Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Laura Flanders Show, TV movies of the 70s (& early 80s) and more

Today on The Laura Flanders Show
On Air America Radio, 7-10 PM EST
Truth, consequences and OUR family values.
REV. NANCY WILSON of Metropolitan Community Churches on the Vatican's anti-gay decrees.
and ROBERT GREENWALD on his Wal-Mart documentary, The High Cost of Low Price.
Plus our take on the latest news and YOU DID win those political spats at the big meal, right?You can listen to shows you missed:
Download archived shows HERE or
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Go to the Laura Flanders Blog

C.I. adds:

In addition to the new Wal-Mart movie, Greenwald has directed many others. I know Kat's wanting to cross post, so I'll just list two of my favorites: The Burning Bed (starring Farrah Fawcett, of course) and Unconstitutional: The War On Our Civil Liberties (which was sponsored by the ACLU). (I'm sure Kat's planning to list at least one movie besides Greenwald's latest.)
[. . .]
The Laura Flanders Show which you can listen to via podcast (as noted above) but you can also listen to it via broadcast radio (if there's an AAR in your area), via XM Satellite Radio (channel 167) or listen online.

Oh thanks. What does that leave me? Escape From Bogen County!

I'm joking. C.I. gave me a heads up that the post was up because if I'm going to blog on Saturday, I like to include who will have on. And for the record, I actually do like Escape From Bogan County which I did not know Greenwald produced (but didn't direct) until C.I. told me on the phone a few minutes ago.

If you haven't seen it, it's a TV movie from the seventies. Jaclyn Smith (this may have been the first TV movie she did once becoming one of ) is married to this really disgusting man who won't let her leave him and he has the entire small town and the county in his pocket. Smith's really good in the movie and it's far above most of what you could ever hope to see on Lifetime. I actually thought, the first time I saw it, that we were watching a movie being broadcast on TV and not a TV movie because it had a look to it.

Back in the seventies, that didn't happen very often. And this was a big deal. We had the three networks, PBS and a couple of "independent stations" (which meant reruns). So there weren't all the choices that there are now. But Charlie's Angels was huge and if any of the three, , or , did anything it was huge news.

One of them on Battle of the Network Stars? Oh my God, we must watch! I'm not joking.

So that was actually a pretty good TV movie and one I'd stop and watch again if I passed it while flipping channels. (I believe I only saw it the first time it aired.)

Sadly Greenwald did not produce (or direct) the definative TV movie of the seventies, . Forget pop rocks, earth shoes and the rest. The seventies is best captured by our entertainment culture for those of us who grew up in it. There's Dawn and the sequel Alexander: The Other Side of Night, assorted books, and assorted TV classics. I don't know what was up with Eve Plumb. She dumped Jan Brady and hit her stride with Dawn only to throw away the TV Movie crown -- princess division. Mare was up for it.

is a personal favorite. In that one, teenage Mare's family doesn't understand her so she turns to prostitution. But was also a classic. In this one, teenage Mare's family doesn't understand her, so she divorces them! And joins a carnival! Seriously! She also strums the guitar and I could say something nice about her singing but I'll save it for another time. Sadly the teenage years couldn't last forever in TV land though she was also in something about a haunted amusement park if I remember correctly, or to put it in 70s speak: "According to my calculations." That's how Valerie would say it on . So before you knew it, Mare was a mother with three kids trying to work and get assistance only to sign her children away. (Mare's character couldn't read.) Mare's a great actress but sometimes when I see her in something these days, I think, "Come back to Minnesota Strip, Mare, come back."

Which has nothing to do with Robert Greenwald. But he did direct OutFoxed exposing Fox "News." He also directed Steal This Movie with the way cool Janeane Garofalo and the sexy Vincent D'Onofrio. Let me correct that to read "the way cool and sexy" Janeane because she's always downing her looks anytime I listen to her show and she's very attractive. That's a great film where Vincent play Abbie Hoffman. And, by the way, Tom Hayden is played by whom in the film? Troy Garity. Who is? Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden's son.

And he directed Susan Sarandon is Sweetheart's Dance. There are others as well and that includes, of course, The Burning Bed which is still an incredible TV movie. With HBO and Showtime, et al, people may take for granted how rare it was to see something like that (or The Day After) on TV at that time. (Or The Women's Room, which I believe Mare had a small role in.) These days you see TV movies on a hard hitting topic and don't even blink twice. But back then there was a lot of jawing about how "those issues" (whatever they were) weren't fit for television. As if women being battered disappeared if we didn't have a TV movie noting it (or in the case of The Burning Bed, dealing bravely with it), as if AIDS would stop if it weren't for Marlo Thomas and Martin Sheen playing the parent of a gay child with AIDS, go down the list.
Far more often, the TV movies were nonsense. For instance, months before The Burning Bed aired, Farrah Fawcett starred in a "lark" (being kind) entitled The Red-Light Sting. Farrah played a prostitute but there was none of the reality that Vernoica Hamel was bringing to the small screen in her own TV movie of that time (which played like a bad Klute rip-off, ironically, Hamel has a tiny role in Klute).

So listen to Laura tonight.

Now here are the headlines we all worked on yesterday:

We've composed the following twelve headlines dealing with , , , ,, , , the , the , and other topics.

1) From Dahr Jamail's MidEast Wire (Iraq Dispatches):
Monday in Iraq, US troops fired on a car in Ba'qubah, killing five, two adults and three children. The US military states that they feared the car "booby-trapped." The family had been returning from visiting relatives when a US convoy approached. The car was fired on from the front and the back. One Iraqi was quoted as saying, "The ones who brought in the Americans are at fault. Those who support them are at fault. All of them are at fault. Look at these. They are all children. All of them of are children. They killed them. They killed my entire family."

2) In the United States the Associated Press reports that Cindy Sheehan returned to Crawford, Texas Thursday and joined what some estimates say were 100 protestors and other estimates say as many as 200.Cindy Sheehan stated, "I feel happy to be back here with all my friends ... but I'm heartbroken that we have to be here again," said Sheehan, who hoped to arrive earlier in the week, but was delayed by a family emergency. "We will keep pressing and we won't give up until our troops are brought home."

3) Since Sheehan and others last gathered at Camp Casey I and Camp Casey II, laws have been passed to prevent further gatherings in Crawford -- "local bans on roadside camping and parking." As protestors returned this week, they were advised they could be arrested. Among those arrested Wednesday were Daniel Ellsberg and US diplomat Ann Wright. Democratic Underground has a report from Carl who was also arrested Wendesday. Carl reports that "The entire [arrest & booking] process took 3.5 hours." Carl advises that the vigils will also take place on Christmas and New Year's Eve as well as that "Donations to the Crawford Veterans For Peace can be mailed to P. O. Box 252, Crawford, Texas, 76638-9998."

4) As the participation of psychologists and psychiatrists in the "BISQUIT" program and other 'interrogation' work raises ethical and professional questions today, CounterPunch is reporting that in WWII, United States anthropologists participated with the Office of Strategic Services in attempts to determine means to destroy the Japanese. David Price reports, in what is a clear betrayal of the profession, anthropologists were instructed "to try to conceive ways that any detectable differences could be used in the development of weapons, but they were cautioned to consider this issue 'in a-moral and non-ethical terms'." Price notes "Ralph Linton and Harry Shapiro, objected to even considering the OSS' request ­ but they were the exceptions."

5) In legal news, as the prison industry has switched to a profit making business, prisoners have found themselves located far from relatives. The distance has proved profitable for long distance companies. The Center for Constitutional Rights argued in court Monday on behalf of "New York family members who pay a grossly inflated rate to receive a phone call from their loved ones in state prisons." CCR notes:

The lawsuit, Walton v. NYSDOCS and MCI, seeks an order prohibiting the State and MCI from charging exorbitant rates to the family members of prisoners to finance a 57.5% kickback to the State. MCI charges these family members a 630% markup over regular consumer rates to receive a collect call from their loved ones, the only way possible to speak with them. Judge George Ceresia of the Supreme Court of New York, Albany County, dismissed the suit last fall, citing issues of timeliness.

6) In other legal news, Cynthia L. Cooper reports for Women's enews that November 30th the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. At issue in this case, is whether or not bans on reproductive freedom enacted by state legislatures must take effect before they can be legally challenged or whether they can be challenged as soon as they are passed. The standard up to now has been that laws can be challenged as soon as they are passed. Cooper notes:

By changing the legal standard for when an abortion restriction can be challenged in court, anti-abortion laws could quickly entangle women across the country, without directly overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that held that states could not criminalize abortion in all circumstances.

7) The Guardian of London reports on a Rutgers University study that has found "[g]lobal warming is doubling the rate of sea level rise around the world, but attempts to stop it by cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions are likely to be futile." Professor Kenneth Miller tells The Guardian's Ashraf Khalil, "This is going to cause more beach erosion. Beaches are going to move back and houses will be destroyed." This comes as the Climate Conference is gearing up to take place in Montreal from November 28th to December 9th. United for Peace and Justiceis issuing a call for action:

This fall let's mobilize a nationwide, grassroots education and action campaign leading up to mass demonstrations in Montreal and throughout the U.S. on Saturday, December 3rd. Help gather signatures for the Peoples Ratification of the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty (, which will be presented in Montreal. Join Climate Crisis: USA Join the World! ( as we call for:
USA Join the World by Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol
Support and Export Clean, Safe, Non-Nuclear Energy Alternatives
End Government Subsidies for Oil and Coal Corporations
Dramatically Strengthen Energy Conservation and Fuel Efficiency Standards
A Just Transition for Workers, Indigenous and Other Communities Affected by a Change to Clean Energy
Defend the World's Forests; Support Community-Run Tree Planting Campaigns

8) With Congress out of session due to the holidays, a number of organizations are attempting to inform the public of pending legislation. The Bill of Rights Defense Center warns to "[e]xpect a vote [on the renewal of the Patriot Act]after Congress returns on December 12th." Of the bill, Lisa Graves of the ACLU states:

The Patriot Act was bad in 2001, and despite bipartisan calls for reform, it's still bad in 2005. Instead of addressing the real concerns that millions of Americans have about the Patriot Act, the Republican majority in Congress buckled to White House pressure, stripping the bill of modest yet meaningful reforms. Congress must reject this bill.

Both the ACLU and the Bill of Rights of Defense Center are calling for grass roots action.
Also asking for action is NOW. Congress failed to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.You can make your voice heard via NOW's take action page. On their page, you have the option of e-mailing your representatives and/or signing a petition that NOW will present to Congress on December 5th.

9) Meanwhile, as November winds down, American military fatalities have reached 76 for the month, with the Department of Defense reporting 50 Americans wounded thus far this month. The total number of American military killed in Iraq, official count, has reached 2105. Scripps Howard News Service reports that, "U.S. commanders on the ground have already launched plans to close bases and withdraw troops in the coming year, according to two congressmen who returned from Iraq this week." The two congress members are John Kline and Mark Kennedy (Republicans, Minn.).

10) In other Congressional news, Ari Berman reports for The Nation that John McCain is in the midst of makeover. Meeting with The Arizona Republican Assembly in August, McCain slapped some new war paint on as McCain supported the teaching of so-called "intelligent design" side by side with evolution, the state's "ban on gay marriage that denies government benefits to any unmarried couple," hailed Ronald Reagan as "my hero" and was observed "strenuously defending . . . Bush's Iraq policy."

For those who have forgotten, McCain attended Mark Bingham's funeral. Bingham was one of the passengers of Flight 93 hailed on 9/11 in immediate media reports. As the days wore on, Bingham appeared to disappear from many reports. Mark Bingham was gay. Whether that resulted in a "downgrading" by some in the media has been a source of speculation for some time.

11) Focusing on the media, at The Black Commentator, Margaret Kimberly addresses the issue of Bob Woodward, tying him and his editor to the journalistic behaviors of Judith Miller and her editors:

Miller, Sulzberger, Woodward and Bradlee are at the top of the corporate media food chain, and their behavior tells us why Americans aren't being told anything they ought to be told. Woodward uses his access to make a fortune writing about the Supreme Court or various presidential administrations. If a journalist's priority is writing best selling books based on the amount of access gained with the powerful, then truth telling goes out the window.

12) Also addressing the very similar behaviors of Miller and Woodward are Steven C. Day at Pop Politics, Ron Brynaert at Why Are We Back In Iraq?, and Arianna Huffington at The Huffington Post. Though still vocal on Judith Miller and weighing in with the "latest," CJR Daily still can't find a connection between the "journalistic" styles of Judith Miller and Bob Woodward. In their most recent 'Judy report', CJR Daily ponders the question of why did Miller go to jail when Scooter Libby and his people maintain that they released her from confidentiality claims. Covering old news and working themselves into another lather over Miller, CJR Daily wonders"Why did Ms. Miller go to jail?" and maintains the question "has never been fully answered." The question has indeed been answered.

Whether CJR Daily approves of or believes the argument of Miller, Floyd Abrams, et al, is beside the point. For the record, the answer has been given many times. The argument was that Miller needed more than a form signed possibly under duress. Abrams and others have long been on the record explaining that they sought a release other than the form. In the front page report, New York Times, Sunday October 16, 2005, Don Van Natta Jr., Adam Liptak and Clifford J. Levy reported:

She said she began thinking about whether she should reach out to Mr. Libby for "a personal, voluntary waiver."
[. . .]
While she mulled over over her options, Mr. Bennett was urging her to allow him to approach Mr. Tate, Mr. Libby's lawyer, to try to negotiate a deal that would get her out of jail. Mr. Bennet wanted to revive the question of the waivers that Mr. Libby and other administration officials signed the previous year authorizing reporters to disclose their confidential discussions.
The other reporters subpoenaed in the case said such waivers were coerced. They said administration officials signed them only because they feared retribution from the prosecutor or the White House. Reporters for at least three news organizations had then gone back to their sources and obtained additional assurances that convinced them the waivers were genunie. But Ms. Miller said she had not gotten an assurance that she felt would allow her to testify.

Again, from the front page New York Times story on . . . October 16, 2005. Though this was not the first reporting on Miller's position, this front page story of the Times was commented in great detail including at CJR Daily here and here. The latter time by the same writer who now wonders "Why did Ms. Miller go to jail?" Repeatedly hitting the designated pinata with articles focusing on her conduct while reducing the conduct of Bob Woodward to asides (whispered asides?) doesn't appear to make for brave "watchdoggery."

Democracy Now! has a special presentation today. The headlines above were composed by The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, 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, Betty Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, Wally of The Daily Jot and Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix. Thanks to Dallas for his help with links and tags.

Almost forgot to note Mike's new motto:

The Common Ills community is important and the Common Ills community is important to me. So I'll do my part for the Common Ills community.