Friday, July 29, 2005

Two new reviews today

Okay so I worked and worked and got two CD reviews done. They're up at The Common Ills and you can read them there. I reviewed Carly Simon's Moonlight Serenade and Aimee Mann's The Forgotten Arm. I believe that brings my total of reviews for the month of July to three (add in Carole King's The Living Room Tour). Which has to be a record.

I'm glad everyone that's written enjoyed them. And while it's great to make suggestions about what to review next, I want to point out that I didn't review because Ava and C.I. recommended the CD. They also recommended Digital Ash and I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, both by Bright Eyes. In retrospect, I really wish I had been able to write a review on those two. I liked them. But if I write something, it's because I feel something.

Sometimes, it can take awhile to get into an album. That's something I think we've lost in the "debut week at number . . ." and "on the cover of Rolling Stone to discuss their upcoming album . . ." There's not much chance of a slow build.

Music's become so disposable and while much of the crap deserves to be, it shouldn't all be. But we're seeing the Billboard charts treated like weekend box office.

Aimee Mann's CD came out in May. I have no problem reviewing it this week. I only recently discovered it but even if I'd owned it in May, I'd still review it this week.

A lot of the uninspired music writing results from people trying to be first out of the box with a review. "Nothing is savored really long enough" as Joni Mitchell sang.

Good music demands reflection.

I want to note something Rebecca wrote which Mike really loves and I do as well, it's about The Common Ills. And I want to note that I think Elaine's doing a wonderful job filling in for Rebecca. If you're needing some strong laughs, check out Betty's latest. And I want to note that I think Cedric's doing an amazing job.

Monday, July 25, 2005

"The Gang That Couldn't Talk Straight!"

Just checking in to say that I'm working on reviews. ReviewSSSSS. Plural. Two of them. I'll post the conversation we had from The Third Estate Sunday Review on Carole King's The Living Room Tour later in the week. But I really like the editorial so I want to post it right now.

Editorial: The Gang That Couldn't Talk Straight

Jimmy Breslin wrote about The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight. Plauging our nation today is The Gang That Couldn't Talk Straight. Whether it's "privatization" or "tort reform" or "Clean Skies" or "No Child Left Behind" everything's hidden behind a phrase that implies something directly opposite from the actual meaning. (And no, we don't find that "ironic.")

We've seen it play out since before the Bully Boy started occuyping the White House. "The votes have been counted and recounted!" (When in fact the majority had never been counted.) So maybe it shouldn't be shocking, for instance, that Bully Boy now says he'll fire whomever outed Plame in his administration only if they're found to have committed a crime.

Unless Bully Boy was seeking to establish a precedent, wasn't that always a given? Is he trying to tell us that's what he meant all along? "You go to prison, I'll fire you." That is where he draws the line?

His concept of integrity baffles the mind. But we're seeing that and a lot worse play out. Over and over, they try to divert and obscure. The gang that couldn't talk straight fails to grasp that conviction or not, Rove and Libby have already done enough that demonstrates they need to go. Enough has also come out that a Congressional investigation is needed to find out who else helped and (just as important) who failed to do anything when news of the impending outing reached the administration (as early as July 7th, 2003, Valerie Plame was outed on January 14th, 2003).

From Watching the Watchers' "Child Abuse at Abu Ghraib" by A! of Watching the Watchers. , we learn that:

Data is emerging, no matter how the administration attempts to hide it, that the new photos and video of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison include the torture of children.
Norway's Prime Minister's office says it plans to address the situation with the U.S. "in a very severe and direct way."
Could this mean losing yet another ally in the Iraq occupation? Amnesty International in Norway has said that Norway can no longer continue their occupation of Iraq, or their support of US policy in this matter.
And some countries, as
Tom Tomorrow notes, actually listen to their activists.While there isn't even an inkling of this in the US Mainstream media, all over the world people are beginning to read about the US abusing children at Abu Ghraib.

We weren't supposed to worry about that either, remember? Remember Operation Happy Talk of "a few bad apples" and that the photos just showed more of the same as the already released photos? Remember the GOP senators rushing to tell the public that releasing the photos could hurt us as a nation?

So they sat on them, after apparently lying about them, and a surprise only to the administration (which never seems to grasp that eventually the truth will come out), the photos haven't gone away.

Karl Rove and Karen Hughes may have instructed, "Clap your hands if you believe in Bully Boys." If so, not enough people clapped because not enough people believe. Operation Happy Talk goes into motion and at best disguises reality for a few weeks. Truth does come out.
And what's coming out is that this administration with all their talk of "integrity" and "honor" has been the least accountable administration in recent history. They've fixed reports. They've lied about PDBs. They've outed a CIA agent. They've tried to cover up abuse that we should have dealt with a long time ago.

If America is hurt by the release of the photos, the Happy Talkers have themselves to blame.

They should have owned up to what was happening when they saw the photos. Instead, they tried to obscure the issue. As if it weren't bad enough that the torture occurred, our administration is now seen as trying to cover it up.

That's not the way the United States is supposed to behave.

Make no mistake, Bully Boy and his Bullies Without Borders have had a lot of enablers. Including wishy-washy Democrats who didn't want to speak up or, when they did speak up, wanted to immediately cave, buckle, wimp out in the face of criticism.

The only apologies in the last five years have been coming from Democrats and, frequently, they're apologizing for things that don't require an apology. While the Dems bend over backwards to apologize for words, the administration demonstrates no accountability for its actions.

That needs to stop. The unwarrented apologies from Dems who try to speak the truth and the lack of accountability for the most mismanged administration that any of us can recall.
Congress better start excersizing their oversight because if they don't, accountability may come in the form of votes on election day in 2006. We need a truth movement in this country. Actually, we have it. You saw it on Saturday with people meeting to discuss and raise attention on the Downing Street Memo. As with Valerie Plame, the public's the one pushing for the truth.

Hopefully, the mainstream press will also take part. But they haven't driven this. One person who is asking questions that need to be asked is Robert Parry. From his "Rove-Bush Conspiracy Noose Tightens:"

The second new fact is what Rove did after his conversation with Cooper.

Although supposedly in a rush to leave on vacation, Rove e-mailed Stephen J. Hadley, then Bush's deputy national security adviser (and now national security adviser). According to the Associated Press, Rove's e-mail said he "didn’t take the bait" when Cooper suggested that Wilson’s criticisms had hurt the administration.
While it’s not entirely clear what Rove meant in the e-mail, the significance is that Rove immediately reported to Hadley, an official who was in a position to know classified details about Plame’s job. In other words, the e-mail is evidence that the assault on Wilson was being coordinated at senior White House levels.
Cooper also told the grand jury that his second source on the allegations about the Niger trip and Wilson’s wife was Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a leading neoconservative advocate for invading Iraq. According to Cooper, Libby said on a not-for-attribution basis about Plame, "Yeah, I’ve heard that, too."

See last week's
editorial and you'll know why we're glad he's raising it and surprised that everyone else (including Richard W. Stevenson in today's New York Times) isn't also on it.

As the public begins asking what Parry's asking, The Gang That Couldn't Talk Straight is going to find itself in even hotter water. What we've constantly seen is avoidance in the place of accountability. With consistently bad polling results, we like to hope the sheen is finally off the Bully Boy.

Speeches and phrases based upon coded antonyms and the refusal of others in place to hold the administration accountable (the press, the Congress) have resulted in our current state. But at a time when things could seem hopeless, what we're seeing is a public getting active and asking the questions and raising the issues that others won't. That's healthy for democracy. And having grown weary waiting for leadership, the public's now ready to set the agenda and lead on their own.

[This editorial was written by the following: The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ty, Jess, Dona, Jim and Ava, C.I. of The Common Ills, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner and Mike of Mikey Likes It!]