Sunday, December 05, 2010

Truest statement of the week

A note to our readers

Hey --
Another Sunday. Later than we'd like so this will be a short note.

First, thanks for all who helped this edition which includes Dallas and:

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.

And what did we come up with?

Ron Paul becomes only the second politician to earn a truest.

Our editorial. We had no idea and Ava and C.I. offered a book end approach in terms of last week -- who was shoking, who was well received. We all got behind that idea and that explains this editorial.

Ava and C.I. had planned to cover another show but were begged to take on this issue so they did. ADDED: As noted in "The Black Roundtable," they taped their conversation and Ava and C.I. promised to type it up for them. Ava and C.I. did do that and I (Jim) typed up Ava and C.I.'s TV article. In typing it up, I changed Bill Hader to Will Forte because I thought, "Oh, they're tired, they didn't realize that was Will Forte." They were right, I was wrong. I won't change anything of theirs when I type up again without checking. My apologies. Also, we've got the Terry Gross illustration Isaiah did now added to the Terry Gross piece and we've added a book image to our book discussion.

Betty pitched this idea of a roundtable focusing on issues specific to the African-American community. Ty was moderator.

Continued coverage of masculinist Terry Gross. Isaiah has a drawing we hope to use but everyone's too damn tired to play with Flickr right now.

Senator Byron Dorgan spoke on the Senate floor about the DPC and its work (he chairs the DPC) last Thursday.

We discuss a book. Didn't turn out the way we thought it would but it makes for a good read.
This is a planned regular feature.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.


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

Editorial: Lies rewarded, truth attacked

War Hawk and professional liar Colin Powell was interviewed by Barbara Walters for ABC's 20/20 in September 2005. Ava and C.I. covered it in "TV Review: Barbara and Colin remake The Way We Were:"

Barbara Walters: However, you gave the world false, groundless reasons for going to war. You've said, and I quote, "I will forever be known as the one who made the case for war." Do you think this blot on your record will stay with you for the rest of your life?

Powell: Well it's a, it's a, of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United Nations, uh, United States, to the world. And it will always be uh, part of my, uh, my record.

Walters: How painful is it?

Powell: (shrugs) It was -- it was painful. (shifts, shrugs) It's painful now.

Always part of his life? We're not seeing it. The man whose false testimony to the United Nations was used to sell the illegal war was interacting with the government last week and, no, it wasn't the offices of the Justice Department. He also hadn't been hauled before Congress to explain his lies.


He was getting yet another photo op with his War Hawk buddy Barack. The two clean each other's feathers orally.

Barack Obama is not and was not anti-war. He's just another lying whore who has, in fact, continued the illegal war. And he has no qualms about getting his photo taken with Colin Powell because he and Collie The Blot have always been on the side of empire and always will be.

WikiLeaks is in the midst of their release of State Department cables.

Among the Iraq revelations has been Nouri al-Maliki (puppet of the occupation) purging Sunnis from Iraqi forces this year and that Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other neighbor's concerns that the government out of Iran was controlling Nouri.

The response from the executive branch was immediate. Plus-size White House spokesmodel Robert Gibbs, Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton launched attacks (while Robert Gates took another approach). In the middle of Don't Ask, Don't Tell hearings, Senator Crazy Ass John McCain had to launch into a tirade about WikiLeaks. (Maybe John McCain shouldn't be calling for additional hearings on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell if he refuses to address the issue in the hearings that have taken place?) Leading the arm chair brigade, were such 'notables' as Chris Matthews, Wolf Blitzer and Sarah Palin huffing and puffing somewhere from the outskirts.

And yet, for all the faux anger and screaming, The Liar Colin Powell is in the White House, being glad-handed, being treated like someone worth listening to, someone worthy of trust.

We'd ask where the objections to Barack and Collie were but we already know that 'protesting' the Iraq War was just grandstanding on behalf of the Democratic Party for so many of our left pundits.

If you ever doubted how screwed this empire is, you saw it last week as people called for the head of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks was repeatedly banned for telling the truth while there wasn't a peep over the lying War Hawk Colin Powell being feted at the White House.

TV: SNL as a TGIF staple

As we charted the decay of Saturday Night Live over and over, Ty would tell us from time to time about an e-mail whining that Democrats can be funny. Of course they can. When did we ever say that they couldn't be?


The issue with Saturday Night Live wasn't that they were Democrats. The issue is that they've become a Democratic Party organ. Never before in the history of the show had that happened. By the start of 2008, the humor was gone.

Not because they weren't even-handed -- although they weren't even-handed. Acting like some cable niche show, the network institution began catering not to an audience seeking humor, but to one needing to have their ego stroked and their minds coddled.

It wasn't pretty. And it has continued. Never before have they put so many orange cones around a president. In fact, never before have they ever deemed any president off limits. But that's what's happened with Barack Obama. A few weeks back, so many lefties were thrilled with a bad skit and friends at Saturday Night Live were insisting to us that they had taken the training wheels off and would treat Barack the same as any other president.

They weren't doing any such thing and no one should have been thrilled. The skit featured Fred Armisen doing his dead-on Barack Obama (the problem has never been Fred's impersonation, it's always been the lack of material for him) and Will Forte playing China's President Hu Jinato.

Was that skit really making jokes about Barack? No. It was a childish skit, something a middle school kid would think up, where the giggle is sex. Ha-ha, there's Hu Jinato 'presenting' with his ass up in the air. That was the entire joke -- done over and over.

WikiLeaks is leaking and the Barack administration isn't happy. So Saturday Night Live last night did the cowardly thing: It attacked WikiLeaks.

A brief skit (3:43) found Bill Hader making like Julian Sands as he played Julian Assange the public face of WikiLeaks in a skit called "WikiLeaks TMZ" and the joke was that WikiLeaks, to get attention, was running with trashy sex gossip.


A skit that got its biggest laughs from having a nurse declare she was both a nurse and a prostitute and from 'spoofing' Hillary with a crotchless shot really wants to pretend WikiLeaks is dumbing down?

If Saturday Night Live gets any dumber, it's going to be Perfect Strangers.

What used to be bright and youthful comedy is now a permanent leer where the writers desperately try to turn everything into the most simplistic sex joke. In fact, "sex reference" is better because most of what they do now doesn't rise to the level of "joke" -- not even that of a knock-knock joke.

Their WikiLeaks skit was cowardly and disgusting and made you wonder how low Saturday Night Live would have gone during Watergate if it had been on the air then and the head writer had donated to Richard Nixon's campaign?

It's not that you can't be left and funny or left and artistic. You can be. But Saturday Night Live is neither funny nor artistic these days.

Contrast the attack on WikiLeaks with a Fridays skit in 1981 called "Road To El Salvador" which featured Larry David as Bing Crosby, Maryedith Burrell as Dorothy Lamour and John Roarke as Bob Hope in which they take on the empire and call out war concluding with a song featuring the following lyrics:

Couldn't the economy use another war?

Couldn't the US economy use another war?

You tell us it won't be our boys dying to keep others free

Do they think the American people have so short a memory?

They tell us, don't ask questions, you're doing this for Mom

That's what they told us about Vietnam.

When you're making jokes from the left, you can do that and more, you can be damn funny in the process. But when you're an organ for the Democratic Party? You're just not funny.

And what a telling and sad moment for Saturday Night Live as they portrayed Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as creeps and perverts and worse. It's the sort of 'comedy' that ruined Bob Hope.

And how telling that they attacked WikiLeaks, following in the foot steps of their most mocked politician of the last two years: Sarah Palin.

Last week, Amazon dropped WikiLeaks, the Library of Congress banned it, federal employees were told not to visit it on work computers or their own home and personal computers and the US military is blocking WikiLeaks from the computers of those serving overseas. But the once 'brave' SNL wants to make fun of is WikiLeaks?

How sad.

As conservatives and centrists called for the arrest and murder of Julian Assange, our 'brave' sketch comedy show joined in the pile on. It's not a leftist show.

No leftist show would have joined the attacks on Julian Assange and the certainly wouldn't have done so last week which was the 56th anniversary of the US Senate passing their censure (67 voted for it, 22 against) of Senator Joe McCarthy for his witch hunts (December 2, 1954).

Saturday Night Live's not a leftist show. It's a weekly fan club meet-up for the Cult of St. Barack, it's a Democratic Party organ and it's just not funny.

Jim note 12/5/2010: I typed Ava and C.I.'s article above and I made a mistake I've corrected. See my note.

The Black Roundtable

Ty: This is the Black Roundtable. What-what's that you say? What's happened? We've split into factions and aren't speaking! Just joking. We wanted to address some issues and were considering doing it at a number of blogs but instead Betty pitched the idea of doing it here. The e-mail address is Participating in this roundtable are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ty, that would be me; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration.


Ty: Betty, why don't you explain what's going on?

Betty: Sure. Stan and I speak each night on the phone before we blog. We've been raising a number of issues, Stan also discusses those with his cousin Marcia. Marica does it with others as do I. And, basically, all of us here are having these discussions in one-on-one conversations so that we thought this would be a way to address it as a group.

Cedric: I'd like to add that we're not trying to win anyone over with this discussion. If something makes you angry, good. We're angry. And we're not going to pretty everything up for this conversation.

Ty: Good point. Marcia, let's kick the discussion proper off with you post on Friday, "Smart Black Woman: Gwen Ifill." For those who don't know, that's your second post. You're trying to do at least one a month. The point is to highlight a smart, Black woman. How did that come about?

Marcia: I had spoken to Betty and to Ann and we'd brought up "strong, Black woman" and how that's become, basically, a punch line. Even American Dad's spoofed it, having the family go to Saudi Arabia and having Steve, lost in the desert, tell himself he's a strong, Black woman. And Betty, Ann and I were just talking about how little time is spent by the corporate media noting smart, Black women or, for that matter, elevating intelligence within the Black community. And that started the conversation that we've all been having -- or took it in another direction.

Stan: Right. African-Americans have been oppressed throughout this nation's history with most who first came here coming over as slaves. And we need to honor those who came before but we also need to step up. This isn't a 'personal responsiblity' lecture, to be clear. The problems are not problems that Black America has created for itself. But we do believe they are problems that corporate media feeds us and that we embrace.

Isaiah: And to use just one topic, I'm not sure how many we'll have time for, the obsession with money. Or rather, the obsession with spending money. We amass a lot of crap. All Americans do, but that's true of Black America and Black America has been encouraged repeatedly for decades by the corporate media to be mindless consumers. Let's get these sneakers, let's get this suit, let's buy this or that.

Ann: Which only became more pronounced, my opinion, when corporate media started selling the embarrassment that was ghetto fabulous. Can you imagine music labels getting away with going to a White ghetto and selling the idea that this was the end-all, be-all and something to take pride in and work towards? No. People would laugh at the idea. But time and again, corporate America sells "stay down" to the African-American community. And, let's be honest, a lot of us buy what's being sold.

Ty: Betty, you had a point on this that Ann quoted in an e-mail she sent to all of us. Do you want to jump in here?

Betty: Sure. As Ann just stated, a lot of us do buy into this crap that the corporate media sells, this crap that's a trap and that keeps us down. And I think if we're honest about our history in this country -- collective history -- we can get at why that works over and over. As Stan noted, most of our ancestors came to this country as slaves. We worked as slaves. We didn't work for poor people, they couldn't afford slaves. We worked for the wealthy and we saw them stay wealthy and grow wealthier as a result of our work. So it would be only natural if some element of that traveled on down, as a result of folklore or narratives, or what have you that seeded a desire of "I will have that too." Meaning, a people enslaved as we were would naturally have an impulse to amass signs of success, external ones. I don't know how much that makes sense.

Cedric: No, it makes perfect sense. We worked, our labor enriched others, we did without, in later generations the impulse is to prove we're equal, we're solid people and, look, we wear Nike too, we wear this label and that label, look at our bling-bling, we work for no one now. I think you perfectly captured that thread that the corporate media can appeal to and has successfully and repeatedly.

Ann: And, if I can jump back in, there are many obstacles harming the African-American community and, in terms of the economy, certainly the demise of the manufacturing sector in the US would be chief among them. We can't bring back manufacturing -- and the loss is now effecting all Americans, regardless of race -- and we don't control the corporate media. We can call it out and we have.

Cedric: And we can look at what we're going to do. For example? Ann and I are planning to have kids in the future, not immediate future, and have already started putting money away for a college fund.

Betty: And that's what I do with the bulk of my checks. I'm very lucky in that the kids and I stay at C.I.'s since I got a promotion and was transferred to California. C.I. won't hear of anyone kicking anything in -- back me up on that Ty -- so most of my checks are going into college funds for my three kids.

Ty: Yes, I will back you up on that. And it is Betty planning for the future of her kids that has so many of us thinking. For example, we're also grateful for the TV commerical featuring an African-American couple expecting a child and planning. How often do we see that reflected in commericals or TV? We're usually -- explicitly or implicitly -- portrayed as too stupid or 'too real' to plan for life's events and instead they take us by surprise like some sort of exploding volcano.

Stan: I'm laughing because I love that analogy. I can picture us in a movie where we're all standing by a volcano with this stunned, Stepin Fetchit expression on our faces.

Ann: And picture a movie house guffawing at it because we've been conditioned to laugh at 'those silly colored people and their superstitions.'

Marcia: Exactly. And that's why I'm doing the "Smart, Black woman" feature. Black women in the United States have always been strong -- and we've often been attacked for that strength, even attacked within the Black community for it. But why can't we be smart? Why can't we be portrayed as smart?

Cedric: Exactly. Sidney Poitier has played a variety of characters in his film career and many of the better known ones are smart, African-American men, often possessing noble qualities. Contrast that with Denzel who wins the Oscar for playing a villain and has since seemed to have taken notice that that's what he's getting rewarded for. And I thought the whole compact between Denzel and the African-American community was he was going to represent the better parts of humanity on the screen. Let's be really honest, he's a pretty face, he's never been much of an actor. He had the looks to be a leading man and the agreement was, we support him and go to his movies and he plays roles that don't degrade us. Now he's playing criminals and dubious characters and, again, he's not Laurence Fishburne. He's not an actor. He's a leading man. He's not Samuel L. Jackson or any of the talented African-American actors. With Denzel, he was supposed to be suave on screen, smart and give us a role model. He failed to carry that.

Stan: And it's hard not to notice that he wins his Oscar for playing a villain and he works overtime to give the dominant culture what they want. And then, as if doing us a favor, he does those dopey films that are so Oprah Moments. Can't he just be the Cary Grant he was supposed to be?

Ty: It needs to be pointed out that any actor or actress is choosing from what is offered to them -- hopefully choosing the best ones. It also needs to be noted that at the level Denzel is, if he's not happy with what he's being offered, he can certainly find people to create material he would be happy with. But I think Cedric and Stan make some good points, Denzel was only recognized with the Academy Award when he played a bad guy. It's also worth noting that his bad guys aren't mythic, it's ghetto. There are actings working today -- and actresses -- who've played evil people. Denzel's portrayed street trash. So, following Cedric and Stan's point, even there he's let us down. There is no, for example, Gordon Gekko for Denzel.

Marcia: I don't know. I think the bad guy roles were also trying to 'humanize' Denzel for White audiences. I'm not saying White ticket buyers asked for it, I am saying that White run studios see Denzel playing these street roles as a way to sell him to audiences. Again, corporations are dictating how we are portrayed onscreen and, more and more in our disconnected society, these portrayals are mistaken for reality.

Ann: And these portrayals are killing us. I don't know what we can do. I don't think we can do anything. I mean look at our so-called heroes: A closeted lesbian who's turned navel gazing into 'empowerment' and a man impersonating a woman whose bad films make Family Matters look like Shakespeare.

Betty: I think what we can do is work to refine the image -- offscreen obviously -- so that education is valued in the same way other minority communities have valued it. I really feel like it was valued in the lead up to the Civil Rights movement and after but then it takes a huge hit -- and I think you can tie it into the disappearance of the manufacturing sector in the US -- and our community ends up being encouraged to accept the crumbs of the pie while everyone else gets a slice with filling and crust, and we're encouraged to believe that this is what we really want and how we 'keep it real.' I think we need to find the building blocks to reject the corporate message.

Ty: And I'm sorry but we did have a time limit and I think Betty's just given us the concluding remarks. This is a rush transcript which means enjoy typos. In addition, we've recorded this and it will go into the audio version of Hilda's Mix on Tuesday and we thank Ava and C.I. for agreeing to create the transcript from the recording.

Only 17% of the guests were women (Ava, C.I. and Ann)

November found masculinist Terry Gross continuing her war on women over the airwaves of NPR via Fresh Air. Terry booked 26 men and only 7 women. That means, for the month, only 21.21% of her guests were women.

No, that is not reflective. In the 2000 census, the US had 143.4 million women and 138.1 million men. Only when you're a masculinist pig like Terry Gross can you manage to repeatedly book more men than women.

masculinist terry

And here's the really bad news, when we put these numbers into the previous five months numbers to get a six-month total, only 17.766% of the guests on Fresh Air for the last six months were women.

Actually, that may not be the only really bad news.

The other really bad news may be that, if you listen to Fresh Air, you feel you are informed. That's not usually the case. An angry SNL friend contacted two of us (Ava and C.I.) about one of Terry's November interviews. It was with Paul Reubens and, in the interview, Paul declares of his audition for Saturday Night Live, "It was the first and only year that Lorne Michaels didn't produce." Reubens auditioned for the show when Jean Doumanian was producing the show (November 1980 through March 1981). Lorne Michaels had left the show. He was gone for more than one year. From April 1981 through April 1985 Dick Ebersol produced the show. Not only that, but when the Reubens' interview first aired in 2004, Terry and company were informed of the mistake. Not only did they refuse to issue a correction, six years later, they re-air a segment with a known error and pretend otherwise.

Now we can understand -- because we know Terry isn't as all knowing as she presents herself to be -- not catching the mistake in the interview. And we are not surprised that they didn't issue a correction after it was brought to their attention -- we are, after all, talking about Terry Gross. But that they would reair a portion of an interview -- a portion they knew contained an error -- is outrageous and, yet, perfectly in keeping with the 'quality' Terry Gross provides.

Breakdown for November:

November 1st, the male and female producers and writers for an HBO drama are interviewed. November 2nd, actor Michael Caine. November 3rd, journalist Todd S. Purdum. November 4th, documentary film maker Alex Gibney (male). November 5th, rebroadcast of 2004 interview with songwriting team Jerry Brock and Sheldon Harnick to remember Brock who passed away and comedian Mark McKinney. November 8th, a man and a woman who made an HBO documentary and a male doctor. November 9th, a female journalist and a male doctor discuss dialysis. November 10th, Loretta Lynn. November 11th, Green Zone Go-Go Boy Dexy Filkins now does his duty in the fields of Afghanistan. November 12th, Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens). November 15th, aging singer Bruce Springsteen. November 16th, up from low rapper Jay-Z. November 17th, a male doctor with his new book on cancer. November 18th, male HBO alumni makes a documentary film and gets booked by Fresh Air. November 19th, Astrid Kirchherr for sleeping with a Beatle (Terry didn't even know Kirchherr stopped taking photographs over forty years ago) and a male songwriter. November 22nd, Carlos Eire on his childhood. November 23rd, man babbles about dog. November 24th, Terry and four men who do bluegrass. November 25th, Michael Feinstein. November 29th, Anne Hathaway and the recently passed Leslie Nielsen. November 30th, Natalie Portman and Vincent Cassel.

For the previous five months, see "The face of sexism (Ava, C.I. and Ann)."

Corruption and waste

The Senate Democratic Policy Committee has dealt with a number of issues in the last years including, but not limited to, government waste and corporations putting troops and contractors at risk in war zones. Senator Byron Dorgan is the Chair of the DPC and, last Thursday, he gave an overview on the Senate floor of what the DPC has encountered.

Senator Byron Dorgan: We've had whistle blowers come in. A woman came in and she told us she was working at a recreational facility in the war theater -- and that is, at the base, there's a recreational facility where you can go in and play pool and play ping pong and do various things. It was a facility with many different rooms. Well you were to -- She worked for Kellogg Brown and Root and she was to keep track of how many people came into the facility because they got paid based on how many people came into the facility. She said, "What they told me to do was to keep track of how many people came into each room and that's what we billed the government for." If somebody came in and went through three rooms, the government got billed for three visits by soldiers. And she said, "I went to the people in charge at our base and I said, 'This is fraud. We can't do this. We're defrauding the government'." She said, "They put in detention, in a room under guard, immediately and sent me out of the country the next day." It is the story at virtually all of the hearings that we have had. Now the point of it is two-fold. One, as I said, to protect America's soldiers and to do right by the men and women who've gone to war because this country has asked them to. But the second thing is, on behalf of the American tax payer, to decide if we are deep in debt, if we are choking on debt and deficit, to continue doing what we know is wrong, shoveling these contracts out the door without adequate accountability, is something we have to pay attention to.

Book discussion

Jim: We're doing a book discussion today. The book in question is Roger Hodge's new book The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism. We may do one more book discussion before the end of the year, our e-mail address is Participating in this discussion are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; and Wally of The Daily Jot. Wally, how about you kick us off?

The Mendacity of Hope

Wally: Sure. The book's published by HarperCollins, with a list price of $25.99. It's 235 pages of text. Which traces the rotten core of brand Barack and more. Roger Hodge was on Law and Disorder Radio last week. You can see C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from Monday for some excerpts of the broadcast. Hodge worked for Harper's magazine and was fired from it.

Jim: And, as always when we do book discussions, we do book discussions. In other words, this isn't, "Oh, you're groovy, Jesus must have had a twin, Maya Angelou's been cloned!" When we do a book discussion, we put on our critical thinking caps and we offer a serious critique. Mike, why don't you start off with the negative now?

Mike: Sure. The book's got too much Bill Clinton. Barack has not named Bill as a hero, he's named Ronald Reagan as one. It's an issue because it appears Hodge can't make the hard calls unless he can hide behind Bill Clinton. This came through in the Law & Disorder interview as well and I'd advise Roger Hodge to cut that s**t out and do so real damn quick. Let's break down the realities for him, no one is going to buy this book that belongs to the Cult of St. Barack. If he wants to sale the book, he needs to quit insulting Hillary. He also needs to say what he is. He says he's not a Democrat and he's not a Republican. So, tell us, what are you? Second, we don't need your little insults about Hillary in the primary and, in fact, let me be real clear, F**K YOU, Roger Hodge. It is exactly the crap you're pulling right now in your interviews that helped gift Barack with the Democratic Party nomination. You're telling us in your book about all the laws Barack's broken. We don't need your attacks on Hillary. You're not a pyschic, you don't know that she would have been better or worse and, most importantly, we documented Harper's here when you were in charge and you have a huge issue with women. You failed to publish them, you did publish many, many sexist articles. So you need to back the hell off Hillary. We're not in the mood and it's not going to sell your damn book. What really needs to happen is the next time you going into one of your Hillary rants, somebody's slaps you across the face and asks you how the hell you think that sells your book? It doesn't.

Rebecca: I just want to echo that. I was thinking that listening to the interview and in reading the book. In the book, the digs at Hillary are less concentrated but they are there. And Ava and C.I. here -- along with a few features we wrote all together -- did chart how women barely appeared in Harper's -- as writers -- during Hodge's stay and also how many sexist pieces made it into print at the magazine.

Jim: Okay, well, Rebecca, what would you add in terms of negative criticism?

Rebecca: I'd drop back to Mike's point about the book and Bill Clinton. I do think we need to know what Hodge is because he's judging Bill Clinton's politics and I think he's getting them wrong. I think he's getting a great deal wrong. There's a new book about Jane Fonda that's good overall but has a minor flaw where the author wants to insist that, prior to her activism, she wasn't a sex symbol. By 2010 standards? Because by the standards of her time she was a sex symbol. She made the sex comedies like Sunday In New York and Any Wednesday, she played the hookers like in Walk On The Wild Side. While she was doing her American films, she was also doing French films with Roger Vadim. While she's not naked in Circle of Love, it caused a big stir in this country because the art work had her nude. There was a big to-do over putting a band-aid over her nude ass on the New York display. Then you've got nude scenes in The Game Is Over. Today that's nothing. Back then, it was a big deal. Barbarella was not the starting point. But this author judges Jane by some standard that I'm not getting. It completely escapes me. By the same token, if you're going to categorize Bill Clinton, you better what the hell you're talking about. In 2010, the economy may be the biggest issue in the world -- or it may not be. But it wasn't that kind of an issue when he ran for office. There were other issues, we'd had 12 years of cultural wars launched from the White House. I really don't want to get into refighting that period. And the book suffers because Hodge has to rip apart Bill Clinton to criticize Barack. As Mike said, Ronald Reagan's the one Barack keeps praising. You've got a reason to talk about Clinton when talking about the economic advisors Barack ran with. I didn't see the exploration of Ronald Reagan in the book -- his policies or anything like that. I saw a little boy who needs hike his leg and try to piss on Daddy Bill to feel good about himself. It cheapened the book and made it not worth reading in my opinion.

Jim: Okay. Very good. Thank you, Rebecca. Ruth, you had a comment regarding the ending.

Ruth: I just felt like the book needed -- you know what? I want to go to what Rebecca's talked about. Why is it that only Ava and C.I. have pointed out the obvious facts regarding the hatred of Hillary and the hatred of women in the Democratic Party structure? Hodge is babbling about that hideous speech Barack Obama gave at the 2004 DNC in Boston. Babble, babble, babble. He even praises that crap. It was an embarrassing speech. Who was the columnist who saw through it in real time?

C.I.: Matthew Rothschild. Only he dared to say the emperor has no clothes on. Which made his hop on the Barack train in 2008 all the sadder.

Ruth: Thank you. But why is it that Ava and C.I. are the only ones who connect the dots? Everyone talks about that damn convention but only Ava and C.I. point to how no women, none, were supposed to speak in prime time. And only when Hillary supporters raised a huge stink did the leadership finally allow one woman to speak. Hillary was already raising tons of money for the Democratic Party. And yet it took a battle to get her onstage. When you grasp those realities -- which are not hidden and were covered by everyone in real time -- then what took place in 2008 is far less shocking. And I am sorry, I do not need a lecture about Hillary Clinton from some man who does not know the first thing about her and using her as his punching bag to justify critiquing Barack Obama. Who is the president? Why do you have to hide behind attacks on Hillary to criticize Mr. Obama? As Mike said, this is not how you sell a book.

Elaine: I agree with Ruth, Rebecca and, of course, Mike. I could add to that and expand on it but I'll move over to the positives. He does sketch out the problems with Barack, the broken promises, the broken laws. I don't know. I'm thinking I can move beyond what was being discussed before, but I'm not really sure I can. To be honest, I think this book is maddening for anyone who told the truth and took a stand in 2008. C.I. rightly ridiculed three idiots blurbing on the dusk jacket in Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot." Three liars. Three liars who think they can show up now and pretend like they were telling the hard truths when it mattered. They weren't. Neither was Harper's magazine. Don't take a high and mighty tone with those of us who were right.

Dona: I've got to agree with Elaine on that. I think in part, it's that three of the biggest lying Barack whores blurb the book -- Barbara Ehrenreich, Naomi Klein and Naomi Wolf. I think it's really hard to take them seriously and that they want to pretend like they were honest brokers in real time? I'm not buying it. And I'm not in the mood for this garbage. Hodge voted for Barack Obama. He wants to insist everything was obvious in real time. So why did he vote for Barack? Why? What kind of hypocrite does that make him? Jim's laughing.

Jim: Yeah, well we thought this was going to be an easy book to praise. I'm fine with all the comments but -- I agree with them. But the big concern I had going in was that we were going to be offering a slobbering love-fest. Wally, you're wanting to speak. Go ahead.

Wally: I think it's a well written book and even has humor in parts. For example, discussing benefits, Hodge notes that he lost his in January 2010 when he was fired. I don't know.

Jim: Ava, C.I., we need to wrap up. Ava, you go first.

Ava: The book has many good qualities. I understand what people are saying and why they're saying it. Often, we're writing a piece, C.I. and I, and we'll realize half-way in that there's another way to look at it. I think that's happening here. The book has many good points but, if we're concluding, I want to spin it in a direction C.I. and I were talking about on the road last week. Hodge's book contains sections that should have been covered in real time. There is no excuse for The Nation, The Progressive, all of them, wasting their time and our time. Hodge argues that this and that is happening. I don't disagree. We were calling out the bulk of what he covers here, in real time.

C.I.: And the point Ava's making is that if people had done what was needed in real time, who would need Hodge's book right now? I recommend the book, I think it's more than worth reading. But the point Ava and I are making is, why is this coming out in a book when The Nation and others should have been on it all along. If we really did want to change anything, as opposed to just being cheerleaders, then we needed to be paying attention. I'm not saying it's too late for the book, I do like the book. I'm saying what Hodge is doing should have been done all along.

Jim: And on that point, we'll close this off. Again, the book was Roger Hodge's The Mendacity of Hope.

Dorm Room Poster From Hell

Dorm Room Posters From Hell


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.

"Iraq snapshot" and "Not in the damn mood today" -- 2 most requested highlights by readers of this site.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Back On The Court" -- Isaiah's latest took on the 'skill' of Barack.

"Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Senators Scott Brown and Roland Burris (Ava)," "Senate Armed Services Committee," "Where I find time to praise Ben Nelson" and "Senate Armed Services Committee" -- C.I., Ava, Wally and Kat report on last week's Don't Ask, Don't Tell hearings.

"Limited Engagement" -- Isaiah dips into the archives for Paul Wolfowitz.

"Grecian Beans in the Kitchen" -- A fun recipe from Trina and the unfun of the economy.

"E-mails and Bill Clinton" -- Betty dips into the e-mails.

"Dick Durbin, Ruth Marcus and Cat Food" -- The Cat Food Commission is no more. Thank goodness.

"I find a reason to applaud John Boehner" -- Why did it take a Republican to create a woman's restroom by the House floor?

"Smart Black Woman: Gwen Ifill" -- Marcia continues her series.

"Fay Grim," "mini-cronenberg fest" and "Echelon Conspiracy"-- Stan and Rebecca go to the movies.

"WikiLeaks" -- Elaine weighs in on WikiLeaks.

"Fringe," "No Ordinary Family" and "Simpsons, Chuck, State Department"-- Mike and Stan cover TV.

"Hillary Is 44 needs to learn what a primary source is" -- Betty's very popular post last week.

"FTC wants to stop data mining without your permission" -- Trina covers the FTC.

"Harry Reid and the Party of Blunder" -- Ruth explains how Reid blew it on NPR. And Ann covers Fresh Air:

"THIS JUST IN! ANTIWAR.COM JOINS MOVEON!" and "Sexism as a fund raising tool!" -- When will they learn?

"THIS JUST IN! HIS 'ARTISTIC' PICTORIAL!" and "Desperate starlet pulls a desperate move" -- Uh-oh, he did the full monty.
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