Show became RadioNation with Laura Flanders. Suddenly, Laura's diverse group of guests became a weekly showcase for the latest issue of The Nation. And the audience fled resulting in her six hours of airtime being reduced to one hour.


Grit TV was supposed to Laura breaking free of that or at least trolling the street on her own. The TV show would show case Laura's elongated and drawn horse face and her own style. Those days are gone and she is now back to doing an infomercial for The Nation. The show's even got a new name for it's weekly 'best of': The Nation on Grit TV.

Poor Laura, she was freelancing for a little bit there but now it's back to the brothel. Which mainly means she better pucker up to her boss/owner Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Again, karma has a way of biting whore's in the ass and that "OUCH!" you hear right now is coming from Laura. Trust us on this.

And trust us on the fact that few will ever achieve the level of whoring that Melissa Harris-Lacewell has. As two who've documented Lie Face's many lies long before others caught on to her little act, we'll note she declared to Laura, "I'd expected us in fact to elect a person of color . . . but I certainly thought it would come from the Republican Party."

Oh really? We caught Lie Face on PBS in 2007 insisting that no "Black" (her word) person of would be elected president in her lifetime. We caught her pulling that little stunt (THE SYSTEM BE AGAINST HIM!) over and over.

So it was hilarious to hear Lie Face. And we could rip her apart but she's doing that in her own life and we really don't want to be responsible for her losing what little contact she currently has with the one person she values. Lie Face, you're on thin ice, don't piss us off.

Instead we'll focus on the woman who drug Lie Face along as an accessory, as a 'splash of color,' Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Lena Horne wasn't mourned by The Nation magazine, but how could she be? vanden Heuvel's grandfather's racism allowed him to exploit Lena and enrich himself and no one at the magazine will ever talk about that. Certainly, Katrina won't. And the editor and publisher of The Nation brought Melissa on basically to carry her baggage. It was so transparent you had to wonder if Katrina made Melissa sleep overnight in the maid's quarter of vanden Heuvel's Harlem mansion?

As we noted, Katrina is editor and publisher of The Nation magazine. That's important to remember when considering her laughable comments to Laura. At one point, spouting faux populism, Katrina snorted of two Republican women, "How are very rich CEOs outsiders?"

Look who's talking.

Then she wanted to put on a serious face and explain that Republican women were "pushing policies that will hurt women," that "they're against pay equity," and so much more that had us laughing so hard we almost missed Katty van van doing the Katty.

What does Sarah Palin's chest have to do with anything? We though Katrina grew out of her breast fetish as she left her teen years, and all that experimentation, behind. Were we misled?

It wasn't bad enough that Katty had to go there, she had to yet again demonstrate just how stupid she can be as she went on about Palin being asked about whether or not she had "fake implants." Fake implants? As opposed to 'real implants'? What the hell are "fake implants"? Have you heard anything so stupid in your life?

Uh, yeah, you did if you listen to Katrina. Not only did she lament "policies that will hurt women" and a lack of "pay equity" she went on to whine, ". . . there's much more attention in our mainstream media to the right wing women. Just as in the same way we've seen the tea party inflated and there's too little attention to the women who are running on peace and justice."


Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor and publisher of The Nation which published 491 men and only 149 women in 2007. And she wants to talk about pay equity? (She certainly doesn't want to talk about how she pays men more for their writing than she does women -- doesn't want to talk about it, but it is true.) And she wants to talk about "policies that will hurt women"? We happen to believe that publishing 491 men in one year but only 149 women is hurting women.

She's upset that the mainstream media is focusing (in her mind) on right wing women and she's whining that it's just like with the tea party. She's editor and publisher of The Nation. Does she want to explain why her publication obsessed over the Tea Party? Does she not understand that those weeks and weeks of five and six pieces at The Nation on the Tea Party didn't go unnoticed by the MSM? Does she not get that the frenzy and moaning and whining by her ilk built the Tea Party?

During all that time, The Nation wasn't covering Donna Edwards or any of the "peace and justice women" Katrina could be barely be bothered with actually naming when she was castigating the MSM for . . . not talking about these women.

"There are so many women who don't get attention," whined Katrina. "Where is the narrative about those women and what they've accomplished?"

Gee, Katrina, where is the attention? You know it's too bad that you don't run a weekly magazine where you could assign stories and bring attention to these women . . .

Oh, wait, she does. She is editor and publisher of The Nation. She bought her seat at the table. She's just not willing to bring any other women along -- other than token Melissa Harris-Lacewell who you sort of picture carrying Katrina's baggage out of the studio.

"Yes, Miss Katrina," Lie Face insists, "I got the chip on your shoulder. It's right here next to your wounded ego."

Iraq finally gets some good news

Iraq's Parliament just agreed on their new prime minister!

Ah, we're joking. No, nearly four months after the elections, Iraq still can't settle on a prime minister. And one of the main reasons for the political stalemate is that an unqualified idiot was made US Ambassador to Iraq: Chris Hill.

The Pig-Pen Ambassador

(Illustration is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Pig-Pen Ambassador.")

Friday, good news did come out of the White House, the Pig Pen Ambassador was out and James Jeffrey was in.

Chris Hill refused to utilize diplomacy to urge the Parliament to pass the election law. That delayed the actual election by two months. Had the election taken place two months early, Iraq might have named a prime minister by now.

But he didn't see that as his job. He didn't see that as his role.

What was his role?

Apparently escorting Big Oil executives around Iraqi fields as they came into the country.

The laughable 'surge' accomplished nothing. It was never going to accomplish anything other than postpone additional criticism. (How so? "Well, okay, but now there's a surge. Let's see what's going to happen with that.') But the surge was supposed to be two-fold. There was the surge for the military and there was supposed to be a diplomatic surge.

Chris Hill ensured that never happened.

Some called them "cat naps," some called them "power naps" (Hill called them power naps), but a significant portion of Hill's worktime was devoted to those.

As is apparent to anyone following the news, little time was devoted to Iraq.

And this was all foreseeable. Hill's work habits -- such as they are -- were well known. Also well known was the fact that he was completely ignorant when it came to Iraq. But Barack Obama nominated him and the Senate confirmed him (April 2009) allowing him to do months and months of damage.

It's Hill's mistake but it goes higher.

Risking your life for minimum wage


"Yeah, we were hit Wednesday. Two guys jumped over the counter, I hit one with the clipboard. They grabbed cigarettes and some other stuff and ran out. I had to chase them three blocks," explained a late night Wagreen's clerk.

It actually popped up in DC. Ava, C.I., Wally and Kat were running into a Walgreens there three weeks ago when they tried to grab a cart only to find all the wheels were locked and asked if they didn't see a cart outside? Why would they round up a cart in the parking lot?

The clerk explained about the robberies and how the carts were used to block front aisles (make up being apparently especially popular to steal) and, therefore, the cart wheels were locked. Making conversations, they asked if there were many robberies and that's when they were told about the store policy. Follow ups in San Francisco, Boston, Hartford, Detroit and Dallas found that running after thieves was not an isolated store issue but, in fact, policy.

Walgreens is the biggest chain of drug stores in the United States. Last week, it announced, "Net earnings for the first nine months of fiscal 2010 were $1.6 billion or $1.64 per diluted share, including impacts of 6 cents in costs associated with Rewiring for Growth, 4 cents for the Medicare Part D tax subsidy repeal, and 2 cents in Duane Reade acquisition costs. Net earnings per diluted share for the year to date reflect a 3.8 percent increase from last year's $1.58 per diluted share (which included 13 cents per diluted share in restructuring costs)." It also boasted that it was infiltrating the NYC area via it's Duane Reade absorption/takeover and currently had 8,019 stores -- Walgreens in all fifty states, in Puerto Rico, in Guam, and they're in DC! Yeah!!

It fancies itself, at least for public consumption, as a chain that cares, boasting: "Social Responsibility It's part of how we've done business at Walgreens from the very beginning. Our company's earliest leaders left us powerful legacies. Today, we live those values as we try to do what is fair and beneficial to others." In addition, they see themselves as "the pharmacy all others are measured by" -- and a curious measurement it is.

Your name is Susie. You work the third shift at Walgreens. Also present for your shift is a night manager and a pharmacist. And at two-thirty, a man goes running out of the store with various items under his coat. You chase him through the parking lot, into a dark alley where he drops a variety of curling irons. He gets away and you take the merchandise back to the store. You're told that's $70 worth of merchandise and are then faulted for losing him and for not knowing what else he may have stolen.

That actually is a true story with only the name changed to "Susie."

Having your employees chase down robbers isn't safe and it opens you up to lawsuits. But you're not too worried because there's corporate policy and there's store policy.

What do we mean?

As we spoke with various Walgreens employees, we asked if anyone ever told them not to chase after robbers? Repeatedly, we'd be told there was a training film they watched right after they were hired and, in that film, they are told not to chase after any robber, not to leave the store.

So that's policy?

No, that's how the corporation intends to cover its ass should they ever get sued because an employee is wounded or killed.

At the store, you're told by your night manager that someone has to chase after the robber. You're told that it can't be the night manager (this is confirmed by three night managers who were willing to speak as long as they weren't named or their locations given) because the store must have a manager inside at all times. So that leaves you, the clerk.

And it is your job, you're told, despite what the training film said, to chase after the robber.

The managers are carrying out the store manager's orders. Neither the shift managers nor the store manager puts anything into writing. That's so the training film stands as official policy should there be a lawsuit.

The number of robberies and the amount of stolen merchandise effects the shift manager's pay. He or she will be denied a raise in their performance review over the statistics of both. That puts pressure on them to ensure that merchandise is recovered and that robbers are chased.

A robbery last week required a chase. The police were able to catch one of the three robbers. That might have been seen as a success. But he had no merchandise on him. The shift manager stated he was "yelled at for 30 minutes" by the store manager and the clerk and the shift manager both complained about how, after they finished their overnight shift, they then had to go to the police station and identify the man, give statements and more. They were at the police station until two in the afternoon. Not only were they on their own time with no compensation from Walgreens -- although this should certainly qualify as "store business" -- they were still expected to report for the night shift at the usual time -- after having spent seven hours of their own time at a police station doing Walgreens business.

The real corporate policy at Walgreens is that you have to chase down the robber. The training video is just a smoke screen and those appalled by Wal-Marts incredibly poor business practices should be even more offended that the poorly paid workers of Walgreens are also expected to risk their lives for the nickles and dimes the company shells out.

Excerpt: A People's History of Children's Stories

Noted historian and martini mixer Zowie Henn passed away earlier this year but had finished his final tome before passing. A People's History of Children's Stories attempts to rip the cotton candy out of the mouths of children and force them to swallow the bitter reality of what it is these 'entertainment' stories have actually told them. Easy to read and featuring numerous glossy photos of Zowie dressed up as various literary figures -- he's quite fetching as Little Red Riding Hood, A People's History of Children's Stories is Zowie at his finest and most insightful.

"Run, run as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man," boasts the Gingerbread Man and if only it were true.

gingerbread man

Published immediately after the Civil War, The Gingerbread Man is a tale of racism and White Power. A woman, a White woman, is childless but she is also, pay attention, servantless. Did she bake the Gingerbread Man to have a child? Really?

No, she baked him to put him to work. And this is very clear from the start because despite the fact that this is the story of the Gingerbread Man, the White woman insists upon calling the brown skinned male "boy."

The Gingerbread Man catches on to what some readers don't and immediately attempts to escape. Like many a runaway slave and/or Beatle, he is pursued not just by the woman and her husband, but by the entire town.

In this manner, the story both anticipates and justifies the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and, in fact, foreshadows The Birth of a Nation. It is said by some that D.W. Griffin, director of the 1915 film, was a huge fan of The Gingerbread Man, first published five months after Griffin was born.

This violent and racist tale encourages children to embrace violence, racism and baked goods -- the latter of course being the most dangerous and an effort to raise children to believe that the Bolsheviks were wrong to kill Tsar Nicholas II's cook July 16, 1918. When the context is clearly sorted out, The Gingerbread Man is exposed as a reactionary text to be avoided at all costs. Run, run, Gingerbread Man, in our heart of hearts, you escape.

PTSD Awareness Day

US Senator Kent Conrad has declared today PTSD Awareness Day:
Washington -- In an effort to bring greater attention to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the United States Senate last night passed a resolution authored by Senator Kent Conrad designating June 27 as National PTSD Awareness Day.

"The stress of war can take a toll on one's heart, mind and soul. While these wounds may be less visible than others, they are no less real," Senator Conrad said. "All too many of our service men and women are returning from battle with PTSD symptoms like anxiety, anger, and depression. More must be done to educate our troops, veterans, families and communities about this illness and the resources and treatments available to them."

The Senator developed the idea for a National PTSD Awareness Day after learning of the efforts of North Dakota National Guardsmen to draw attention to PTSD and pay tribute to Staff Sgt. Joe Biel, a friend and member of the 164th Engineer Combat Battalion. Biel suffered from PTSD and took his life in April 2007 after returning to North Dakota following his second tour in Iraq.

Earlier this month, Senator Conrad visited the Fargo VA Medical Center and met with physicians and social workers to discuss their capabilities for helping those suffering from PTSD. He also met with friends of Sgt. Biel and presented them a copy of the resolution designating June 27 -- Biel's birthday -- as National PTSD Awareness Day.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, accidents, and military combat. From 2000 to 2009, approximately 76,000 Department of Defense patients were diagnosed with PTSD.

"This effort is about awareness, assuring our troops -- past and present -- that it's okay to come forward and say they need help. We want to erase any stigma associated with PTSD. Our troops need to know it's a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek assistance," Senator Conrad said.

To learn more about PTSD and locate facilities offering assistance, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for PTSD at

Veterans in need of immediate assistance can call the VHA Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.


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" -- C.I. writes about the generals and PTSD in the most requested highlight by readers of this site.

"Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Congressional impressions" and "Senate Armed Services Committee" -- C.I. reports on three Congressional hearings and Kat offers her impressions of two.

"Kat's Korner: Sarah McLachlan finds new depth" and "Kat's Korner: Forget the plantation, who forgot to pack up the songs?" -- Kat's two reviews from last week.

"The spy who played pro ball," "Reporter," "Hair stylist," "Native American or Cher," "Nurse," "Lead singer of the Rolling Stones," "still a witch," "After sports star fades . . ." and "Rapper" -- Community theme posts Thursday nights and inspired by Rebecca's "on witches" from Wednesday night.

"Ice in the Kitchen" -- Trina on ways to get your kids to do what they need to without fighting with them.

"Bully Boy Poster" -- Isaiah dips into the archives for this one.

"thoughts on david weigel and the washington post"

"Bye, bye Hill" -- Ruth notes Chris Hill's vanishing. Things can only get better.

"Ben Smith doesn't know what he's talking about this time" -- C.I. guests for Kat.

"Family Plot" and "The Tooth Fairy" and "When DVDs do not play"-- movie posts from Stan and Marcia and Mike.

"Tom Hayden and KBR: War Whores" and "Norman gets called to the carpet"
"The spy who played pro ball" -- Elaine and Mike don't play.

"Tanks for the memories" & "THIS JUST IN! TANKING!" -- Cedric and Wally on Barack's fading popularity.

"peter orszag is scum" & "Mr. Orszag and the double standard" -- Rebecca and Ruth on Peter Orszag.

"Lies on the radio, lies in real life" -- Betty on radio and don't miss Ann's radio posts:

"Frat boys pissing on the White House" and "THIS JUST IN! NO MORALS IN THE WHITE HOUSE!" -- Cedric and Wally hit you with the truth.
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