Sunday, May 15, 2011

Truest statement of the week

In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress "suspects." In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it "believed" that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany. What they only believed in April 2002, they obviously didn't know 8 months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know, because they were instantly dismissed) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence -- which, as we soon learned, Washington didn’t have. Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that "we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda."

-- Noam Chomsky's brief piece entitled "My Reaction to Osama bin Laden's Death" (ICH).

Truest statement of the week II

The world was not a better place with Osama bin Laden in it. But the rejoicing that has followed his death—and the largely uncritical coverage of that bloodlust in the mainstream press—demands careful consideration. It shows that after a decade of hard lessons, a significant portion of the U.S. population is still mired in the Why-do-they-hate-us? mentality, unable to critically reflect on America's role in the world, let alone understand the consequences of American military and economic policy.

-- Dalia Hashad, "Bin Laden's Gone, the Problem Remains" (The Scoop).

Truest statement of the week III

But when the soaring rhetoric was done, Obama closed with a weak punt of immigration reform back to Congress.

Yes We Can turned into No I Can't.

He refused to do what many Latino leaders have urged for months. He rejected using executive powers to soften the worst aspects of the government's crackdown on the nation's 11 million undocumented residents.

He turned his back on 1 million young people known as the DREAMERS. They are the high school and college kids brought to this country illegally by their parents.

-- Juan Gonzalez' "President Obama weakly punts immigration reform back to Congress" (New York Daily News).

A note to our readers

Hey --
Another Sunday. And we're late as usual.

First, we thank all who participated this week which includes Dallas and the following:

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

What did we come up with?

And that's what we got. We'll see you next week.


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

Editorial: The Whores of Panhandle Media

Wednesday Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister of Iraq and thug-puppet of the occupation, held a press conference. What did he say?


Panhandle Media is begging you for more money -- constantly. Pacifica Radio's got their hands in your pockets again, The Nation's sent out another fundraising letter, but they can't focus on what matters, now can they?

No one's done more to ruin The Nation than Katrina vanden Heuvel who inherited the title of publisher when the magazine was at an all time circulation high. It is now, under her 'leadership,' at an all time low. And she has the nerve to lecture that "political elites have strayed from the will of the majority"? She who can't be bothered with Iraq?

So on Wednesday, Nouri announced the reality that the SOFA may be extended. Right now, he's pushing it off on others, saying if 70% of the political actors are in favor, US troops will remain in Iraq past 2011.

What about that 'brave' and 'independent' magazine The Progressive?

May 11th, Nouri made that announcement. May 13th, Matthew Rothschild was blathering on (in his "Progressive Moment" radio spot) about "Republicans Ready to Expand Presidential Warmaking Powers."

All the Whores of Panhandle Media sold the LIE that the SOFA meant the Iraq War ended at the end of 2011. They sold the LIE that the SOFA could not be extended or replaced with anything.

You'd think Amy Goodman and the other whores for Barack would want to get honest, would use this moment to tell the truth. But whores don't make money by telling the truth, they make money by pretending you're special, you're unique, and sexy -- while they scam and con you.

They can't cover the protests in Iraq, are you surprised that they won't cover Nouri's latest statements?

One honest voice could be heard last week, Justin Raimondo (

The idea that we were ever going to voluntarily leave Iraq was always a fantasy, one fulsomely encouraged by the Obama-ites and their “progressive” amen corner. In reality, the division of labor in the foreign policy realm works like this: the Republicans invade some country or other, bomb it to smithereens, and send in an occupying army. Then the Democrats win the next election, on account of rising opposition to the war, in which case our new overlords act to consolidate the gains of the previous administration and further extend the frontiers of empire – as in Libya and Pakistan.

The reality is that empires never dissolve themselves: they hang on to the bitter end, living on dreams of past glory and stubbornly refusing to see the signs of decline that are obvious to any objective observer. Nothing stops them: not war-weariness on the part of the populace, not military defeat, not even impending bankruptcy. The reason is once you become an empire, there’s no turning back: you’ve already invested a great deal of the nation’s resources into the empire-building process, and so much of your economic and political capital is tied up in this project that reversing it is just not possible. What’s needed is some outside stimulus, some undeniably chastening event – like, say, utter collapse, as in the case of the former Soviet Union – to provide a much-needed reality check.

While Maliki pays lip service to the idea that US troops must leave eventually, and the sooner the better, in reality he has no desire to see them go, for US soldiers are all that stand between him and a howling mob of his subjects, who are living in conditions that would turn Mother Teresa into a psycho-killer. Anti-smoking fanatics may take some satisfaction in knowing that tobacco is not the leading cause of death in Iraq, but to have assassination take its place is hardly cause for joy among the rest of us.

In Iraq, “Arab Spring” protests continue, as they have across the Middle East, but – unlike the demonstrations in Egypt, the civil war in Libya, and the violently-repressed upsurge in Syria – the Western news media has decided not to cover them. When thousands jammed the streets of Suleimaniya, the supposedly pro-occupation, pro-American capital city of the Kurdish autonomous region – Maliki and his Kurdish equivalents sent the Iraqi army in to crush the incipient rebellion no less violently than Syria’s Assad is now doing in Syria. Yet we hear nothing from the White House, nothing from the media, and nothing from the former leaders of the “antiwar” movement – yes, I’m talking to you, Leslie Kagan, you fraud – after they folded up their tents and went off to work for Obama’s election (and re-election).

[Photo via The Great Iraqi Revolution.]

TV: Living Proof

Body of Proof wraps up its season run Tuesday with an episode featuring Jill Eikenberry of LA Law as a guest star. The ABC medical and crime drama will return next season being one of the few new series the networks have elected to bring back.


In the nine episodes that made up season one, it wasn't uncommon to hear Dr. Kate Murphy (Jeri Ryan) repeatedly note political pressure the morgue was under to solve a case or to have her put a check on a hospital refusing to cooperate by citing the mayor. In that regard, the series was similar to The Chicago Code on Fox where police superintendent Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals) was frequently dealing with political pressure and often interacting with the mayor's department. While Body of Proof was renewed, Fox gave The Chicago Code the axe last week.

If you watched the police drama, that made no sense and it made complete sense. Jennifer Beals gave an incredibly strong performance. Jason Clarke was developing an equally strong performance as her right-hand and friend, police officer Jarek Wysocki. When the show wanted to focus on the two of them, it held interest. The two were working on, among other issues, a sting on a crooked city council member. But to deal with those mature performances, you had to suffer through Vonda & Isaac: Young Love. Devin Kelly and Todd Williams may not be bad actors, it may have been the scripts. But in Kelly's case, she also never should have been cast in the role. She's about as threatening as Tweetie Bird with a snub nose 32. And that Vonda and Isaac, police partners, would also be conducting a secret romance (some secret, her uncle found out, a city attorney found out -- and apparently didn't relay it though it cost the city a hefty financial pay off in civil suit). One moment Beals and Delroy Lindon (Alderman Ronin Gibbons) were in a scene that was involving and menacing and the next thing you knew it was Saved By The Bell: Police Academy.

Body of Proof probably survived in part because all the supporting roles are perfectly cast. It also survived because not only was Dana Delany giving a lead Emmy worthy performance as Dr. Megan Hunt, but ABC wasn't ashamed or embarrassed by that. Meaning Jennifer Beals can do all the work required and deliver the performance but if the promos and advance work isn't getting the word out, audiences aren't going to know they're missing something.

Megan Hunt misses nothing before her. The reason why may be in the character's backstory. A car accident left her with unreliable hands which meant an end to her career as a neurosurgeon. After a very rough patch, she became a medical examiner. Megan's the type who would blame herself for not anticipating the car crash in a, "If only I had stopped at that station and gotten some bottled water, I wouldn't have been on the road when . . ." She also blames herself for the bad relationship with her teenage daughter. And she may even blame herself for the marriage failure. Carrying familial, physical and romantic blame can be a heavy burden and Megan's not eager to add any more heavy lifting so these days she misses nothing.

So what the police call a murder - suicide, Megan immediately notes wasn't because the shooter's wallet is in the wrong back pocket for his dominant hand. Or she notices chemical burns or breast milk or some other tip-off at the crime scene that no one else picks up on.

Megan's relatable, not a super human. And watching Body of Proof, viewers are left with the impression that they could do what she does if they only worked harder to notice things.

In New Mexico last week, we were speaking to Native Americans on a reservation when one activist brought up what he termed "A Jew Grows In Brooklyn." What was he talking about? Democracy Now! The Amy Goodman hosted talk show had decided to half-heartedly explore the use of "Geronimo" by the US government for Osama bin Laden. Though Senator Daniel Akaka had called out the use of Geronimo's name the day before, in an open session of Congress, you weren't informed of that.

You did get this excuse from Amy Goodman, "Of course, I'm sure it wasn't he [Barack], himself, who gave this name for this operation to kill bin Laden." She then went on to brag about Barack being born in Hawaii -- Daniel Akaka was born in Hawaii. Sometimes facts matter, sometimes they don't in the world of Goody Whore.

"A Jew Grows In Brooklyn" -- as the program is derisively known on at least one reservation -- does not refer merely to Amy Goodman. It also refers to what Native Americans see as the show's practice of booking one Jewish guest after another. We were asked, on the reservation, whether it wasn't true that one was considered Jewish or not Jewish at birth based upon the mother and not the father? Yes, that is true.

So why, they wanted to know, was "Paleface Winona LaDuke" on Democracy Now! as a voice for Native American people? The woman does not live on a reservation. She is only 1/8 Native American and she's 1/2 Jewish. Her mother was Jewish. Why is she allowed, they wondered, to be the voice for Native America, this woman who does more work (they felt) with the Indigo Girls than she does with Native Americans?

Because she whores for Barack Obama. She whores and Goody loves a whore.

There was the backstabbing Winona declaring Barack innocent of what was done. While attacking the US military? Who is commander in chief of the US military? Maybe Winona missed that while living in the suburbs?

Who is the commander in chief of the US military? It's the President of the United States. That would be Barack Obama.

But Winona endorsed Barack for president in 2008 -- stabbing one-time running mate Ralph Nader in the back yet again -- and she's still whoring. Barack, as a US senator, strongly embraced counter-insurgency. It was that -- not genocide -- that first led him to Samantha Power (who worked for his senate office long before she became a National Security type for the administration). Counter-insurgency is war on a native people. Power's friends wrote the US military's counter-insurgency manual. Power herself praised it publicly repeatedly (and also blurbed it for ads and the book cover).

A Native American would be calling that out. Winona LaDuke is not a Native American.

And that little 1/8th she possesses can, apparently, be shoved down deep to allow her to whore.

"A Jew Grows In Brooklyn" describes not just that episode but the attitude that Native Americans see on display when Goodman's sitting down with guests. For example, a playwright last week. Why? He wasn't going to get an honor from a college. With all that's going on in the world, that matters because? It doesn't. Not only does it not matter, but he ended up getting the honor. But Goody Whore wasted all of our time with that b.s. (And, no surprise, the playwright went out of his way to cower before the Israeli lobby via his statements on the show and -- if you missed his key point -- he did not now or ever know Professor Norman Finkelstein. That may have been the most craven and self-serving point of the whole interview, how he repeatedly used the professor's name and worked overtime to provide distance from the professor.)

"A Jew Grows In Brooklyn" refers to the insulated and out-of-touch microcosm that the show and its guests inhabit. A world that the bulk of the country doesn't recognize because it doesn't reflect their own lives.

This was again driven home last week the day after Barack went to El Paso to stand near the border between Mexico and the United States and deliver some empty words about immigration. Wednesday morning Juan Gonzalez' "President Obama weakly punts immigration reform back to Congress" (New York Daily News) was published. Juan is billed as "co-host" of Democracy Now! and the program decided to 'explore' Barack's speech on Wednesday.

But somehow Juan wasn't present.

Not only that, but Goody Whore continued her tradition of refusing to note Gonzalez' latest column when it is critical of Barack. She began that practice during the Democratic Party primaries of 2008 and has continued to this day.

Juan Gonzalez -- as you might deduce from his name -- actually is Latino. So he would probably have had more insight into the issue than the Jewish American Princess who went to Radcliffe Amy Goodman. Having kept him and his column from the show, did you really think Goodman was going to present Latino guests?

She had three guests. Not one was Latino. (One of us, Ava, called this nonsense out last week in "Tell White Anglo Bitch Amy Goodman to stop." ) Barack goes all the way to the border in order to discuss immigration and Goody can't even leave her comfortable call circle to find a Latino to bring on the show?

Time and again, Amy Goodman seems to think, as several Native Americans in New Mexico put it, that her being Jewish means she can speak for every ethnicity -- can speak so well, in fact, that they don't even need to be given the microphone. More and more, what is very clear is that Amy Goodman can't speak for anyone.

She certainly can't speak for journalists. Real journalists, in the midst of a discussion about the use of Geronimo for bin Laden, wouldn't interject, "Of course, I'm sure it wasn't he [Barack], himself, who gave this name for this operation to kill bin Laden." How are you sure, Goody? Did you read in the Talmud?

Reality: Barack Obama is commander-in-chief of the military. If he was at all involved in the assassination of bin Laden, he was aware of the codename long before bin Laden was assassinated. He may or may not have been the one to pick the name, we have no idea because, like Goodman, we weren't present. But whether he picked it or not, he certainly had the power to override it before the mission was on the ground in Pakistan.

Amy Goodman has turned herself into a sad joke. More and more, she comes across like Alvy Singer's father in Annie Hall, specifically the scene where they argue about whether or not a maid is stealing from them. Repeatedly, Goodman misses real issue and real stories because she's mistaken herself for universal.

It's not the sort of mistake Megan Hunt would make. The corpses that end up in the morgue come from all walks of life: a social worker, a police officer, a young woman at an elite school, two young lovers shot up in the bad side of town, etc. If Megan saw things only from her own world, she wouldn't be Megan, she'd be Judge Joan Hunt (Joanna Cassidy), Megan's mother. And the two bump heads frequently such as when Megan's attempts to solve the murder of a journalist lead her to suspect the city's privileged set -- the set the Judge runs in.

Megan watches for patterns, for evidence and forms conclusions based on that. Dr. Ethan Gross (Geoffrey Arend) eagerly soaks it up as he attempts to learn from her and, in that regard, he's probably a stand-in for many viewers.

Because in Megan's world, she not only is able to figure out who's responsible but -- at least so far -- her work allows the culprits to be punished. That doesn't always happen in the real world. But with Delany's incredible work, Jerri Ryan finally getting a role worthy of her and a top notch supporting cast, we'll roll with it.

Hiring Heroes Act of 2011

Patty Murray

Wednesday, Senator Patty Murray, Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, held a news conference in DC. Among those taking part in the conference were US Senators Mark Begich, Chris Coons and Jon Tester as well as Iraq War veteran Eric Smith. Smith noted, "During my tours, I gained valuable experience in the medical field under extreme conditions. Despite my knowledge and service, I'm struggling to find a job today. And I'm not alone. Our current struggles are not unique to my circumstances. More than 200,000 Iraq-Afghanistan veterans are unemployed or under employed in today's economy."

Murray has been drawing attention to this issue for some time. In February 2006, Les Blumenthal (McClatchy Newspapers) quoted her explaining, "We have been in this situation for three years and all the VA [Veterans Administration] says is they will look at it. When soldiers return home, they need to return home to a job." In March of last year, Patricia Murphy (KUOW) was reporting the senator was in Seattle for a roundtable on veterans unemployment. There was a great deal between the two reports and a great deal after but nothing has worked, unemployment among young veterans, as Murray noted Wednesday, currently stands at 27%.

In part, that's due to the Great Recession which has resulted in high unemployment for all. But it's more than just that. Wednesday, Murray spoke of hearing "first-hand from the veterans that we've failed to provide better job support to. I've had veterans tell me that they no longer write the fact that they're a veteran on their resume because they fear the stigma that they believe employers attach to the invisible wounds of war. I've heard from medics who return home from treating battlefield wounds who can't get certifications to be an EMT or to drive an ambulance. I've talked to veteran after veteran who've said they didn't have to go through the military's job skills training program, or that they were never taught how to use the vernacular of the business world to describe the benefits of their experience." And all that she cited gets at the need for a mandatory solution.

We're not big on mandatory things. We think life comes with more than enough of them already and that Congress should be addressing expanding our freedoms (how about overturning the Patriot Act now -- or is the refusal to do that a confession that Osama bin Laden's death really means nothing?).

But we do support the mandatory aspect of Murray's Hiring Heroes Act of 2011.

We think it has to be mandatory to be successful and we feel that way based on the many stories shared with us and those shared in public about returning service members. How you're gathered in a large group and told there's help available if you have 'emotional' problems, but nobody has 'emotional' problems, right? In other words, the VA's been able to avoid issues like PTSD by demonizing and ridiculing them when they should be providing treatment.

We can see something similar happening with the military's job skills training program. Wait. See it happening? It's already happening which is why Murray could state, in the news conference, "Today, nearly one-third of those leaving the Army don't get this training."

There are a lot of programs the military offers. There's a real problem getting the word out. In some instances, such as PTSD, it's hard to draw any conclusion either than the military wants to keep the numbers down. Making the program mandatory means it falls back on superiors if veterans aren't getting access to these programs.

Senator Murray's office notes the bill would do the following: A Look at What The Government is Doing and What More Can be Done This bill authorizes ongoing services we are providing and modifies programs for veterans.

 Modifies federal hiring practices to encourage the hiring of separating servicemembers and would allow servicemembers to begin the federal employment hiring process prior to separation;

 Makes participation in the Transition Assistance Program mandatory for separating servicemembers;

 Requires that each servicemember receive an individualized assessment of jobs they may qualify for when they participate in the Transition Assistance Program;

 Requires DoL to engage with each veteran on a periodic basis to determine whether the veteran is employed or whether the veteran might be interested in further assistance;

 Continues a program that provides rehabilitation and vocational benefits to severely wounded members of the armed forces;

 Provides up to an additional 24 months of vocational rehabilitation and employment services to veterans who have exhausted both these benefits and state-provided unemployment benefits;

 Requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to engage with each veteran who has participated in its Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program periodically to determine whether the veteran is employed.
Innovative Programs to Prepare Veterans to Transition into Civilian Life This bill authorizes new programs aimed at improving the transition from servicemember to civilian employee.

 Creates a competitive grant program for nonprofit organizations that provide mentorship and job training programs that are designed to lead to job placements;

 Requires the Department of Defense (DoD), DoL, and VA to jointly contract for a study to identify the equivalencies between certain military occupational specialty (MOS)-related skills and civilian employment;

 Allows DoD to create a pilot program to provide paid work experience with civilian employees and contractors to facilitate the transition for servicemembers that are 180 days from separating;

 Requires DoL, DoD, and VA collaboration to eliminate barriers between military training and civilian licensure or credentialing for several military occupational specialties.

We want it on DVD and we want it now

Though DVDs -- Blu Ray or otherwise -- may be on the way out (as 80 of you e-mailing insist), there are a large number of people still building video libraries with them.

What our readers most want to see on DVD falls into two major categories: science fiction and so-called bombs.

On the ScyFi front, M.A.N.T.I.S. led the list with 153 e-mails. This mid-90s Fox TV show television series has 22 episodes and it is available on DVD -- according to Amazon, it has been since January 2009.

If that's what you were looking for, hopefully, we've just delivered you good news. But maybe you confused it with NBC's Manimal -- which 87 of you e-mailed to say you wanted on DVD. This 1983 series lasted for only eight episodes and starred Simon MacCorkindale.

52 of you would like to see VR.5 on DVD. The 13-episode Fox series starred Lori Singer and Renee writes, "Every sci fi show or movie dealing with computers today owes a debt to VR.5."

12 of you demand that Gottfried Kolditz' Signals be released on DVD and John wrote, "It's as important to SciFi as It's A Wonderful Life is to Christmas!"

John Carpenter established a name for himself directing many horror classics. But readers want to see a 1979 TV movie he directed released on DVD. Elvis stars Kurt Russell as Presley and Shelley Winters as his mother. And, guess what, it is available on DVD (has been since last year).

Like Carpenter, Brian de Palma has also directed some thrillers. Brad e-mailed that he was sure he was "probably the only one who feels this way but I'd really love to see a boxed set -- like the one they have a Hitchcock's films -- for Brian de Palma. He's a real director in a desert of fakes. I'd love to see all the films remastered on disc with audio commentary." Brad wasn't the only one, four others e-mailed saying their wish list is a de Palma boxed set. Two readers wanted to know when Tuesday Weld ("the most underappreciated American actress," wrote Gavin) would get a boxed set?

In The Spirit

One comedy made the list: In The Spirit. As we've noted before, you can rent or purchase as a download from Amazon. But it is not available on disc which is too bad because it's one of the funniest films of the 90s. Marlo Thomas and Elaine May star in this film cowritten by Jeannie Berlin (May's daughter) and Laurie Jones and directed by Sandra Seacat. The supporting cast? Berlin does a hilarious turn as hooker and ex-porn star Crystal who dreams of making it big as a bartender, Peter Falk plays May's husband Roger, Olympia Dukakis is Marlo's sister-in-law Sue and, best of all, Melanie Griffith as a prostitute in a reflective mood ("he's like a really mean cat with a bird"). But the real meat of the movie and the bulk of the laughs come in the zany exchanges between Marlo and Elaine. A true classic. As 12 readers noted, however, the Amazon download is TV version meaning that the curse words have been edited out.

From there we move to films which were/are perceived as bombs. Some of the interest in them is to see if they were as awful as people say. Some of the interest is due to the fact that readers remember enjoying the film and feel they were wrongly maligned and are due a critical reapprasial. The top two films on the list are currently available for streaming on Netflix so you can see for yourself.

tomlin travolta

At number one on the list (there were forty films that were so-called 'bombs') is the Jane Wagner written and directed Moment by Moment starring Lily Tomlin and John Travolta. Giles e-mailed that he saw this film when he was 14 and "it left a lasting impact on me. I can't believe it's still hated today. I would've thought people would have given it a second look by now. It's really moving and Travolta and Tomlin give stellar performances." Hopefully they 72 others who e-mailed about this film not being on DVD will be able to enjoy it on Netflix. We gave Giles a heads up in an e-mail and he already has. His verdict? "It's a masterpiece."

at long lost love

At number two is At Long Last Love which caused critics to screech that either director Peter Bogdanovich or actress Cybill Shepherd (or both) had no talent. As with Momemt by Moment, if you stream the film today, you may wonder what the problem was? Neither film is awful and both are involving in different ways. Shepherd sings fine, dances well and acts with great sparkle opposite Burt Reynolds.

Other films -- of any genre or type -- that readers want on DVD? Hundreds.

But, in order of e-mail mentions, we'll note the ten most popular not listed above. Robert Altman's HealtH, Robert Altman's Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, Promise Her Anything (starring Warren Beatty and Leslie Caron), Small Sacrifices starring Farrah Fawcett (1991 mini-series), Elaine May's A New Leaf (starring May and Walter Matthau), What's So Bad About Feeling So Good (film comedy starring Mary Tyler Moore and George Peppard), Sunburn (1979 film starring Farrah Fawcett, Charles Grodin, Joan Collins and Art Carney), Elaine May's Ishtar (starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman), Somebody Killed Her Husband (starring Farrah Fawcett and Jeff Bridges) and Out of Darkness (TV film starring Diana Ross).


Jim: It's roundtable time. We're relying on e-mails for this one. Our e-mail address is Participating in this roundtable are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; 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; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): Dona, Llyvonne e-mails to state that you haven't told readers what we were listening to during the writing "in some time."

Dona: Okay. Well right now we're listening to the cast recording of The Book of Mormom. In addition,we've been listening to Stevie Nicks' new album In Your Dreams, Fleet Foxes' Helplessness Blues, Radiohead's The King of Limbs, PJ Harvey's Let England Shake, India Arie's Testimony Vol. 2 Love & Politics, James Blake's self-titled album, Wild Beasts' Smother, Mary J. Blige's The Breakthrough, Carly Simon's Never Been Gone, the Naked and Famous' Passive Me, Aggressive You and we've got more on deck.

Jim: And are we more album or track people?

Dona: Album. We're for the art. Anyone can craft a good single. We're not interested in fads. As for a mix? Can you imagine that? Jess wanting his iPod tracks played and someone else wanting their mix and on and on. It's easier just to toss out a few ideas for albums and whomever wants boom box duty gets the final say in what's played, actually. It's like being the banker in Monopoly. You've got all the discs by you and you pretty much choose which ones get played and which ones don't.

Ty: Okay, Jim's nodding to me. E-mail from Jane wonders if Mike is the only sushi lover? She writes, "Mike is obsessed with sushi. I'm wondering about the rest of you?"

Marcia: Sushi, for any unfamiliar, is Japanese and it's fish, raw fish. I jumped in because I used to watch Mike eat it -- and he loves it -- and think, "Oh, no." What changed that for me was when Jess got me to try a vegetarian sushi roll. I loved it and I have tried others since. I think my favorite is either salmon or spicy tuna.

Wally: I think we all like it but I think Mike's the biggie. Marcia and I would haunt Taco Bell, by contrast.

Marcia: The baja gordito.

Wally: And seven layer burritos. And Marcia will shock you because you'll think, "She's going to eat all of that?" She buys what seems like a big amount for lunch. But half of it goes into the sack and she eats it later for dinner.

Marcia: Wally's being nice and not telling the story there. I will. I had an off again, on again relationship with this woman for about four years. We always ate Taco Bell. It was her favorite. After the break up, I stopped going. I hadn't sworn it off, it just was never my first thing in the head when I was hungry. Then when Wally and I were campaigning in Indiana and West Virginia and that area for Hillary, he'd say, "How about Taco Bell?" And that was fine. But I'm used to ordering for my ex. So I order 2 seven layer burritos, 2 baja gorditos and 2 soft tacos -- both chicken. It's just my way of hanging on to a bad relationship, I guess.

Rebecca: I'll pounce because you said "bad relationship" and someone's going to e-mail to ask for details. So any detail you'll share?

Marcia: We were headed to her parents for Labor Day and everything exploded leading to the angriest words we ever exchanged and the decision to break up. While stuck on an interstate in non-moving traffic. For two hours. That's really not how you want to break up, trust me. After you've let loose with everything you've been holding back, you're really not going to want to be in the car for two hours with the person.

Jim: And I'll note that Marcia's laughing as she winds up that story. Okay, let me do a housekeeping note. A few e-mails came in Thursday and Friday about something being missing. Jonas e-mailed to say he "cannot believe Ava and C.I. took the weekend off and didn't write a TV piece. Has this ever happened before?" Jonas didn't read my note to the readers last week, obviously. 15 others e-mailed to ask if we'd taken down Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The show that keeps getting worse"? That's the piece Jonas was missing. It was published Sunday. Ava and C.I. added a correction to it at the end -- it wasn't the season finale -- on Wednesday. And then Blogger went crazy. Rebecca wrote about that in "e-mails" and it's why no one wrote Thursday night. Now Blogger did a note that they knocked all posts that were done after 7:00 pm, I think that was the time, Wednesday. They did that as part of their effort to get back online.

Jess: Blogger/Blogspot is the program we use here.

Jim: Thanks. Yes, it is. And due to the addition Ava and C.I. did, apparently that Sunday article became a Wednesday one. In reply to Jonas' question, thus far, Ava and C.I. have never not done a commentary, they haven't missed a week.

Ty: And, related topic, Roger e-mailed asking about what was going on but in terms of what happens if Blogger/Blogspot goes out during an edition? "There's no backup site so what would happen?"

Jess: That happened somehow one time. I don't remember the particulars. But I believe what we did was post Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary and our editorial either at The Common Ills or at the backup site for The Common Ills. Then, later that Sunday, it was back up and we posted everything here.

Cedric: On the backup site, I need to jump in. The Common Ills has a backup site at WordPress which Rebecca and I use. Once upon a time, Rebecca, C.I. and I had backup sites at Blogdrive. Rebecca and I no longer do. C.I. still does. What happened was discussed before but I was targeted and deleted from Blogdrive. They restored my site so I'll let everything go and wish them well but I don't blog there. Rebecca and C.I. both walked away from Blogdrive when what happened happened. But after it was restored, my site was back up at Blogdrive, I cross-posted the snapshot at C.I.'s blogdrive. And people were happy because that's site's the original backup site and it has it's own audience and following. I asked C.I. to continue posting there after I'd been crossposting the snapshot there. She eventually agreed. But though this has been touched on -- especially at Rebecca's site -- there are still people e-mailing me about how "C.I.'s stabbed you in the back!" No, she didn't. She walked away from Blogdrive in solidarity with me. When the cross-posting resumed at Blogdrive, the first three days were me doing the cross-posting, not her. And I'm the one who convinced her to continue it, noting that I'd do it myself if she didn't.

Jess: I know the answer but someone else might not. Rebecca, explain why Cedric was cross-posting.

Rebecca: When we had our Blogdrive sites, we all cross-posted for one another. If it was Thursday night, for example, since C.I. usually does "I Hate The War" Thursday night, we'd ask C.I. to cross post our entries. And we'd cross post for her. It just depended on who had time. Also Blogdrive has its own outages and there were some times when one of us couldn't get it but another would hours later and would immediatley cross-post. The same is true now on Wordpress, in that we'll all cross-post one another. It's one site and it's also true that anyone in the community can cross-post there if they want.

Ty: On TV, a number of e-mails. One person notes Betty is lucky because her show is still on -- Desperate Housewives. Others note Marcia's The Event got the axe and that Stan's No Ordinary Family did as well as did Rebecca's Brothers & Sisters.

Rebecca: When I blogged Friday, I didn't know. Marcia told me about it after I finished blogging. For Brothers & Sisters, I wish it had another season but at least the last episode that aired, as I pointed out Monday in "brothers & sisters," did work as a series finale as well.

Marcia: I was like the hangman or something. I was on the phone with a friend Saturday and she'd read "" and was saying, "Don't tell me, don't tell me!" What? She was afraid her show got the axe and that I'd tell her. Her show was General Hospital by the way.

Betty: They wouldn't announce it right now. To cancel One Life To Live, All My Children and General Hospital at the same time would mean a massive protest outside ABC leading to stockholders questioning the decision. What they've done instead is cut two shows -- with plans to cut General Hospital but not do it right now so that people will think, "Oh, we've got that one at least!!!" My opinion. I'm sorry for anyone who lost a favorite show. At my site, as I explained Friday in "Desperate Housewives," Desperate Housewives had a two-year pick up that was announced earlier, I think during the winter, but it might have been the fall.

Stan: Rebecca and I are the ones who lost shows. There's a chance The Event may continue in some manner. The Cape and No Ordinary Family both bit it. Those were the two I blogged about at my site. And both of Mike's two are coming back: Fringe and Chuck.

Jim: How much do cancellations have an effect? Beyond taking a show you like off the air?

Ruth: Well, this time last year, they got rid of The New Adventures of Old Christine and I have no watched CBS since. That was a decision I made. The show got solid ratings, led the night, and got the axe for proving itself. Well for being a show with a female lead, that is why they killed it. And I have had no interest in watch CBS since.

Betty: Same here. I don't watch CBS anymore. I will not forget that decision. Christine was a great show. And I wouldn't be surprised if animosity like that is built over and over by various networks.

Ty: On animosity, a lot of e-mail came in on Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The show that keeps getting worse" -- besides the people who thought we'd disappeared it when Blogger screwed up -- and the feeling of 331 who wrote in about the problems with SNL was that Seth Meyers is the problem. Dennis e-mailed to say, "Seth is about as funny on Weekend Update as Kevin Nealon was. Like Nealon, he's too old for the job, too out of touch and the skits he writes for the show just aren't funny. It's time for new blood."

Mike: I agree with that. When you watch the reruns on Comedy Central or Netflix, if you've got a Nealon update, he's always a bit off in his timing and has a deer caught in the headlights thing going on and both of those are Meyers. But Kevin Nealon was actually likeable while Seth Meyers comes across as prissy. It puts a wall up between him and the audience. He doesn't care because he's just playing for NYC. But in Boston and elsewhere, we don't find him funny.

Kat: Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey worked as Weekend Update hosts. Tina and Amy worked as well and that was the exception because, outside of the first five years, there's never been a good hand off. Jane Curtain and Dan Ayckroyd passed off to Jane and Bill Murray. That's really the only other time it's been handled so well. So it's not really a surprise that Seth sucks so bad on Weekend Update. He sucked on the show with Amy as co-anchor but she managed to make it seem like he sucked less so. The Meyers are an untalented family. Mike's talking about how prissy Seth is and his brother comes across the same way. We're on campuses -- Wally, Ava, C.I. and myself -- every week basicallly and you never hear a nice word about Saturday Night Live anymore. Either the students don't watch it or they hate it. And these are people who can't stop talking about Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel or anything funny on TV. But Saturday Night Live just isn't winning over an audience these days.

Isaiah: Can I point out something? Seth Meyers has one standard joke: "Racists!" It's not funny but it's what he goes to everytime. 'Republicans did this because they're racists,' 'Fox News is racist,' 'People who don't agree with Barack are racists,' etc. It's not funny -- and he appears to think that it's funny and that it's true -- and it really doesn't play well outside of White people. I mean, I watch and I'm not thinking, "Yeah, Seth Meyers, you stick it to those racists!" I watch it and I'm thinking, "Look at the White man scream 'racist' at his enemies. At the same time that Jay Pharoah can't get a reoccuring character and can't leave the ghetto of celebrity impressions. Fred's bi- or multi-racial, I know but the cast is way too White and when they repeatedly cry 'racist,' it's like someone needs to inform the White boy that we're not all on board with his little party.

Ann: Great point. I was going to say something similar. And I don't think Jay's funny in those celebrity skits. I think he's a mimic, a fabulous one, but the skits aren't funny. Whether he's Denzel or Will Smith, they're just not funny. And I think Jay writes those -- I guess they're monologues and not skits since they always involve him sitting down and speaking to the camera. But if he has any talent -- and I didn't think he did until I saw him play a role in that pregancy reality show skit two weeks ago -- it's not being used. And if he doesn't have any talent, that goes to what they expect or don't from their token Black performer.

Betty: Exactly.

Jim: Okay, we need to hear still from Trina and Elaine as well as Ava and C.I. "Maybe" because they'll probably say they're fine without talking.

Elaine: Okay, well let me go first. Saturday Night Live could do political satire. It was never as strong at political satire as Fridays was. But it was never, until Meyers became head writer, as week as Mad TV. Mad TV could not do political satire. I don't know if they didn't want to or they didn't think their audience could process it, but they couldn't do it and when forced to do a 'political' sketch, they would take political figures and then write them into bits that had nothing to do with anything they'd do, they'd put them in celebrity scandal or a reality show or something like that. Under Seth Meyers, repeatedly, Saturday Night Live has demonstrated it can no longer do political. The skill eludes him.

Trina: Good point. If the Republicans do a debate and you're unable to find humor in that, you're not much of a comedy writer. As Ava and C.I. rightly noted in their piece last week, the debate that took place was not spoofed. Instead Seth had to bring on people not present for the debate. He had to create things that never happened instead of spoofing what did take place. He's a very minor talent.

Jim: Agreed and on that note, we'll wrap it up.

Nouri makes announcement, broadcast hides head

Jim: Thursday Blogger/Blogspot was again on the fritz. As a result many that usually read the "Iraq snapshot" might have missed it that day. We're reprinting the opening.

Yesterday on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, Sawyer led with . . .

Diane Sawyer: It wasn't how it was supposed to go. Today in Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki held a press conference in which he declared he would be consulting with all political blocs to determine whether or not US forces should stay past December 2011. The Status Of Forces Agreement, more popularly known as the SOFA, signed in the last days of the Bush administration, was supposed to mean the Iraq War ended. In fact, let's go to footage of how we reported that November 27, 2008.

David Muir: We do have one other note from overseas tonight and this one is more promising. A milestone in Iraq today. Parliament ratified a security agreement that would require US troops to be out in three years. Marking the first clear timetable since the 2003 invasion. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor.

[Footage plays with headine "U.S.-IRAQ SECURITY DEAL Troops out in 3 years."]

David Muir (Con't): The US Embassy hailed the vote, saying the deal will "formalize a strong and equal partnership between the United States and Iraq." We turn now to Thanksgiving in . . .

Diane Sawyer: That was David Muir, sitting in for Charlie Gibson. And it wasn't just us, many outlets got it wrong. For example, this from CBS Evening News also from November 27, 2008 with Jeff Glor sitting in for Katie Couric.

Jeff Glor: In Iraq, it's finally down on paper tonight, a security deal that calls for all 150,000 US troops to leave the country by 2011, eight years after the invasion. And while the deal took many months to hammer out, the vote in Parliament today, wasn't even close. Elizabeth Palmer is in Baghdad.

Elizabeth Palmer: It was a fight to the finish. An Iraqi member of Parliament struggled to read out the final text of the agreement over the angry chants of opponents -- all of them followers of the anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. When the vote came, it was decisive with support from all of Iraq's main ethnic groups. The security agreement allows US troops to stay in Iraq for another 3 years but not on patrol like this. By July of 2009, they will largely be confined to base while Iraqi security forces take over. Maj Brandon Newton and his men work the streets of Dora, a Baghdad neighborhood that not long ago was a battle ground controlled by al Qaeda. Today though, the Americans can't remember their last attack.

Maj Brandon Newton: When you can't remember the last time something happened that's usually a good sign.

Elizabeth Palmer: So US forces have been able to switch focus, from combat to coaching Iraqi forces. Iraqi forces, flush with new skills and confidence, are now keen to take over but Lt Col Qadem [Jabr] like many admits he's glad to have backup. In areas where it's necesary, he says, the US forces support us when asked. That also reassures Iraqi civilians still learning to trust their new army and police.

Male Iraqi (unidentified): The Americans, I will miss them. The Americans never sleep but the Iraqis [indicates sleeping and then laughs].

Elizabeth Palmer: President-elect Obama has promised to pull all combat troops out within 16 months. But today's agreement allows some US forces to stay on in a support role. For once, the American and Iraqi political agendas appear to be in sync. Elizabeth Palmer, CBS News, Baghdad.

Diane Sawyer: Again, that was CBS Evening News, November 27, 2008. "A security deal that calls for all 150,000 US troops to leave the country by 2011." Wrong. To address how so many of us could have been so wrong, we now go to Martha Raddatz who is in North Carolina at Camp Lejeune where Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke earlier today. Martha, welcome. Martha? Martha, can you hear me? We seem to have be having some technical difficulties. Today, Nouri al-Maliki declared that if 70% of the members of political blocs were in favor of US troops remaining, that's what would happen. 70% seems like a high figure but it is not necessarily out of reach. For example, the Kurds make up approximately 30% and they are expected to fully support US troops remaining in Iraq beyond 2011. As I said earlier, ABC's Martha Raddatz is at Camp Lejeune where she covered Secretary Gates' speech today. Secretary Gates has been one of the leading forces on extending the US military presence in Iraq beyond 2011. So, as we go to break, and to show just how wrong we can all be, here's Vanity Fair's Todd S. Purdum speaking on PBS' Washington Week, Novembe 28, 2008.

Todd S. Purdum: Having Secretary Gates at Defense would continue stability there. Obviously President Obama would bring in his own perspective. But if he needs to wind down the Iraq War, which is what he said he'd do in his campaign, there's really no better way to do it -- in terms of managing the process at the Pentagon with the generals and the uniformed forces -- then having a person trusted like Secretary Gates be there to do that. It's almost a Nixon in China kind of way. As we know, Secretary Gates was part of the Iraq Study Group until he stopped being it to take the job and he comes from that realist school of Brent Scowcroft, people who were around the first Presidet Bush. So it looks like a pretty solid team.

The above? Excerpts from November 27th and November 28th of 2008 did broadcast as quoted. But the wrap around of Diane Sawyer from yesterday? Nope.

ABC, CBS and NBC did not see fit, on their evening news yesterday, to carry the news about the SOFA. But following a report by Dan Harris, Diane Sawyer was happy to turn World News into America's Funniest Home Videos, explaining, "And you have to see this video while Dan was there in the park -- did you see him there on the bench -- a persistent squirrel started fighting him for some camera time and food and you can see the showdown, look who won at ABC News, the squirrel by the way wants to come back."

This morning's papers contain many stories about Nouri's press conference. For example, Sahar Issa and Roy Gutman (McClatchy Newspapers) report, "Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday that he would engage in a months-long consultation with Iraq's many poliitical factions before deciding whether to ask the United States to keep some troops in the country. Al-Maliki said he would back a continued U.S. troop presence if he found that at least 70 percent of the country's political leadership favored such a move." In approximately 7 months, 'all' US troops were supposed to be out of Iraq so Nouri's announcement is big news . . . unless you count on broadcast news.

And the lack of interest in this development is all the more amazing when you grasp that broadcast news used the SOFA as their excuse to withdraw from Iraq. Never before in its history had ABC News not kept staff in a region where the US had an official (as opposed to covert) war. But the SOFA was their excuse to bail. They made a big to do about how they'd be using BBC News to cover Iraq. What was that, once, twice? Three times? And then they were done with the whole topic. CBS thought (and still does) that Elizabeth Palmer could clone herself and cover the entire MidEast. Most appalling was NBC because it's also the cable network MSNBC -- meaning it has to produce more 'product.' While CNN had a staff in Iraq, stationed in Iraq, what did MSNBC have?

Nothing. They used Richard Engel (or misused) almost as badly as CBS did Elizabeth Palmer.

(Of the three commercial, broadcast news programs, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams has done the best job of covering Iraq. That's not saying much, granted, but Brian Williams has shown a real interest in the continuing events and Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer have not. The latter two also lacked the interest or ability to provide context to the events and probably the reason Nightly News dominates the ratings is because -- whether you agree with his take or not -- Brian Williams does know how to provide context.)

Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) quotes Nouri al-Maliki stating, "This is a big national issue, and it needs a national consensus." It's a real shame no one in the administration is making the same point here in the US.

Conspiracy Against the Cuban Five

Workers World reprint:

Journalists in conspiracy against Cuban Five

Published May 15, 2011 9:23 AM

Miami Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn Heck Miller once again attempted to block any justice in the case of the Cuban Five on April 25, by opposing the current motion asking for relief for Gerardo Hernández’s convictions and life sentences. Heck Miller also opposed a similar habeas appeal filed for Antonio Guerrero.

The struggle to free the Cuban Five continues to be fought hard in court and in every arena since their arrest on Sept. 12, 1998. Every turn yields new facts to expand support for these five heroic men, who are abused as surrogates for the socialist revolution they defended and that U.S. imperialism has found impossible to destroy.

The Cuban Five monitored the activities of Florida-based anti-Cuba paramilitaries engaged in bombing and violent attacks that have taken more than 3,000 human lives since 1959, primarily in Cuba, but in the U.S. and other countries, too. In the 1990s Cuban tourist hotels became targets in an attempt to block Cuba’s economic development after the collapse of Cuba’s major Eastern European socialist trading partners like the Soviet Union.

One of several issues presented in the current legal action is that “the U.S. government had been paying at least 10 Miami journalists — regarded as ‘among the most popular in South Florida’ — to advance an anti-Cuba propaganda campaign.” ( According to documents wrested into public view through Freedom of Information Act requests by the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five and the Washington, D.C.-based Partnership for Civil Justice, these “widely-read Miami journalists were on the government payroll in the months leading up to and throughout the defendants’ trial, and the stories they published asserted the defendants’ guilt.”

In August 2005 a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the Cuban Five’s convictions, citing extensive publicity before and during the trial that contributed to a “perfect storm” against the defendants in Miami. Although that decision was later reversed by the full court, it acknowledged the effect of these “journalists” a full year before the Miami Herald made it known that they were paid U.S. government propagandists.

As a result of that storm, Hernández was sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years and is currently being held in Victorville, Calif. Antonio Guerrero, René González, Fernando González and Ramón Labañino are also unjustly being held in U.S. prisons with long sentences.

Heck Miller’s bias

A self-described mastermind of terror campaigns against Cuba, Luis Posada Carriles was involved in bombings of Havana hotels and the first mid-air bombing of a commercial aircraft. In 2000, possessing C-4 explosives, he was arrested and convicted of attempting to assassinate then-Cuban President Fidel Castro and many other innocent people at a university in Panama.

During a recent perjury trial against Posada in El Paso, Texas, Department of Homeland Security Attorney Gina Garrett-Jackson testified she asked Heck Miller to consider criminal charges against him. According to Attorney José Pertierra’s El Paso Diary, Heck Miller wasn’t interested in doing so. (, Jan. 21)

Pertierra wrote, “Heck Miller is the Miami prosecutor who insisted on bringing the case of the Five to trial, refused to move the case out of Miami, and was instrumental in seeing that they would be given unjustly long sentences.

“Incredible but true, as we learned today, she is also the prosecutor in Miami who decided not to press criminal charges against Luis Posada Carriles in 2005: the man who directed the terrorist campaign against Cuba that the Five tried to stop in order to save lives.”

It is organizing efforts, large and small, that tell the story of the struggle to build the movement to free the Cuban Five that will finally send them home to their loved ones in Cuba. As the Cubans say, “Volveran” — They shall return.


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, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"Iraq snapshot" -- like Jim, many of the readers felt this was 'the missing snapshot.' Due to Blogger/Blogspot being on the fritz, most didn't see it until Friday afternoon if they saw it (the Thursday snapshot) then.

"Tell White Anglo Bitch Amy Goodman to stop" -- Ava takes on Goody Whore.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Family Affair" -- Isaiah on the family scandals.

"Kat's Korner: The vision and authenticity of Stevie Nicks" -- Kat's review of Stevie Nicks' new album.

"Orange and Onion Salad in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers a recipe using fresh produce.

"Where are the jobs?" -- Trina asks the basic question.

"Desperate Housewives," "The axe," "Chuck and Fringe," "brothers & sisters ii," "60 Bad Minutes," "Chuck," "Desperate Housewives," "brothers & sisters," "The Event," "Chuck v. Fringe" and "Isaiah, Fringe, Third" -- Betty, Marcia, Mike, Rebecca and Ruth cover TV while Ann covers radio:

"e-mails" -- Rebecca works through e-mails.

"Dylan" -- Kat offers Dylan's statement.

"Movies" and "Little Fockers" -- Kat and Stan cover films.

"The costs" and "One person told you the truth" -- Elaine notes the cost of truth telling.

"The years of paying" -- Ruth notes the cost.

"Can we get an independent investigator?" & "THIS JUST IN! HIS TRASHY FAMILY!" and "Delightful relatives and Obamacare" & "THIS JUST IN! BARRY, BARRY, BARRY!" -- That family. One embarrassment after another.
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