Sunday, February 09, 2014

Truest statement of the week

We don’t know who we fear more, Al Qaeda or SWAT. Why would we help them fight Al Qaeda when they’ll just come for us as soon as they’re done with them?

-- an Iraqi woman in Falluja quoted in Human Rights Watch, (PDF format warning) "‘No One Is Safe’: Abuses of Women in Iraq’s Criminal Justice System,"

Truest statement of the week II

You don't earn a daily slot on either side of corporate media if you're not a consistent and effective shill for corporate interests – for the privatization of public education, for US imperial interventions and war crimes in Africa, South Asia and the Americas, for fracking, for unfettered police spying, and for only attacking the bad things the other party does. That's Joy Ann Reid to a T, and that's how you earn those slots at Fox or MSNBC and that's how you keep them.

--  Bruce A. Dixon, "Another Black Face on MSNBC: Good News For Joy Ann Reid, Not So Much For The Rest of Us" (Black Agenda Report).

A note to our readers

Hey --

One more 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:

An Iraqi woman speaking to Human Rights Watch.
Bruce A. Dixon.

Exactly how do you claim to be a feminist outlet -- Ms. and Women's Media Center, we're talking to you -- and ignore a Human Rights Watch report about the torture and rape of Iraqi women?  We can't understand that.

Ava and C.I. take on Ed Schultz in their latest TV report.

We go through the e-mails.
The Iraqis continue to protest.  Nouri has tried everything to silence them.  Nothing has worked.  They're strong. 
A possible new feature.  5 articles would not work.  Would not.  Could anyone think of something we could do quickly?  Ava asked, "How about movie posters?"  C.I. followed with "double bills." What are you talking about?   We'd recently watched Malcolm X so Ava tossed that out.  C.I. said, "Pair it with Madam X."  Ty quickly hollered, "Double Bills In Hell!"  
What we listened to this edition.
It's a preview of this week's Daily Howler.
A puzzle.
Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker. 

Repost from Workers World.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it. 


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

Editorial: War Crimes against women and the outlets that ignore them

In Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki terrorizes the Iraqi people.

No one gets more tortured than the Iraqi women:

For example, Fatima Hussein (not her real name), a journalist accused of involvement in the murder of a parliamentarian’s brother and of being married to an Al-Qaeda member, described physical and sexual torture in early 2012 at the hands of one particular interrogator in Tikrit, Colonel Ghazi. She described Ghazi tying her blindfolded to a column and electrocuting her with an electric baton, hitting her feet and back with cable, kicking her, pulling her hair, tying her naked to a column and extinguishing cigarettes on her body, and later handcuffing her to a bed, forcing her to give him oral sex, and raping her three times. "There was blood all over me. He would relax, have a cigarette, and put it out on my buttock, and then started again," she said.

That's from Human Rights Watch's report entitled (PDF format warning) "'NO ONE IS SAFE: Abuses of Women in Iraq's Criminal Justice System."

The response in the US was highly disappointing.

Do you remember last year when McClatchy's Hannah Allem was grandstanding in public about how the most important thing was the fate of the Iraqis trying to get into the US?  And how this problem needed serious attention?  And she kept grandstanding until it was pointed out that she'd never written a report on this topic or even done a Tweet?

Well Hannah still useless.

Human Rights Watch released their report on Thursday of last week.

Thursday and Friday?  Hanna Allem served up 40 Tweets and reTweets.

How many were on the HRW report about Iraqi women?


Try lower.




Let's just end the guessing.


Human Rights Watch released a report that's over 100 pages, addressing what happens to Iraqi women in prisons and detention centers and Hannah Allem can't even be bothered to serve up 140 characters or less about the report.

Here's what one Iraqi woman shared to HRW:

They took us with the children. For the first half-hour they held us in the same room. Then they separated us and the torture started. The first day they tortured me all night, through until the morning. I was bleeding on the floor. I couldn’t breastfeed my baby. They used electricity on me the first four or five days, after that they mostly just beat me.... My shoulders are still damaged and I can’t pray. Ibtihal said that four men at the 8th Brigade headquarters interrogated her about Khalid. I told them I only know he works as a laborer. They beat me up and electrocuted me during two days, asking me over and over where he works and what he does. When I didn’t know the answers they handcuffed my hands behind my back, blindfolded me and beat and kicked me, calling me bad names. They would do this two or three times a day, about a half-an hour each time, for three days. 

What happens in interrogation?  One woman offers:

They used a thick black tube they calle d the “donkey.” They beat me with it and inserted it into my vagina. They chained me to a bed and threatened to rape me with their dogs. They asked me how I had sex with my husband and made me dance with them.

A woman grabbed in a super market by Nouri's forces was quickly beaten, shocked with electricity and more.  When that didn't force her to sign a false confession, they used her daughter to threaten her:

They pulled up her picture on my mobile, and said, "Is this [name withheld]?"   They knew her name, where she went to school, everything. They said "We can take her just like we took you."  I would have said anything at that point. 

There are many other stories like that in the report.

And they were ignored by Hannah Allem.  And she wasn't the only one.

Ms. magazine's blog never noted the report.

While Women's Media Center has a campaign which insists "Don't Let Women's Voices Be Silenced in 2014," they have thus far let Iraqi women be silenced by refusing to write an article or even a Tweet about the HRW report (and they've 28 Tweets since the report was released).

B-b-but the report just came out!

Last Thursday.  And Women's e-News has managed to cover it. Sarah Sheffer covered it for The NewsHour (PBS).

By contrast, NPR refused to cover it -- on air or at the website.

They did 'tax' themselves by re-running an AP report.

Women are tortured and raped, disappeared into prisons, their children threatened and this isn't news to Women's Media Center?

WMC makes time on their awful Twitter feed to whore for the daughter of celebrities  but they can't do a damn thing for Iraqi women?

TV: Big Ed of the Little Mind

If MSNBC were a comedy network, its ratings wouldn't be any better but things would make a lot more sense.


Friday, David Bauder (AP) reported, "MSNBC fired a staff member last week for an offensive tweet after top Republicans began talking about refusing to appear on the network. It was fourth in a string of apologies by people who've gone too far with their words, leading to questions about whether the incidents reveal a systemic problem."  It's always something with MSNBC.

And some on the right giggle and point, insisting the trainwreck reflects on the left.

That's simply not fair.

First off, long before MSNBC 'leaned' left, they had high profile train wrecks including Michael Savage and Don Imus -- both of whom were fired.

Second, as Bruce A. Dixon (Black Agenda Report) observed last week, "You don't earn a daily slot on either side of corporate media if you're not a consistent and effective shill for corporate interests – for the privatization of public education, for US imperial interventions and war crimes in Africa, South Asia and the Americas, for fracking, for unfettered police spying, and for only attacking the bad things the other party does."

MSNBC is not the left.

If you caught any of the non-stop attacks on NSA whistle-blower Ed Snowden, you know that.

MSNBC exists to promote Democratic Party governance but, as the slashing of food stamps just demonstrated, Democratic Party governance is not the left.

MSNBC has demonstrated other things over the years as well -- such as it's not TV.

Don Imus, Michael Savage, Rachel Maddow, John Hockenberry, Mike Barnicle, Ron Reagan Jr., Monica Crowley and Alan Keyes were among the on airs who came from radio.

And they did their programs as if they were still on radio.

In fact, the only MSNBC host who ever developed strong visuals for their show and explored the visual format was Keith Olbermann.

The history of MSNBC has pretty much been one radio program after another recorded by video cameras.

Occasionally, viewers might endure some cheap graphics with all the originality of clip art.

But mainly, MSNBC is radio for those too lazy to create their own mental images.

And the really lazy can't even muster the energy to grab the remote and change the channel when The Ed Show starts.

The lowest rated of MNSBC's evening talk shows is hosted by the grossly obese, 60-year-old Ed Schultz.

Like so many MSNBC hosts, Schultz can't be mistaken for easy on the eyes.

And the ugly is thought to have hurt the ratings.  Among others, MSNBC president Phil Griffin's been heard floating that notion.

And the need to put on some pretty is why veteran journalist and frequents MSNBC guest Joy Reid is getting her own show.  It's also why visual cupcake Ronan Farrow's getting his own show despite having no broadcasting experience and 'resume' that wouldn't get him a job with Bop or Tiger Beat.

No one would ever mistake Ed Schultz for pretty or even to live next door to plain.

In fact, in the land of TV talk shows, Schultz holds the record for most unattractive.

And maybe that's why he manages to bluster so loudly while always appearing to be on the verge of tears.

He does this as he says whatever's on his mind -- a quality that some might mistake for honesty but actually just indicates he lacks the ability to prioritize and rank.

Which is how Thursday found him giddy with guest Sandra Fluke as he shared how 'lucky' she was to be called a "slut" by Rush Limbaugh.

Fluke tried to smile it off, but it was insulting and pig-headed and recalled another infamous MSNBC moment: when Chris Matthews declared Hillary Clinton -- lucky her -- only got elected senator due to Bill Clinton's sexual entanglement with Monica Lewinsky.

Not only did telling a woman that she was lucky to be called a "slut" on national radio was a lucky break demonstrate a lack of common sense, it also (yet again) revealed a lack of awareness. 2011 found Schultz suspended for a week by MSNBC as a result of his calling right-wing Laura Ingraham a "slut."

Worse than being suspended, 2013 saw the self-proclaimed "Big Ed" pulled off MSNBC's prime time weekday schedule and exiled to weekends.

The response was a collective yawn (and giggles from some because Schultz had been denying that he was being shoved to weekends only days before the announcement was made).  But Sarah Burris and the Teamsters sprung into non-action.

They could have protested.  They could have marched.

Instead they did a stupid online petition.  And couldn't even gather 50,000 signatures.

They insisted their hero "has been one of the few in the media who supports working class people."

And that is so true . . .

If by "working class people" you only mean White-Anglo, straight males.

Schultz is sexist, anti-choice and embraces homophobia and racism as evidenced by his opening song on his radio program.

Guns N Roses?

You want to be on the left and you want to promote a band that, at the height of the AIDs epidemic, wrote and recorded "One In A Million" whose lyrics include:

Police and ni[**]ers, that's right
Get out of my way
Don't need to buy none of your
Gold chains today
I don't need no bracelets
Clamped in front of my back
Just need my ticket; 'til then
Won't you cut me some slack?

[. . .]

Immigrants and fa[**]ots
They make no sense to me
They come to our country
And think they'll do as they please
Like start some mini Iran,
Or spread some f[**]kin' disease
They talk so many [***]damn ways
It's all Greek to me

The implosion of Guns N Rose and Axel Rose ridiculous face which cheap plastic surgery has left looking like a cross between an over-stuffed sofa and a Muppet, is the universe correcting itself.

Leave it to Big Ed of the Little Mind to try to popularize a group that stands for racism, sexism, homophobia and is anti-immigrant.

That's how 'progressive' Ed welcomes listeners to his radio show?

Last December, after Ed Schultz's TV show returned to weekdays (evenings, he wasn't welcomed back to prime time), the world learned of other 'support' he'd received in 2012 and 2013: "$20,000 from the Food & Commercial Workers Local Union 75;  $20,000 from State & County Municipal Employees Employees AFL-CIO; $25,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; $50,000 from the Letter Carriers National Association; and a whopping $72,000 the Auto Workers AFL-CIO National Headquarters." And it wasn't just those two years, Dylan Byers (POLITICO) explained:

Early last year, after reports that Schultz was paid $199,900 by unions in 2011, Schultz said on his show that all the money he received for speeches went to charity; in this case, the American Cancer Society. A letter from the Society shows that it received $100,000, roughly half the total Schultz received from unions.

All those 'gifts' made us realize that Ed Schultz is to talk shows what Scoop Brady was to journalism.

Remember Scoop Brady?

On The Brady Bunch, Peter (Christopher Knight) decides to become a reporter, gets a hat, dubs himself Scoop Brady and starts a school paper column entitled "The Whole Truth."  In this season three episode ("The Power of the Press," written by Ben Gershman and Bill Freedman), Peter gets advice from Alice and Greg to offer praise and mention people's names in his columns in order for them to be popular.  It works.  A female student invites him on an eating outing -- her treat.  A male student gives him a box of candy bars and dangles the possibility of  pizza.  A third student announces she's throwing a party and he's invited.

Peter's column is not about "The Whole Truth," it's about offering praise in exchange for favors.

By the end of the episode, Peter learns that's wrong.  It took him less than a half hour to learn that episode.  All these years later, "Big Ed" still hasn't learned it.

But he has no character or ethics.

We're reminded of another season three episode, "My Sister, Benedict Arnold" (written by Elroy Schwartz) in which Greg loses a spot on the varsity basketball team to another student (Warren) and he loses class president to the same student.  He's furious because Warren's fake and gets his way by being a kiss-ass.  Meanwhile, Marcia's in love.  She's been asked out by a school basketball player and class president (Warren).  Greg's furious and tells her not to see him, he feels he's been betrayed.

We think of that episode because Ed Schultz is a turncoat.

He is a Benedict Arnold.

He used to be a Republican and a conservative.  But he saw money to be made on the left or 'left,' as Randi Rhodes noted frequently in the mid-'00s.  Air America Radio, unlike Democracy Radio, wasn't an in house organ for the Democratic Party forced to repeat the day's DNC talking points.  Stephanie Miller and Ed, Randi would explain, were paid to do just that.  She noted that she called out the illegal Iraq War but that Miller and Schultz, at Democracy Radio (run by Tom Athans who was married to Senator Debbie Stabenow at the time), were silent.  (The marriage ended after Athans was  caught with a prostitute he admitted paying $150 to for sex.)

Ed Schultz is a turncoat.

You can't trust them.

Can people have genuine conversions?


But a real conversion usually includes learning to shut your mouth and listen as opposed to trying to make yourself a leader.

A turncoat is usually someone who's burned their bridges and announce an 'awakening' (see David Brock) but whose tactics remain the same (see David Brock) demonstrating that no real conversion or awakening has taken place. They're still the same trickster, they just ran out of friends on the other side.

Last year, David Sirota (PandoDaily) noted some of Schultz's history:

For years, Schultz was a barely noticed cookie-cutter conservative radio host in the mold of Rush Limbaugh. As Salon’s Justin Elliott reported a while back, Schultz bashed immigrants, opposed abortion and made fun of homeless people. From those years firmly anchored on the right-wing side of the class war, he has a deep familiarity with anti-union agitprop.
Nevertheless, as George W. Bush’s presidency deflated the popularity of conservatism and inflated the popularity of pro-worker populism, the ratings-hungry Schultz abruptly rebranded himself a progressive champion of unions. While it certainly looked like an unscrupulous act of shameless hucksterism, Schultz’s move was definitely a smart tactical shift. Branding-wise, it correctly assumed that an audience of rank-and-file Democratic political junkies was so desperate for their own hyper-macho Limbaugh they would cheerily ignore Schultz’s right-wing past. Ultimately, Schultz’s makeover not only helped him vacuum in union money but also got him a television show on MSNBC just as that network was simultaneously trying to rebrand itself as a left-leaning outlet.

Being a turncoat and a former Republican, it's not hard for Schultz to repeatedly worship political leaders, especially presidents.

So he will (and has), for example, attack NSA whistle-blower Ed Snowden.  His idiotic remarks attacking Snowden led Revolution & Beer to note Schultz as "Reactionary of The Week."  Gary Leupp (CounterPunch) offered, "I should not be shocked, but it is quite amazing to see Keith Olbermann's successor, MSNBC's 'progressive' Ed Schultz join the crowd labeling Snowden a 'punk' and lawbreaker."

Then, last December, Ed Schultz was seen as either identifying with MSNBC management in a labor dispute or too cowardly to stand up to them.  Firedoglake covered it here.  Josh Eidelson (Salon) covered it here.

Which brings us to 2014, still so fresh and new, except for the stench around Schultz.

Last week, Schultz began attempting to sell the KXL Pipeline to his small group of viewers. To counter this propaganda, Eclectablog again went over how the Keystone XL Pipeline would not create any significant number of new jobs but would seriously harm the environment.  JVolvo at Daily Kos wrote in disbelief over Schultz' whoring for the oil industry and his behavior in general.

We weren't surprised by Schultz's disregard for the environment.  Like most large farm animals, Ed Schultz damages the environment already by producing a large amount of methane gas.

And, like Bruce A. Dixon, we don't mistake corporate personalities for activists or fountains of truth.

Ed has to do what he's told because he wants the money and he has no where else to go.

He is a lousy host for a talk show, forever tripping over his own words -- even in monologues. Last year's attempts to 'modernize' him found Schultz responding to MSNBC's dictate that he offer more pop culture references.  The most notable response to this attempt was when Schultz began alluding (repeatedly) to A Few Good Men.

There were many problems with Schultz using this as a reference.

There was the fact that the Rob Reiner film was released in 1992, making it 21 years old last year and hardly 'contemporary' enough to reassure listeners that Schultz was one of them.

Even more troubling was the character Schultz chose to identify with.  Jack Nicholson is one of America's great actors, no question.  And he did a great job bringing Col. Nathan Jessep to life but the colonel was the villain of the film.

When we asked an MSNBC exec about this, he answered in a very frustrated voice, "We considered it a win that it was that and not Ross Hunter's Lost Horizon."

Point taken.

And good luck to MSNBC on their efforts to add the pretty.  We applaud any initiatives that could lead to Ed Schultz leaving the network.

That said, Schultz is only the network's largest problem in terms of girth.  There still remains so much more for MSNBC to address.


Jim: It's e-mail roundtable time.  All topics were raised by readers in a series of e-mails last week. Remember our new e-mail address is Please note that is a change.  Participating our 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): First up, Billy A. He notes last week saw us finally return to noting what we listened to while putting together the edition "This edition's playlist."  "Strangely," he writes, "you do so at the start of the week and on Friday CounterPunch does 'What We're Listening To This Week.'"  Comments?

Dona: First off, readers were thrilled we finally did this.  Elaine and I have spent two or more years arguing we needed to return to this feature.  It's an easy 'write' that doesn't take forever, it's a short feature and people are interested in the same way any of us will walk over to a friend's music collection and check it out.  This was always a popular feature and I hope we'll do it every week -- as do many of our readers.  CounterPunch's readers, no doubt, enjoyed their feature as well.  CounterPunch may have been inspired to do their piece because we did our piece.  But CounterPunch used to do a playlist as well.  And I'm honestly not sure if we started first or they did.  If it was us, great, let's hope other sites will do playlists.  If they started first, thank you for inspiring us.

Jim: I agree with that.  I don't see any conflict.  And it is good to see what people are listening to.  Erich Stein e-mails that he wrote C.I. about this and received no reply so he wants to bring it up here.  This is about C.I.'s "Activism or just masturbating to old hate fantasies" which went up Friday.  Erich writes, "I just think you have a lot of nerve calling out people who don't write about serious things when this week saw your friends writing about Nanci Griffith's album, the TV shows Arrow and Revenge and so much more crap that doesn't matter."  C.I.?

C.I.: I didn't see that e-mail, I would've ignored it if I had.  This has been repeatedly addressed many times before.  I'll toss to Mike, Betty and Rebecca.

Mike: All the sites, regardless of what we write about, carry that day's Iraq snapshot to amplify coverage of Iraq.  That was actually community member Keesha's suggestion.  C.I. was repeatedly asked by the community to up the coverage of Iraq because the press was beginning to walk away. The snapshot began in 2006 and was part of another entry C.I. did, it was 8 to 10 paragraphs at that time -- within a mid-day entry.  As MSM coverage continued to decline, community members asked for more and the "Iraq snapshot" went from being a feature inside an entry to it's own Monday through Friday entry.  From the start, Keesha insisted that if C.I. was going to the trouble to do the Iraq snapshot, the rest of us with sites should be making a point to copy and paste it into our posts.  That way, Keesha argued, no matter what we wrote about, Iraq would be covered by including the snapshot.  We all agreed.  It was a great way to amplify the snapshot.

Betty: In 2006, my site was a humor site.  It was an online comic novel chronicling the life of Betinna, an American citizen who was working at a mini-mall when Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof decide to 'rescue' her.  They drug her, they tell her she's from another country, that she's married to Friedman and Friedman uses her as a slave.  The whole thing was colonization.  It was written from Betinna's point of view. Tacking on the snapshot wasn't always easy -- I'd often do "Found in the paper" -- but Keesha was exactly right and I, like everyone else, made a point to include the snapshot.  Rebecca?

Rebecca: I don't remember what the issue was that day -- probably it was C.I.'s coverage of the gang-rape and murder of Abeer, the 14-year-old Iraqi girl.  But whatever it was, I felt that day, "I've really got to amplify this."  How?  If it was Abeer, I'd blogged about her, Elaine had blogged about her.  How to do something different that pulls in eyeballs?  I blogged about Dynasty.  And a huge ton of Dynasty fans found the post.  And in reading about Dynasty, they also had the chance to read about Iraq.  Some may have just read a paragraph or two of the snapshot, some might have read it all.  But a topic can amplify the chances that someone sees the snapshot.  I wrote about the TV show Revenge.  I cover it at my site.  I make no apologies for that.

Jim: On TV, last week's "Roundtable" featured this between Betty and me.

Jim: On that note, we move to Alexis' e-mail.  "I just read at Marcia's site that Halle Berry's going to do a summer series for CBS that's produced by Steven Spielberg and I'm so excited!  When I read it, I thought about how Ava and C.I. have spent years writing pieces advocating for the networks to do scripted programs in the summer.  CBS finally went all out with The Dome last summer and ended up with the ratings hit of the summer.  Now it looks like they're going to double down and that makes me really happy. I hope they're happy too.  And could you please ask a favor of Betty for me?  Ask her to please, please blog about the show when it starts airing.  I think it would be helpful the way she and Marcia and Ann became the Whitney bloggers and really turned the tide."

Betty: First off, absolutely.  Thank you Alexis for making the point you made.  I can tell you Ann will blog about it as well, I can promise you that.  So that will be Ann, Marcia and me blogging about it.  We will make sure that Halle isn't left hanging.

Jim (Con't): Alex Nicolic e-mails to express displeasure over "Betty making promises for others" and to note that checking Marcia and Ann's sites all last week found not one word about this.  Nicolic closes with, "Maybe next time Betty shouldn't make promises for others."

Ann: I'll jump in first.  Marcia and I both got distracted.  We spoke on the phone Monday afternoon intending to highlight that passage.  As often happens, the week got away from us.  As for promises, Betty didn't overstep anything.  The three of us have spoken about looking for a show to blog about again -- like we did Whitney -- where we all blogged on the same show.  I can say more but I'll slide it over to Marcia.

Marcia: All last fall, Ann, Betty and I were talking about what show we could cover?  At one point, I was for The Agents of Shield because I like sci fi.  They found the show boring.  I watched and agreed.  We wanted to do a sitcom.  But the only new sitcoms about a woman were Mom on CBS and Super Fun Night on ABC.  The latter is funny but I bought into the reviews -- which trashed the show -- and didn't want to blog about that.  I first saw the show near the end of November and realized I had ignored it wrongly.  Betty has a lot to do and Mondays is her worst day.   She doesn't have time for a TV show.  That's when Mom airs.  Why does the day matter?  CBS has had a bad habit of not streaming shows or starting out to stream episodes but then reducing it a few brief clips.  So we didn't see the point in going with a show Betty wouldn't be able to watch live and wouldn't be able to stream at a better time for her.  Ann, I'm tossing back to you.

Ann: We considered The Neighbors on ABC which isn't new, it's in it's second season, but it hilarious.  We love the whole cast, headed by Jami Gertz and Toks Olagundoye.  Those are two strong actresses, hilarious ones.  And Toks is Black -- as are Marcia, Betty and I.  So that was a great one.  But?  It airs on Fridays.  You should be able to stream it on Saturdays.  Fridays are family night for Betty.  She and the kids go out to eat, they do put-put golf or bowling or a book store or a movie, it's their time.  She can't catch the show live.  So she could put off blogging until Saturday and then cover it after watching it.  And Marcia and I could do the same if we were unable to catch the show live.  But if we didn't blog on Saturday, we'd then have to carry it to Monday.  As Mike can tell you, that's a pain in the ass.  He has covered four Friday shows, most recently Dracula which only aired on Fridays.  Before that, he was already covering Chuck, Fringe and Nikita when they moved to Fridays.  Mike?

Mike: Yeah, it is a pain.  Especially with Fringe or Nikita.  Those were complex shows with ongoing plots and so there was always a lot to write.  And I'd have to carry it to Monday.  When I'm usually tired.  When news might have broken out that I wanted to cover.  It was so irritating that I started blogging on Saturdays.  I think that's when Fringe and Chuck were both moved to Fridays.  I was not going to carry a Friday show to Tuesday -- meaning blog about one on Monday and the other on Tuesday.  So I started blogging on Saturdays to get one out of the way.  Marcia or Ann?

Marcia: I'll go.  So the point here is Ann, Betty and I have been discussing this for some time.  And when the issue of Halle Berry's show was raised in last week's roundtable, Betty said yes because she knew we would agree based on the conversations we'd had.  First off, for me, it's sci fi.  I love sci fi.  Second, Halle Berry is a woman of color.  As women of color, we would have felt the need to cover the show since there are so few in lead roles on TV.  Third, Halle won the Oscar so we're all curious to see what sort of a summer program she's going to be doing.

Ann: Marcia's right.  This is the perfect show.  This meets all of our criteria and Betty knew that based on the talks we'd had for months now.  Our response offline was to do a three-way call last week discussing how excited we were.  And how we were going to promote it before it started airing and how, since C.I. is friends with Halle and this is going to be a historic show for a woman of color, we could ask C.I. if she could include promotion of the show in the snapshot the night before the first episode airs.

C.I.: It will be done.

Ann: Thank you.  So Erich Stein should be thanking Betty.

Jim: David Porter e-mailed about food.  A self-described foodie, he loves Trina's site and likes our feature here "From The TESR Test Kitchen" but wishes we did more food coverage.

Trina:  I can take some of the blame for the food coverage here.  At my site, the food coverage continues but I'm probably nearing the point where I'll start over with recipes.  It's a beginners site and I long ago exhausted my beginning recipes.  I've asked friends and they've kindly volunteered easy recipes.  I've gladly used any and all simple recipes that readers have sent in.  I don't know what happens now.  Maybe someone gives me a trove of new easy recipes?  Maybe I start over with ones I've already used?  Maybe, like with "My favorite nachos in the Kitchen," I move towards less of an end of the week recipe and more of a food reflection post?  But me, I'm not showing up here on the weekends pushing food ideas because I don't have them for my site lately.

Wally: To jump in, sorry, my mother had an idea about the ten best.  Ten weeks noting one each Friday that readers most enjoyed -- like Mexican Corn Chowder and pasta with peanut sauce.  She thinks that would give you a little bit of time to figure out where you go next.

Trina: Over a third of the recipes that don't come from another site a reader's suggested come from Wally's mother.  She's been the most helpful friend during the lifetime of my site.

Wally: And because she's having trouble figuring the time difference, she called me and asked me to pass that on to you.

Trina: I'm not in Boston, that's what Wally's talking about.  I'm on a winter vacation at Mike and Elaine's.

Jess: And it's nice of Trina to take the blame but it's not her fault here.  At one point, I wanted to do some short features called "Cravings."  Dona had delivered her child and Ava was pregnant so that's probably why I thought of it.  But it didn't have to be pregnancy.  I mean right now, I'd kill for some Funyuns.

Cedric: I never heard that idea.  I would have gotten on board so quick.  When Ann was pregnant, she had a real sweet tooth.

Ann: And you never complained.

Cedric: And I never complained.  But she'd want, for example, a slice of apple pie.  Which leaves a whole pie minus one slice remaining.  So I'd have to have a slice.  So we'd eat a pie together over a few days.  Or a cake.  Or whatever.  And I'm not a sweets person outside of candy bars.  So I would be craving and jonesing for a sour pickle or some black eyed peas or anything not sweet.  That's a cute idea, it could have made a nice short feature and, Jess, I would have had your back on it.

Jim: I'm the one who dismissed it.  Listening to the discussion now and realizing how popular list pieces are -- based on the reaction to the return of the playlist last week, I was clearly wrong.  Delia Bryant e-mailed to ask where are Kat's album reviews and where are Isaiah's comics.

Isaiah: I will have one today.  I may have two today.  If I don't have two today, I'll have one today and a second later in the week.  It's just hard to do one right now.

Jim: Because of us.

Isaiah: No.  I'm doing everything I can with the community newsletters.  There hasn't been a lot of new topics.  In part because Barack was on vacation, etc.  That's why, in the newsletters, I've focused on Congress for the entire month of January.  But if I had done that in my comic at The Common Ills, I would've been criticized for refusing to go after Barack.  I've gone after Barack the same way I did Bully Boy Bush.  But I've done more Barack now because my comics didn't start until 2005.  So from 2005 to 2007, I covered Bush pretty much every week at TCI.  2008, I mainly covered the primaries.  But from 2009 to the present, the focus has been Barack.  Also, there are some topics that I've already covered with Barack -- like the illegal spying -- where I feel I've done the best I can on that topic barring some new development that can make a good visual.

Jim: Kat?

Kat: My deal is ten pieces at TCI a year.  That's all I ever promised the readers.  That averages out to about one a month plus my end of the year look back.  I've done two pieces so far this year:  "Bruce Springsteen High Hopes" and "Brad Paisley" and it's the start of February.  So I think I'm on schedule.  That said, I did see a 2013 album Saturday that I thought I could cover. If I'd seen it last Tuesday, I would have a piece on it going up today. And, excuse me, with Elaine writing  "A few thoughts on Nanci Griffith's One Fair Summer Evening" and Trina writing  "Nanci Griffith" and then Elaine writing "About the songs on Nanci Griffith's One Fair Summer Evening" all last week about Nanci Griffith's classic album One Fair Summer Evening, I think this is the wrong time to complain about where is my music writing.  Trina and Elaine offered some solid music writing last week.

Ava: I would agree with Kat.  We all love her writing but it's a lot of work covering one thing.  In Kat's case, it's music.  Doing a weekly movie review would drive her nuts.  C.I. and my non-stop weekly TV coverage is starting to drive me nuts.  I'm in a panic --

Jim: Because?

Ava: What do we do while the Olympics goes on.  I'm not watching, I'm not interested.  We'll have four weeks to fill and that does worry me.

Jim: C.I.?

C.I.: I understand what Ava's saying.  I agree with her.  We have no idea what we're covering this week still.  We have a few options but I am worried about net week and the two weeks after.

Jim: Back to Delia Bryant's e-mail.  Kat, she points out Stan pretty much does a movie review a week -- "at least one."

Kat: And I love Stan's writing but my name is Kat and that's that.

Stan: And I don't do the levels that Kat does.  Kat's doing some deep writing.  Betty, when she did her piece on Elyisum?  I loved it ["What's Curly doing in a sci-fi movie?"] and thought she did better film writing than I did.  I don't usually go that deep.  If I do, it's a few weeks after I've seen the film.  Kat's an incredible writer who goes really deep.  I do basically a thumbs up or a thumbs down text equivalent.  That's not putting me down, that's just noting how it is.  And if I were doing movie pieces like Betty did?  I'd probably only have about ten in me a year, same as Kat.

Jim: Alright, tossing to Ty.

Ty: Jim and I go through the bulk of the e-mails to this site.  I had two to include.  First off, Ruth, Jenny Crown e-mailed, "I'm a leftist and probably more Socialist now.  As late as 2007, I would have said Democrat but a number of things including the awful performance of Obama on the economy and war have left me wanting more.  I really have enjoyed Ruth's Benghazi coverage because, from the left, few have bothered to take it seriously  They've been too busy whoring for Obama to address the four deaths and the how of it.  So I have really enjoyed Ruth's coverage.  But lately, she seems to have backed away from it.  I don't know if that was due to attacks or if it was due to something else."  Ruth?

Ruth:  Jenny's correct that I get frequent attack e-mails just for covering the topic.  And, to be honest, sometimes I am so tired that I am just not in the mood one night to write about it and will pick it up the next night instead.  But that is all the attack e-mails have ever done, delay me by one night.  I have not written of it lately because I have not seen any news in the last two weeks.  Did I miss something?  I easily can.  If that happens, let me know.  I take the deaths of Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Ambassador Chris Stevens very seriously.

Ty: And I was about to note that Jenny Crown thanked you for always listing them and not doing "the trick of 'Chris Stevens and three others'."

Ruth: I agree with Jenny that all four need to be listed.  But I need to credit Marcia and C.I. with that.  Early on after the Benghazi attack, Marcia and C.I. called out the "Ambassador Stevens and three others" listing, noted how insulting it was, how classist it was and how sad.  They had made those points before I ever covered Benghazi at length.

Ty: Thank you, Ruth.  Now we go to Elaine.  Omar e-mails, "I love Elaine's music writing and wish she'd do more of it.  I also feel like I know her site and her writing much better than she does.  For example, she was attacked in an e-mail for not covering TV and she responded to that attack by admitting she didn't.  She then heard from readers who pointed out that she covered Smash for two years.  She wrote a post about that.  But Elaine covered at least one other TV show which she now seems to have forgotten."  Elaine, have you?

Elaine: Yes, I have and, Omar, if you read the site, you will know more than me.  I never read anything I write unless an e-mail has quoted it or I need to quote it.  But, yes, you have stumped me.  Does Omar say what the show was?

Ty: Yes.  Alphas.

Elaine: He's right, Omar is right.  I did cover Alphas.  I loved that show but they killed it.  Sci Fy cancelled it. I really did enjoy that show.

Jim: Alright.  And Dona's kept time and has informed me it's time to shut it down.  This is a rush transcript and, again, are e-mail address is

Tweet of the week

  1. الجمعة الموحدة في منطقة العامرية غرب العاصمة بغداد.

Nouri calls the peaceful protesters 'terrorists,' he attacks and kills them, he tears apart their protest sites.

And still they continue to protest.  This current wave of protests kicked off December 21, 2012 and has continued ever since.

Iraqi Spring MC offered the above photo from Friday's protest in Amiriya.

Double Bills In Hell

Spike Lee's Malcom X gets paired with . . . .

Ross Hunter's Madam X.

This edition's playlist

1)  Carly Simon's Playing Possum

2) Nanci Griffith's One Fair Summer Evening [see "A few thoughts on Nanci Griffith's One Fair Summer Evening," "Nanci Griffith," "Is David Macaray insane?,"  and "About the songs on Nanci Griffith's One Fair Summer Evening"]

3) Tori Amos' From The Choirgirl Hotel

4)  Neil Young's Live At The Cellar Door

5) Dashboard Confessional's A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar

6) Roberta Flack's Let It Be Roberta: Roberta Flack Sings The Beatles

7) Tracy Chapman's Our Bright Future 

8) the Beatles' Abbey Road

9) Heart's Red Velvet Car

10) Bilal's A Love Surreal

What Bob Somerby will be obsessing over this week

Bob Somerby matters less and less and it's no one's fault but his own.


He's only noted in the last six or so years to use it as a club to beat his enemies with.

In terms of a media critique on Iraq?

He's got nothing.

And more and more, his site, The Daily Howler, has nothing either.

This week, there's a good chance Somerby will be writing about his never ending obsession with the 2000 election and his former roommate Al Gore.

Yes, there's always a good chance he'll go to the well on that one again.

From Ken Kurson "The Tyranny and Lethargy of the Times Editorial Page"  (New York magazine):

One veteran reporter who has been at the paper for more than 20 years said, “‘Bullying’ and ‘petty’ are Andy’s middle name. He’s very smart, he’s very funny. But any place he’s gone where he’s had a position of authority, he’s bullying and petty. For a time in 2000, he was essentially running the Washington bureau, though I don’t think he had the title of bureau chief. Dean Baquet was the national editor and left for the L.A. Times, and they put Andy in as sort of acting national editor for the duration of the 2000 coverage. During the 2000 campaign, he developed a very personal, gut-level animus toward Al Gore. And it showed in our coverage. And then he was the assistant managing editor under Howell [Raines], and the consensus was that as he rose he became nastier. He had the reputation as Howell’s hatchet man. When Howell was tossed out and Andy was sent to the editorial page, there were a lot of people breathing a sigh of relief that they didn’t have to deal with Andy anymore. That’s not an exaggeration. He had made himself extremely unpopular.”

From that paragraph, expect Somerby to zoom in on:

For a time in 2000, he was essentially running the Washington bureau, though I don’t think he had the title of bureau chief. Dean Baquet was the national editor and left for the L.A. Times, and they put Andy in as sort of acting national editor for the duration of the 2000 coverage. During the 2000 campaign, he developed a very personal, gut-level animus toward Al Gore. And it showed in our coverage. 

After a certain point, an obsession becomes a fetish.

Maybe Somerby can write about that?

Who is it?

Every week, we use our cell phones, digital cameras and tablets to snap photos hoping to have something we can use here.

Believe it or not, we started this site with no illustrations.  Then we started to use Isaiah's comics, then we spent forever painting our own illustrations and going through 19th century and early 20th century magazines for illustrations and you name it.  And screen snaps and . . .

The bulk of today's photos never make it here.

About 1% or maybe .05% of the photos make it up here.

That's an accidental photo.

It wasn't supposed to be taken.

But we saw it as we uploaded our various devices onto the laptop we use just for photos.

So who is it?

It's Jess.

And you may be thinking, "Man, he's going bald early."

Actually, Jess took this photo.

Did he use a mirror to take a photo of the back of his head?


That's actually his knee cap.

When we were going through the photos, Dona asked, "What is this?  Who is this?  Is there a story behind this bald man?"

No one, including Jess, realized 'who' it was.

Ty opens the properties to see when it was taken and on what device and we figure out it was Jess' photo.  He stares at it for about 30 more seconds before he realizes and explains to us it's his knee cap.

Sexuality, class and control (Sue Caldwell)

Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

Sexuality, class and control

As part of LGBT History Month, Sue Caldwell looks at how ideas of what is an acceptable expression of desire have changed as class society developed

Two men caress in a picture from a Greek tomb painted in about 470BC
Two men caress in a picture from a Greek tomb painted in about 470BC

The first same sex marriages will take place in England and Wales next month, with Scotland expected to 
follow shortly. 

This might seem to herald a new era of equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people.
But some 44 percent of young LGBT people have considered suicide, according to a report from the charity Metro. Almost all school children report that they hear the word “gay” used in a derogatory way.

Last year saw the suicide of transgender teacher Lucy Meadows following a vitriolic campaign against her in the Daily Mail.

LGBT oppression remains a feature of the society we live in, but resistance to that oppression can also have an impact.

Throughout history the way that sexuality has been viewed has been shaped both by the way that society is organised and the way that people have fought for their right to love and have sex with who they choose.

Before the late 19th century no one in Britain was defined as a “homosexual” person. Certain sexual acts may have been outlawed, but the labelling of people as gay, straight or bisexual and discrimination based on those divisions is a fairly recent development.

As human society has developed the way sexual desire is understood and expressed has changed. Since class divisions emerged in society tens of thousands of years ago rulers have wanted to control people’s desire.

The main institution that has shaped the way that sexuality is controlled is the family. The family is the way class societies have organised the rearing of the next generation.

In many societies this has not meant a unit of a mother, father and their children as is the current common sense.

For instance in ancient Rome a citizen’s family would include both blood relatives and slaves. How a family is organised has always been dependant on a person’s class.

In Europe major changes in attitude and social structure emerged following the collapse of the Roman Empire, and later with the development of capitalism.

These two major changes in the function of the family have in turn altered which sexual practices were considered acceptable.

In Ancient Greece and Rome sex between men, often including young boys, was accepted as normal, though what was acceptable changed over time.

Slavery was crucial to production in Greek society, and the existence of a ready supply of slaves meant that reproduction within the family was not given a high status.

There was a separation of sexuality from procreation that allowed the acceptance of sex between men—and between women, although this is less well documented.


At the same time the political disparity between citizens and non-citizens meant that these relationships were often oppressive.

In Rome the use of male and female slaves as sex objects was common. What was frowned on was to be the passive partner in sex between two men.

Artemidorus, a slave owner in the second century, explained that “to let oneself be buggered by one’s own an assault on one’s person and leads to one being despised by one’s slave”.

With the collapse of the Roman Empire and the drying up of the supply of slaves, a new system of exploitation emerged.

This was feudalism based on serfdom, with peasants working on the land and forced to pay their landlord with labour and taxes. The family unit now became an important centre of production.

Christianity was entrenching itself as the state religion and it adapted to justify a new system of oppression and exploitation.

But even earlier Christian writers like Clement of Alexandria declared in 198AD, “To have sex for any other purpose than to produce children is to violate nature”.

People were obliged to marry and have children, and any sexual act that did not involve procreation was outlawed.

This blanket condemnation was aimed not just at same sex relations, but against everything from sex with animals and incest to anal and oral sex, contraception and abortion.

Laws against “unnatural” acts persisted for many centuries in various forms, but they were directed at particular acts, not against a particular type of person. At times they were strictly enforced, especially when the ruling class felt under threat.

At other times, the atmosphere was more relaxed. There is evidence of same sex relations between monks and between nuns, and of a “gay subculture” in many European cities by the 12th century.

By this time feudal society was starting to break down and the church was struggling to maintain its control over sexual behaviour.

The rising capitalist class was ushering in notions of individual liberty. In the revolts that brought it to power from the English Revolution onwards it often promoted ideas of individual liberty and personal and sexual freedom.

Molly houses in London became established as places where men could drink and dance together in the 18th century—although they were subject to raids with resulting trials and executions.

One young labourer caught up in such a raid, William Brown, is recorded as saying “I think there is no crime in making what use I please of my own body”.

These political challenges heralded the second major change in the way that production was organised—the emergence of industrial capitalism—and with it a new role for the family.

Production became centred in large factories and mines as people were pulled off the land and into emerging cities.


Women and children laboured alongside men in unsanitary conditions. Life expectancy was short and the existing family was collapsing.

Some in the ruling class began to fear that the workforce might not be able to reproduce itself in these circumstances. There was also social unrest and agitation around the condition of the new working class. The ruling class moved to assert its authority and imposed a new pattern of family life on the working class.
This involved a separation of work from the home, and was modelled on the ruling class family where women stayed at home and men were the breadwinners.

Along with this new type of “nuclear” family there grew up the gender stereotypes with which we are familiar to this day. The new institution required a raft of legislation to enforce it and was not always submitted to willingly.

It is from this time that the category of a particular type of person known as a “homosexual” emerges, representing a threat to the nuclear family.

Britain’s 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act outlawed acts of “gross indecency” between men, and although this was a vague description it was used widely against the new category of homosexual men, most famously in the trial of Oscar Wilde in 1895.

The socialist Edward Carpenter in Britain and Magnus Hirschfeld in Germany were among those who campaigned for legal reform in the early 20th century.

But once the revolutionary wave following the Russian Revolution of 1917 receded the struggle went underground.

It did not emerge again until the 1960s when a more radical movement emerged in the US alongside movements for Black Power and against the Vietnam War.

The trigger for this was a police raid on the Stonewall bar in New York. Gays, lesbians and transgender people fought with the police, and the ensuing riots gave birth to the modern gay liberation movement.

Some campaigners see their LGBT identity as a focus for organisation, either separately or acknowledging that their oppression “intersects” with others such as race, gender or class.

Marxists see class as the fundamental division in society, not because it is the centre of people’s experience, but because class society is the root of oppression.

The ruling class uses the family to exert control over many aspects of our lives including our sexuality. Where the rich and powerful seek to divide and weaken our class, we should seek to unite it and oppose all forms of oppression together.

It is the class structure of society that is key to maintaining that oppression and the fight against class society that shows the way to end it.

Our sexuality has been shaped by the way the ruling class has organised production to protect their wealth and privilege.

A truly free sexuality will only emerge when working class people take hold of society for themselves and reject the divisions that have been imposed upon us.

Further reading:

  • The Red in the Rainbow: sexuality, socialism and LGBT liberation by Hannah Dee (£7)
  • Gay Life and Culture: a world history by Robert Aldrich (£16.95)
  • Stonewall by David Carter (£10.99)
Available at Bookmarks, the socialist bookshop. Phone 020 7637 1848 or go to

Syria: US imperialism and diplomacy (Gene Clancy)

Repost from Workers World:

Syria: U.S. imperialism and diplomacy

By on February 8, 2014

The much ballyhooed Geneva II peace talks, which were supposed to bring about peace in Syria, ended on Jan. 31 with no agreement for one very good reason: The U.S had no intention of seeking any real peace agreement, but was intent on using the forum as a background for propaganda and as a way to deceive and weaken the Syrian government.

No concessions were offered by the imperialists and their allies, while they continued to arm the “rebel” forces both directly and indirectly, through such countries as Saudi Arabia. Indeed, some analysts believe that the U.S. is trying to achieve through diplomacy what it is failing to do on the battlefield.

For example, Patrick Cockburn, writing in the Jan. 31 Independent (Britain), notes, “For negotiations to have any hope of success they must reflect the balance of power on the ground in Syria. … [Syrian] forces hold 13 out 14 Syrian provincial capitals and are slowly retaking districts in Damascus, Homs and Aleppo captured by rebels in 2012.”

A strong indication of the lack of seriousness for real peace can be ascertained by looking at a list of the attendees, which included more than 40 countries and organizations from around the world, many of them far removed from the Middle East. Included were all the NATO countries and other stalwart U.S. allies, such as Japan and Australia, and just about every enemy of the Syrian government that could be found.

Pointedly not included was one of Syria’s allies, Iran, though it was at first invited to the talks by the United Nations and then humiliatingly disinvited because of objections from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. The Jan. 20 New York Times called this move a “fitting prelude” to the conference.

Another indication of the imperialists’ deception can be seen in the tactics used to get the Syrians, as well as China and the Russian Federation, to attend the conference in the first place. The U.S. and others stressed that there were no “preconditions” to the talks, including the role of President Bashar al-Assad in any future government of Syria.

Syria demands apology from Kerry

The talks had scarcely begun when Secretary of State John Kerry loudly and insultingly attacked Assad, stating in the Jan. 22 Huffington Post that “there is no way that Syrian President Bashar Assad can be part of a transitional government.”

This was part of a weeklong cacophony of propaganda from the Western media attacking the Syrian regime, complete with pictures of victims and statistics of the civil war, for which total responsibility was unjustly attributed to the Syrian government.

While the propaganda exploited the plight of people in the Old City of Homs, which was being besieged by the government, what was left unreported, according to the Independent, was the fact that the rebels are conducting their own siege of 45,000 people in the towns of Zahraa and Nubl, outside Aleppo. In fact, during the talks relief was sent to Homs, and all who wanted to were permitted to leave.

According to the Feb. 1 Alalam, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem lashed back, calling on the U.S to issue an apology for Kerry’s remarks. He also slammed the hypocrisy of the “unjust” international community that imposes sanctions on a war-torn country.

“It is an ‘international community’ that adopts double standards policy, and is mostly dominated by the U.S. … They dominate the U.N. Security Council and the U.N.”

Muallem questioned how the West could be involved in the Geneva talks and at the same time “impose sanctions on the Syrian people and children?”

Alalam on Feb. 2 reported that Muallem asked European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton to explain how the West can impose a ban on food products, yet at the same time discuss the issue of humanitarian aid shipments.

Meanwhile, more than 200 pro-Syrian demonstrators marched outside the building where the talks were held. Similar demonstrations have occurred around the world in opposition to the unjust U.S. intervention in Syria.

Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


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.

"Prashant Rao's naive and Hannah Allem's got a grudge to f**k" -- most requested highlight of the week by readers of this site. 

Wednesday's Iraq snapshot, Thursday's Iraq snapshot and Friday's Iraq snapshot. -- C.I. reports on the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Iraq.

"Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. reports on the Tuesday Homeland Security Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight hearing.

"Elementary,"  "Lorne Michaels, SNL and Barack," "New pilot for Casey Wilson!!!," "Arrow" "some talk about abc's revenge," "fox goes back to 'the good wife'," "Jay's last show," "Jay Leno" "A show got axed finally,"'About celebrity deaths,"  "The Michael J. Fox Show," and "Arrow and Netflix" --  some of the TV coverage by Mike, Stan, Betty, Rebecca, Marcia and Betty. 

"A few thoughts on Nanci Griffith's One Fair Summer Evening," "Nanci Griffith," "Is David Macaray insane?,"  and "About the songs on Nanci Griffith's One Fair Summer Evening" -- Elaine, Trina and Kat cover music.

"Not a Susan Hayward fan" -- Betty at the movies.

"'revenge' has nothing on mia farrow," "The Mia Farrow Family Circus," "Jessica Valenti needs to check her racism at the door," "Why does the White girl always get the sympathy?" "The racism of Nicholas Kirstof and his Band of White Women," "Sorcery and the Farrow mob,"  "Iraq and Woody Allen," "The Olympics and Woody responds to crazy Mia," "Look who's got an image make over," "The very stupid Sasha Weiss of The New Yorker," "Music and legends," "On Mia Farrow's hypocrisy,"  "This rape victim doesn't believe Dylan Farrow's claims," "Mia Farrow's little stunt begins to backfire," "Arrow and the sad, sad Dylan Farrow"  and "My brother is dead to me" -- some of the community coverage of The Mia Farrow Family Circus.

"Barack the power bottom"  -- Mike's great post.

"My favorite nachos in the Kitchen" -- Trina covers nachos and the economy.

"Gutting food stamps" and "THIS JUST IN! HE WORKS FOR THE CORORATIONS!" and "8.7 billion!" -- Cedric, Wally and Ann on the unemployment benefits.

"He gets caught lying again" and "THIS JUST IN! ANOTHER LIE!" -- Cedric and Wally try to keep him honest.

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