Sunday, June 24, 2012

Truest statement of the week

Now, by the way, Mr. [US House Rep Timothy] Walz -- now, Mr. Walz, she [VA Under Secretary Allison Hickey] doesn't need your defense here for her past accomplishments. And I don't need a lecture from you of her past.  We're talking about what she's going to do for the VA now. I'll stipulate any accomplishments that she's had. I respect her service.  But if she can't do this job, I don't care what she has done in the past.  Okay? So don't lecture me about how I don't have respect for someone's past.  She's talking about the future -- the present and the future.  And she didn't give one answer or one recognition that there was any problem -- in all her testimony, in every answer.  This Chairman [Marlin Stutzman] asked her a number of things. She talked for three-and-a-half minutes and didn't give the answer and still doesn't know the answer.  So let's talk about what she's doing right here and right now.  And I said if one of your veterans -- And she didn't answer your question, your very good questions, Mr. Walz, about the time period of what's going on in Minneapolis?  She just said, 'Oh, from time to time we have surges.'  You asked are we heading toward a lowest common denominator and she never answered that.  So don't -- I mean be a little more critical of the kind of answers we're getting.  We don't have a plan. This whole hearing was about a plan.  If I were her, I would have given out the plan.  But we still don't have one.  Again, Ms. Hickey, if I were you, leadership comes from the top. The top is saying, "There is no problem."  You ask any veteran in my district, in Mr. Walz' district, in Mr. [Mike] Michaud's district, in Mr. Stutzman's district: Is there a problem?  Every one will say, "Yes."  Now you can say, 'They don't understand fully.  Their perception is wrong, we've had a surge of this.  We did this.  We had the Vietnam era.'  I don't care what -- you have not either acknowledged the problem or say how we're going to get out of it.  You gave us an assurance of a date.  And Mr. Walz asked --  I know it's not a very bright question -- 'Are you committed? Is it going to happen?'  What is she going to say?  "No"?  We've had these questions, we've had these committments for years and years and years and years.  And Mr. Walz asked you another softball question: 'Has anything been tried as this big before?  We have tried every single thing that you have as your initiatives -- has been tried.   Every one of them at some point.  In fact, we've had far more comprehensive plans than your forty initiatives lumped together.  Nothing has worked.  It's gotten worse.  And you refuse to admit it.  You refuse to acknowledge it.  And you don't give us a plan to fix it.  What am I to think? 'Well, she was an Air Force General that did great things.'  If it doesn't happen by 2015, are you going to say I resign or what's going to happen if you're at the top?  And it's always two or three years out.  It's never, "I'm going to do this tomorrow."  You've been working on this.  Your predecessor's been working on this.  I don't have any assurance.  You can't even correct a date on the computer for a year-and-a-half and you call it a "glitch."  What confidence do I have that you can do anything if it took a year-and-a-half to fix a "glitch?"  The simplest thing.  Put a date in.  You could have done it by hand in a few months.  It took you a year-and-a-half.  You still haven't done it.  I'm sure we'll get a memo from you -- I just bet, you want to make a bet right now -- that you'll ask for another extension.  I just bet.  When's that going to be done?  Why should we have any confidence in 2015 that a system of a million backlog is going to be fixed when we can't even get a "glitch" fixed in a year-and-a-half?  What gives me the confidence?  That you were an Air Force General?  Sorry, it doesn't work. Give me some confidence.  What has worked so far?  Everything has been a problem.

--- Ranking Member Bob Filner in Tuesday's House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on the VBA (see the Wednesday snapshot).

Truest statement of the week II

Obama's flagrant violations of U.S. Constitutional and international law have, in less than four years, far surpassed even the outrages committed by his predecessors. His constant tactic of baiting the everyday people with omissions, half truths, and outright lies has quite possibly been the most insidiously effective against ordinary people of any U.S. president - ever.

Due, in substantial measure, to the support of many 'liberals,' so-called 'progressives,' and much of the 'left,' who hypocritically refuse to hold Barack Obama to the same standards of accountability as they did his Republican party predecessors, he has been able to hoodwink and emaciate the struggling everyday people of this nation. The Obama regime, from its very beginning, was (and continues to be) one of deception, subterfuge, political repression, and non-transparency. This is precisely why it was so crucial for the systemic power-brokers (both Democrat and Republican) to have ensured that the 'Obama brand' was, in 2008, installed as the head of the U.S. corporate/military Empire. The terribe damage that Barack Obama has inflicted upon the people of this nation and world is incalculable.

-- Cindy Sheehan, "Barack Obama: The more insidious evil" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox).

A note to our readers

Hey --
Another Sunday.

First up, we thank all who participated this edition 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),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?

US House Rep Bob Filner earned a truest.
As did Cindy Sheehan.

Though the TV and radio work so hard to ignore Iraq, it's very unstable, very violent and not all what Barack's promised.

Ava and C.I. explore fame, stardom and the revival of Dallas on TNT.

Dona roundtables with C.I., Ava, Kat and Wally about last week's Congressional hearings on veterans issues.

We all love Betty's title and tried hard to think of  a way to really spotlight it.  We came up with this.  Again, Betty, pricless! :D

I (Jim) host a roundtable on entertainment issues.  Let me note here that we had an article on McGurk and Chon that Ava and C.I. didn't participate in and that just didn't come off interesting no matter how many drafts, we also worked on a drone piece that we couldn't pull off, we attempted an Anne-Marie Slaughter piece tht failed and I forget the other big time waster that wasn't publishable.  I decided to call an entertainment roundtable where we used e-mails from last week for topics.

Lentil chips.  They should have been so good.  They were soooooooooooo bad.

Senator Patty Murray fights to keep veterans on an equal health care playing field.

Did Stein qualify for matching contributions in your state?

Repost from Workers World.

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

And that's what we came up with.  We'll see you next week.  There are rumors that it will be our summer fiction issue.  Probably not. 


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

Editorial: Iraq in a week

It was the week of Iraq . . . if you bothered to pay attention.  Which few did.

standing behind mcgurk

It started with the White House vowing to stand behind their pick for US Ambassador to Iraq, the supremely unqualified Brett McGurk.  Less than 18 hours later, McGurk was out.  If you never got just how unqualified McGurk was, you just had to wait for his boyfriends to come crawling out of the woodwork to defend their fellow.  Neocons and War Hawks like David Frum.  And  the always ridiculous Fred Kaplan.

When these floating turds start whining "Poor Brett, we loved him well," you know McGurk was even worse than his scant resume suggested.

The political crisis in Iraq continued . . . despite little attention from the US press.  The Iraqi press?  They reported last week that the White House is pressuring everyone to 'wrap it up' because they don't want the crisis on voters' minds when November rolls around.   US Vice President Joe Biden was supposed to visit.  But, the Iraqi press reported, Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and US-installed thug of Iraq -- told Joe not to bother.

 It's really important to US President Barack Obama that no one be thinking about Iraq as the elections approach.  If they do, Barack's fake  Iraq accomplishment looks even less impressive.  Not only because he was unable to name one ambassador to Iraq who could stick out for a four-year term.  (McGurk, if he had been comfirmed, would have been Barack's third US Ambassador to Iraq -- following Chris Hill and James Jeffrey).  But also because the White House's choice to back Nouri after Nouri didn't win the 2010 elections, to piss on the democratic process and tell Iraqi voters, "You got, Nouri, suck on it!" seems especially misguided now that the country is gripped in gridlock.

If American voters started talking about that, they might notice that the US-brokered an agreement in November 2010, the Erbil Agreement.  Since Nouri didn't win those elections, the Erbil Agreement was required to give him a second term.  The US swore to the Kurds, Iraqiya and others that this was a binding contract and that, in exchange for their letting loser Nouri have a second term as prime minister, they would get this and they would get that.  It was legal! It was signed!

Nouri used it to get his second term and then refused to keep any of the promises he had made.  And the White House didn't stick up for the agreement and acted like they didn't even know about it.  (The US press quickly followed the White House lead.)

Iraq's chaos and violence.  It's not an accomplishment for Barack.  And if American voters look to closely, they might come across the the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released [PDF format warning] "The Gulf Security Architecture: Partnership With The Gulf Co-Operation Council" reported on in the Tuesday "Iraq snapshot."

Barack insists he ended the Iraq War (bombings last week indicate otherwise) and brought all the US troops home.

No, he didn't.  Not only are about 1,000 US troops still in Iraq, you've got the troops Barack moved to surrounding countries.  As the Senate report documents, there are over 13,000 in Kuwait alone and stationed in Kuwait so they can move quickly back into Iraq.  And the Senate's recommending keeping them there for several years more.

That's not really what Barack promised but he's always had a problem being truthful to the American people.  Fortunately for him, so much of the press has been eager to lie for him.

 So Wednesday morning you could read about these troops in some outlets.  For example, Maqsood Hussain (News Tribe) reports, "The United States has now nearly 15,000 troops in three bases across Kuwait -- triple the average number of American forces in the Middle Easter country before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 [. . .]"  Jennifer Rizzo (CNN) opens with, "The United States has approximately 15,000 troops in Kuwait, according to a Senate report released Tuesday,, the first time the number has been disclosed."  But the paper that did more to sell the illegal war than any other 'forgot' to use its front page to announce reality.

In a bid for public sympathy, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani got the press to whisper on Thursday that when he returned from his 'emergency' procedure in Germany (he had knee surgery), he was going to resign as president.  No one cared, much to Jalal's dismay.

 Friday brought more bombings.  From that day's snapshot:

Iraq has again been slammed with bombings today.  AP reports there were 2 roadside bombings, one after the other.   Kareem Raheem (Reusters) quotes police officer Mudhaffar Khalaf stating, 'Fruit and vegetables have been scattered everywhere.  Some children were wounded.  We have started to eacuate the injured people."  Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) quotes shoe store owner Mohammed Hussein al-Jizani stating he heard one blast, "Three minutes later there was a second explosion as people and policemen were rushing to the site of the first bomb.  The evil insurgents chose the best time to attack, because the market is usually busy on Fridays with young people gathering to sell and buy birds."  The Voice of Russia counts 14 dead and over one-hundred injured.  But that's just Baghdad.  If you visit the Iraqi press, you'll find Alsumaria is reporting a roadside bombing near Samarra Hospital which left three people injured, a Samarra suicide car bombing targeting a bus of pilgrims claimed the life of 1 of them and left nine more injured as well as one Iraqi soldier and two police officers, and the Sunni Endwoment in Samarra was also targeted with a bombing resulting in serious structural damage and injured civilians (plural -- so at least two, no actual number is given for the wounded) who were passing by.

 It wasn't the only violence that week, it wasn't even the only violence this month.  Haider Najm (Niqash) explained:

The past week has been a deadly one for Iraqis. A wave of coordinated attacks around the country targeted Shiite Muslim pilgrims and others observing a week of holy days. The results, according to Iraqi Body Count, an organization that analyses reports of deadly incidents in Iraq from around the world and from Iraq, saw 92 killed on the deadliest day, Wednesday June 16, and a further 121 killed over the following week. Many hundreds more were wounded with around 300 injured on Wednesday.
This was one of the deadliest weeks in Iraq following the withdrawal of US troops late last year and Iraqi Body Count estimates that 315 civilians had been killed up in Iraq up until June 19.

Saturday brought news of Nouri's plans to close down 44 media outlets in Iraq including the BBC.

All of that and so much more.  Including an American family who begs the Iraqi government to returned their loved one who died this month.

Iraq.  The country that the US government tore apart and now wants desperately to keep voters from thinking about.

TV: The fickle fate of stardom

The thing about stardom is that it just isn't fair.  And that's not a detail that's secret by design, more by delusion.  At a certain age -- say 30 or 40 -- most men and women with no filmography to speak of will give up the years of table waiting and find another path.  Lily Tomlin's Margo Spelling was a resourceful version of this realization in Robert Benton's The Late Show while Jane Fonda's Gloria Beatty offered a more tragic outcome of this realization in Sydney Pollack's They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Still many people pursue stardom -- for a variety of reasons including art, money, popularity, childhood issues -- though few will achieve it.   In the fall of 1973, Donny Most and Anson Williams probably thought they -- at least one of them -- stood a good chance at it since they were playing series lead Ron Howard's best friend.  But then ABC put Happy Days on the air in January of 74 and the star was the little extra who surprised everyone: Henry Winkler as the Fonz.  Suddenly, the writers had to scramble to beef up Winkler's part (and get him out of the windbreaker and into a leather jacket).  On the same network a few years later, Joyce DeWitt repeatedly thought stardom was just about to find her.  First up, when Three's Company debuted in 1977 and John Ritter was the network's designated star, DeWitt hoped she could ride the coattails but Suzanne Somers was the breakout star.  When Somers left the show, DeWitt thought her day would come.  Instead, everyone was  more than fine with giving newcomers and guest stars the build up which led to awkward, and sometimes vicious, moments for DeWitt and others.  When Shell Kepler (famous to General Hospital fans as Amy Vining) scored with viewers at the end of season five and ABC felt she might have something similar to Sommers, DeWitt made clear she wasn't being Chrissy Snow-ed again.  Instead, Kepler was brought back for a two-parter in season six and treated like dirt by DeWitt who saw to it that most of Kepler's lines got cut before filming.  DeWitt would hang around for eight seasons waiting for the call from stardom that never came.

Right now the phone's ringing for Josh Henderson.


If you're asking, that's your first clue that you're out of the loop.  In the last three weeks, Henderson's become the industry buzz for his portrayal of John Ross Ewing III on TNT's Dallas.


Dallas is a continuation of the CBS TV prime time soap opera that began life as a 1978 mini-series, followed by nine strong seasons, four where it lagged and then two TV movies (plus a TV movie prequel).  It's the show that made Larry Hagman a star.  Hagman was already famous and well known and liked by the public as Barbara Eden's co-star in I Dream of Jeannie.  But it was the role of oil tycoon J.R. which allowed Hagman to become a star.

And it wasn't Hagman on his own.  The death of the show with viewers tracks with the disappearance of the other star of the original series: Victoria Principal.  Hagman and Principal drove the mini-series allowing others (including Linda Gray and Charlene Tilton) to just stand around doing nothing.  Principal had the star power to immediately grab the audience and have them rooting for her as she stood up to J.R. That dynamic is what turned the mini-series into a TV series.

Forgotten in all the hoopla that would come a few years later with "Who Shot J.R.?" is the fact that Principal carries half the mini-series (Hagman the other half).  Producers Leonard Katzman and Phil Capice understood that but had different notions of how to use the two stars.  Katzman thought the show worked best with Pam suffering while Capice thought the stories were better when Pam was able to stand up to J.R.  Regardless, there was a realization that the polar opposites of J.R. and Pam were the show and that their conflict drove the show much more than the Ewing oil dramas that were so quickly forgotten.  Who's in charge of Ewing Oil this week was far less important than  J.R. insisting to Pam in one episode, "I've despised you ever since the day Bobby brought you home" or Pam offering in another, "You have no heart.  You have no feelings.  You can't be hurt like other people, but you have one soft spot, one weakness and that's Ewing Oil, the only thing you've ever loved."

Katzman loved women as victims, Capice loved strong women.  After the mini-series, the show's finest seasons is the 1985-1986 season.  Capice will be ousted at the end,  Principal will have a reduced role as she prepares to the exit the show and the CBS show will never again be a weekly must-see.  Principal was a strong woman and whether Pam was being victimized or overcoming, that strength couldn't be hidden (nor did viewers want it hidden).  That made her a standout for TV at that time and especially for Dallas.

Linda Gray was busy learning her way (in the 1983-1984 season, Gray becomes a first-rate actress) and Charlene Tilton's too busy dating and whining (most infamous whine was about meeting her hero Barbara Streisand who blows her off but Tilton manages to save everything -- including the tray which she has laminated -- Streisand ate on in the studio commissary) to worry about acting.  Women were treated like crap off screen unless they were strong and smart like Principal.  It's why so many of the Knots Landing actresses loathed cross-over episodes with Dallas (and why there were so few cross-over episodes between the two).

And it's why Donna Reed was treated like crap.  Barbara Bel Geddes wanted a check.  That's all she ever wanted her entire career.  She gave the same performance -- the same pathetic performance -- in Vertigo that she did in Dallas.  There was a subtext of I-hate-men in that performance, whether it was staring at the outside of Jimmy Stewart's apartment while Kim Novak is inside or the glares her Miss Ellie gave Jock.  But that undercurrent was always cloaked in a faux maternal glow that was especially creepy when aimed at actors her character was supposed to be romantically attracted to or romantically engaged with.

By the time she got to play Miss Ellie, the woman who never tired of insisting she was wrongly caught in the Red Scare of McCarthyism just wanted her check more than ever.  And Miss Ellie largely reacted to all the backstabbings as if she were zonked out on qualudes.

Health reasons forced Bel Geddes off the show but everyone wanted to keep Miss Ellie.  So a search was on and Academy Award winner Donna Reed was selected.  Before she signed a contract, Reed had been very clear about how she'd play Miss Ellie.  She wouldn't play stupid and she wouldn't play doormat.  With Jock long dead and off the show, the producers liked the idea of someone who would stand up to J.R. and Reed was signed for three seasons.

Quickly Katzman and Reed were in conflict because of their concepts of women.  Reed was playing the role as she said she would -- and Miss Ellie was actually a better character.  But Bel Geddes suddenly wanted back on the show and Donna Reed was fired after only one season (she and Hagman also didn't get along).  A real shame because Reed was leaving an impression and like Morgan Brittany, Priscilla Pointer and Susan Howard, making a mark on the show.  Shoving Capice out of the picture results in the death of strong women and Pam's departure means the end of any relevance for the CBS show.

'What about Patrick Duffy?' some will ask.  We went through all of that to explain what about Patrick Duffy.  He's a likeable personality and a famous TV actor.  He's not a star, not even a TV star.  While the show aired on CBS, Duffy was convinced that Bobby needed this or that.  Eventually, he was insisting on a dark side.  When nothing resulted in what he wanted (stardom), he left the show.  Big money and a year of reality brought him back to the show.

Duffy's not a bad actor.  He's most writers' dream of an actor in fact.  Duffy is faithful to the text and attempts to enhance it.  He will not subvert it.  He will try to be true to the page.  And that means he's never giving a bad performance.  Even in the worst episode of The Man From Atlantis, Duffy is believable.  But the refusal to go against the grain also means Duffy's never left any lasting mark.

What about the new Dallas?

We offered all of that to explain the new Dallas as well.

Like Josh Henderson, the busty Jesse Metcalfe got attention in the last decade by playing a gardener on Desperate Housewives.  In fact, Metcalfe got far more attention from that turn than did Henderson.  And with the TNT series, he probably assumed he'd be the star.  He even gets top billing.

But Metcalfe, playing Pam and Bobby's grown up son Christopher, is more like Duffy than Principal.  Metcalfe has faithfully followed one script after another -- even bad ones.  He's a good looking man who frequently hits all the right notes but he's not a star.

The other star in the cast is Jordana Brewster who plays Elena Ramos, current lover of John Ross and ex-fiancee of Christopher.  She's sort of in the oil business with John Ross (they're supposed to be partners) but also helping Christopher with his pursuit of alternative energy.  Which means a lot of boring talk with Metcalfe about methane but she supplies a sexual undercurrent to those scenes that keeps them alive.

John Ross and Christopher are at odds.  And John Ross doesn't just want to bet on oil, he wants to drill on the family ranch Southfork.  This brings the CBS castmates in because Bobby's not letting anyone violate Miss Ellie's will and wishes that no oil rigs ever grace Southfork.  When John Ross refuses to back down to his uncle, it's Ewing warfare yet again.

Where's J.R.?

In a nursing home, not speaking, not registering.  The loss of Ewing Oil to Pam's brother Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) and Southfork to Bobby appear to weigh heavily.  After learning he has cancer, Bobby begins re-evaluating his life and goes to speak to his basically comatose brother.  After going up against Bobby and needing help, John Ross goes to J.R.  As John Ross vents about how Bobby's planning to sell Southfork and turn it over to a conservation group, J.R. finally speaks.  He's been faking all along.  Apparently waiting for the day when someone realized they still needed J.R.

Hagman's delicious in the role.  And  show runner Cythia Cidre (who also wrote the TNT pilot) knows just when to bring him in.  Bobby's cancer is only dramatic enough for so long.  After that, a wallowing sets in and you really need J.R. right when he arrives.

"Son, the courts are for amateurs and the faint of heart," J.R. advises John Ross who's trying to figure out how to get what he wants.

What of Linda Gray?  Sue Ellen wants to be the next governor of Texas.  And just might become that. Her opening scene carries so much promise and then she's largely forgotten.  (It is just like old times!) Gray sold a later scene in the pilot by playing it with a barely restrained fierceness.  Even so,  you were still left thinking how abrupt and tacked on the whole thing felt.  In that scene, Sue Ellen explains to John Ross that Bobby selling off Southfork isn't a done deal, "Listen to me carefully, son.  I know you are disdainful of my connections but they are powerful.  Think of me as an ally.  I can help."  All that prepared for that moment was a brief reaction shot of a wary Sue Ellen at the dinner table as Bobby announced his plan to sell Southfork and a line of disagreement with Ann (Brenda Strong) in an argument that is dropped as they both see Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) in her wedding dress.

That's one of the subplots.  Why did Elena and Christopher break up?  Why is Christopher marrying Rebecca?  Will Bobby sell Southfork?  What of the cancer?

The tumor's removed and Bobby begins drug treatment that will hopefully leave him tumor free.  Elena and Christopher broke up because of an e-mail he sent her.  Only he didn't.  And when he denies it, she's left suspecting John Ross sent it and stuck as Rebcca's bridesmaid at the wedding, watching Christopher marry another woman.  A woman who loves him and his money.  Tommy (Callard Harris) shows up for the wedding, he's her brother.  Or that's what they tell people.  The two are con artists.  They've spent two years plotting how Rebecca would land Christopher. That e-mail?  After Elena accuses John Ross of sending it, he hires a private detective who informs him Rebecca sent that e-mail posing as Christopher.

As for Southfork, J.R. and John Ross now want Bobby to sell the ranch.  Marta Del Sol (Lenor Varela Palma) is handling the purchase for her father's conservatory.  Only she's actually working with J.R. and John Ross.  And they're counting on the millions Vincente (Carlos Bernard) will be supplying them with in exchange for a steady supply of Southfork oil.

Two good things may immediately stand out about the show Cidre's now running: Women are more integral to the stories and the TNT show boasts one of the largest Latino casts in prime time currently or in the last two years.  But the main thing that should stand out is what fun it is.

The twists and turns will surprise you.  Brewster will add weight to the emotional scenes and, most importantly, to the let's-go-to-the-lab-and-develop scenes.  She's been in several movies but she's catching fire in this role and if enough people aren't yet talking about that, it's only because Josh Henderson is a super nova that's difficult to look away from.

As John Ross, he is the worst of J.R. and Sue Ellen (including his mother's problems with drinking) and the actor seems to have absorbed characteristics of Hagman and Gray.  He does a variation on J.R.'s naughty delicious grin and when he's actually listening to someone he holds his head in a manner similar to Gray when Sue Ellen's considering what's going on around her.  Sue Ellen, especially on CBS, always studied what took place a great deal more than she ever commented.  Catch especially those early around the dinner table scenes from the seventies and early 80s of the show.

And you can catch it on TNT or XFINITY.  One episode.   If you're a cable or satellite subscriber, you can log in at TNT and watch multi-episodes.  If not, they allow one episode.  They are running one week behind so, right now, that's episode two.  XFINITY puts new episodes up on Friday.  Again, only one episode is made available to those who don't log in with a cable or satellite ID.  But they have the latest episode.  Meaning you can catch episode two with TNT and then flip over to XFINITY for episode three. (You can also buy episodes from Amazon among others.)  To watch episodes when they first air each Wednesday night on TNT, second hour of prime time.

"Trust me, Southfork will be mine," John Ross declares at the end of the first episode. "And only mine.  The fun is just beginning."  Bad guy or not, you find yourself hoping he's right.

Congress and Veterans


Dona: Last week, the House Veterans Affairs Committee held one hearing and two Subcommittees held a hearing each.   C.I. covered them in "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot."  Wally, Kat and Ava were at the hearings as well -- Ava at one, Wally at all three, Kat at one.  This feature became a must this week because C.I. had a ton to tackle from the Tuesday full Committee hearing and so she moved one to here because it was a topic we were discussing in last week's "Congress and Veterans."  You can read that in full but the issue C.I. and I were discussing was the Post-9/11 GI Education Bill and how certain schools would not be part of it as a result of a bill Senator Jim Webb's proposed and also as a result of an attitude.  C.I. noted that under the current law and the bill proposed, legendary film actor Steve McQueen would not have been able to train at The Actors Studio or elsewhere as he was able to after he was discharged from the Marines. The emphasis was instead on degrees and on bachelors.  Tuesday, in the House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, acting Chair Gus Bilirakis raised the issue of other legislation and how it was effecting education.

Acting Chair Gus Bilirakis:  Also I want to bring in an additional detail to the VA witnesses.  Last week, chancellor of the Florida college system informed the Committee  staff that VA has determined that 23 of the 28 Florida community colleges would not qualify to provide training under the VRAP program that was part of the Vow To Hire Heroes Act that was passed last November.  The reason given for this denial is that each of the 23 community colleges awards a very limited number of bachelor degrees most often in technical or healthcare fields such as bachelor's degrees in nursing.  It is clear to me that VA is ignoring the traditional community focus approach those schools continue to offer.  Unlike four year schools that offer bachelor and higher degrees generally without regard to the local needs, these schools continue to provide education.and training that reflect what their surrounding communities need.  In fact, using VA's narrow definition of community college, if a school awarded one bachelor's degree, along with hundreds or even thousands of  associates degrees, that school would not qualify for VRAP training. It is like saying, this analogy, that a bank that offers coffee to patrons is no longer a bank and is now a Starbucks.  This issue is not limited to the state of Florida. According to the American Association of Community Colleges,  64 of their members in Florida, Nevada, Georgia, Texas, North and South Dakota,  Puerto Rico, Arizona,  Utah, Kansas, Wisconsin, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Vermont, Indiana and Washington award -- or are authorized to award -- limited numbers of bachelor degrees.

Dona: Like Wally, Bilirakis hails from Florida. Wally, your thoughts?

Wally: Honestly surprised to learn any community college gives out a bachelor degree.  I thought associates were the norm for community colleges.  I was also surprised we only have 28 community colleges in Florida because I thought they were all over.  I guess that's just in the big cities in Florida.  As you pointed out, this goes back to the point C.I. was making about what's being valued and what isn't.  And maybe people need to be asking what happened to the choice of the veteran?

Dona: Ava, some background?

Ava:  VRAP is the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program.  It's a program that covers 12 months of training.  If someone drops out of the program, as Senator Richard Burr has observed, the slot remains vacant.  No one is plugged into it.  Meaning that the 54,000 people in the program set to kick off October 1st are in the program and if they drop out for any reason, those slots are empty.

Dona: C.I., you noted you agreed with Bilirakis, in the snapshot, you wrote that.

C.I.: And I do.  He's correct. This should not be happening.  We've gone from trades not being good enough to now associate degrees aren't good enough.  What is the point of this program?  I thought it was to serve veterans.  But I don't see how when their needs and interests aren't being served but someone else's are.

Dona: Kat, any thoughts?

Kat: Yeah, I'm glad that we're revisting this because it makes much more sense now.  I understood the McQueen analogy last week but sitting in that hearing Tuesday, I sort of thought, "What?"  And excuse me but why is a four year degree needed?  Not just, who need it to work but why is it needed for the VRAP program?  A bachelor's degree is a four year degree.   This is a 12 month program, as Ava just noted.  VRAP is 12 month programming.

Wally: I just don't like the idea that somebody's deciding this beside the veteran.  Yeah, no one wants anyone ripped off.  But I think you give some education counseling and then you trust that the veteran will make their own decision.

Ava: You will trust this person with a gun, you will train them to kill but you don't trust them to make their own education choices?

Wally: And a trade or a craft is just as valuable as something that requires a four-year degree, especially if it's what the veteran wants.  Kat's point, by the way, about this is a 12-month program, VRAP, and we're hearing from Bilirakis that they're disqualifying those not doing the bachelor programs, I agree what's going on there?  It makes no sense.

Dona: To turn to another big topic from the hearing, the backlog.  Ranking Member Bob Filner will get a "truest" with his statements about the backlog but what do you think about that?

Kat: It's just really frustrating to sit in these hearings and hear over and over that we're working on it and next year it'll be fixed and next year comes and it's the same song-and-dance.  I almost laughed -- not at Filner but with him -- when he wasn't in the mood to put up with the VA witnesess' nonsense.

C.I.: Alison Hickey.

Dona: Let's include that exchange.

Ranking Member Bob Filner:  When you were asked: "Do you have a plan?," you said, "Yes, we supplied it to the Committee."  This is not a plan.  This is not a strategic plan.  I will ask you again, do you have a strategic plan?  And why don't you just have it with you and give it to us?  That's the title of this hearing [Reclaiming the Process: Examing the VBA Claims Transformation Plan as a Means to Effectively Serve our Veterans].  Do you have a plan to give to us this minute?
Allison Hickey: I do have a plan, Congressman Filner.
Ranking Member Bob Filner: You what?
Allison Hickey: I do have a plan.  I do not have it in this book, in these materials.  I'm happy to provide it for the Committee.
Ranking Member Bob Filner: Why are you providing it with us, a plan of execution?  You're going to provide it to us?  Why don't you have it here?  You have 18 people here working  for you.  Give us the plan.  That's all we're asking for.  You said you did it.  [Shaking head] We have some slides.  We don't have a strategic plan of how you're going to execute this so-called transformation which sounds more like a fossil-formation.  So where is the plan?
Allison Hickey:  Congressman Filner, I have the plan.  It's in Word document.
Ranking Member Bob Filner:  A secret one or what?
Allison Hickey: No, it is not a secret document.  In fact, I have shared it with Veterans Service Organizations, with our labor partners, with --
Ranking Member Bob Filner: I just said none of us have seen it.  Why don't you have it with you?
Allison Hickey: I will be happy to bring it to you, sir.

Dona (Con't): What was that like?  Was it tense?

Ava: I didn't get that impression.  I saw a few nodding and smiling.

Dona: Not Hickey, I assume.

Wally: No.  She wasn't happy.  Her voice got pointed near the end of that exchange.

Dona: What effect, if any, do you think it had?

C.I.: I think it puts the VA on notice.  I think it puts Hickey on notice.  Don't show up in 2013 with this same sad story.  No one wants to hear it.  The excuses are tired and have been used over and over.  If I were Hickey, I'd be damned sure not to attempt to face Filner again with an excuse as to why I haven't completed the task.

Dona: Which would be great but, as Kat's repeatedly noted in the last two years, these excuses from the VA just don't go away. This is a rush transcript and we'll continue to cover these stories.

Best blog post title of the week

 anne-marie slaughter

War Hawk Anne-Marie Slaughter (above, filling in for Paul Lynde on Hollywood Squares) wrote a really bad article last week.  There were examinations of the article and rebukes (and, outside the community, a lot of fawning from supposed lefties).  But if you had to boil it down to best criticism of Slaughter's nonsense in just the title of a blog post, we believe Betty said it all with "For Crackers Who've Considered Whining When Everything Wasn't Enough."


Jim: This is a roundtable that's going to focus on entertainment.   Our e-mail address is, we're making sure we do one this edition. Participating in this roundtable are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim and C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review.


Jim (Con't): Why just us?  The edition's running late and we figured we wouldn't put everyone through a roundtable.  This is an entertainment roundtable and we're dealing with your issues and questions you raised in e-mails.  First up, Paul's a reader who came on board with "TV: Exploding a stereotype," Ava and C.I.'s piece about Happy Endings.  And his question is why won't Ava and C.I. review cable and why don't we cover movies?  Last one first and I'll toss to Jess.

Jess: I'm a new father, so is Jim.  Ava and Dona are new mothers.  Ty works in the film industry.  Add that together and it's not like in our spare moments we're desperate to rush off to the movies and we also don't necessarily care for tween-films.  I mean most of the crap just isn't worth watching. Ty?

Ty: We're all out of college but we started this as college students and in a bad economy and at a time when the Water Cooler Set covered nothing but cable.  You live in the dorms, you have cable.  You get your own place, you may not.  And so we pretty much made a decision that we'd follow videos and we'd follow basic TV.  Ava?

Ava:  C.I. and I do cover cable.  That's because streaming online wasn't a big thing when we started and now it is.  So if, for example, your cable show streams on Hulu or you can stream it on TV Land, we'll cover it.   This week we're covering Dallas which airs on TNT and we're explaining where you can stream an episode each week if you don't subscribe to cable or satellite.

Jim: Bill e-mails that he still enjoys "TV: How a dud became watchable" and thinks Ava and C.I. are right that Roger is funniest when dressed like a woman; however, he  feels that you let creator and voice actor Seth MacFarlane off for his "ripping off shows and movies like when they ripped off Flightplan."

C.I.:  Okay, He's referring to "Home Adrone," that episode of American Dad.  Seth didn't write the episode, I don't know why you'd blame him.

Jim: That's it?  Okay, let me read from Wikipedia on Flightplan, the Jodie Foster film.

Flightplan is a 2005 thriller film directed by Robert Schwentke and starring Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Erika Christensen, Kate Beahan, Greta Scacchi, and Sean Bean. The movie was loosely based on the 1938 mystery film The Lady Vanishes. It was released in North America on September 23, 2005.
[. . .]
Peter A. Dowling had the idea for the film in 1999 on a phone conversation with a friend. His original pitch for producer Brian Glazer involved a man who worked on airport security doing a business trip from the United States to Hong Kong, and during the flight his son went missing. Years later Billy Ray took over the script, taking out the terrorists from the story and putting more emphasis on the protagonist, who became a female as Glazer thought it would be a good role for Jodie Foster. The story then focused on the main character regaining her psyche, and added the post-September 11 attacks tension and paranoia. There was also an attempt to hide the identity of the villain by showcasing the different characters on the plane. Both Dowling and Ray were allowed to visit the insides of an Boeing 747 on the Los Angeles International Airport to develop the limited space on which the story takes place.[1]

C.I.: They honestly wrote that crap at Crapapedia?

Jim: C.I. didn't want to do a roundtable and said she might not talk.  I know she hates Wikipedia.

C.I.: I do.  And I hate it for reasons like that.  A bunch of uninformed assholes writing lies.  Flightplan should be ripped off, it is a rip-off already.  And not of Hitchock's The Lady Vanishes.  Flightplan, as anyone who knows film noir, rips off Dangerous Crossing starring Jeanne Craine.  In Flightplan, Jodie's trapped on a plane and no one believes her that she brought her daughter on board.  She's being set up as a fall guy.  And a flight attendent's involved in making her look crazy while a man she trusts is also out to get her -- the air marshall.  In Dangerous Crossing, Jeanne Craine is trapped on a ship and no one believes her that she came on board with her husband.  She demands -- like Jodie does -- that the ship be searched.  Again, you've got a woman who works for the ship and a man Jeanne mistakenly trusts who are conspiring against her.  As with Jodie, they want to confine Jeanne.  As they believe Jodie made up her child, they think Jeanne made up her husband.  They learn from someone that Jodie's daughter died.  They learn from somebody that Jeanne never was married.  They never know a damn thing at Crapapedia.  Flightplan is an uncredited remake of Dangerous Crossing.

Ty: And I'd agree with that.  Hitchock's film, you're talking about a woman who's saying, "What happened to that nice older woman I just met?" And everyone's, "There was no older woman."  Dangerous Crossing is, "Where's my husband!" met by, "You came on board alone."  Flightplan is "Where's my child!" met by, "You came on board alone."  In the latter two there is a personal connection and the women are told they're crazy.  In Hitchcock, if the woman's wrong, she may have been drunk or dreaming.  There's no effort to restrain the woman.  Whereas Jodie and Jeanne are seen as a danger to themselves and others.  And Jeanne Crain and Jodie Foster both will look around the ship and the plane to try to find their loved one.

Jim: There were two Revenge roundtables here, "Revenge: A discussion" and "Revenge thoughts in the lead up to the finale," and Lori wonders why we don't do more roundtables based on one show and Parker wonders why there hasn't been a roundtable regarding the way Revenge ended?

Dona: I'll grab the last one.  Ty and I did those roundtables with Rebecca and Ann.  Rebecca on both, Ann on the second one.  And our feeling, the four of us, was that we'd rather talk the way it ended, as a roundtable, the morning that it's supposed to air the first episode of season two -- remember, it's moving to Sundays -- to kick off the new season.  So we're saving that for then.  We had the roundtable because of Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Why Revenge resonates" -- which was the second time they'd praised the show.  We were in the middle of a writing edition and nothing was working out. We were on a break and Ty and I were talking and I mentioned something about the show, something that happened on it -- because Ty and I are huge fans of it.  And Ty then mentioned that there was a huge response to Ava and C.I.'s piece on Revenge.  So I said, "Let's do a roundtable on the show with Rebecca."  Rebecca blogs about each episode at her site so of course we'd include her.  As for other shows?

Jess: I guess you'd have to figure out which shows.  We've done roundtables on individual TV shows before.  I'm not a big fan of TV but I would be up for a roundtable on Dallas.  I was watching it with Ava and C.I. as they were going through the discs they'd been sent and, honestly, I'm going to be watching Wednesday night when the new episode airs.

Jim: I haven't seen it.  Ava and C.I. do love the show, I've read their review.  What do you like about it, Jess?

Jess: It's just fresh.  It works.  It hooks you in.  I didn't watch the original, I've heard of it, but I can watch this show and follow what's going on and enjoy the twists.  It's a good show.

Jim: So we'll start watching together and we'll do a Dallas roundtable right before the season finale, okay?

Jess: Sounds great.

Jim: So Parker, you not only got your answer, you also got a promise for another TV show roundtable.  Ty?

Ty: Kelly wishes we'd do more on food and writes that she loves the TESR Test Kitchen pieces, but wishes we did things like recipes.

Dona: We won't.  Trina already does that at her site and does it wonderfully.  We will continue to do the TESR Test Kitchen pieces -- and we have one this week -- but that's about it food wise.  Unless we do a food roundtable.  Which I would be up for.

Jim: Lewis wondered if Ava and C.I. feel pressure each week with TV and wanted to know if they could talk about the process they go through.

Ava: I'll grab the process and leave the pressure to C.I.  Our process is that we're on the road nearly every week of the year.  The good there is that we can often bring in programs we'd miss otherwise.  Like radio or TV that might be more regional.   We take discs and scripts with us and sometimes, it's Friday, we're at Trina's -- which is where we end the week before flying home -- and a friend's sent stuff on their show to Trina's so it's waiting for us.  We'll watch stuff on the plane ride home.  We're forever reading scripts.  We probably spend three or so days during the week talking to friends at the network, with a show, with an agency, about the program or programs we're thinking of writing about.  Saturday, we do more phone interviews.  Then we write the pieces.  It is a lot of work.  We hate the work involved.  Pressure?

C.I.: Let me do the positive first.  Ava and I thought we were going to have to deal with an idiot this week.  And we weren't looking forward to writing.  Then everyone woman we know -- and about half the men -- seemed to be lusting after Josh Henderson and telling us about Dallas, which we did have discs of and scripts for but weren't in any rush.  So Friday we watched the first episodes and this was great because we so rarely get this, a show that you want to write about because it's good TV.  Dallas is a treat to watch.  And when that happens, the pressure's not on and it's just fun.  But there are weeks when we just want to scream.  There are weeks that -- I'll just leave it with there are weeks.

Jim: And "there are weeks" also describes the full editions and our attitudes towards them.  Sometimes it's wonderful, sometimes it's a nightmare.  And on that joyous note, we'll wind down.  This is a rush transcript.

From the TESR Test Kitchen

Who doesn't like potato chips?  But as Katie Couric learned in a recent episode of her online series, healthy potato chips are still potato chips.

Except maybe when they're not potato chips?

 lentil chips

Simply 7 has put out a four-ounce bag of chips, "Creamy Dill" which, the bag tells us, is "Cool & Refreshing."  But they aren't potato chips, they're lentil chips.

"We took one of the healthiest ingredients we could find -- the lentil -- and baked its flavors and nutrients into an all natural bite-sized chip," boasts Simply 7.

Lentils are good.  They contain 63% of the needed daily fiber.  But Lentil Chips contain only 4% of that needed daily fiber.  If that confuses you, check the list of ingredients on the chip bag and you'll find that they aren't using "lentils."  They're using "lentil flour."

And they aren't tasty, not even tasty in a, "This takes likes lentils!"

They taste like rice cakes with a dab of cool ranch.  They're also not flat but curved.  So if you're thinking, "It'll be my chip substitute" -- in shape and taste, it reminds you repeatedly it is not a potato chip.  

The back of the bag tells you that 31 chips contains 130 calories.  Your taste buds inform you that 31 chips have zero flavors you will enjoy.

Murray continues fighting for veterans rights

senator patty murray

Senator Patty Murray (above) is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Last week her
office released more news on Senator Murray's continued work to ensure that veterans are treated fairly and equally.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Contact: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834
Chairman Murray Introduces Bill to Provide Veterans with Genital and Reproductive Wounds with Access to In Vitro Fertilization through the VA
As veterans continue to return home with catastrophic IED injuries, Murray bill reverses VA ban on critical fertility treatment; will help veterans and their spouses have children.
If forced to turn to the private sector, veterans and their spouses often have to pay tens of thousands in out-of-pocket costs to access IVF services
(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, introduced legislation that will end the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ban on providing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) services.   Murray's bill, the Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2012, also will begin child care programs at Vet Centers for women seeking counseling, and improving outreach to women veterans.
Army data shows that between 2003 and 2011 over 600 servicemembers have suffered reproductive and urinary tract trauma.  The reliance on foot patrols in Afghanistan and the prevalence of improvised explosive devices has left servicemembers far more susceptible to these injuries.
"Reproductive injuries are some of the most impactful and serious wonds of these wars," Senator Murray said today upon introduction of the bill.  "VA has an obligation to care for the combat wounded.  For those with such catastrophic injuries, that includes access to the fertility care they needed.  Veterans and their spouses are specifically barred from accessing In Vitro Fertilization services at the VA and often times have to spend tens of thousands of dollars in the private sector to get the advanced reproductive treatments they need to start a family.  These veterans deserve far more."
Veterans who have severe reproductive and urinary tract injuries and spinal cord injuries (SCI) often need highly specialized treatments and procedures like IVF to conceive.  However, under current law, IVF is expressly excluded from fertility services that are provided by the VA to veterans or their spouses.  This is a significant barrier for veterans with SCI and genital and uringary tract injuries and as a result they have to seek care outside of the VA.  The Department of Defense currently provides access to IVF services under the Tricare program and coverage for IVF and other fertility treatments at no charge to severely combat wounded servicemembers.  Senator Murray's bill would provide veterans with the same access.
Matt McAlvanah
Communications Director
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
202-224-2834 - press office
202--224-0228 - direct

Jill Stein & federal matching funds

Jill Stein is the presumed Green Party presidential candidate.  Her campaign notes:

Change the world in 8 days

8-days-jill-stein.pngTexas has qualified. New Mexico is 3/4 of the way. Oregon is close behind, along with Arizona, D.C., Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and then also Indiana, Missouri, Maine, South Carolina and Tennessee! The ice is breaking in our Double Your Green campaign to win federal matching funds, we are really moving, and a good thing too, because . . .
We have 8 days, until June 30th, in which to succeed.
With just days left, we need you to take 3 steps right now:
1. See a fundraising letter from Jill Stein. She needs you to forward that letter to at least 10 people you know -- 100 or 1000 is even better -- letting them in on the urgency of this moment.
2. Make a donation so that when you send that letter out, your message arrives with conviction. You did your part; so can they.
3. Contact us if you have lists of people you think would want to know about the campaign.
We've posted the latest progress reports on our matching funds campaign here. Please click here or read on for the letter from Dr. Stein, and please copy and forward that letter to everyone you know . . .

URGENT: Eight days to ensure that your voice is heard in 2012!

Jill_Stein_head_shot.pngDear Friends,

What you do with this letter in the next few hours could change the direction of the 2012 presidential campaign.

The big money forces think that they've bought this election and that they can frighten people into meekly endorsing one of the two establishment candidates. But thanks to a breathtaking outpouring of support from across the nation, our campaign is poised to shake up the political establishment and answer this politics of fear with the politics of courage.

My campaign for president is within striking distance of qualifying for federal matching funds that will allow us to launch a people's campaign for economic justice, peace, and an end to Wall Street rule in Washington.  We need to raise only about $24,000 more by June 30th to apply for FEC matching funds that will DOUBLE  the value of contributions received so far. Please donate here. This will not only give our campaign the enhanced credibility that comes with qualifying for public funding, it would mean that we can finish our ballot access drives and burst onto the national scene with an adequately funded campaign.

Last fall, the Occupy movement took to the streets and changed the national political dialogue. This fall, our campaign -- based on Madison, Wisconsin’s Capitol Square -- is poised to show that millions of Americans will vote for real change instead of more of the same.

You know that neither of the establishment candidates will speak for you in this election. They will continue to promote their failing strategies for propping up Wall Street and the status quo, while our society and the planet move ever closer to disintegration. I am prepared to provide a clear voice for justice, civil liberties, environmental rescue, and an economy that works for everyone.  But I need your help.

Victory is in sight!  Please pitch in NOW by donating on our web page -  Then forward this note to 10 friends who might be willing to join you in contributing.  We will file for matching funds on July 1, so quick action is essential.  Help push us over the top!

   Dr. Jill Stein

P.S. Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar (up to donations as big as $250) by federal funds once we qualify.

P.P.S.  While all donations are valuable, we especially need donations from the following key states to help us reach the required $5000 per state threshold.  If you know anyone in these states, please ask them to make a donation of up to $250:   AZ, CO, CT, DC, FL, ME, MI, MO, NC, NM, OH, OR, SC, TN and VA -- read all the nitty gritty details and updates here:


Pizza Plant Workers strike (WW)

Repost from Workers World:

Support grows for pizza plant workers

Published Jun 22, 2012 9:31 PM
Members of the Palermo’s Workers Union are entering their third week on strike, with growing support from across Wisconsin, nationally and internationally. The strike is now the cutting-edge working-class struggle in Wisconsin. Hundreds of multinational supporters have joined the bilingual picket line at various times since the strike began on June 1. Other support actions, such as building support for a boycott of Palermo’s Pizza, are underway.
The mostly Latino/a workers at the plant, which produces frozen pizzas for grocery stores, struck because of the company’s attempt to break a union organizing drive by firing pro-union workers, hiring replacement workers and bringing in Immigration and Customs Enforcement — federal immigration agents. The National Labor Relations Board has scheduled a union recognition vote for July 6.
A call for a YES! June 15 picket line delegation reads, “Youth Empowered in the Struggle! is standing in solidarity with workers at Palermo’s Pizza in Milwaukee. Why? Workers at Palermo’s have been striking for several days after trying to organize better safety conditions within the plant. Palermo’s refuses to let them organize, even after several workers have been injured. This eventually led to a strike.” YES! is the youth arm of Voces de la Frontera, a Milwaukee-based immigrant rights organization (
“As you all know,” the statement continues, “Wisconsin has been through a very rough patch when it comes to workers’ rights. This is another example of attacks on workers. Enough is enough!” YES! members have been a strong presence daily on the picket line.
Besides youth and students, every day members of public and private sector unions, and community and faith-based organizations are on the picket line and elsewhere building support.
Members of teachers unions from Madison and Milwaukee bring supplies and food to the picket line daily and have helped organize various fundraisers. On June 14, the American Federation of Teachers Local 212 at the Milwaukee Area Technical College helped to organize a fundraiser at El Local restaurant that raised a few thousand dollars for the strikers.
The Overpass Light Brigade brings a neon sign stating “Boycott Palermo’s” to the picket line and has volunteers hoist the sign over the nearby Interstate 94 overpass.
Occupy Milwaukee and members of other Occupy Wall Street groups in Wisconsin, such as Occupy Riverwest, are a frequent presence on the picket line. The Riverwest Co-Op in Milwaukee has removed all Palermo’s products from its store. Support resolutions and statements, including from the national AFL-CIO and from around the world, have been sent to the Palermo Workers Union.
For more information and how to support the strike: On Twitter: Supporters can sign the petition at
Pfeifer is an organizer of the WI Bail Out The People Movement, which is supporting the strike:


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" and "Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. reports on House Veterans Affairs Committee hearings.

"I Hate The War" -- most requested highlight of the week.

 Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Standing Behin..."  -- a hilarious classic from Isaiah.

"Why is Anne-Marie whining?," "For Crackers Who've Considered Whining When Everything Wasn't Enough," "6 men, 2 women," "anne-marie slaughter, the p.r. nightmare," "The Deeply Disturbed Anne-Marie," "E.J. Graffe: Baby's First Whoring?," "Stupid Bridget Crawford," "The smart ones" and  "Who lied to Jim Steinberger and Bill Lynn?" -- Anne-Marie Slaughter writes an idiotic article.  The community calls it out.

"Uniting! At last!" and "THIS JUST IN! THE AGREEMENT!" -- he's united left and right!

"Pita Pizza in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers a solid recipe even for beginning cooks.

"If only it were about Paul Walker and Vin Diesel" and "holder and denny k" -- Betty and Rebecca on Fast & Furious.

"7 men, 2 women" -- Ann on ObamaCare and the two corporate parties.

"Color her directing" and "The Black Hole" -- Kat and Stan go to the movies.

"Docker Boys and Fools Bill Carter and Brian Stelter" -- Stan on how the Docker Boyz miss the obvious.

"Greedy Little Pig" -- Isaiah digs into the archives.

"It's about damn time" -- finally the lawbreaker is noted.

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