Sunday, April 27, 2014

Truest statement of the week

In fact, if Iraqi politicians are mature enough they should be able to construct a different coalition with someone other than Maliki as prime minister.
Criticizing Maliki may be easy, bearing in mind his government’s failure to solve such mundane problems as the shortage of water and electricity in Baghdad, not to mention rampant corruption that, according to some Iraqis, has gone beyond the “normal” limits in so-called developing countries.
The least one could say is that the Maliki government is guilty of underachievement.
Iraq could have done much better. 

-- Amir Taheri, "Moving Beyond Iraq's Nightmare" (Asharq Al-Awsat).

Truest statement of the week II

To maintain his hold on power, however, Maliki enjoys two key assets: the current legislation, which, absent provisions for term limits, allows for his prolonged stay in office, and the Iraqi military, which he has placed under tight control. The implications are not necessarily reassuring, whether for his opponents or for hopes for sustained democracy in Iraq.

-- Myriam Benraad, "With Elections Nearing, Iraq’s Maliki Confronts His Shiite Challengers" (World Politics Review).

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?

Amir Taheri on the Iraqi elections.
Myriam Benraad also on the Iraqi elections.
Iraq votes April 30th (security forces vote on Monday).  The western press is in a rush to declare the winner -- before voting even takes place. 
Yes, there are two Ava and C.I. pieces this edition.  They took on NBC News in the other one, while they take on Bad Teacher in this one and also cover Enlisted, Mother Up! and Cleaners. 
Robert Redford keeps finding new ways to make himself a professional joke.  Mike, Ann, Cedric and Wally covered this topic in "Idiot of the week: Robert Redford," "Robert Redford got busted as a fake ass" and "Old Man Redford exposes himself" and "THIS JUST IN! THE LYING ROBERT REDFORD!"

What we listened to during the writing of this edition.
Ava and C.I. explain how NBC News has lost control of the brand.
Short feature.  This is a State Department photo.  No credit was given on the State Department's Instram so we can't tell you who took the picture. 
We work through a few of the e-mails. 
Barack's sending what into Iraq?
How does a centrist see Barack's foreign policy?  Kenneth Pollack answers. 

Disabled Veterans of America issued the statement.
This is a press release from Senator Barbara Boxer's office. 
Repost from Workers World. 
Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker. 
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it. 

We'll see you next week.


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

Editorial: The media and the Iraqi elections

Today's Sunday Times of London carries Hala Jaber's "Iraq PM 'as bad as Saddam' set to win new term" which opens with this sentence, "The Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is expected to emerge the victor in this week's elections amid a surge in violence to levels approaching the sectarian bloodshed that tore the country apart in 2008."

We get the violence part but what's this "expected to emerge the victor"?

We've seen that a lot lately in a lot of so-called reports.

The people writing them never cite a poll.  Because no poll exists.


Nouri  is the alleged front-runner because the western press has declared him to be the front-runner.

The western press predicted Nouri would sweep the 2013 elections, of course.  This despite his not being on a single ballot in Iraq.

How did that turn out?

Oh, that's right State of Law didn't fare too well.

Last week, Amir Taheri (Asharq Al-Awsat) pointed out:, "The coalition that has sustained him in power has simply melted away. Maliki’s core support -- coming from one wing of the Al-Da’wah party --accounts for around 11 percent of the electorate."  Sunday's Zaman notes, "Although the Shiite-dominated State of Law Coalition (SLC) led by Maliki -- who is seeking a third consecutive term in office -- is widely seen as the front-runner, experts believe the outcome of the elections may yield a surprising result as there are criticisms of Maliki's leadership. Iraq's election not only offers real competition, but there is also uncertainty about the outcome."

But the western media insists Nouri is going to sweep the elections?

While the western media tries to handicap the race, it's left to the Arab media to offer anything of substance.

The editorial board of the Daily Star isn't optimistic about this round of parliamentary elections and notes, "At the last elections, in 2010, it was clear that what the people of Iraq wanted did not really matter, and that with Iran’s backing, Nouri al-Maliki was sure to be re-elected."  Abdul Rahman al-Rashid (Arab News) observes, "The Americans, spending trillions of dollars, tried to do a similar thing and created a democracy in Iraq. The result, however, is disastrous. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki has grabbed more power than the former dictator of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein. "

TV: Bad Sitcom

How quickly can a TV show die?


We ask that because CBS' Bad Teacher died 19 seconds in.

That's when they showed Ari Graynor's face.

The body had already been displayed and was nothing to get excited about.  In fact, two brief scenes later, you'd see Graynor in a black tank top with bra fat spilling out of the top's arm holes.  Wiggly, wavy bra fat spilling out the sides of her tank top.

The TV show is based on the 2011 film Bad Teacher which starred the always funny Cameron Diaz.

She's a teacher who hates teaching and does is poorly.  She doesn't care because she's getting married to a very wealthy man.  But, oops, the engagement doesn't take and she's forced to return to teaching.  Diaz is hilarious as a mercenary on the prowl for a man with a really large bank account.  And she's funny quarreling with this person or using that person or sleeping with this guy or . . .

In other words, she's funny for all the things they never let you be on TV.

Ty passes on questions all the time from readers asking, "Why didn't you review ____?"

Three shows have prompted that question the most in the last nine months.

One was Fox's sitcom Enlisted. The show starred Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell and Parker Young as three brothers in the army who end up stationed on the same base.  The low rated show does have its fans.  For example, March 21st, The Army Times offered "EDITORIAL: Army Times calls on Fox to give 'Enlisted' better time slot."  The editorial board argued that the show was needed as, basically, a public service announcement and that, "The writers have doubled down on their commitment to accuracy and relevant jokes."

Accuracy really isn't that important in a sitcom.  And where were the jokes?

The fact of the matter is a sitcom has to be funny.  This one wasn't.  It wasn't offensive, it didn't insult you, it just didn't make you laugh.  We watched the show.  We were asked to review it.  We said, "Pass."  After we watched, we said, "Pass."  A week or two later, we were offered more episodes.  We watched those as well.

We've noted before that Geoff Stults is good looking and we certainly enjoyed each and every shirtless scene he did for Enlisted.  Lowell and Young are also good looking guys.  But the mild scripts did nothing for us and if eye candy could keep a series alive all on its own, Fox would have already renewed Almost Human.

The Army Times' editorial board insisted "the show has come a very long way since" the pilot.  (Italicized "very" is in their editorial.)  We disagree.  Enlisted is the same basic show with the same basic problem:  It can't be funny.  It's the modern day military and the creators have rubbed every corner round in an effort to command-proof this TV show so that it never upsets anyone.

It was lifeless -- just like Private Benjamin.

No, we're not slamming Goldie Hawn's 1980 classic film.

That was hilarious and Goldie more than earned her Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.  That film was daring and provocative and, most important, hilarious.

The sitcom?

Judy Benjmain, in a film, can take on Captain Doreen Lewis (played by Eileen Brennan in the film and in the TV series).  But in the TV show, Judy really can't (unless you consider Judy wanting to use Captain Lewis' bathroom 'taking on Captain Lewis')  and all those great moments from the film can't be carried over either.

The film wanted to be daring and hilarious.  The sitcom wanted to be as cuddly as Snuggles (the fabric softener bear).  So for 39 episodes nothing ever happened.

That was the problem with Enlisted as well.

Private Benjamin, the series, had another problem.

Goldie's character was a spoiled, sheltered, daughter of wealth who goes into the army as a widow and finds herself -- then loses herself when she falls in love before catching herself again -- Judy rescues herself.  The princess in the film fairy tale rescued herself.

Lorna Patterson was given no character to play in the TV show.  And the height of entertainment was supposed to be food fights in the cafeteria.  This show was even milder than Enlisted (because it starred a woman and aired on CBS).

There was no point to it.

And there's no point to Bad Teacher.

We feel bad about that.

We like Hillary.

Hillary Winston is a hilarious writer.  She did a pretty good job with the pilot.  (She's also a producer of the show.)  She failed with regards to the child actors, but otherwise she did a pretty good job.  She did a much better job with  her book My Boyfriend Wrote A Book About Me.  But we can't recommend you watch Bad Teacher.

Cameron Diaz's character has been given a different name, stripped of a male roommate and softened and softened to the point that she makes Snuggles look like a bad ass.  And you might be able to live with that if the actress now playing the character (Elizabeth in the film, Meredith in the TV show) was right for the part.

Ari Graynor is not right for the part.

You can slap all the make up on her that you want, she's not going to be beautiful.  With her looks, she should be playing the wife in Elaine May's Heartbreak Kid. Why do looks matter?

Looks are all there is to Meredith.  It's how she gets ahead, it's what she uses.  And the looks aren't Raquel Welch.  They're more all-American girl, Cheryl Tiegs beauty.  The looks ensure that she's seen as sweet, kind and innocent.  That impression is how she snared the fiancee to begin with.

"A water buffalo cannot play a gazelle."  That's what a CBS exec told us regarding this show and insisting it would not see a second season.

Graynor does tend to lumber onscreen which gives her the appearance of carrying a large amount of weight.  But what really dooms her is the fact that she has nothing to project.

She was a washout, a muted pastel, on Fringe as Olivia's sister Rachel. Though this series keeps the camera on her constantly, she's even less visible.

The real mystery of the show is how she got cast?  No one wants to take credit for that.

(If the show were a hit, everyone would be falling over themselves to insist the casting was their idea.)

It's awful watching the actress lumber around and then suddenly stop to stand like a statue each time she thinks she's got a funny line to deliver.  You have to watch for that, her stopping to stand still, because otherwise you won't know the line was supposed to be funny since she delivers every line exactly the same way.

It was even worse watching the supporting cast.

As surely as Graynor fails in every scene, David Alan Grier, Kristin Davis, Sara Gilbert and Ryan Hansen soar.  They are playing characters who first appeared in the film but they have made those characters their own and fleshed them out.

Davis especially deserves credit because she's so good that it gnaws at you while you watch but it doesn't hit you until after you're done watching, "Oh, Kristin is so much prettier than Ari Graynor.  She should have been cast in the lead."

Some will say, "You're dwelling a lot on looks."  TV is a visual medium.

Also, we're pretty much socialized to believe that a gold digger requires beauty.

Watching Ari Graynor try to land the wealthy fathers of her students required more than suspension of disbelief. There is no way in the world that Graynor would be first choice for any good looking, wealthy playboy.  And what she really looks like is Tori Spelling in the first season of 90210 -- before all the surgery.

That season, Tori's Donna was a virgin and, let's remember, there weren't a lot of men rushing after her.

Again, some of you may feel this is unfair to Graynor, this attention to her looks.

But we had to watch her rather small breasts supposedly be ogled.  And we had to do that in episode where her character mocked and humiliated a 12-year-old girl by dubbing the girl "water bra" in front of others. We had to watch her insult the 12-year-old  kid repeatedly with "water bra."

When your series lead is attacking the looks of children, we think your lead better be drop dead gorgeous. We kept waiting for the young girl to point out that her (still growing) breasts were practically the same size as Graynor's not-all-that rack.

The actress didn't write the script, some might argue.

She acted in it.  She could have demanded a line change.  But she was comfortable going after the looks of young girls.  Graynor's an adult so we're more than fine pointing out that her looks are nothing to brag about. In fact, from certain angles (especially with that nose), she's down right ugly.

E-mails have asked why we haven't covered Eva Longoria's Mother Up! series on Hulu?

We had planned to.  We found Eva's turn on The Simpsons this season to be worthy of praise.  But then she went around to every outlet she could explaining how hard it was for her to play such a bizarre character (Isabel was a Republican) and we got really tired of her really damn quick.  We're talking about Longoria playing the voice of a little girl in a 22 minute animated episode, not performing the lead in The Elephant Man on Broadway.  We should note that we especially got tired of her whining in Spanish language outlets because she really took it to them.  If you just read English language outlets, you were left with two basic stories.  There was so much more in the Spanish media.  As she kept babbling on about her difficulties, we kept waiting for her to claim playing Isabel gave her Post-Traumatic Stress. It was a cute little part in a cartoon episode about the need to look beyond the surface.  That apparently was too frightening of a prospect for Eva.

We watched three episodes of Mother Up! and didn't care for the show.  We weren't sure how much her nonsense to the press bothered us and how much it was the show itself?

Allen Gregory is a show we loved.  We think it was the best new animated show in years.  And Eva's Mother Up! shared a lot with Allen Gregory in terms of tone and temperament.  What it didn't share was a likable adult.  Without Jeremy, Allen Gregory wouldn't have worked.

You needed at least one adult in the cast to root for.

Mother Up! failed to give us one.

The third show e-mails focused on was Crackle's Cleaners.

Ty told us there was this whole subset of e-mails from people who believed that, because we consider Courtney Cox a friend, we were ignoring this show that starred her ex-husband David Arquette.  We love Courtney but we also love the Arquettes.  We really didn't think of David when we passed on this.

We were watching the first episode and noting how poorly it was filmed, how shoddy the lighting was, how everything looked like crap and then Gina Gershon came on as the boss of everyone.  We honestly stopped right there.  When a show can't properly film Gina, it's a show that's never going to get its act together.

In a visual medium, visuals matter.

Bad Teacher was doomed the moment they cast the role of a hot, desirable, sexy woman with Ari Graynor who only managed to accurately fill in the gender requirement.  That the people behind this show think that adults making fun of 11 and 12-year-olds qualifies as comedy may be the saddest thing about this show.

We don't remember Cameron insulting the looks of children in the film Bad Teacher.  It's too bad that Hillary and others have decided to go with that for the TV show.  But, happy thought, it won't be with us long. It lost two million viewers from the lead-in (Two and a Half Men).  It will most likely lose two million more this Thursday when the second episode airs.  Which means about five million will have watched it.  And if that happens, Bad Teacher will, in week two, have had the lowest rated new episode of any CBS Thursday night sitcom this season.   Not a big surprise.  Like we already said, Bad Teacher died in the first 19 seconds.

Redford's disgraced and sleeping in the wet spot

Watershed: Exploring A New Water Ethic for the New West is a strong documentary from 2012.  It won praise but now it has a question mark lingering over it and not because of anything in the film but because of its executive producer and narrator Robert Redford.

The former matinee idol made news last week that created so much disgrace, he probably wishes they'd just been writing about his bad hair piece.


The elderly actor's constant need for attention led him to produce Chicagoland for CNN.  Chicagoland was promoted as a documentary.  And documentaries, Redford insisted last month, are so very important:

CNN: You've talked about your frustration with predictable political commentary from the right and left on television. What role can documentaries play in this partisan atmosphere?

REDFORD: When the dialogue about the news is so extreme on one side or the other -- extremely on the right, which I think started with the tea party, and that prompted the left to be extreme on their side. So once those two extremes started battling with each other, it's hard to know where the truth really is. So you want to say, "Well, where am I going to find out about the truth -- this side is barking loud, this side is barking louder to be heard, and pretty soon it becomes a lot of noise."

So where is a consumer going to get the truth? I lean toward documentaries because the documentarian will take an hour to tell his or her story. And those stories are usually about the issues that come up on the news, but sometimes get knocked around with a lot of noise. And so you don't know what the story really is. But if you look at a documentary and you have an hour or more to dive into an issue, and you go right down to the heart of it, then you can come out of it and say, "Gee, I get the picture."

No, Hacktor, the Tea Party didn't start the 'noise.'  In its most recent round, the noise was started on the semi-left where dirty whores pretend they're left when they're nothing but partisans -- a lot like the Whore Redford who got exposed last week.

Bill Ruthhart (Chicago Tribune) reported:

If it seemed as though some scenes of CNN's documentary series "Chicagoland" were coordinated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's City Hall and the show's producers, that's because they were.
More than 700 emails reviewed by the Tribune reveal that the production team worked hand in hand with the mayor's advisers to develop storylines, arrange specific camera shots and review news releases officially announcing the show.
Producers asked the mayor's office to help them set up key interactions in what the cable network has billed as a nonscripted eight-part series, including Emanuel's visits with the school principal who emerged as a star of the show, emails show.
City Hall's frequent correspondence with the producers illustrates how senior aides to a mayor known for shaping his media image managed how their boss would be portrayed on CNN to a prime time national audience.

Oh, Mr. High And Mighty, how you have fallen.

And whoring out your name to help Rahm Emanuel's neo-liberal politics comes with a cost.  It means all the things you vouched for and championed are now suspect.

That's why you shouldn't whore.

Redford's had ethical problems before.  For example, his box office bomb Quiz Show was a 'true story' that really wasn't.  Don Enright (Los Angeles Times) observed in 1994:

While in interviews Redford admits to changing some facts, on screen "Quiz Show" is explicitly represented to be a true story. It uses real names in its promotion, it uses real faces. At the same time, the movie carries none of the familiar fictional content disclaimers. Not even at the very end in tiny letters. No, Redford hands down his movie as revealed truth, re-created.
But it's not. "Quiz Show," the movie, is rigged. Fixed. Just like its television counterpart. And for precisely the same reason. Played straight, the story would be much more dramatically complicated and much less morally convenient. The real truth is that Redford has sacrificed truth--not to say decency--to make his show a more dramatic, more compelling and, ultimately, more successful product for mass entertainment.

At least that was an entertainment film which no one outside of Redford mistook for a documentary.

But now even his product that he promotes as a documentary turns out to be fiction.

Bruce Dixon (Black Agenda Report) was never taken in by Chicagoland:

Chicagoland makes a kind of neoliberal action hero out of Rahm Emanuel in Chicago just like the Brick City crew did Corey Booker in Newark.
[. . .] But there's lots more that Chicagoland doesn't show us. Soon after winning the 2011 mayoral election Rahm Emanuel had a get-acquainted dinner with Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) president Karen Lewis. “25% of the kids,” he told her, referring to children in the city's public schools, “are never going to amount to anything,” and for that reason he “wouldn't throw resources at them.”

This is the person Robert Redford chose to trash his own reputation over.

How sad.  But a 77-year-old whore apparently doesn't have the pick of the crop when it comes to johns.  No, Redford just has to take whatever pathetic loser he can scare up.

Last year, Redford tossed down the following from his high horse to The Wrap's Brent Lang, ""Anybody can put something up. Anybody can tweet, so therefore it’s harder and harder to find out what the truth is. When you have barking dogs on television that are so extremely to the right where they’ll lie right to your face and with such conviction, somebody just channeling they'll go, 'Oh I guess that’s what the truth is.'"

And any whore can do p.r. for a politician and lie that it's actually a documentary.

This edition's playlist

Our Bright Future

1) Tracy Chapman's Our Bright Future.

2) Ben Harper's Both Sides of the Gun.

3) Tori Amos' Scarlet's Walk.

4) Laura Nyro's Christmas and the Beads of Sweat.

5) Ann Wilson's Hope & Glory.

6) Radiohead's The King of Limbs.

7) Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On.

8) Various artists' Wall of Sound: The Very Best of Phil Spector 1961 - 1966.

9) Rolling Stone's Some Girls.

10) The Mamas and the Papas' If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears.

TV: The slow suicide of NBC News

If it's Sunday, people are talking about Meet The Press.

Sadly, it's not the kind of talk a struggling network like NBC wants to hear.  It's all about what's wrong with the show, why are the ratings so bad, what's wrong with host David Gregory?

These issues were bubbling before last week.

April 6th, Isaiah parodied Gregory's low ratings with  "When to Say Goodbye."

As Ann noted,  "The point of the comic was that David Letterman, who announced his retirement, knew when to say goodbye while David Gregory, who is running off viewers, doesn't know how to say goodbye."

Then last week, The Washington Post published an article by Paul Farhi which documented the long running program's ratings struggle as it dropped to the third most watched Sunday chat & chew of the big three network's faux public affairs programs. As a sign of just how the show is struggling, Gregory flounders in paragraph three attempting to sell confidence before offering, in paragraph four, a weak statement insisting "we're going to fix our problems."

No, they're not.

The program has a visual problem and that's David Gregory's face.  Short of plastic surgery, it's not going to be fixed.

The simian features could be a neutral factor or even a plus.  It could argue, "He's no pretty boy!"  But when people make an argument like that, they're trying to emphasize that the man has substance and Gregory, like his program, has none.

Last week saw The New York Times dealing with the exposure that they'd again made false claims that were part of a march to war (Iraq in years past, Ukraine last week).  This week sees elections in Iraq.  Last week saw many important developments including the US Supreme Court issued a much debated ruling on affirmative action,  Israel walked away from peace talks, US President Barack Obama went to Asia, part of that trip was about promoting a new and controversial trade pact (one that the press has largely ignored), the governor of Mississippi (Phil Bryant) signed into law a ban on abortions that would take place 20 weeks after a woman last had her period,  a new study by political scientists Martin Gilens (Princeton) and Benjamin Page (Northwestern) theorized that the United States was not a democracy and was becoming an oligarchy, the FCC Chair is moving to kill net neutrality, three US doctors were shot dead in an Afghanistan hospital by Afghanistan troops, an audit revealed the IRS was providing bonuses to IRS employees who were written up and who were not paying their own taxes, the FBI lodged an objection with the Supreme Court to even hearing New York Times reporter James Risen's appeal of a lower court ruling ordering him to break confidentiality and expose his source, the Justice Department is looking for a minimal ($20 million) fine from Bank of America instead of pursuing its investigations into Bank of America's mortgage practices and filing charges, Massachusetts' Judge Rotenberg Center for children who are challenged or disabled has been using electric shocks to 'correct' behaviors, and  the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight's Chair Claire McCaskill and Ranking Member Ron Johnson announced of their "bipartisan investigation into allegations of misconduct by former Department of Homeland Security Acting and Deputy Inspector General Charles Edwards":  "The Subcommittee found that Mr. Edwards jeopardized the independence of the Office of Inspector General and that he abused agency resources."

That's only some of the important issues effecting people's lives.

Today, Meet The Press chose to lead with which of the above?


Surely, it was because they had some major breaking story, right?


They fancied posing as TMZ or Bossip today.

They opened with allegations:

David Gregory:  And good Sunday morning. Developing story this weekend to talk about. It's what we begin with. I'm joined by Civil Rights activist and the host of Politics Nation on MSNBC, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and interim president of the NAACP, Lorraine Miller, and Bryant Gumbel, host of HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, who we're so pleased to have with us, as well. Thank you all for being here. The context is important here. Here are the comments by Donald Sterling, allegedly made by Donald Sterling, first revealed on tape by the site TMZ. Listen.

Though Gregory couldn't do an adequate introduction, we'll note that Sterling owns the LA Clippers. Sterling is White.  His girlfriend (who is not a public figure so we're not identifying her) is bi-racial.

Note that these were allegations, that they didn't even know if it was Sterling on the tape.  Note also, this is a private conversation between two apparent lovers (non-exclusive ones if the tape is of Sterling and his lover). It is not about business practices or hiring.  It has no real implications beyond the two people involved in the conversation.  It has resulted in the LA chapter of the NAACP announcing today that they would cancel their planned lifetime achievement award for Sterling.

If this private conversation had been about business practices or something similar, we might give a damn.  A conversation allegedly about who he wants his girlfriend to bring to games and who he doesn't?  Not of national import, not of anything of news value.  It's gossip.

It's interesting gossip.

But the show's not called Meet The Gossip, it's called Meet The Press.

The segment was made even worse by the inclusion of Al Sharpton.  NBC News staff does not want to be associated with the ethically challenged (and FBI informant) Sharpton.  And for good reason.  Immediately after the clip of the alleged Sterling conversation was played, Gregory asked Sharpton for a response and Sharpton replied:

Well, I think that clearly the National Basketball Association must suspend him, or must say that, "We're going to remove any kind of imprimatur we have on this team if he's the owner." You cannot have someone own an NBA team in this country and have these kind of attitudes. You must remember, he settled multi-million dollar discrimination lawsuits in the past, so he has a background. So what we said in National Action Network is the NBA ought to move right away. Let's not play games. They say they're going to investigate.

Before the allegations that it's Sterling speaking have been proven, Sharpton's calling for a suspension of Sterling?

Al Sharpton is a cheap hustler whose Tawana Brawley involvement alone should have him banned from news programs.  He's a carnival barker at best.

When that's your opening segment, "he's no pretty boy!" is not bragging, it's just noting yet another failure of your supposed moderator.

Al Sharpton hosts a poorly rated MSNBC talk show.  On Howard Kurtz' Media Buzz (Fox News) today. the topic of Gregory's failures was discussed and Kurtz asked The Baltimore Sun's media critic David Zurawik about whether or not MSNBC's image was harming NBC News?  Zurawik noted at The Sun after that he avoided the question:

But, for the record, here is the answer I should have offered: I believe NBC News has seriously harmed its brand and most of its star performers through the indiscriminate mixing and matching with MSNBC.
The rabid ideology of MSNBC has been like a cancer eating away at the credibilty of NBC News, which was once a very good jounalistic institution. Gregory has been part of that. His words and actions within the highly politicized realm of MSNBC make it perfectly valid for viewers to expect there to be a liberal bias on "Meet the Press." And that expectation and perception of bias has been deadly to the franchise. 

Zurawik gets a lot right in the above.  He leaves out one issue but we'll come back to that.

Chris Wiegant (Huffington Post) tried to tackle the issues and failed miserably.  NBC, he insisted, would never cancel the show because it's the longest running show.  His view of sentimental suits running the networks is touching if not at all based in reality.  For example, CBS took the axe to Guiding Light when the soap opera turned 72-years-old.  (Both Guiding Light and Meet The Press started out as radio programs before transferring to TV.)  He then offers a weak view of right-wing criticism of Gregory and an only slightly better view of left-wing criticism of Gregory.

We're feminists, we're left.  And we can be honest and feel others should be as well.  The strongest argument against media bias right now is from the right-wing.

That's really not debatable.  We're not talking about specific details, we're just referring to is there a bias?

Why does the right-wing have the strongest argument?

Because corporate media is a collection of suck-ups.  

With a Democrat in the White House, the media sucks up to the Democrats.  It does the same for the GOP when a Republican is in the White House.

The notion that the media has any independence is one made by only the extremely foolish or the extremely well paid -- which, more and more, are one and the same thing.

Does Gregory scrape and bow towards Democrats today?

Yes, he does.

He's not doing so to be a liberal, he's doing it because he's a suck up.

In the Bully Boy Bush days, he sucked up to the Bush administration.

He's most famous for his January 12, 2004 'report' on The Today Show where he used talking points handed to him by the Bush White House to slander and defame former US Secretary Paul O'Neill.  O'Neill, he insisted, would have to explain how he got memos used by journalist Ron Suskind, how these government memos were obtained and whether any laws were broken and . . .

He continued frothing at the mouth while holding Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill.  As one of us explained to an NBC news producer minutes after the segment aired, Gregory hadn't read the book -- hadn't even read the introduction -- where it was explained that O'Neill asked the White House for the memos and they put them on a disc for O'Neill.

That's where he got the memos, they were given to him by the White House.  They weren't stolen, they weren't secretly whisked away.

Gregory wasn't trying to be a Republican that day, he was just trying to suck up to a White House.

Had Gregory hosted Meet The Press then, the left-wing would have had the strongest argument against bias.

The media is not a collective of independent voices attempting independent journalism.

They are a pack of lap dogs.

Weigant is a deeply stupid and he proves his ignorance by writing of Gregory:  "he once said mean things about Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden."

"Mean things"?

Tech Dirt reported on it in real time:

The specific question (though, watching the video gives you much more of a sense of the tone and style in which it was asked) was:
"To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?"
After Greenwald hits back hard and points out the ridiculousness of a reporter "embracing" a theory that would outlaw nearly all investigative reporting on the government, Gregory insists he wasn't "endorsing" the idea, but merely raising the questions that others had. However, watching his initial question, it sure looks like he's directly suggesting that Greenwald committed a crime in reporting on such a huge story, making a huge leap in claiming that reporting on some leaked information is akin to "aiding and abetting." 

Those are not "mean things."  Those are deeply stupid statements which are devoid of anything resembling journalistic ethics.  He accused a journalist of committing crimes for reporting facts.

Weigant's stupidity only got worse.  He's not too worried about Gregory, he explains, because the faces are going to be changing:

This means there will be a shakeup in the Sunday morning scene similar to the one now going on in late-night television. Younger hosts may take over the whole genre, to put it another way. 

How old does the idiot think Tim Russert was when he started hosting Meet The Press?

Russert was 41-years-old.  How old is 'new' late night host Seth Meyers?  He turns 41-years-old this year. CBS has named Stephen Colbert as the successor to David Letterman.  That would be forty-nine-year-old Stephen Colbert.  Jimmy Fallon took over hosting duties of The Tonight Show this year.  He also turns forty this year.

Younger hosts?

40 is middle-aged.  

To the issue of MSNBC, the chronically low-rated network has put a partisan spin on the image of NBC News.  That's only compounded when MSNBC hosts like Al Sharpton are bought on to NBC News programs.

It shouldn't happen.

But while MSNBC has tarnished NBC News, the NBC News staff has destroyed their own image.


Is that a news term?


Because Andrea Mitchell can be seen every three months, across the country, on TV, snarling "Slut!" at a woman.

It wasn't funny when it aired.

It's 30 Rock.  Andrea learns Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) has had sex and mocks her and derides her with, "Slut!"

The show's now in syndication with most TV stations choosing to air the show five times a week with two episodes each day.  That means every 13 weeks, the show is back to the Andrea Mitchell "Slut!" episode.

Andrea Mitchell wasn't the first news anchor or reporter to appear on a sitcom.  We believe Walter Cronkite was the first, doing an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1974 while he was also the host of the CBS Evening News  (February 9, 1974, "Ted Baxter Meets Walter Cronkite," written by Ed. Weinberger).  But Walter didn't call anyone a "slut."

On that episode of 30 Rock ("When It Rains, It Pours," written by Robert Carlock), the news of Liz's alleged affair is spread by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams.

He appears on nine episodes in all, playing a vain network anchor named Brian Williams who spreads gossip.  Not only does he note Liz's alleged affair in the previously noted episode, in "!Que Sorpresa!" (written by Matt Hubbard), Brian Williams spreads gossip to Liz's staff -- the staff she supervises -- that she's pregnant. In both cases, Brian Williams doesn't just spread gossip, he spreads bad gossip -- in both cases, what he repeats is untrue. 

As a fleeting moment on NBC prime time, it may not be noticed.  Truth was, 30 Rock was watched by few people on NBC.  It's reaching many more viewers in syndication.  And every thirteen weeks, they see Brian Williams playing himself as a gossip and idiot.  (In one of the episodes, he plays a 70s broadcaster who is deeply sexist but not named Brian Williams.)  They also see him doing the "slow jams" with Jimmy Fallon.

Neither his 'comedy' 'acting' nor his 'slow jams' have a damn thing to do with news (nor did his Family Guy voice over) but it does have a lot to do with lowering the NBC News brand. 

And when a light weight like David Gregory struggles on air, he doesn't have NBC News' formerly strong image to fall back on.  That's the point we feel David Zurawik didn't address. 

Zurawik has long noted that the partisan nature of MSNBC is harmful to the image of NBC News.  He's been exactly right about that (and most at NBC News agree).  But it's not just that.  There was outcry as late as 2002 over NBC News staff appearing in scripted programming.

In 2002, for example, Katie Couric appeared in Will & Grace's "Marry Me A Little, Marry Me A Little More" (written by Jeff Greenstein and Bill Wrubel).  That may have been the first of the worst.

We don't say that to slam Katie Couric and, to be sure, she didn't snarl "Slut!" at anyone. However, Grace (Debra Messing) married Leo (Harry Connick Jr.) on The Today Show  and . . .

Katie explains in her second appearance in the episode that NBC News screwed up and hired a judge not licensed to marry anyone in the state of New York so Grace and Leo aren't really married.  The laugh is about the incompetence of NBC News. Katie and others may have been good sports, but what it really says, day after day in syndication, is that NBC News is incompetent.

Equally harmful are the portrayals of NBC News staff as shallow, vain and stupid.  That's not just Andrea Mitchell and Brian Williams.  It's also  NBC anchor Matt Lauer.  Matt Lauer had already embarrassed himself (Will & Grace, "Bathroom Humor," written by Greg Malins) in 2006 declaring, "I need to tinkle."


A grown man saying he needs to "tinkle."

A grown man who fancies himself being in the news industry saying he has to "tinkle."

He only made it worse on 30 Rock playing an idiot named Matt Lauer who interviewed an offensive Tracy Jordan and couldn't grasp the Jordan was offensive.  (Jordan was attempting to lose his Academy Award winning reputation by being offensive and outrageous.)    By contrast, his then colleague Meredith Vieira  managed to appear on 30 Rock without playing a gossip, uttering "slut" or making a fool of herself. 

NBC News should have stepped in a long time ago with a rule that their news staff did not participate in skits that mocked or belittled NBC News.  It's not a humor ban.  It's a realization that when your own news staff will be seen over and over in syndication mocking the quality of the news department, it's going to be a lot harder for NBC News to be taken seriously.

When Barack Met Caroline . . .

Barack: I see that John Jr. got all the looks in the family.  You look like you forgot your black hat and broom.

Caroline: Oh, you're not such a fuzzy new peach yourself these days, what's with all the wrinkles on your chin waddle?  I feel like I'm standing in a turkey farm.



In last week's "Film Classics of the 20th Century," we wrote:

And she [Meg Ryan] and  Tom Hanks have real chemistry in the film -- it's not easy to have chemistry with Hanks and Meg's the only one who ever has -- in this film, in Joe Versus The Volcano and in You've Got Mail.  Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks have co-starred in two flop and demonstrated all the 'magic' and appeal of curdled milk.  Chemistry can't be forced.

Reader Lillian e-mailed in reply:

I will no argue that Larry Crowne was a bomb, it was.  But Charlie Wilson's War, the other film Tom made with Julia Roberts, was a big hit.  That film made over a hundred million dollars.

We decided to let Ava and C.I. respond:

Working with the figures publicly available at, it is clear that Charlie Wilson's war was a box office bomb.

The budget is listed at $75 million.  It is an undercount but let's pretend it's accurate.

Charlie Wilson's War took in $66.6 million in ticket sales.

It didn't even sell enough tickets to match its budget.  Oh, and by the way, those ticket sales?  They're split with the movie theaters.  They don't run films as a charity exercise.  They get a take of the ticket sales.  The studio gets the biggest portion in the film's opening week.  It then slides downward.

Charlie Wilson's War made more for theaters than for the studio.

Its audience trended older.  Older ticket buyers are not 'opening day' ticket buyers.  They tend to see a film not based on when it premiers but based on their own schedules.  By the second over $30 million of the ticket sales came in the third week and after -- which means the theaters got a greater percentage of those ticket sales.

Lillian seems like a smart person trying to follow box office.

We applaud her for that.

We also apologize to her that so many idiots at Entertainment Weekly and elsewhere have never bothered to talk about the domestic ticket sales.

So the film couldn't even make back its budget domestically.

Could overseas have helped it?

Lillian notes the movie made over $100 million and that's true when you bring in overseas ticket sales.  To the $66.6 million in ticket sales domestically, the film added $52.8 million in foreign sales.

That's not really anything.

Again, the Entertainment Weekly and other gas bags that 'follow' box office don't know what they're doing.

You need to make a minimum of 80 million in overseas ticket sales for the studio making the movie to see any real profit.

Universal had to share that $52.8 million with foreign theaters who showed the film and with foreign distributors.  There were other additional fees which included promoting the film in these overseas markets.

The film was a bomb.

It didn't need a $75 million budget.  It could have been made for much, much less.  Julia Roberts also starred in August: Osage County whose budget was much lower ($25 million).  Roberts hasn't carried a film across the $100 million mark since 2000 with Erin Brokovich.  Tom Hanks' Captain Phillips squeaked past the $100 million mark but his last real blockbuster was in 2009 with Angels & Demons.  It's been awhile since either Roberts or Hanks charmed a wide audience.

Dennis e-mails to say he's missing "those short pieces with Barack Obama."  He goes on to suggest a number of photos we could have used.

Dona: Dennis, great minds do think alike.  We had the same ideas.  Dennis is referring to a group of photos that featured Barack and children.  He had some Godzilla captions.  We thought of that as well.  We also thought of drone jokes.  But we kept coming back to the fact that these are kids.  We really didn't want to go there.   Dennis isn't making fun of the kids with his proposed jokes and we weren't going to with ours but we just decided to take a pass.

Calah wrote to say that he felt we missed a great deal of the important stories.

Jess: You are correct.  We publish once a week.  We cover Iraq and grab other topics when we can.  Ava and C.I. have a TV piece this week that notes a great many important topics from last week.  They can do that.  They can figure out how to weave in additional topics.  But in terms of our commitments, we have always covered Iraq and we always will.  Other than that, we grab what we can.  We attempted a piece on net neutrality this week but had no luck with it.  In the words of Kat, it is what it is.

Braeden e-mailed about "The day after Easter" from last week:

I started reading you guys in February 2005.  I was a college student.  I'm now in the worry-every-day-you-might-lost-your-job workforce, married with two kids.  I still read you guys.  I still care about Iraq and am really disappointed how few people on the left do anymore.  But my wife and I do care and we're glad that you do as well.  We also read for the TV coverage.  It makes us laugh and, with 2 kids, we don't have a lot of movie money lying around and when we do it goes to some kid's cartoon movie.  Ava and C.I. deserve a week off.  But that said, Ava and C.I.'s TV reporting is the first thing we read each week.  But we read all of it and the candy piece?  We are your target audience and we appreciated the reminder to grab Easter candy the day after.  Thank you for that.  And not only did we get Easter candy but I grabbed a bag of Hershey Christmas candy -- cookies and cream -- for 38 cents.  0

We do try to remember our core audience when we work on the editions.  Jim notes:

Score on the Hershey candy bars!  Great job, Braeden.  At 38 cents, I think you beat all of us bargain hunters across the country.  And congratulations on your marriage and your two kids.  It's weird to think how many years have passed since this site started.  Thank you to Braeden and everyone else who's joined us for the ride.

Our e-mail address is

Piece of news you better not miss


That's chief thug and prime minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki with US President Barack Obama.

Last week, the two got even closer.

Thursday, Mark Hosenball, Warren Strobel, Phil Stewart, Ned Parker, Jason Szep and Ross Colvin (Reuters) reported, "The United States is quietly expanding the number of intelligence officers in Iraq and holding urgent meetings in Washington and Baghdad to find ways to counter growing violence by Islamic militants, U.S. government sources said."

Grading Barack on foreign policy?

What I will say is that I have the sense that both Secretaries Clinton and Kerry have had a very difficult problem. They face a White House—and a President—who is very focused on his domestic agenda, very desirous of minimizing his exposure to foreign policy, uninterested in committing resources to foreign policy efforts, and who keeps the tightest rein on foreign policy I have ever seen. The White House does not seem to have given either of its secretaries of state a whole lot of freedom of action to implement, let alone make, foreign policy. When we finally get a better sense of how policy was made in this Administration, if that perspective is borne out, then I think you will have to judge both Clinton and Kerry against that standard in those circumstances.

-- Kenneth Pollack to Reza Akhlaighi in "Candid Discussions: Kenneth Pollack on U.S. Policy in the Middle East" (Foreign Policy).

DAV Demands Accountability in Veterans’ Deaths

This is from the Disabled Veterans of America:

DAV Demands Accountability in Veterans’ Deaths

WASHINGTON—DAV (Disabled American Veterans) is calling for a full investigation of allegations that at least 40 patients have died awaiting treatment at the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Phoenix, and that some of them were put on a secret list to hide the wait times from officials in Washington.

According to news reports, leadership at the Phoenix facility was aware of the practice, a charge that the medical center director has denied.

Earlier today, VA officials briefed veterans service organizations, including DAV, about the situation and outlined the department’s plans to move forward with an investigation. Meanwhile, the VA’s Office of the Inspector General is conducting its own investigation.

“The health and well-being of veteran patients is the VA’s top priority and anything that may put them in jeopardy must be fully investigated,” said DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Garry Augustine. “We look forward to the results of these investigations, and if there is any evidence of wrongdoing or knowledgeable neglect, those responsible must be held to account.”

It has been alleged that the leadership at the Phoenix VA kept two sets of patient waiting lists; one used to report average appointment waiting times to Washington and the other one to schedule appointments as they became available. VA medical facilities are required to provide care to patients typically within 14 to 30 days, depending on the availability and specialty required. The so-called secret list tracks real appointment waiting times, some of which were beyond the VA required timeframe. News reports also claim hard copy evidence documenting veterans’ initial appointment requests were shredded in order to hide the lengthy wait list.

About DAV

DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with 1.2 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932.


Boxer Releases New Report on Medical Errors

This is from Senator Barbara Boxer's office:

Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
April 25, 2014
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Releases New Report on Medical Errors  

According to Researchers, Between 210,000 and 440,000 People Die Every Year from Errors in Hospitals that Could Have Been Prevented

Washington, D.C. –Today in Los Angeles, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) released a new report detailing the most common and harmful errors at our nation’s hospitals and what hospitals in California are doing to prevent them.

“We have the opportunity to save not just one life, but to save hundreds of thousands of lives. Many people will be shocked to hear this, but medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in America today,” Senator Boxer said. “These deaths are all the more heartbreaking for families because they are preventable.”  

Every year, between 210,000 and 440,000 Americans die as a result of preventable errors in hospitals, such as hospital-acquired infections, adverse drug reactions, patient falls and bedsores - numbers equivalent to a jumbo jet crashing every day with no survivors. Research has also found that the direct costs of medical errors total $19.5 billion annually and that the economic costs of medical errors, including lost productivity, could be as much as $1 trillion a year.

“We cannot turn away from this challenge. If anyone of us were on the street corner and saw someone about to step off the curb and get hit by a bus, what would we do? We would pull them back from disaster. We have that chance today. We have the opportunity to pull more than 200,000 people back from disaster every year by preventing medical errors,” Senator Boxer said. “If we all work together – doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, patients, patient advocates, medical technology pioneers, public health experts and federal officials – we can prevent so much heartbreak for families and stop these tragedies before they occur.” 

In February, Senator Boxer wrote to 283 California acute care hospitals asking them to respond with the actions they are taking to reduce medical errors. At an event today at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Boxer unveiled a staff report based on responses received from 149 hospitals, highlighting the steps that California hospitals like UCLA are taking to address these errors as well as call on hospitals nationwide to do more to prevent these needless tragedies.

Here are some of the major findings from the report:

  • All of the hospitals that responded reported taking at least some steps to address the most common medical errors. 
  • Many hospitals agree on common approaches to reducing these errors, which are outlined in this report.  
  • For example, many hospitals are helping to prevent pneumonia among patients on ventilators by keeping patients’ heads elevated 30-45 degrees.
  • Some hospitals are stepping out and pursuing unique approaches to preventing these errors.
  • For example, Kaiser Permanente requires nurses to wear colored sashes or vests when dispensing medication to patients to prevent interruptions and distractions that could lead to errors. 
  • UCLA Medical Center disinfects hospital rooms using ultraviolet technology, prohibits the use of home-laundered scrubs, and bans doctors and other staff with open wounds, bandages or casts from scrubbing into surgeries to help prevent infection.  
  • And Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville reported that it reduced the number of surgical site infections from 16 in 2009 to 2 in 2013 after starting an innovative program that rewards medical staff who are observed practicing good hand hygiene by entering them into a drawing for a chance to win a prize.  

Many more examples of how hospitals are responding to this epidemic are contained in the full report. The report also makes recommendations for how hospitals, federal agencies and Congress can work together to improve patient safety.

“I will be sending this report to all the hospitals – the ones that participated and the ones that did not. I urge those hospitals that chose not to respond to my request to do so now,” Senator Boxer said. “This is not the time to sit back and do nothing. Lives are at stake.”  

To read and download a copy of the report, click here.


Drive for new legal review for Mumia (Betsey Piette, WW)

Repost from Workers World:

Drive for new legal review for Mumia

By on April 25, 2014

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal

It seems almost too good to be true. On April 15, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced the creation of a new Conviction Review Unit to investigate disputed homicide convictions that have legitimate claims of new evidence and where defendants have declared their innocence.

“The very legitimacy of the criminal-justice system comes when the populace believes that those who … are truly innocent are set free,” said Williams. (, Apr. 17)

This certainly applies to the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

For more than three decades, internationally renowned political journalist Abu-Jamal has languished on death row and, more recently, in general population in Pennsylvania prisons because the criminal injustice system has systematically maneuvered to deny him a fair trial or any semblance of justice.

In December 1981, Abu-Jamal, who was driving a taxi, happened upon an altercation between his brother, William Cook, and police officer Daniel Faulkner. Faulkner, who had been shot, fired at Abu-Jamal as he approached. Cook’s companion, Kenneth Freeman, whom many suspect was the shooter of Faulkner, ran from the scene.

Twenty-six pictures were taken at the scene by freelance photographer Pedro Polakoff before police arrived and while they were carrying out their “investigation.” The photos supported Abu-Jamal’s claim of innocence and provided clear evidence that prosecutorial witnesses lied during Abu-Jamal’s trial, but they were never shown to the jury. The jury was never told that Freeman’s driver’s license was found in Faulkner’s pocket.
The case was heard by Judge Albert Sabo, who sent more prisoners to death row than any other judge. Racism was evident throughout the trial, especially in the jury selection process. Former court stenographer Terri Mauer-Carter later testified to hearing Sabo tell another person, “I’m going to help them fry the n——r.”

Denied the right to represent himself, Abu-Jamal was forced to accept the counsel of public defender Anthony Jackson, who was subsequently disbarred. Prosecutor Joseph McGill’s erroneous instructions to the jury were later the basis for Abu-Jamal’s release from death row.

Abu-Jamal’s first level of appeal — a Post Conviction Release Act hearing in 1995 — was heard by the same Judge Sabo, who came out of retirement just for this case.

The ‘Mumia Exception’

Legal court rulings that had allowed other prisoners to be retried or released were reversed when the same legal questions were raised in Abu-Jamal’s case. Journalist Linn Washington Jr. coined the phrase “the Mumia Exception” to describe the practice repeatedly employed by state and federal courts to strip Abu-Jamal of the same legal relief provided to other inmates.

Federal courts continued this practice when in a split 2-1 decision in 2008, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Abu-Jamal’s request for a new trial on the basis of racism in jury selection. In Batson v. Kentucky (1986), the Supreme Court had ruled that a prosecutor’s use of peremptory challenges could not be used to exclude jurors based solely on their race, yet the injustice system did not apply this ruling to Abu-Jamal’s case. In a 41-page dissenting opinion, Judge Thomas Ambrose wrote, “The ruling goes against the grain of our prior actions.”

All along, the capitalist courts have maneuvered to deny justice for Abu-Jamal. Evidence of 29 constitutional violations was brought to federal appeals court on Abu-Jamal’s behalf in 1999. In a 2001 ruling that negated the death sentence but denied a new trial, Judge William H. Yohn only ruled on the sentencing phase of the trial, not on the evidence of judicial or prosecutorial misconduct in Abu-Jamal’s original trials.
In April 2011, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Yohn’s decision and denied appeals requested by the district attorney’s office. In December 2011, District Attorney Seth Williams closed the door to further evidence of Abu-Jamal’s innocence being brought before a jury when his office declined to hold a new sentencing phase trial.

In addition to reopening Abu-Jamal’s case, Williams should be investigating the Fraternal Order of Police for evidence tampering, witness intimidation, and coercion and extortion of politicians. One-third of the 35 police officers responsible for gathering evidence and investigating Abu-Jamal’s case were subsequently jailed for extortion and evidence tampering in connection with other cases. Judge Sabo was a life member of the FOP.
Earlier this year, the FOP used its racist campaign against Abu-Jamal to block President Barack Obama’s nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. The FOP cited Adegbile’s defense of Abu-Jamal as grounds for his disqualification, while steamrolling over a defendant’s right to counsel.

Abu-Jamal noted, “What do you call a country where cops decide who will be judges, prosecutors and government officials? We call it a police state.” (, Mar. 6)

Seth Williams: Stand by your words! Investigate Mumia Abu-Jamal’s legitimate claim of innocence. We challenge you and the political structure, from Philadelphia to Pennsylvania and including the Obama administration, to finally do the right thing.

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

Abortion: a woman's right to choose (UK Socialist Worker):

This is from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

Abortion: a woman's right to choose

Some of the tabloids are attacking a woman for wanting an abortion. Model and escort Josie Cunningham said she didn’t want to have another child because she wants a career. She said, “This time next year I won’t have a baby. Instead, I’ll be famous, driving a bright pink Range Rover and buying a big house.”
Women should have the right to choose what they do with their own bodies—including whether to have a child—whatever the reason. But for the press, some reasons are more acceptable than others. 

Papers are full of snobby moral judgements about Cunningham, who said her pregnancy threatened her chance to appear on the Big Brother TV show. Apparently wanting to be a celebrity is now a bad thing. This comes from the same tabloids that constantly splash celebrities on their front pages.

The papers describe Cunningham as a “glamour model” with the implication that she should be looked down on. Yet we live in a world where pole dancing and stripping are all hailed as somehow liberating. 

Women are still told that looking good is a sign of success. Men are still more likely to get the top jobs and be better paid than women. And childcare puts yet more barriers in the way of women who want to work.
Cunningham has judged that having another child will get in the way of her career. She’s right.

And that’s the real problem.


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.

"Hejira" -- most requested highlight of the week by readers of this site.

"Idiot of the week: Robert Redford," "Robert Redford got busted as a fake ass" and "Old Man Redford exposes himself" and "THIS JUST IN! THE LYING ROBERT REDFORD!" -- Mike, Ann, Cedric and Wally take on the ethically challenged Robert Redford.

"Movies and death," "The Other Woman" and "The box office" -- Betty and Stan go to the movies.

"Unforgettable," "community & scandal," "Again on Arrow," "Elementary," "Arrow," "The 100," "The Mindy Project," "seth gabel is sex on a stick," "The Tomorrow People," "The Originals," "Meet The Press? Not with David Gregory!," "The Good Wife explains It's All About Who You Know," "Reliable Sources," "Sharyl Attkisson is wrong," "Back in the Cold War and we're stuck with Mark Shields" and "TV and other things" -- Marcia, Rebecca, Stan, Mike, Ann, Trina, Elaine and Betty cover TV.

"Save Net Neutrality" -- Ruth on an important issue.

"Music (PJ Harvey)," "Tori Amos." "The new Joni Mitchell album," "Joni Mitchell Dog Eat Dog," "Baez is dead to us," "Ben Taylor and Jodie Foster," "I am barely blogging (sing along)" and "Carly Simon and Janis Ian" -- Elaine, Kat, Marcia and Trina cover music.

"Pasta salad in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers that you're kitchen may not be as empty as you think.

"He'll always have Clooney" and "THIS JUST IN! WHAT IS HE PUTTING IN HIS MOUTH?" -- George loves Barry.

"What Passes For Progress" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Tony Blair resurfaces," "Hawija and Falluja," "Iraq gears up for elections," "The failure that is Nouri al-Maliki" and "Tony Blair and Radical Islam: A dialogue" and "THIS JUST IN! THE TONY BLAIR-RADICAL ISLAM DIALOGUES!" -- Iraq coverage by Betty, Marcia, Elaine, Trina, Cedric and Wally.

"They don't read what they link to (C.I.)" -- C.I. guest posts for Kat.

"The nutless Robert Parry " -- Mike calls out the embarrassing.
"Arrested for kissing in La Paz"

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