Sunday, December 19, 2010

Truest statement of the week

Peace in Iraq? Self-determination? Allowing either to take root would mean being unable to direct the oil flow. Saddam Hussein was put in place years ago for a reason. Thug Nouri's in place for the exact same reason.

-- Elaine, "Iraq reality" (Like Maria Said Paz).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Along with Dallas, here's who 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.

And here's what we came up with:

C.I. pushed for Elaine. We had one person loudly saying "NO!" -- Elaine. But the hour was late and she finally went along.

As important as using your inside voice is choosing your words.
Ava and C.I. cover Democracy Now! to continue their Julian Assange coverage.

We didn't have a lot of pieces work out this week so when Wally and C.I. mentioned this White House photo, we jumped on it. What is up with Robert Gates' eyes in that photo?

The only text piece that we all worked on which worked. Who worked on it? Rebecca, Elaine, Betty, Ruth, Wally, Cedric, Jess, Ty, Kat, Trina, Isaiah, Marcia, Stan, Ann, Dona and me. Ava and C.I. didn't work on this.

We have nothing was the cry. This was quickly pulled together.

Ty wrote this with Ann, Marcia, Stan and Betty.

Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

And that's it, we're tired.


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

Editorial: It's not always a conspiracy

On Thursday a protest was held outside the White House (see "I Hate The War") and it didn't get a great deal of coverage from the MSM which has led to rumbles from the usual brain dead that there was a conspiracy on the part of the MSM to silence the protest and the conspiracy talk generally mixes in a little Tea Party envy as well.

First, it was covered by the MSM, the Thursday snapshot made clear:

Cameron Joseph (National Journal) reports that Daniel Ellsberg was at the White House today "chained to its snowy gates as part of a protest organized by Veterans for Peace [. . .] Ellsberg was one of dozens arrested, the Associated Press reported." David Jackson (USA Today) explains, "It's cold and snowy in Washington, D.C., but that didn't stop protestors from showing up at the White House today to demonstrate against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Police appeared to arrest an unknown number of protestors as they sought to chain themselves to the White House fence." UPI offers a photo essay of the protest by Kevin Dietsch. David Swanson's War Is A Crime offers video of the protest. Paul Courson (CNN) states 131 is the number of activists arrested and cites US Park Police spokesperson David Schlosser as the source for that number. At Stop These Wars (umbrella group for the various groups and individuals organizing the action) it's noted, "131 veterans and others were arrested December 16 in front of the White House. Preliminary gallery of photos here. More to come."

So that's CNN, National Journal, USA Today, AP ad UPI. NPR would include it in hourly headlines. However, two days later, Crackpot Dave Lindorff would declare, "And yet, the protest event was completely blacked out by the corporate news media." Facts never matter with these types. They just lie and invent. And then they get bent out of shape when called on it.

Lindorff, for the record, was let go/'walked' away from In These Times over factual questions about his reporting. And, though he made brave noises at the time, his refusal to return to the topic in question has led some at In These Times to argue they were right to let him go because, clearly, when ITT would face the legal bills, Lindorff was comfortable with the topic but when he would face the legal bills, he had other things to write about.

Declaring that the MSM "completely blacked out" an event that they did cover really doesn't do a lot to restore Dave Lindorff's reputation. Nor does co-writing with a snitch who ratted out a guy to the feds and got him thrown in prison for attempting to get a list of the names of the prisoners held in Guantanamo to the Center for Constitutional Rights. The snitch went on to get a cushy post at Stanford, while Lt. Matthew Diaz spent six moths in prison. It's funny how Lindorff's not weighed in on that topic. Even WikiLeaks has weighed in on it. From the June 7th snapshot which quotes the Tweets from WikiLeaks:

And: "Did Wired break journalism's sacred oath? Lamo&Poulson call themselves journalists.Echoes of Olshansky shopping Diaz?" And: "@6/@kpoulson There's a special place in hell reserved for "journalists" like you and "lawyers" like Barbara Olshansky"

Golly, Dave Lindorff, seems like that would have been the perfect time for you to call out your writing buddy Barbara Olshansky.

But then, maybe he missed it. As his claim regarding the MSM demonstrates, he doesn't read.

Libbyliberal bleeds and sometimes she bleeds something important and sometimes she just bleeds and you want to shake her and say, "You do not have the right to self-harm!" That's the case with her latest at Corrente. She quotes Dave Lindorff which rarely helps up the number of facts in a piece.

Here's reality, the press really wasn't at the protest. The White House did an end run around the protest (intentionally). They scheduled a "Barack Talks" to get around the start of the rally (10:00 am) and, while the activsts took to the fence and when they would be arrested, a press briefing by Robert Gates (Secretary of Defense), Hillary Clinton (Secretary of State) and plus-size White House spokesmodel Robert Gibbs.

And that's before you note how cold it was outside or that it was snowing.

If you scream "Conspiracy!" every five second at everything, no one ends up believing you when there is actually is a conspiracy. And they do exist. If they didn't, the US wouldn't have laws about them and the Supreme Court would have never ruled on the issue.

While the organizers couldn't control the White House trotting out Barack and then serving up cabinet members, they could control other things.

A rally against the wars had some interest.

But then, as is so often the case on the left, it had to be about something else. The wars just aren't enough!!!!!!

So it became "Support WikiLeaks." And some noted that Julian Assange, the public face of WikiLeaks, was in legal trouble over allegations of rape. And if you might have wondered if you were seeing something that wasn't there, quickly it also became "Support Julian Assange."

That cut off a lot of enthusiasm though the weather probably had more to do with the low turnout than anything else.

Low turnout. Yes. It had that too.

And yet, in the comments to Libbyliberal's post, someone wants to bring up the Tea Partiers. Tea Party envy is a really ugly thing. People need to stop whining and get over it.

There's much to praise about the protests. You had people show up in bad weather, during the week and a large number of them were willing to face arrest.

That's no small thing. And you can cover that and do it in such a way that you don't need to shout "conspiracy! conspiracy!" And if you want to interest others who may not have heard of it?

The Honey Pot

Don't open with Ray McGovern. Though a number of kooks seem to think he's buttered bread, the reality is he means little to most Americans -- in the media or outside of it. Daniel Ellsberg is a national figure, that's who you open with if your point is to name drop.

Illustration is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Honey Pot."

TV: The Craziest Sitcom

Hands down, the craziest and longest running sitcom has to be Democracy Now! which features the whiny voiced Amy Goodman who visits the real world about as often as Tinker Bell leaves Pixie Hollow.


In what has to be her latest attempt at humor in text, a beggar's note has been appearing at the website and we thought she couldn't top the laugh getter of visiting "Democracy Now! for news you can trust" but we continued reading and her claim that her program is the one to go to for news about Iraq made us laugh even harder.


This is the woman who passed off the SOFA as the end of the Iraq War for how many damn years?

The SOFA, for those who've forgotten, is the Status Of Forces Agreement rammed through by Bully Boy Bush in November 2008. Many things can result from it -- as we've noted since it passed the Iraqi Parliament -- including that the war ends at the end of 2011, that the SOFA gets extended or that a new agreement replaces it. But for two years, Goody's ignored any reality that didn't excuse her awful 'coverage' of Iraq.

Iraq coverage from Goody generally means she brings on some idiot who doesn't know the first thing about democracy. There's Nir Rosen -- the man who insisted, "Frankly this is a rare case where I hope Maliki violates the constitution, acts in some kind of authoritarian way to make sure he wins the elections, because the alternative is fragmentation, or a criminal, sectarian kleptocratic Shiite elite taking over, and then Iraq might unravel." That's Amy Goodman's idea of a qualified speaker, someone hoping a thug "violates the constitution, acts in some kind of authoritarian way," etc.

Here's another, Raed Jarar -- who doesn't know the first thing about democracy or the US Constitution. Raed loves to brag -- and has bragged to us -- about his 'work' in 2010 getting 'the Congress' to approve the SOFA. The Congress did no such thing. The House passed a laughable measure that would have been more hilarious had it not been so tragic. Tragic?

The SOFA is a treaty. All treaties are negotiated by the executive branch and signed off on by the Senate. In Iraq, the Parliament was allowed to do that. In the US, that was not the case. And, in fact, among the members of Congress objecting -- a huge list -- was then-Senator Barack Obama. Before he was even sworn in, his promise that he and Joe Biden, if elected, would not abide by such an unconstitutional measure as the SOFA was pulled from his official website.

Nir Rosen and Raed Jarar pass as experts on Democracy Now! -- consider them the Squiggy and Lenny of the show. But there are many more outlandish and over the top characters. For example, Wednesday found Amy joined by her very own Candy Pruitt and Beverly Leslie: Mark Stephens and John Pilger. The jokes started the moment Amy Goodman referred to rape allegations as "sex crimes allegations" and they just continued as she refused to ever use the term "rape" or list the allegations the Swedish government presented in the British court against Julian Assange. But people like Amy Goodman don't talk rape, do they? As Margaret Lyons (Entertainment Weekly) pointed out:

On Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Tuesday, Michael Moore mischaracterized the rape accusations facing Julian Assange. People criticized both him and Olbermann, and now the MSNBC host has quit Twitter in a huff, thanks to what he described as a "frenzy." Yep, it's almost like misrepresenting and minimizing rape accusations can get people upset. Feminists -- we're impossible to please

She also didn't have anything remotely resembling balance in a segment featuring known liar Mark Stephens (he's Assange's attorney) and Assange supporter John Pilger. We'll mainly ignore Stephens who has misled repeatedly in public (he is the one who started and spread the lie about "broken condom"). We'd be surprised that, opposite a journalist, Stephens wasn't asked about that lie; however, Amy Goodman's no journalist.

Mainly ignore? It's been suggested that WikiLeaks should have found a new public face and we can see that point. And, after hearing Stephens prattle on, we really agree.

Mark Stephens: He's got to raise 200,000 pounds in cash. That's about $300,000. And, of course, the problem with that is that we finished court after banking hours closed yesterday, so -- and getting that kind of money out of a bank, you'll realize that most banks don't carry that kind of money. It's very modest amounts that they carry these days, because we spend most of our money electronically. And, of course, he's being electronically hobbled by Visa and MasterCard, who have stopped the accounts being -- paying money to WikiLeaks. And so, actually gathering that money has meant that he's had to call on -- and we've had, on his behalf -- to call upon the very generous friends that he has, very high-profile individuals.

What the hell did he just say?

Goody let it fly. How typical.

But in the real world, how right is it for WikiLeaks to raise money for Julian Assange's personal defense?

Is WikiLeaks a legitimate outlet or is Julian Assange's personal bank account?

Don't expect Amy Goodman to ever ask that question.

Do expect her to recognize other women only when it can be used to promote her cause-of-the-moment:

Amy Goodman: There's a letter from Women Against Rape, a British organization, in The Guardian newspaper in London. It’s written by Katrin Axelsson in support of Julian Assange. [. . .] This is a feminist organization in London. Mark Stephens?

Who is Katrin Axelsson?

That's the question everyone should be asking. Google "Katrin Axelsson" and you quickly discover -- well, not so quickly, you have to go through over 24 pages of results -- that she doesn't appear to exist before Julian Assange needed vouching.

She was a nobody, a cipher in the snow. Now she's all over the net -- because the quickest way any woman gets noted in this society is by tearing down a woman to build up a man. She doesn't write like a feminist in that letter and, point of fact, today rape's not solely a "feminist issue."

By all means, rape is an issue feminist have led on. We're the ones who called it a crime, who took it out the 'personal problem' dismissal and demanded justice. It's an issue we still care about. But let's not pretend that a group of women today who are against rape translates as "feminist." In fact, it's rather telling of how sexist and how women-hating people like Amy Goodman, Tom Hayden, Micheal Moore and all the other people promoting this 'group' and Katrin Latrine are that they insist that Women Against Rape must be a feminist group.

Because non-feminist women are for rape?

On that broadcast, John Pilger was tossing around "Orwellian." We'd say there's nothing more Orwellian than judging someone to be a feminist just because they're against a violent crime.

While we don't know every feminist in the world, we do know many in many countries and we got on the phone to find out about Katrin and her group from British feminists. The most common reply was that they'd never heard of her or the group until Katrin & company wrote the letter to The Guardian. That's rather strange. We spoke to 32 prominent British feminist and Katrin and company were complete ciphers for 31.

How could that be?

Because WAR doesn't do a damn thing. Check out their events calendar (before they change it) and you'll see that. In 2009, they had one event. In the entire year, one event. And a fundraiser. So they could have two events in 2010?

It's that way throughout. And while they claim to provide legal services for victims, they've actually suspended that for some time now. "TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED" they insist . . . on a post that's not been updated since at least February of this year.

What do they do? Not a whole lot. Not a whole lot.

The one feminist who had heard of them offered her opinion that they were a Marxist group, not a feminist group, and that's why they'd written their letter to the editors and that's why they had such 'street cred' with Amy Goodman, Nicole Colson and assorted other losers.

So a group that does nothing for women -- if you're only claim was the legal clinics and you've not done them all year, that would mean you're doing nothing for women -- and isn't really a feminist organization -- but is one of those 'peace & justice' euphemism users -- wants to attack two women and prop up a man and that's supposed to be surprising?

You know what WAR was famous for before this event?

Two years ago they trashed Helen Mirren, whom they didn't believe took rape seriously enough. (Apparently part of their pattern, they attacked Helen Mirren for her opinions expressed in an article in which she admitted she'd been raped.)

So that's what they do with their time: fundraisers and attack women. What a proud group they must be.

For some, it's really important that the wome who may have been raped be attacked. If you don't grasp that, please note that Amy Goodman did a column last week where she billed WAR as a "feminist group" and that may be her first use of the term in print for the entire year. She has a weekly column, so that says a lot.

Radical Marxist? Hello, John Pilger.

John, you're often on the mark on so many issues but you're a sexist pig and you've been that for years. That's reality, you know it, we know it. That's why, in a journalistic career that's spanned not just nearly fifty years but also the run of second-wave feminism, you've never managed to document that movement.

You miss a story for one week, we say you were busy. You miss it for almost fifty years, we say you've sent a message and it's been received.

Wednesday, he told Amy Goodman:
In my film, I also went to Washington, and I interviewed the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Bryan Whitman, the man who's been in charge of media operations, as they call it, through a number of administrations. And I asked him to give a guarantee that Julian Assange would not be hunted down, as the media was describing it. And he said he wasn't in a position to give that guarantee. So, I think we're in a situation here, Amy, where people have to speak out.

The Assistant Secretary of Defense? John's been embarrassing himself since the rape allegations surfaced against Assange. He's been 'massaging' and 'twisting' the truth. In fact, he's repeatedly given truth a purple nurple.

The Assistant Secretary of Defense?

Do you know how many Assistant Secretaries of Defense there are?

John hopes you don't, he hopes like hell that no one knows and no one questions. (Certainly Goodman didn't.) In 2008, there were 10 Assistant Secretaries of Defense. It's a generic title. Second in charge at the Pentagon is called "Deputy Secretary of Defense." That's currently William J. Lynn III. There's an Assistant Secretary of Defense Legislative Affairs, an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs, one for International Security Affairs, and on and on it goes. Bryan Whitman's actual title?

He's not an Assistant Secretary of Defense. He's a Deputy Assistant. A sub-division of Assistant. His full title is Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. And he doesn't make policy so he can't "guarantee" anything to John Pilger other than that the two of them can get together for an interview.

But John massages and milks it and really tries to turn it into something, doesn't he?

Repeatedly. Which is how we get him saying, "But, you know, the absurdity of this case is that a senior prosecutor in Sweden threw this thing out. And I've seen her papers. And she was left -- she leaves us in no doubt there was absolutely no evidence to support any of these misdemeanors or crimes, or whatever they're meant to be, at all." He's just lying now. Her papers?

What the hell is that supposed to mean? Her papers? Apparently what she filed for the British court. And she's not required to file evidence with those. And John knows that and he knows that discovery doesn't start at this point in the process. So there's no way he'd have seen any evidence if he were the defense counsel -- which he isn't and therefore will not be entitled to see anything before it is introduced in court during a criminal trial (if anything ever is, if there ever is a trial).

What you got were lies and spinning.

But that's all the tired Amy Goodman has to offer. Sick jokes from a sick f**k.

And now we return to that begging letter (a similar plea has been sent via snail mail). And how Goody asks for "your tax-deductible contribution today." Sadly, that's not a joke.

Goodman gets a tax exemption because we all pretend she's playing fair and not endorsing. But she endorsed Barack by attacking John McCain and by giving Barack soft and constant coverage and by ignoring Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney. Goody will insist she had them on her show. We will reply that we pointed out in real time how little they were on, how Goodman would regularly offer, in headlines, a 'bad' John McCain position and then Barack's 'good' one while refusing to note where Nader and McKinney stood over and over again and that while Barack and the Democratic National Convention received ten hours of coverage, the Green Party's convention was reduced to a headline item.

And she gets away with it because people lie. She gets away with it because people whore. Take David Lindorff who wrote about the peace protest outside the White House:

If you wanted to know about this protest, you had to go to the internet and read the Huffington Post or to the Socialist Worker, OpEd News, or to this publication (okay, we’re a day late, but I was stuck in traffic yesterday), or else to Democracy Now! on the alternative airways.

Uh, Lindroff, you posted that on Saturday at your own site which would make you two -- not one -- days late. At The Common Ills, it was covered in the Thursday (day of) snapshot and that night in "I Hate The War."

Goodman covered it on Democracy Now? No, she reduced it to a headline. Lindorff wants to huff that this was an important story and he wants to pretend Goody covered it. It was the eighth out of twelve headlines for Friday. NPR gave it more play.

On Democracy Now!, Goodman plays a journalist. That's funny and about as believable as Letha Wedge when she asks Tony and Tia (Return From Witch Mountain), "Why don't we all have some candies and some sodas and some ice cream?"

Dorm Posters From Hell


[Robert Gates appears to be tripping yet trying to maintain.]

Nicole Colson forgot to write Third

In Monday's "Iraq snapshot," C.I. quoted in full faux feminist Nicole Colson's ridiculous attack e-mail for C.I.'s observing Nicole was a faux in a previous snapshot. C.I. stood by the call and noted that Nicole must have missed the piece she and Ava wrote last Sunday entitled "TV: Saboteurs." While Elaine penned "That liar Nicole Colson," we all eagerly awaited Nicole's next missive. It never arrived.

Maybe she had trouble finding the address?

Nicole, the e-mail address is

We were looking forward to responding in detail to any new e-mail she might write. Not only had Betty asked that we carve out time for a response piece, Ava and C.I. were asked about it Friday at Trina's Iraq Study group and did a 20 minute riff on Nicole that had everyone laughing.

For starters, Nicole responds to C.I. noting her sexism aimed at Hillary by insisting, "In fact, the paper I work for published an article AGAINST the sexist attacks on Clinton during the campaign." We're confused. Is Nicole a writer? Then why didn't she write in protest of the sexist attacks? Oops, that thought never entered her sexist mind.

And as we examined Nicole's work in detail throughout the week, we kept coming back to just how anti-woman she is.

Rebecca and Elaine went to college with C.I. and what stood out the most to them about Nicole's body of work was the absence of women. It's not just that she appears only to mention women when she's attacking women, it was the fact that women don't really exist in her writing as reference points. (It's what Ava and C.I. called the Deanna Durbin Syndrome: 100 Men and a Girl.)

By contrast, at The Common Ills and as far back as college, C.I. always references women. Rebecca and Elaine remember a class syllabus was always met with the question (from C.I.) of, "Where are the women?" Political theory, philosophy, World lit, what have you, where are the women? And the bulk of professors felt they'd done nothing that required altering. (Elaine: "One professor responded, 'This is an economics class.' C.I. countered, 'Exactly. So where is Charlotte Perkins Gilman? Or is it normal practice to leave out one of the most well known economists in this country in the first part of the century?' She always knew her facts and she was never afraid to stand up. All these years later, nothing's changed on that front.") And refusal by a professor to include women in the scope of study just meant C.I. brought the women in via presentations, papers and class discussions.

That's why, at The Common Ills, you will regularly and repeatedly find female artists referenced. And it's what Nicole Colson never grasped, you really can't be a feminist when your reference points are always male.

Here, it was Ava and C.I. who suggested early features focusing on the work of women -- such as Anne Sexton, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, etc. And they were the ones who noted every outlet in the world quotes and references men and male created art. We can take part in reinforcing that or we can do our part to build a bridge to another world.

Nicole Colson wouldn't grasp that.

She wouldn't look at the work Ava and C.I. have done here and grasp the use of Mary Tyler Moore and Rosanne as reference points (as opposed to the male-centric All In The Family or M*A*S*H that so many use) for comedy or Jennifer Jason Leigh as one of the most talented actors in film. Or why they're the only ones celebrating women and pointing out that, if it were men, everyone else would be in praise mode. Which is how you get this from March 30, 2008:

We remembered Medium and that made us think of Agnes of God. In that film, method actors Jane Fonda and Anne Bancroft gave tremendous performances, not just individually; in fact, it was the matchup between the two actresses onscreen that was most riveting. And we thought about how two Method actress co-starring wasn't something that garnered endless exploration; however, let Lee Strasberg students Al Pacino and Robert De Niro appear in the same film and it's 'news!' The way the no-sparks-on-screen in Heat qualified as 'news' and something to still reference and the way advance publicity on Righteous Kill has done the same. Fonda and Bancroft, two Academy Award winning actresses team up and most of the gas bags on acting still act as if it never happened. Kind of the way they can never shut up about Rober De Niro's weight gain (so committed!) for Raging Bull while acting as if they're unaware that Fonda put on many pounds to play the lead in The Dollmaker. This seaon, Medium's offered sparks between Patricia Arquette (who stars as Allison) and Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston. It's provided tension and levels that have taken the show in an entirely new direction and Huston's giving the best performance of any guest actor on a series this decade. That's a credit to both women but let's focus on Houston for a minute because her incredible performance has received very little attention.

It's why, when everyone was going sexist on Cougar Town and misrepresenting the show (The New York Times never ran a correction for their own error-riddled piece), Ava and C.I. were serving up "TV: Cougar Town Roars" and breaking down for you what was really going on:

ABC's under pressure to cancel it. Already. It's the same pressure that led to the cancellation of
Emily's Reasons Why Not. You may not remember that show. We'd planned to review the Heather Graham sitcom that debuted in January 2006 but it was cancelled upon airing. There were many laughable reasons given for the cancellation but the reality was right-wing groups launched a campaign to kill the show before it aired and ABC suits were overwhelmed by (and scared of) the protests that came in. ABC was afraid of offending anyone? Please. Taste has never been a concern at the network which launched T & A TV in the seventies. Running scared, however, has always been ABC's natural fall back position. So when the complaints came in this week, the fact that Cougar Town's debut was watched by over 11 million viewers mattered less and less to the network. They were scared and convinced that no one would watch again. They were convinced no one would watch again because the e-mail campaign to kill the show (participants were advised to e-mail the network after the show began airing Wednesday night and to use the words "I will never watch this show again") made it appear that a good chunk of the 11 million were so offended they were boycotting.

Where was Nicole Colson? Probably attacking another woman and referencing and praising 20 men in one article. Or take last month's "TV: Comedy dos and don'ts:"

This week, Meryl Streep continued her performance as Camilla Bowner. At the
2004 AFI Tribute to Meryl, Goldie Hawn likened the sixteen times Academy Award nominated actress to a Stradivarius, Shirley MacLaine hailed her as "other worldly," Diane Keaton used the term genius -- and those were just some of the sung praises. In the current issue of Vanity Fair, Cher takes her turn praising Meryl. Meryl's considered one of the finest actresses of all time and we're rather surprised that when she wades into new waters, the press shows so little interest. Camilla Bowner is Meryl's first online role, therapist to Fiona Wallace's politician husband whose in the midst of a sexual scandal being the latest in a long line of conservatives outed as gay. Camilla is practicing "aversion therapy" to "cure" Kip Wallace -- in part by having sex with him.

It's why they -- and not Nicole Colson -- wrote "TV: Women and sitcoms" which included:

This decade has been horrible for women -- on the big screen and on the small. It has rendered them invisible, reduced them to nags, undercut them at every step of the way. And, amazingly, TV sitcoms have been the worst offenders.
"Amazingly" because they can try their revisionary nonsense all they want, the world knows and will always know that Lucille Ball made the sitcom. She took a format and made it one of the formats, a TV staple. She took a format and became, some say, the "queen" of it but, reality, she was the finest of it for her era, male or female. Lucille Ball defined sitcoms success. In the years since, Marlo Thomas, Mary Tyler Moore, Elizbeth Montgomery, Nell Carter, Bonnie Franklin, Mackenzie Phillips, Valerie Bertinelli, Bea Arthur, Betty White, Marla Gibbs, Jackee, Valerie Haper, Cloris Leachman, Isabel Sanford, Ja'net Du Bois, Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, Delta Burke, Judith Light, Danielle Spencer, Jane Curtain, Susan Saint James, Belita Moreno, Constance Marie, Candice Bergen, Faith Ford, Fran Drescher, Cybill Shepherd, Queen Latifah, Kim Coles, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty, Jasmine Guy, Shelley Long, Helen Hunt, Ellen, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox-Arquette, Debra Messing, Judy Reyes, Christa Miller, and many other women -- not the least of whom is Roseanne -- have delivered the belly laughs and left their mark on the genre. But other than the women currently on the air that we've already praised, there's not been much worth noting for women in this decade. In fact, the only sitcom in the first half of this decade that lasted more than a season and is worthy of praise, Still Standing, offered one of the strongest roles for women with Jami Gertz' lead performance. Otherwise, the women did nothing over and over and over.

It's why they, and not Nicole Colson, have made time to celebrate the work of Roseanna Arquette, Martha Plimpton and Patricia Heaton. They were the ones who charted CBS' non-stop efforts to kill off The New Adventures of Old Christine -- a hit sitcom CBS couldn't afford to lose -- as this season's ratings have demonstrated. Repeatedly charted the efforts to kill that show such as in May 2007's "TV: The lows and the really lows:"

When we repeatedly warned that CBS was attempting to pull The New Adventures of Old Christine, Ty noted skeptical e-mails came in. The gist of the e-mails was, "It's a hit. Why would a network mess with their own hit?" If you missed it, the fall 2007 season doesn't include the show (it's scheduled to return mid-season). It does include Rules of Engagement which, we'll note yet again, had declining ratings, week after week. Why would CBS do this? We've noted the whys of that many times. If you weren't listening then, you probably wouldn't now but, again, note, the show is pulled. No one works harder than CBS to disown their female driven hits. Which is why they monkeyed with a successful Monday night line up (at the end Rules of Engagment wasn't just losing viewers each week, it was getting millions less viewers than The New Adventures of Old Christine had in the same time slot) and now are all geared up to return the audience disperser to Monday nights while letting Christine sit it out. The reality is that Fox may, as happened when CBS was attempting to destroy Cybill, steal the Monday night audience away with a new program (Ally McBeal then, K-Ville this fall).

No one works harder than CBS to destroy a female-led hit. And Ava and C.I. have documented it. Repeatedly. They've noted the way Cybill, Murder She Wrote, The Nanny, Cagney & Lacey, Designing Women and Murphy Brown were treated which is why many readers were upset last spring at the news that The New Adventures of Old Christine was getting the axe from CBS (as was The Ghost Whisperer) but they weren't surprised.

And who has better charted media hyped Tina Fey than Ava and C.I.? They were the first -- and for over a year -- the only ones to note that Tina Fey was sexualizing Sarah Palin in her SNL "parody," something that was not done with any male politician -- not even John Edwards when he was twice portrayed on SNL after his sex scandal was public information. They were the only ones who found it strange -- or even noticed -- that to portray Palin, Tina Fey felt the need to lift her skirt.

We should note that Nicole Colson also covers the arts from time to time. For example, she once was so knocked out by a sitcom -- or at least a sitcom performer -- or at least wanting to be noted by a sitcom performer -- that she felt the need to do her one and only Tweet:

  1. @rainnwilson I loved him back when "Dark Matter" was called "Sweetbreads"...and was all about offal. "I could taste what you were thinking."

Ah, yes, a male singer (Andrew Bird) is praised and she gets to note Rainn Wilson as well. What a treat for sexist Nicole.

Nicole Colson is male-defined and male-dominated. She's a faux feminist and her body of work proves that both in terms of scope and in terms of reference points. By contrast, Ava and C.I. made it clear that they stand arm-in-arm with other women and that they celebrate them and they call them out, that they never forget who they are or try to be something else. Nicole's always trying to prove she's 'almost a man.' Ava and C.I. embrace their power which leads to concluding paragraphs like this from 2007's "TV: Aftermath leaves an aftertaste:"

In times of crisis, Jericho tells you, natural leaders emerge and that's based on something other than the ability to lead, it's based on whether or not you've got a Y chromosome. We don't buy into the belief that the dangling Y means extra intelligence or natural leadership but, come the nuclear aftermath, women should keep in mind that the heavily worshiped area, in this society, is also a very sensitive one. Aim the stiletto there as well.

Ava and C.I. did not write this piece. We'll list credits in the "A note to our readers" as always but before Nicole climbs on the cross again -- as we're sure she will -- we hope she makes it to this end note.

Twas the year without Christmas

Twas the year without Christmas
As unemployment stayed above 9%
And as workers saw wages reduced (some by 5%)
And the White House was giving tax breaks to millionaires
While things were so tough many cut out the annual holiday fair
Twas the year without Christmas
And all through the house
Everyone was wondering
Who was the louse?


Wack Job Ishmael Reed

Thursday night "The Cult of St. Barack," "Ishameal and other bad things," "Barry and his groupies" and "Barack and the groupies" went up community wide, written by Ann, Betty, Marcia, Stan and Ty with the understanding that it would be published here on Sunday. Postscript, go to Marcia's site and the comments to find out what Ishmael thought -- he left a comment. How telling -- and it backs up what they wrote -- he refers to them as "guys" (three women and two men are guys?) and he's only 'brave' enough to leave a comment at Marcia's site -- Stan also allows comments as does Ann. Of course he wouldn't leave a comment at Stan's, Stan's a man.

As Black and African-American members of the community, we decided to do a group post. We invited Ty in and this will run at Third Estate Sunday Review on Sunday. The rest of us -- Betty, Marcia, Stan and Ann -- will post it tonight at our sites. We did not invite Cedric or Isaiah. Not out of ill will (please, Ann is married to Cedric) but because Cedric's doing a humor site (joint-posts with Wally) and Isaiah's focusing on archiving his comics due to community members complaining about how difficult it is to locate comics from his five years and counting of doing political cartoons for The Common Ills.

In today's snapshot, C.I. provides an excerpt from Joy of Resistance, the segment featuring Jill of Feministe which led three of us to visit (Betty, Marcia and Ann) and that quickly involved everyone because we were hugely bothered by one post.

The post is entitled "What (white) Progressives Don't Understand About Obama" and we give credit to Jill for the title. Seriously. Check out our latest "The Black Roundtable" as well as Betty's "Kiss my Black ass, Matthew Rothschild" and Marcia's "Matthew Rothschild patronizes Black people." We applaud Jill for inserting White into the headline because Blacks and African-Americans are progressives as well (and we are conservatives, and libertarians, and Republicans, and Democrats, and Socialists, and Greens, and Communists, and independents and swing-voters and apolitical and more). And we heard Hillary Clinton speak of the White working class at the end of her 2008 primary campaign and fully got her point and saw no racism in it. But the same people who trashed her and tried to read racism into her remarks are the ones who always want to install a little fence around their Progressive Clubhouse and leave us on the outside.

So we applaud her for that.

We are confused as to why any feminist would link to Ishmael Reed. We're not saying we haven't read him. We're saying that, in fact, because we have read his writing.

Two of us (Ty and Marcia) are gay and we all believe in the full spectrum of equality including marriage equality. That's among the reasons we can't get behind Ishmael.

It's noted in the comments that he has problems with women (don't worry, we'll get to it). He also has problems with gay men. His writing and his remarks are very clear. He considers them "weak." The post Jill has linked to by Ishamael is really a homophobic straight man trying to provide cover for his hero (Barack Obama) whom he apparently suspects is gay. Ishmael's in the midst of homosexual panic. We have no idea why, but he's been in that panic his entire career and his attemtps at macho are both laughable and tired. His homophobic attacks, however, are not a laughing matter and we seriously doubt anyone who links to him. They either don't know what they're doing or they think his repeated attacks on gay men who were involved in the making of Precious are okay with these linkers. We're not fans of the film Precious. But we're also not fans of homophobia.

Then there's the issue of his attacks on feminists. He especially loathes Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan. He may have reason to. While we support Gloria and Robin we have publicly criticized them when we felt it was warranted. But what we didn't do, was lie about them. In one of his many attack pieces on Hillary in 2008 ("Ma and Pa Clinton Flog Uppity Black Man") one that reads like he's trying to rip off Jesse Jackon Jr.'s attack and use it (did she cry!!!! -- he always wants women to cry and to suffer), he deliberately distorts reality. He insists that Gloria was harder on Barack than she was on Bill Clinton. What? We wish, in 2008, Gloria had had the good sense to call Barack out. But she didn't in the primaries and she didn't in the general election (in fact, she supported him in the general election).

But he's big on putting words into Gloria's mouth. Claiming she said something or did something when she never did. It's all over the bad column entitled "Ma and Pa Clinton Flog Uppity Black Man."

We could stay with Ishmael and all of his problems forever and a day but we don't have all night. And we need to get to the comments.

A number of whiny babies, no other word for it.

First off, stop being ahistorical. No one's in the damn mood for your revisionary history.

At least twice we see whines (with a third offering a variation) of 'Barack's doing what Bill did and they didn't trash Bill.' We're sorry you're so grossly uninformed. Before the 1996 elections, a number of notables and 'notables' from the left -- such as Frances Fox Piven -- had publicly declared that they wouldn't vote for Bill.

The idea that the Christ-child Barack is experiencing something no one else ever did is just not reality. We get it. He's your political virgin and you're really hoping to see his pubes grow in like he's Christopher Atkins in "Blue Lagoon." But you need to grow the hell up.

Barack has not been accused of killing a wide variety of people the way both Bill and Hillary were. We're sorry you don't know reality but that's your problem, grow the hell up.

What Bill did economically is something you can disagree with. Most people do. Today.

Today, most people do. On the left.

But when Bill came into office "Reinventing Government" was the new hulu hoop. The way the cracked writing of Thomas Frank or the nonsense of "framing" are hulu hoops today. The public-private partnerships were going to save the economy and the country.

It was false and that's not what happened. But Bill's publicly spoken of the realities about the economy. He's done that in looking back. Looking back at what he did ten years ago.

There's no excuse for Barack to be aping Bill ten years later. Bill knows it was mistake why doesn't Barack?

Today, most on the left can call out what was the privatization of the public sphere and public goods and public needs. But coming off the wowie-we-love-him frenzy of Ronald Reagan, Democrats were trying to figure out how to appeal to voters. "Reinventing Government" is a mistake and should never have happened. Clinton-Gore was the first effort to test it out. It's been tested. Why Barack can't grasp that is on him.

In one of the most laughable comments, we read that we have to -- have to? -- vote for Barack in 2012 because otherwise who will replace Ruth on the Supreme Court!

Who cares?

He's given us two moderates. Not lefties, not liberals.

We also find it interesting how Barack is "Black." He wasn't, you know, until Bobby Rush kicked his ass when Barack thought he was ready for the US Congress. He was still bi-racial then and in his alumni newsletter. He only became Black (and borrowed the walk he currently uses) after Black voters backed Bobby and flipped the bird at Barack.

PRI had an interesting report today:

More Biracial Americans Experiment with Fluid Identity

A research paper published by the Social Psychology Quarterly drew some interesting conclusions about the way that members of our increasingly diverse society are experiencing and experimenting with structures of identity. Titled “Passing as Black: Racial Identity Work Among Biracial Americans,” the paper argues that with less stigma attached to any one race, people of mixed heritage are, more frequently than before, declaring themselves biracial one day, or all one race the next. But what does this fluidity mean to the idea of race in our country at all? And How does one rationally and honestly navigate the conundrums of identity?

ListenAddDownloadComments [21]

You can call him what you want. We call him "mixed" or "bi-racial" and have done so since 2007. One who disagreed with us was LIEFACE Melissa Harris-Lacewell. We should have seen it coming, when Melissa kept ignoring Barack's White mother and insisting Barack was Black, we should have seen it coming. What?

Turns out the woman who bullied the media and everyone else and wanted to self-present as the guardian of Black identity . . . she's got a White mother too. A detail she kept hidden because it would have defeated her whole argument. Which makes Melissa Harris-Lacewell (yes, we know she's remarried -- if it lasts more than two years, we may try to learn her new last name) like the housekeeper's daughter in "Imitation of Life." We picture Melissa screaming and crying as she shows up at her mother's funeral after years of denying her mother and passing.

We think Barack Obama has been a huge problem for Black America. We still don't have our first Black president. We've had to lie and pretend because that's how he was sold to us. Black men are hurt worse than any other sector in the work force under Barack in terms of employment. He's done nothing for us and because a bunch of pampered little assholes want to insist he's Black, we got stuck with him for four years.

We can't afford four more.

It's past time that the asshole was called out by all races.

Guantanamo is not closed. The Iraq War is still not over. He's done nothing on the employment issue. He refused to give us real health care but is more than happy to force us to buy bad health care and enrich the corporations who installed him despite the myth of those 'small donors.'

We're sick of his sexism and his homophobia. Proposition 8 passed in 2008 because? Among the many reasons, supporters of Prop 8 used Barack on their robo calls. That's because he stood with Prop 8. Did he call it out? No. He stood with them. And he put homophobes on stage at campaign events in both the primaries and in the general election. Then he invited his b.f.f. homophobe to the inauguration.

We're damn sick of hearing how easy Bill supposedly had it.

If any other Democratic president had so sold out the Democratic Party and its base, their poll numbers would be even lower than Barack's currently are.

Ishmael Reed 'explained' in a bad interview this year why he supports Barack: Because he doesn't like the people who don't like Barack.

That's the sort of simplistic reaction that Ishmael tries to pass off as deep thought and exploration. We don't have time for it.

ETAN on Paupuan Prionsers

Indonesia Respect Rights of Papuan Prisoners Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni

The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) and the West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) urge the Indonesian Government to respect the rights of and end the persecution of internationally recognized prisoners of conscience Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni who were transferred from Abepura Prison to Jayapura Police Headquarters on December 3.

ETAN and WPAT also urge the U.S. government to use its considerable influence with the Indonesian government and police, deriving in part from its extensive assistance to and training of the police, to ensure that persecution of these prisoners of conscience ceases.

The transfer of Karma, Tabuni and several other prisoners to the police headquarters followed a riot at the prison which in turn was prompted by the killing of one of five prisoners who had escaped the previous day. The authorities are accusing the two activists of inciting the riot. However, reliable reports says that Karma and Tabuni had sought to calm the situation at the prison.

Karma is serving a 15-year sentence for raising a Papuan flag in 2004, while Buchtar Tabuni is serving a three-year sentence after supporting the launch of International Parliamentarians for West Papua in October 2008. Since their transfer to the police headquarters Karma and Tabuni reportedly have had very limited contact with their families and no contact with legal counsel. Karma has launched a hunger strike in support of his demand for proper treatment for himself, Tabuni and the other transferred prisoners, including access to adequate food or drink.

ETAN and WPAT note that Article 10 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights requires that "All persons who are deprived of their freedom must be treated humanely and with respect for their dignity as human beings." ETAN and WPAT also note that under Indonesian regulations Karma and Tabuni are entitled to correspond with and receive visits from their families, legal counsel and others. ETAN and WPAT are also deeply concerned that the Indonesian authorities may seek to pursue charges against Karma and Tabuni related to the prison riot. Such a course would be particularly ironic insofar as the Indonesian authorities have failed to prosecute the security force personnel who were recorded torturing two Papuans in May 2010.

Observers in West Papua are concerned that the authorities may transfer Karma and Tabuni to the infamous Nusakembangan prison in Java, where violent criminals are incarcerated. As
nonviolent prisoners of conscience, Karma and Tabuni would be at risk. Such a transfer would also make it much more difficult for their families and counsel to monitor their welfare. ETAN and WPAT strongly urge that Karma and Tabuni not be transferred out of West Papua.

Ed McWilliams -
John M. Miller (ETAN) -
see also West Papua Report

Support ETAN make a contribution here
Thank you for your support.
John M. Miller,
National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box
Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA

Phone: +1-718-596-7668
Mobile phone:
Skype: john.m.miller


Send a blank e-mail message to to find out how to learn more about East Timor and Indonesia on the Internet


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" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. ties with herself as readers split over both as the best of the week (by one vote, "I Hate The War" pulled ahead). In the first, she's addressing the peace action and, in the second, she's addressing the way so many lie to destroy.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Honey Pot" -- Among those who lie to destroy is Ray McGovern.

"The Cult of St. Barack," "Ishameal and other bad things," "Barry and his groupies," and
"Barack and the groupies" -- Ann, Betty, Marcia, Stan and Ty write an article.

"Desperate Housewives" and "brothers & sisters" and "Hulu" and "Shopping, The Event" and "TV" -- Betty, Rebecca, Mike, Marcia and Ruth cover TV.

"NPR works for Stephanie Cutter" and "NPR improves" -- Ruth catches NPR off balance and then improving.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell
" -- Marcia on the efforts to overturn.

"He makes sure GE's happy" & "THIS JUST IN! BARRY O THE COMPANY MAN!" -- Cedric and Wally on who Barack really works for.

"Little Miss Bully Boy" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Fancy Mac & Cheese in the Kitchen" -- An easy recipe from Trina's site.

"They're trying to scare me to death!" -- Ruth stars in a horror post.

"Blake Edwards" -- Kat notes the passing of director Blake Edwards.

"Collapse and Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work" -- Stan goes to the movies and sees documentaries.

"Peace" -- Elaine weighs in on the silences.

"The stalemate" -- Mike weighs in.

"I'm not Sarah Connor" and "Interesting essay" -- Betty and Stan react to an online essay.

"Iraq reality" -- Elaine gets to the point on Iraq.

"Harry wants to work now" -- but where was he in October, Mike points out.

"Christmas shopping nightmares" and "Procrastination is killing me" -- Trina and Marcia share Christmas shopping horror stories.

"Open letter" and "Prissy Bill Fletcher Junior" -- Ann and Betty with related posts.

"Net Neutrality vote scheduled for December 21st" -- Kat asks you to keep your eye on this.

"ObamaCare dealt a set-back" -- Stan on the good news of the week.

"That liar Nicole Colson" -- Elaine takes on Nicole.

"Monday Lectures From Moron" and "THIS JUST IN! LECTURES FROM BARRY!" -- Cedric and Wally on the speechifier.
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