Saturday, July 16, 2005

Talking point implodes as the question is asked "WHAT DID HADLEY DO?"

I've got stuff to do tonight but I saw this and think you should read it. I've got some questions about the Carole King album and that will probably be the next entry here (or the concert I went to Thursday). Read the thing below, from C.I. It's important.

NYT: Rove's latest talking point implodes but the Times doesn't notice

Grab the tiger by the tail. That's what the daily reporting on Rove is these days.

As Sidney Blumenthal noted on Democracy Now! yesterday, the grand jury leaks are springing in an awfully convenient manner for Karl Rove:

SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL: Well, Karl Rove is waging a communications battle in the way he wages communications battles. He is trying to act -- he's acting as though this is -- this matter is going to be decided by a court of Washington pundits. He is leaking stories now. There are stories in the New York Times and the Washington Post that are clearly leaked by his lawyer trying to depict him in a light in which he is innocent of the charges, but that's not how this is going to be decided. It's going to be decided by the prosecutor. And I think that Rove is in a panic mode. He's acting in a very frenetic way, and he is undermining himself, and he is undermining his principal, the President.
AMY GOODMAN: How is he undermining himself?
SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL: He's undermining himself by putting out all of these stories and keeping this at a -- in the forefront of the news. He has regarded his defense as though it is the defense of the administration himself. He cannot separate himself. Furthermore, the President has not separated him. He walked to Marine One, his helicopter, accompanied by Karl Rove, a clear statement that he stands by Rove. So, Bush has embraced Rove, as well. This is -- Bush -- Rove's damage control, in my view, has created more damage. This so-called master of communications is undermining himself in terms of communications, but in the end, none of that matters. It all comes down to Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, and what he decides to do.

So today's talking points come via a team of reporters in this morning's New York Times. It's entitled "State Dept. Memo Gets Scrutiny in Leak Inquiry on C.I.A. Officer" and it's written by Richard Stevenson. (No "W." in his byline for a change.) But wait, that's not all.
Before we can move on we need to scroll credits: " "By RICHARD STEVENSON . . . This article was reported by Douglas Jehl, David Johnston and Richard W. Stevenson and was written by Mr. Stevenson."

Munch on that popcorn a little longer, we're still not done with the credits. "David E. Sanger and Scott Shane contributed reporting for this article." "With special guest-star Heather Locklear."
Okay, I'm kidding on the Locklear part. (I think.)

But that's six reporters from the paper working on this story. And yet I honestly don't think they grasp what they're reporting.

Let's nutshell the article. There's a memo. From June 11, 2003. State Department memo. It refers to Valerie Plame as Valerie Wilson so it's obvious that Novak didn't see it, right?
Right? Why right? Why wouldn't he use her previous name? The same way that the right uses "Rodham" to clobber Hillary Clinton with to this day. Novak's not a talented journalist, but as a hack, he knows how to appeal to his base. "She's Wilson's wife! And she doesn't use his last name! Bra burner!"

Nothing's proven about whether or not Novak saw the memo by the fact that he used "Plame" and not "Wilson."

Here's the other big talking point: Rove's "warning" to Matt Cooper, it's okay because he immediately phoned Stephen J. Hadley (deputy national security advisor at the time). So see, Rove didn't do anything wrong.

Far from clearing Rove, that actually adds to the problems.

Why is that?

Rove e-mails (allegedly) Hadley that he "didn't take the bait" when Cooper asked about whether or not Joseph Wilson was damaging the Bully Boy with his statements.

We find out two important things right away. Let's go real slow.

1) Rove put the Bully Boy ahead of national security.

Do we all get that? He "didn't take the bait." No, he didn't. He deflected "the bait" by confirming he'd heard Plame was CIA. (According to the accounts.)

Is this going to be his defense? Is this how it will play out?

When confronted with possible bad polling, Rove confirms that someone's CIA? That's the defense?

Standing by his main man means putting the nation at risk?

That's a defense he wants to stand on?

(Like Blumenthal, I personally believe the leaks are orchestrated by Rove and others interested in saving Rove. Saving Lack of Privacy Rove. I'm just not sure if they're just tossing just about anything out there until they can find the best talking point or if they're tossing anything out there because they're trying to obscure the issues involved. Regardless, this talking point doesn't make things "rosy.")

Let's walk it through real simple. You're a reporter for Premiere. I'm a p.r. flack for Matt Damon. You call me up and ask, "Is it true that Damon's new movie bombed in previews?"My response is to confirm you to that the woman filling out the card with her husband at the preview is CIA. I then fire off an e-mail to my boss saying, "Great news! I didn't take the bait! I steered the reporter to a CIA agent!"

Do we see the problem here? Supposedly, Cooper wants to know if the Bully Boy is being damaged by Wilson's statements. Rove deflects. He confirms that Wilson is married to a CIA agent.

Put out two hands in front of you and pretend they're scales. See which one tips when you weigh Bully Boy's polling with identifying a CIA agent.

2) I can't believe they did this. Bully Boy's no brain (neither is Rove) but are people going to pay attention to this defense?

If they are, do they get what the leak is saying?

Rove talked to Cooper before Novak's column was published. Rove told Hadley about the conversation. Let's say Rove just confirmed Plame to Cooper. (That's just as bad and it is identifying, but let's move on to a larger point that I don't think they see in this latest talking point). When Rove sent that e-mail (if he did) to Hadley, we have someone in national security that knows a CIA agent is on the verge of being outed.

I'm sure Condi will offer her "bowels of the agency" or "basement" or whatever looney remark she made re: the sixteen words originally.

It wasn't lower level. Her right-hand man knew. That's the talking point today. Her right- hand man knew that a CIA agent was about to be the topic of the press. What did they do at that moment to find out about leaks? Did they alert the CIA?

Or were they all high fiving and saying "Way to go Karl-ster! You didn't take the bait!"

Let's be really clear, Rove supposedly sent an e-mail to the deputy of national security immediately after getting off the phone with Matt Cooper. Let's go the Times'

After his conversation with Mr. Cooper, The Associated Press reported Friday, Mr. Rove sent an e-mail message to Stephen J. Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser, saying he "didn't take the bait" when Mr. Cooper suggested that Mr. Wilson's criticisms had been damaging to the administration.
Mr. Rove told the grand jury in the case that the e-mail message was consistent with his assertion that he had not intended to divulge Ms. Wilson's identity but instead intended to rebut Mr. Wilson's criticisms of the administration's use of intelligence about Iraq, The A.P. reported, citing legal professionals familiar with Mr. Rove's testimony. Dozens of White House and administration officials have testified to the grand jury, and several officials have been called back for further questioning.

If people are paying attention to today's talking point, Rove just ratted somebody out (though he probably doesn't realize it). Did he tell who he got the information from?


But the talking point advises us that the deputy of national security knows the press is talking about Valerie Plame being a CIA agent. Did Hadley follow up?
Don't toss out any nonsense that, "They may not have known she was undercover!" Hadley's job should have required him to find out what Plame's position was. Regardless of what her job was, the CIA should have been advised what was about to break. And Plame should have been warned.

Was the CIA advised? I don't know. But from Joseph Wilson's reactions, Plame sure wasn't warned. From his statements, she didn't get a heads up. Novak's column appears on the 14th of July. Rove talks to Cooper on the 11th of July. In those three days, what did Hadley do? What was the administration doing? (Yeah, I know, probably helping the story along, but that's not in their talking points.)

How did Hadley follow up? Did he report it to his superior? (Condi Rice.) What measures did they take to protect Plame? She wasn't assigned body guards at the time. Wilson's made no reference to her getting a call that said, "Hey Val, just a heads up, the press are talking about you, you're probably going to be the topic of a story and be named. Those friends and neighbors that don't know anything about who you really work for -- you might want to break it to them."
Hadley's job was not to protect Bully Boy from fading poll numbers. His job was national security.

If people are paying attention to today's talking point, one question should be, "What was done when Hadley was informed?" What steps got taken?

Was the CIA informed what was coming down the pike?

Or was everyone who is supposed to be working for the nation suddenly under the impression that their job was serving on the election committee for the Bully Boy?

From Thursday's
mid-morning entry:

Wally e-mails to note Pirate Smile's post at Democratic Underground ("
Plame has worked undercover within the past 5 years according to the WP") where Pirate Smile draws our attention to an October 4, 2003 Washington Post article entitled "Leak of Agent's Name Causes Exposure of CIA Front Firm" (by Walter Pincus and Mike Allen):
After the name of the company was broadcast yesterday, administration officials confirmed that it was a CIA front. They said the obscure and possibly defunct firm was listed as Plame's employer on her W-2 tax forms in 1999 when she was working undercover for the CIA.
Plame's name was first published July 14 in a newspaper column by Robert D. Novak that quoted two senior administration officials. They were critical of her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, for his handling of a CIA mission that undercut President Bush's claim that Iraq had sought uranium from the African nation of Niger for possible use in developing nuclear weapons.

A former diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said yesterday that every foreign intelligence service would run Plame's name through its databases within hours of its publication to determine if she had visited their country and to reconstruct her activities. "That's why the agency is so sensitive about just publishing her name," the former diplomat said.

Shouldn't Hadley have been able to find out what the Washington Post did? Did he attempt

What did he do when he received Rove's e-mail?

His job wasn't to prop up the Bully Boy, his job was to protect the country. Serving the country, his job, would have entailed passing the knowledge on. Possibly up to Rice, possibly to the CIA.

But there should have been a follow up to determine a) what Plame's position was, b) what risks there were for the CIA and c) ensuring that a warning was conveyed to Valerie Plame and any agents or assets that worked with her.

Was that done?

Let's drop back even further. The Times article tells us that Rove spoke to Novak before he spoke to Cooper. Two days prior which puts that conversation on July 9th. Did Rove also e-mail about that one?

What was our National Security Agency doing when at least one participant knew that Plame was about to be outed?

Can't blame this one on outmoded computers at the FBI. If there's a breakdown in the sharing of intellegence, it appears to be a human breakdown. It appears to be someone or someones not doing his or their job. Maybe Hadley passed it on up the chain and, if so, maybe his hands are clean.

But all this posturing after the fact by the Bully Boy that he was committed to finding out who leaked Plame's identity -- it's false. He should have known it was coming before Novak's column was published. Rove sure should have told him. Hadley or Rice should have told him. He should have known what was coming down and efforts at questioning the staff should have begun prior to the outing being published.

If I'm not being clear here, Bully Boy wasn't watching someone snag change from a candy machine. This was a national security issue. And the claim that Valerie Plame wasn't undercover (1999 puts her in the five year provision, other reporting carries it further) doesn't negate the fact that the leader of the country should have ensured that action was taken to warn Plame of what the press was asking.

Now maybe that 'triple decker, chocolate mocha joe, double secret background' meant that along with Cooper not talking, Rove was also supposed to be silent? That doesn't wash and not just because of the fact that that Rove allegedly e-mailed Hadley after speaking to Cooper. It doesn't wash because Plame's working for the government. The administration (at least Rove) and our National Security Agency (at least Hadley) know a government employee is about to be a topic in the press. If she were a secretary at the CIA (which she wasn't but some dismissive pundits have portrayed her as such), she still rated a heads up. Her bosses rated a heads up.

What did Rove and Hadley do with the information?

What it looks like, accepting today's talking point, is that they both put Bully Boy ahead of serving the country and ahead of doing their jobs.

Novak's column did not take the administration by surprise. Rove's latest talking point demonstrates that the administration knew people were asking about Plame (at least knew of Cooper, possibly Rove's not claiming he also passed on the news that Novak was snooping around also). There should have required no pressure (via the public urged on by
David Corn and BuzzFlash) to get the Bully Boy moving on finding out what happened. In fact, the administration should have already been on it.

And instead of offering what appears to be the subtext of the article today (Scoots Libby going down!), the crack team of reporters for the New York Times (look at the list: Douglas Jehl, David Johnston, Richard W. Stevenson, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane ) should have included one individual who grasped what we've walked through -- one reporter who picked up the phone and asked Hadley for a statement. The article should have included it even if it were only, "Hadley stated he could not commment . . ."

I honestly don't think the Times realizes what they are reporting today. Or maybe they see it as a talking point and didn't feel it needed looking into.

But what they're reporting is that by July 11th, the deputy national security advisor knew that the press was asking about a CIA agent and apparently nothing was done to warn her agency or to warn her. The only phrase that comes to my mind is "Dereliction of duty."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

This and that

So a number of you e-mailed to say you got Carole King's The Living Room Tour and some of you are also asking if I'll be reviewing it?

I don't know. It's not a question of "having decided." I don't decide. I listen and if something in it grabs me, I'll review it.

It's never about "Do I like it?" There have been plenty of CDs that I've like and loved but haven't reviewed since I started doing the Kat's Korner at The Common Ills. Bright Eyes did the two albums and C.I. was mentioning that a couple of times. "Write what you want. Hey did you know Bright Eyes has two CDs coming out?" Susan and other community members were e-mailing me asking for it to be reviewed.

I liked it. I still do and I still listen to it. But I never felt the need to review it.

Right now, besides Carole King, I'm listening to an album both C.I. & Ava were talking up last weekend while we were all working on The Third Estate Sunday Review: The Forgotten Arm.
Have you already heard of it? It's Aimee Mann's latest album. I bought it when I bought Carole King's album. There's a lot of strong music out all of the sudden. You won't hear it on the radio, but it is out there.

Now let me note something from Democracy Now!:

27 People - Mainly Children - Die in Iraq BlastIn Iraq, at least 26 people have died in a massive car bombing in Baghdad - almost all of the victims were children. The bomb went off next to a U.S. army vehicle. At the time U.S. troops were reportedly giving out sweets to Iraqi children. One witness said: "Children gathered around the Americans who were handing out sweets. Suddenly a suicide car bomber drove round from a side street and blew himself up." The bombing marked the deadliest attack on Iraqi children since September when a triple car bombing killed 37 children. That bombing also occurred while the children were gathering to take candy from soldiers.

"Time to Head On Home" like we all said in The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Now let me note two things from The Common Ills:

NYT: "Rove Case May Test Bush's Loyalty to His Closest Aides" (David E. Sanger)

It is too early to know whether that is where this is headed, but on Tuesday the Republican National Committee put in motion the political machine Mr. Rove has built up over the last four and a half years to rally to his defense. It offered detailed rebuttals to any suggestion that Mr. Rove had done anything wrong, and that there was an organized White House effort to leak Ms. Wilson's identity in retaliation for criticism of the Bush administration's Iraq policy by her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV.
"He wasn't talking at all about her identity," said Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the committee and a protege of Mr. Rove's, accusing Democrats of playing an unseemly game in criticizing the chief strategist of Mr. Bush's victory last year.
Speaking of Mr. Rove's conversations on July 11, 2003, with Matthew Cooper, a Time magazine correspondent who wrote about the case, he added: "He was saying, this is a bum story, you shouldn't write this story. He didn't use her name because he didn't know her name."
[. . .]
But until this week, it was Mr. Wilson's word against the White House's insistence that Mr. Rove was not involved. That is what has changed. An e-mail message that Time magazine turned over to the prosecutor investigating the naming of Ms. Wilson asserts that Mr. Rove discussed Ms. Wilson's role, though apparently without naming her or suggesting she was a covert officer. If that version is correct, it is not clear that anything Mr. Rove said could be considered a crime.

Blah, blah, blah. The above is from David E. Sanger's "
Rove Case May Test Bush's Loyalty to His Closest Aides" in this morning's New York Times. It's labeld "White House Memo." We avoid the "White House Letter" because it's a floating op-ed. I'm not sure what the "White House Memo" is supposed to be.

But here's what David E. Sanger isn't, a legal expert. The Times has now, for the second day in a row, weighed in on legalities and they've offered no indication that the reporters involved (Sanger today, Richard W. Stevenson
yesterday) have sought a legal opinion on the law from anyone either than op-ed writers (one of which, ToeJam, has a personal friendship with Robert Novak which hardly makes her qualified to speak frankly).

Where's the legal opinion? The Times keeps debating whether a crime was committed. Where's the legal opinion? Would that end speculation? No. Because no one but Patrick Fitzgerald and his team know the case they're arguing. But it would give readers a better take on the issues involved.
We have a legal opinion that will be going up shortly. Attorney X appears to know the law. His points seem strong. If they aren't, the Times needs to get a legal opinion. This isn't a he-said/she-said issue. This is a law. They should be able to get an opinion on it. If Attorney X is correct, Ken Mehlman's personal opinions really don't matter much nor did what passed for "fact" in Stevenson's article yesterday.
Quit debating whether it was a crime or not based on what this pro-Rover says and this anti-Rover says and get a legal opinion to provide to the readers. This is nonsense that at this late date (over two years after Robert Novak's column ran) the Times still can't inform the readers of the basic legal issues involved in a manner that doesn't depend on this partisan's take or that partisan's take. This is bad journalism.
It's bad for Sanger, it's bad for Stevenson. But they're just two covering the issue this week.

What does the 1982 act say? Not what does ToeJam say it says. Give readers a legal reading on the act itself.

Were someone shot and killed, readers would have a concept of manslaughter or murder. There would be a framework while they were reading the article. As the Times has pointed out, apparently only one person has been prosecuted under the act. Readers don't have information.

It's past time for the paper to get a legal reading on the act itself and to provide that information to the readers in a clear manner.

Legal analysis by visiting attorney

This came in to the e-mail account today in response to an earlier post. The person is an attorney (that's been verified). The person asks to remain nameless. Attorney X notes a great interest in "the information" getting out than in credit, even offers that I could pass it off as my own. (Kind offer, but when I say "I don't know" -- as I did re: Vicky ToeJam's claims in a Wash Post op-ed and claims Richard W. Stevensom appears to have repeated in "At White House, a Day of Silence on Rove's Role in C.I.A. Leak" -- I mean "I don't know." No need to pretend otherwise on my part.)

If Attorney X decides to take credit via real name, we'll note the real name here. But the friend I called last night was very clear about not wanting to be named and so I can certainly understand Attorney X's desire to be unnamed. (Again, Attorney X's status as an attorney is verified.)

I have read
your analysis of the New York Times article about Karl Rove.

I have read other articles and postings about this matter.

All trouble me, because they do not correctly describe the state of affairs.

Further, I think that the state of affairs can be simply and correctly stated.

Finally, I feel that doing so would contributing greatly to an understanding of what Mr. Fitzgerald is doing, and probably what Mr. Rove has done, and will be doing.

Take your analysis, for instance. It is very exacting and rigorous, it seems to me.

Very good, in other words. The problem from which it suffers is your ignorance. Not stupidity, ignorance. Just as there are many things I do not know about, there are some things you do not know about. Your analysis necessarily comes to a halt when you reach one of your points of ignorance. As you seem to recognize fully.
The good news is, the very few things about which you are ignorant in this case are very simple to understand, and they are things which I do understand.

I propose in this e-mail to set out those things, to source them to you solidly, and to offer my thoughts about what they mean. If you choose, please investigate offerings, consider them, and use them as you see fit.

First, the U. S. Code. You have linked to a University of Missouri Web site, I believe. I don't know about the authority, completeness, currency, and so forth of that Web site for such material. Probably the most authoritative source for such material, online, and maybe anywhere, is the official Government Printing Office Web site -

Google "united states code" and you can confirm that.

Personally, I like the Cornell site -

[. . .]

For your purposes, the GPO site is probably the best - you're right unless the official lawkeeper is wrong.

You're more than able to figure out how to use the site. Go over there, if you choose to pursue this, and look up 50 U. S. C. 421. Note several points.
1. In the first two subsections, at the very least, the law requires an element of intent. And the intentional act required is intentional disclosure. The act does not require knowledge on the part of the disclosing party that the person being identified is a covert agent. Just the intentional disclosure of information. The point of this intent requirement is simple. Suppose you know the identity of a covert agent, as permitted by law, and I, too, am permitted by law, to know it. You tell me, and someone overhears you, unbeknownst to us. Say someone taps our telephone conversation. You have disclosed the information to someone not entitled to have it, but not intentionally. You have not violated the law.

2. The information disclosed must identify a covert agent. Not necessarily by name. Or Social Security number. Or DNA. Any method of identification is sufficient. There is no restriction on the type of identification. Suppose you know the identity of a covert agent, as permitted by law, and I am an assassin sent to murder a foreign agent. But I do not know who it is. My government has paid you to tell me. We meet in a restaurant, where the foreign agent is eating, also. You nod your head toward her, and maybe say, "Her, in the blue dress, over there." You have violated the law.

The notion, as floated by Rove's lawyer, that the identification must be by name, is without support in the law. If the drafters of the law had wanted to limit the law in that way, they would have done so, and would have made it essentially useless in doing so.

3. The statute has a knowing element, in addition to the intent element. The thing which must be known is not the fact that the person identified is a covert agent, but that the information disclosed identifies the person. Again, the type of identification is not restricted.

4. The statute also requires that the discloser know that the United States is trying to keep the intelligence connection between the person and the United States non-public.

5. Those first two subsections have additional elements - for instance, that the discloser have authorized access to classified information.

Now, go to 50 U. S. C. 426. There's your definition of "covert agent," in subsection (4). Not to mention "classified information," in subsection

(1).As you can see, there are three definitions of a "covert agent," (A), (B), and (C).(C) does not apply. Nor does (B) (ii). So we are left with (A) and (B) (i).Note, first, the disjunctive, not conjunctive connectors. Satisfying either element makes one a "covert agent;" both elements need not be satisfied.

(B) (1) seems not to apply, because it requires current foreign residence. It is nonetheless instructive, because it establishes the contrast between residence and service, which is the standard in sub-subsection (A).

Now, let's look at subsection (A).The first requirement, in the opening paragraph, seems to be satisfied - Plame was a present officer or employee of an intelligence agency.

The second requirement, that her identity as such be classified information, cannot known to us for a certainty. I would be shocked, though, if some order or regulation or statute did not make her identity such. That is why Wilson threw such a fit when his wife's identity was betrayed - it was supposed to be a secret. You can bet that if he were wrong, and her identity was supposed to be public, Rove's defenders would have made that point long ago. They wouldn't rely on less good defenses when they had a rock solid one. That is why Toensing's questioning of Plame's secret status rings hollow - it isn't a matter of where Plame's desk was, it's a matter of whether there is the requisite order, statute, or regulation in existence. An "expert" on the law would know that. My conclusion has to be that she's blowing smoke for Rove on this.

The third requirement is service - as opposed to residence - outside the country in the last five years. What kind of service? Any kind. There is no restriction. Wilson's trip to Africa was service outside the country, for instance. Conceivably, if the CIA had sent Plame to Toronto on a plane to pick up papers and come back one day, she would have served outside the country. Did this happen? We can't be sure, but is hard to believe that a secret CIA agent working on WMD didn't take at least one trip outside the country for them in the five whole years, especially if just before that period, she had been stationed outside the country, and the way the whole WMD was being cranked up by the Administration in the preceding two or so years.

In the end, though, you make the ultimate point - Fitzgerald and the lawyers working in his office are no one's fools, and if they are pursuing this like they are, they must feel pretty good about the basic things, like foreign service and statutes, orders, and regulations. Those are easily easily established or disproven by documentation. That is true even if they are also pursuing perjury and obstruction of justice charges, which it appears they are.

Also, judging by the slim, and faulty, reeds the "experts" are grasping for, I have to believe that something real hot is under all that smoke.

[. . .]

My main purpose is certainly not identification, though, it is publication of accurate information.

I hope this helps.

It does help. And thank you for walking me through it. Again, if Attorney X should desire credit for this, it will be noted here. I have to wonder who, if anyone, Richard W. Stevenson verified Toejam's claims on the law with.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Kat's Korner: Carole King's Tapestry

As promised yesterday, here's a repost of my Tapestry review. Hopefully, it'll bring back some memories of the time for you. If it does, check out Carole King's The Living Room Tour CD that comes out today. And if you're not familiar with Carole King, maybe the review will give you a reason to be interested in checking out her new album.

Kat's Korner: Carole King's Tapestry


Piano lessons. Mrs. Lee. Old. Really old. Never smiled. Waxy hair, waxy teeth. Breath that could drop a rhino.


Me and Sally were on time. It was Mrs. Lee that was late.

We were supposed to be working on Fantasie in G MajorD. 1.

Sally was showing me this instead.

It's easy, she said.

And it was.


We were in the auditorium. Playing the only part we knew. The part Sally's older brother had shown her.

Over and over.

We got 30 minutes of time.

15 for Sally, 15 for me.

Unless we were working on a piece together.

By the clock on the wall, Mrs. Lee was 20 minutes late.


"SALLY! KAITLIN! What are you doing!"


"That's not what you're supposed to be practicing"


"Stop that!"

I looked Sally. Sally looked at me.


We were kicked out of piano.

Story always makes me smile. Know what else makes me smile? Mrs. Lee's long gone and moved on to an afterlife where I'm sure she continues to torture and dampen spirits. Meanwhile Carole King's Tapestry is still in print. Oh Kat, of course it is. It's one of the biggest selling albums of all time. Yes, that's true, but,dig it, I'm talking about something else here.

Call it a "songbook" or call it a "folio" but for almost 34 years now, Tapestry has remained in print.

Do you know how rare that is?

Want to find Thriller in songbook? Check a garage sale. Want to find Tapestry? Get over to Hal Leonard, your local music store, your local Tower . . .

The album opens with "I Feel the Earth Move" -- the song Sally and I refused to stop playing much to Mrs. Lee's dismay.

It's an energetic song and one that starts the album off strong. I'd forgotten just how strong the album was until Eli & Ruth were both asking for this review.

I listened to Tapestry for the first time in I don't know how long.

If you have Tapestry and you were alive in the 70s as an adult or child, put on the album right now. Well, not right now, finish reading the review. But after.

Put it on and see if the album isn't more than just a pleasant reminder of a time past.

Tapestry came out when Tricky Dick was in office. These days we have the Bully Boy. Not a great deal has changed, has it? We're fighting another war of choice. The country's discontent is growing.

Listen to the album for right now, not as a relic. See if you don't pick up on some themes.

I do feel the earth move under my feet when I continue to encounter college and high school students joining in the peace movement, fueling it.

Earth's moving but you won't hear about it in the mainstream. We're still the dislocated country King wrote and sang of in "So Far Away." There are so many wonderful moments in each song. Personally I like the way her voice dips on "soon" in "Way Over Yonder."

I love the way the backing voices of Joni Mitchell and James Taylor blend and offer support on "Will You LoveMe Tomorrow." And the quarter note rest right after "morning sun" always grabs me as the melodic song stops for a moment. It fits too. Maybe it was there in the Shirelles original version, I didn't notice it.

But when the narrator is singing doubts and asking questions such as "But will my heart be broken/ When the night meets the morning sun" that break is needed before the third verses desperate hopes come in.

The arrangements on this album are amazing. And at the center of the album is Carole King's voice and piano skills.

There's a freshness to her voice (even now) that's distinct and draws you in. It's not the most perfect voice, but that's part of the charm.

When someone wants to begrudgingly admit to Tapestry's importance as an album, they usually follow it up with, "But she never did another Tapestry."

Well who did?

It's a benchmark, a milestone. Coming on the heels of the loss of the three J's (Janis, Jimi, Jim) and a country in conflict with not only another nation, but also with itself, King's songs of hope in the face of loss reached a receptive audience.

Over the years, some have slammed the album as a retreat. Believe that was Dylan's New Morning. Who of the big names other Jefferson Airplane was still rocking it's radical ass by 1971? Tapestry can be seen as an embrace of the world around and the changes that are coming whether we want them or not. There's not a "Life in the Fast Lane" track on the album. There is mourning and celebration and embracing life and loss. O

ne of the key lines may be "Once he reached for something golden and hanging from a tree/And his hand came down empty" ("Tapestry"). Could you have lived through the late sixties and early seventies without having felt that? Could you have looked around you honestly and still believed what you were taught in US history was reflected in the chaos around you?

Tapestry is a snapshot of the period. It also still has something to say today. That's because Tapestry can be summed up as wounded and hopeful. Crosby, Stills & Nash fans can think of it as "Hopelessly Hoping."

Chaos and change abounds on the album: "It's Too Late," "Smack Water Jack," "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow." Hopes there too: "Way Over Yonder," "Home Again," "Where You Lead," "You've Got a Friend." And through it all:

I have often asked myself the reason for the sadness
In a world where tears are just a lullaby

Sad but true, we really haven't come that far from that time period.

And Carole King's wounded, hopeful voice is matched by some passionate and strong piano playing. That's why the folio/songbook remains in print. But the piano did something else,it brought King into the band. As with Aretha Franklin, King's piano playing made her more than just another "girl singer" standing in front of a microphone while the band played behind her. It gave her a power that a lot of people hadn't seen before for a woman in popular music.


Can you hear that in "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (after "you came along to claim it" and "'til your kiss helped me name it") and not notice it? The impassioned playing adds to the strength of each song. The power of this album comes not only from the wonderful songs and the very human voice (which is actually quite touching), but also from the powerhouse playing. When the songs are remade, too often the "slow" songs come off tepid and the "fast" ones come off mechanical. That's because, unlike those who would follow, King knew exactly where to punch in and where to take it down a notch. Throughout Tapestry, she plays like a master, finding just the section to add weight to and just the moment to find stillness.

Organic was the word tossed around when this album spent years on the chart and it's a word those attempting to remake some songs would do well to think about. Everything on each track adds to the mood. And the themes (lyrical and musical) create the, well, tapestry that is Tapestry.

So if you've never heard the album, track it down. If you've heard it before, listen again. You'll find not only something that speaks to today but also something that brings back memories.

For me, I'll always think of that early rebellion against the autocrat Mrs. Lee.


Monday, July 11, 2005

Tapestry & Head on Home

Tomorrow Carole King has a live, double disc, CD set coming out called The Living Room Tour.
If you missed it, I reviewed Tapesty awhile back at The Common Ills.

With this being a live album I think it would be worth checking out if you're a Carole King fan or a Tapestry fan. If the name "Carole King" doesn't mean anything to you, be sure to check it out because you're musical experience needs some rounding.

I'll post my Tapestry review here later but right now I want to note The Third Estate Sunday Review editorial:

Editorial: Time to Head On Home

To quote the Beatles "I read the news today, oh boy." A quick scan of the headlines on BuzzFlash reveal what we already knew, the Bully Boy's not made us safer. We see links to stories on the feelings of the British. (Similar to Pru's feelings expressed at The Common Ills.) C.I. and Dallas go international and end up with Tony Allen-Mills and Andrew North's "Downed US Seals may have got too close to Bin Laden" (Sunday Times of London) about "the worst incident in the history of the Seals." Not a credit the Bully Boy needs right now after dragging his feet for almost four years since Sept. 11th. What was "Wanted Dead or Alive?" A provocative personal ad? It certainly wasn't anything with meaning.

Then there's Michael Smith's "UK in talks to hand Iraq role to Australia" (also Sunday Times of London):

BRITAIN is negotiating with Australia to hand over military command of southern Iraq to free up British troops for redeployment to the front line in Afghanistan.
An announcement is expected within weeks that several thousand British soldiers are to be sent to Afghanistan.

The coalition of Operation Enduring Falsehood continues to shrink.

And folks, we're just getting started. Still sticking with The Sunday Times of London, check out Hala Jaber's "Allawi: this is the start of civil war:"

IRAQ’S former interim prime minister Iyad Allawi has warned that his country is facing civil war and has predicted dire consequences for Europe and America as well as the Middle East if the crisis is not resolved.
"The problem is that the Americans have no vision and no clear policy on how to go about in Iraq," said Allawi, a long-time ally of Washington.
In an interview with The Sunday Times last week as he visited Amman, the Jordanian capital, he said: "The policy should be of building national unity in Iraq. Without this we will most certainly slip into a civil war. We are practically in stage one of a civil war as we speak."

Occupations will lead to civil wars. No surprise there. To resentment, to anger and to violence.
Or how about this UPI article linked to at Iraq Coalition Casualties? The link's bad(they don't have the full web address in the link) but look at what you can read:

07/09/05 upi: Iraq war results in at least 254 amputees
Army hospitals treated 254 amputees from the Iraq war...Nearly 19,000 soldiers have been medically evacuated ...There were 2,527 evacuated with battle injuries, 5,444 with non-battle injuries and 10,758 with disease.

At The Independent, Andy McSmith's "Leaked memo shows Iraq pull-out plans" only makes the point more clear about who's still wanting to dance with Bully Boy and who's called a taxi for the ride home:

Almost two thirds of the 8,500 British troops in Iraq will have been pulled out by the end of next year, under plans drawn up in Whitehall to hand over two provinces to Iraqi control.
The plan set out in a leaked memo written by the Defence Secretary John Reid, hints that the Government is keen to cut the heavy cost of patrolling southern Iraq.
The memo calculates that the current cost of the British presence in Iraq, around £1bn a year, could be halved if the number of troops were reduced to 3,000 during 2006. The memo implies that the British would formally hand over control to the Iraqis of the four provinces currently under British control by April 2006, but that it take another eight months before what the memo calls the "UK military drawdown" has been completed - and 18 months before the money comes through.

Are we starting to get the picture yet? The public is. They want the troops home. Polls show that. It's just the media and our leaders that are too timid to address it. "Stay the course!" they chant. This "cakewalk" has now lasted over two years. Donald Rumsfeld says twelve is a possiblity. "Cakewalk?"How do you define "success" in Iraq? That's difficult since the reasons for the invasion/occupation constantly shift. But it's not been a cakewalk, this war of choice. And we haven't made the world safer for anyone. Iraq's not safer. We're not safer. The London bombings prove the fly paper theory was crap.

Now we're supposed to let the ones who brought us this war go back to the drawing board to . . . think up new excuses? They had no planning other than (as Naomi Klein pointed out in "Baghdad Year Zero") to have a tag sale on the Iraqi assets. Even the Operation Happy Talkers seem to have a case of cat got their tongues. (Sadly, we're sure this is a momentary condition.)If sane people can agree that the illegal occupation is a disaster for everyone involved (outside of those profitting from the war), how much are we willing to give to "stay the course?" We want the body counts to double? When do we reach the point that we say enough?

We steer to you to "Should This Marriage Be Saved?" and ask at what point do we take a realistic look at what's going on? Pig-headed is not a virtue. It's not sane. It's not logical. And it's only going to get more people killed.The Bully Boy has sullied this nation's name. He's trashed treaties and conventions. He's had a five-year frat party at our expense. At some point, we need to roll up our sleeves and do some cleaning. And that means tossing in the garbage the notion that after two years of the "cake walk" this is anything like what was sold to us.

"Stay the course?" We say "head on home." Head on home to what America is supposed to stand for. On what America is supposed to represent. This invasion/occupation isn't what America's supposed to be about. So let's all grow up, sober up and realize that the Bully Boy's taken us on a two-year bender. Comes a time when you gotta head home. It's past time for that.

Iraq had no WMD. It was not a threat to us ("mushroom cloud," Condi?). Someone lied us into war. They took us off course. It's time to get back to what America's all about and it's time to realize that drunk slurring his words and telling us he knows another bar that's still open isn't anyone we want to get a car in with. We're ready to head on home and return to the lives we should be leading. Lives that don't involve wars built on lies. Lives that don't involve trying to impose a system on a people who didn't ask for us to be there. Lives that don't involve falling for the latest Operation Happy Talk. Lives that are reality-based. Bar's closing, let's all head on home. At least the ones who still have that option, the ones who didn't give their lives to a war of choice, one that should have been avoided.

[Note: Since these editorials tend to get reposted elsewhere, we'll note this was written by The Third Estate Sunday Review crew of Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava as well as by C.I. of The Common Ills, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Kat of Kat's Korner, Mike of Mikey Likes It! and Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man.]
posted by Third Estate Sunday Review @ Sunday, July 10, 2005