Saturday, January 14, 2006

RadiNation With Laura Flanders airing in minutes (for those who listen live)

Just posted the following at The Common Ills. I'll note that it took 14 minutes to publish that entry. To publish it once. I'll also tell you that additional tags were needed but Technoarti kept returning a "Sorry" message about heavy traffic.

"RadioNation with Laura Flanders: Rocky Anderson, Lorna Vogt, Luciano Collano, Stuart Klawans, Ryan Tronier, Reobert Gehrke, Chip Ward and more"

Kat here asking you to sing along with me for a minute.
We are a part of the RadioNation Radio!
What's this RadioNation? It's the new name for Laura Flanders' show: RadioNation with Laura Flanders. Laura teams up with The Nation magazine to bring you six hours of radio.

"B-b-but Kat, Laura already brought us three hours on Saturday and three hours on Sunday."

Let me try to break it down for you. Each show on Air America reflects the views of the host. The wonderful Janeane Garofalo and her co-host Sam Seder do The Majority Report and their show might be the magazine equivalent of any number of shows. Other shows? Eh, not so lucky. The one the community dislikes intensely, hosted by Baby Cries a Lot, could be called Parade with Baby Cries a Lot if it were to partner up with its print equivalent.

Like The Nation magazine, Laura Flanders has never felt the need to take part in Operation Happy Talk regarding the invasion/occupation of Iraq. The stained fingers, the flawed elections and "elections" didn't lead her to second guess reality. (Nor the magazine.) It's teaming a strong broadcasting voice (much more than actually) with a strong magazine (ditto).

I'd call it a "marriage" but I'm afraid the 'vangicals would self-implode. They're already on the verge of losing it having to face the facts that a woman can fall in love with a woman or a man can fall in love with a man and that either couple can go on to build a happy home, I think the thought of a marriage between a radio program and a magazine might be enough too much for them and I'm sure Oral Roberts University has clock towers.

I am sure that this teaming is a good thing. It takes two strong resources and teams them which can potentially (hold on to your Left Behind DVDs and books, 'vangicals) blend audiences for both and increase exposure (someone pick up the elderly man who'd been fanning himself with the latest "news"letter from Jimmy Dobson's Focus on the Fool) for both. So I think it's a great partnership. I support the rights of radio programs and magazines to marry. And if you listened to RadioNation with Laura Flanders last Saturday and Sunday, you know the world didn't come to an end but a wonderful show got even more wonderful.

Now let me note what Martha passed on:

RadioNation with Laura Flanders
This Saturday & Sunday, 7-10pm ET on Air America Radio
On Saturday, pro-peace, pro-Kyoto protocols, pro-LGBT equality, MAYOR ROCKY ANDERSON is as different from Utah's Senator Hatch as you can be.
Want to end the failed war on drugs? Utah's Harm Reduction Project are forging the way. We'll talk to LORNA VOGT and LUCIANO COLLANO. Utahn youth are PSYC'hed to take on the state legislature. LGBT Utahns want their Brokeback Mountain, and the Nation's STUART KLAWANS has a review.
On Sunday, our journalists' roundtable features RYAN TRONIER of KRCL's "RadioActive" and ROBERT GEHRKE, DC correspondent for the Salt Lake Tribune. We'll also hear from environmentalists achieving the impossible with among others, TomDispatch contributor CHIP WARD.
It's all on RadioNation with Laura Flanders this weekend on Air America Radio.

The show goes to Utah as part of the Purple tour which will take Flanders and company around the nation as they demonstrate that there are no "red" states and "blue" states. There are pockets in some states that, thanks to the consolidation of radio, haven't heard a voice break from the Bully Boy choir for many years. So the tour will not only provide you with reality about the state of the country, it will garner attention for alternate voices. And when it comes to the alternate voices living in supposed Bush country, they need some attention because they've been left on their own and they've continued speaking out. Brave people all.

Confession, after the 2004 election, I saw some of them writings, I'll call them "You are stupid and we're not" writings, insulting so-called "red" states (stereotyping the states and every person who lived in them) and I had a few chuckles. I am very thankful that members of this community who lived in those areas, had lived in those areas, or had family in those areas shared their stories for the four or five part "Red" State Series back in 2004. I know I learned from it and that it was a lot more productive than some "F**K the South" nonsense that could only turn us against each other and provide cover for a Democratic Party system that failed to reach out to many areas of the country because bean counters felt the race could be "managed" most efficiently by focusing only on certain areas. Now that Howard Dean is heading the DNC we'll be able to see if he really means to make the Democratic Party a party that competes in every state.

I live in California and money and candidates, like sunshine, flood in every election cycle. The thought of a presidential candidate not visiting various areas of my state for meet and greet functions and rallies had never entered my mind. Thanks to members, I got a better look at the realities and many of them were ugly. One that stands out is the elderly man, who'd come to count on his party headquarters as a place where he could have a cup of coffee, help out and enjoy some discussions about politics, waking up to find that the Democratic Party was no longer interested in having a headquarters in his town or his county. Or the female member who just wanted a John Kerry yard sign and had to drive two hours to get one because that's how far away her closet Democratic Party headquarters was. Those are realities and a lot more valuable than any cheap laughs. Bean counters are lazy and dangerous. Lazy because they want to win the race the easiest way possible. Dangerous because they focus on the one race. So they keep planting on the same bit of soil over and over and ignoring other parts. There are fifty states. The Democrats need to be competative in all fifty. But, as one member pointed out, do you know how long it's been since a Democrat running for president visited Hawaii in a race? I hope Howard Dean's addressing that in preparation for 2008. But RadioNation with Laura Flanders will be going around the country in their America Is Purple tour and demonstrating that regardless of where we live, we're not as different as simple jokes might make us out to be.

Not this weekend, but next, RadioNation with Laura Flanders will broadcast from the Sundance film festival so get ready for that as well.

C.I. mentioned a BuzzFlash premium to me which I'll give a shout out too. Bob Marley's Legend is a DVD you can purchase and, by purchasing, show some support for independent media (BuzzFlash). And before some members get his boxers in a wad ("boxers" because so far it's always been a male member -- which is fitting description if you think about it) and goes running to Beth with a "Dear Common Ills ombudsperson, C.I. is plugging BuzzFlash again and my favorite site is No One Knows About It Because I Never Do An E-mail To Plug It But I Get Really Offended When Other Members Who Plug BuzzFlash Or Other Sites Don't Do The Work For My Lazy Ass By Plugging My Favorite Site For Me" (really that is how those e-mails strike me), I'm plugging it. C.I. brought it up to me not for mention here but in wondering if I'd be interested in it? I said no before I realized that it was a BuzzFlash premium. (I'm big on attending concerts.) It's a great premium, obviously you can't see Bob Marley in concert today and if you're one of the many who get tired of the crowds at concerts (I love them, each grouping has their own energy -- or lack of it -- and their own personality -- ditto) or the parking hassles or whatever else, you should consider the premium. That was my plug, not C.I.'s. So the four or five who always feel the need to go running to Beth should get it correct in their e-mails that I plugged the premium but I did not shoot the deputy. ("I Shot The Sherrif" is one of the many songs you can find on the DVD.)

Now make plans to listen to Laura. Be like Carl and invite some friends over who've never listened to the show or be like Liang and have listening parties with friends who enjoy the show.

Get the word out.

And on getting the word out, let me note that the upcoming edition of Ms. sounds like a must read and if you missed C.I.'s summary of it that went up late Thursday night, please check that out and remember that the issue goes on sale Tuesday (January 17th).

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Alito Hearings and John Tierney's abortion

? What is there to say?

In the final day of the , she thought she was attending a church social. And lucky her, she was the only "gal" invited to the big to-do. She basked in the male gaze.

Hey, I'm sure she's had many Wendy Jo Sperber moments. Being able to have Kip and Henry's attention without a Donna Dixon about to enter the room () was probably quite enjoyable to her.

If it weren't, she would have called on his patronizing her with remarks about her "dramatic entrance." That a U.S. Senator can't call a man on that isn't encouraging to the rest of us.

But she seemed quite happy to be belle of the ball.

Too bad she didn't seem too keen on questioning Alito.

As C.I. noted at :

So what has today been like? Not as lively as yesterday. "Enough of that. Let me move on." Who said that? Which Democrat? Does it matter? Doesn't that seem like those two sentences summed up much of what's gone on so far today? (Diane Feinstein said it today to Alito, for those who missed it.)

I found the hearing disappointing. I think it's a shame that we know ahead of time who we can count on. That doesn't really change much, does it?

Maybe Diane Feinstein was worried that and others might not like her?

I hope most women get past the point of needing to be liked long before they reach Feinstein's age. has often spoken and written of how, as we grow older, women feel the need to be "liked" by everyone less and less. In our later years, we really discover our voice and how to use it. Does Diane Feinstein not grasp that she's in her later years?

If so, that's probably aided by being a senator. You're the "kid" in the senate if you're under forty. So she's still busy playing the "girl" that most of us stopped playing in high school and college.

Well hopefully Bill O'Reilly won't say mean things about her like he did Barbara Boxer. That seems to be the operating principle at play -- "Like me! Don't say anything mean!"

Feinstein was just the most extreme example of it but you saw quite a bit of it on the Democratic side of the commmittee.

So now Alito's probably headed for a full vote. I wish I could tell you that I had hope he would be defeated. As a woman who has had an , I take Roe very seriously. I don't think it's John Teir

I could tell you my own story again, but I'd rather focus on and his abortion.
It wasn't the sixties, when abortion was illegal. But it may as well have been after John Tierney found himself pregnant by . It was the late 80s. Abortion was legal. For women.

Poor John, however, was a man. And the first man to become pregant. Doctors laughed him out of their waiting rooms. Abortion clinics thought he was a quack when he'd show up claiming to be pregnant. So in the end, he had to seek out a .
While examing him, the doctor kept fondling him. The place was dirty and full of germs. John worried that he might catch something.

He was right to worry. He did catch something following the procedure. He admitted himself to the hospital two days later and it was almost too late. (I'm told some brain damage did occur.)
When he finally was on the road to healing, he learned he was now sterile. It was very traumatic for him. Both having to repeatedly explain why he, a man, wanted an abortion to one doctor after another. Dealing with their judgemental looks. Having to seek out an illegal abortion and then, because it wasn't regulated, nearly dying.

He just knew that David Brooks wasn't going to support him and a child. And he knew he couldn't support a child on his own. He had other reasons as well, but we'll label those "private" and respect his right to not mention them.

So that event shaped John Tierney and made him who he is today.

What's that you say?

John Tierney was never pregnant?

You're right. So why he felt anyone needed his weighing in on the "rights of men" to abortion is beyond me. I'm sure that his next column will tackle the equally pressing issue of the "rights of women" to . Fair's fair, right?

No, it isn't.

It's perfectly acceptable for insurance carriers to cover every procedure you can imagine for males and having a highly restrictive coverage policy when it comes to women. The double standard has been weakend but it still lives. Some, like Diane Feinstein, seem dedicated to ensuring that we're tokens and not fully realized persons.

Hope that's working out for her at least because, for most women, it's not.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The "Little Lady of the Senate"

So the hearings. What did I think?

Like Rebecca, I'm still amazed NPR doesn't think they're important enought to air live. But that's why I don't listen to NPR. They really have nothing to say to me. Cokie Roberts? I avoided her for years on ABC and NPR and my life's been much richer for it. The bumper music? Well when Muzak died as a radio format, I guess someone needed to find a place for it.
Those voices where everyone speaks the same and sounds the same? I never wanted to live in Stepford, so pass.

But you can hear the hearings on Pacifica "gavel to gavel."

What did I hear today?

Some life. I'd like to hear more of it. Today was almost robust. After yesterday's comatose hearings, there was suddenly some life in the hearings.

The biggest disappointment? The Republicans, of course. John Cornyn? He just loves the sound of his own voice. Can someone teach him to pronounce Holocaust? It's not "HO" (as in "Ho-Ho-HO") "LOW" "COST."

This is not a new word. Nor is it a "Texan" way to pronounce it. I have two friends who grew up in Texas. They know how to say the word. I called them at three to ask is this something that everyone who grew up in Texas says but they learned after they left? I was told not "no" but "Hell no!" John Cornyn is an idiot.

This is a historical event that everyone should know about. That includes knowing how to say the word. Since he doesn't know how to say words, you'd think he'd be embarrassed to go on and on. But he's not. He just can't shut up. And he has this tendency to try to speak for the country. "I'm sure everyone . . ."

Hey bud, don't speak for those of us who don't say "HO" "LOW" "COST." It's like they dropped a pallet on his head at some Super Wal-Mart.

Is Tom Cockburn the one trying to sound like Cher? Everytime he speaks, if it's him, he's got that natural tear in his voice that works for Cher when she's singing the sad songs but I don't think he's strutting around in fishnet stockings and high heels. I could be wrong.

Biggest disappointment on the other side of the aisle?

Diane Feinstein. Rebecca and I were on the phone off and on all day. She has a great take on Lindsey Graham and I hope she write about it tonight. We were riffing and bouncing jokes off one another on Diane Feinstein.

The thing that made her laugh the most was when I said Feinstein seemed determine to become the "Little Lady of the Senate." It's as though she walks in, takes off her gardening gloves, pulls off her bonnet, fluffs her hair and is then ready to waste everyone's time. Rebecca had the perfect example and she better write about it. Me? I just groan everytime she speaks.

For those who wonder, that's not who we elected in 1992. We elected a feisty fighter who could stand her own ground. I have no idea what's become of that woman but in her place we get the "Little Lady of the Senate." It's probably for the best that she didn't participate in the recall race for governor. She's pissed off a lot of people in this state (California) by being pro-war. Between that and her "Little Lady of the Senate" routine, I don't think she could have been elected.

The way she acts these days, she couldn't win her seat if it weren't for the fact that she's already an incumbent. To win it as a non-incumbent, she's have to be scrappy again. But she honestly reminds me of the Faye Dunaway character from The Handmaid's Tale.

I talked to C.I. today for about five minutes. I'd wanted to call after I read the thing summarizing how badly the Democrats were blowing it but I know C.I.'s pushed to the limit. So when I got a call, I was surprised, happily, and made a point to say "Thank you!" for writing about how the Democrats were blowing it. I don't think given them false pats on the back helps them get any stronger.

C.I. wondered what my take on it was? I thought we saw life. Even Kohl showed a little life. The only big disappointment on the Democratic side was the Little Lady of the Senate.
Here's something that's not a disappointment in any way, shape or form, "Ty's Point of View."
Ty wrote an excellent commentary. That's what I wanted to mention last time. If you haven't read it, please do. I asked Ty if he felt any better about it now? (C.I. had to talk him into sharing it with everyone and C.I. led the charge on including it because Ty really wasn't sure if it was any good.) There's been a lot of positive feedback on it so Ty think it might be "okay."

It's so much more than that. Read it.

It's almost time for the roundtable Gina and Krista are doing. Shout outs to Gina and Krista who've done an incredible job all week. Their round-robins have been packed with strong writing. And let me shout out to Ruth as well who did another wonderful Ruth's Morning Edition Report Tuesday.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Pacifica plus the mainstream press & labor

Mon., Jan. 9 through Fri., Jan. 13
The Pacifica Radio Network is bringing you the Samuel Alito Senate Hearing for nomination to the United States Supreme Court live!
Verna Avery Brown teams with Mitch Jeserich from Free Speech Radio News and Pacifica National Affairs correspondent, Larry Bensky, to bring you the controversial nomination hearing of Samuel Alito for United States Supreme Court, live.
Anchors: Larry Bensky, KPFA; Verna Avery Brown, WPFW; Mitch Jesserich, FSRN.The schedule of hearings includes a one hour pre-show on the opening day, and an half-hour wrap-up show each evening. Live analysts will join us in the booth and via telephone throughout the hearings.

That's the announcement for the week and I should have put it up yesterday but I was busy. So the point here is that you can listen to the hearings live on Pacifica. I listen by just turning on my radio. But if you don't live in an area where you can do that, you can listen to Pacifica online and, unlike with the BBC, there's no fee to listen.

While I'm noting things, let me note Elaine who wrote the nicest thing about my 2005 list. And let me note Trina who we interviewed at The Third Estate Sunday Review and who has just started her own site Trina's Kitchen.

I think Trina's wonderful. She's smart, she's funny and, without taking anything away from her husband, she's done a wonderful raising a large family. Just growing up in one can be a challenge but being one of the two responsible for all the children is a real challenge. Now she's doing her site Trina's Kitchen and it's intended to be a once a week site, Saturdays, where she'll talk about cooking and politics.

I'd hoped to note a few things but I've got only a few minutes until it's time for Gina and Krista's roundtable so let me note one thing tonight and, if time permits, I'll write again during the week.
(What do you mean "Sure!"?)

Here's an editorial on an important topic, the way the press covers the working class, from The Third Estate Sunday Review:

"Editorial: Who broke the law?"
AMY GOODMAN: In these last few minutes, Juan, I wanted to talk with you about the results of the New York City transit strike and the significance of the issue of pension that goes well beyond New York City in this largest transit system in the country and the workers in it.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yeah, for a lot of workers now around the country, this is becoming a major issue. Just reported in The New York Times today on the front page that I.B.M., which runs one of the largest private pension systems in the country, it will stop participation by its employees or will not continue to contribute into its pension fund. It won't eliminate the pension fund, but it's basically phasing its pension fund out in favor of a defined contribution or a 401(k) plan for its employees. And across the country, we're seeing local governments, as well as private companies, saying, 'We cannot deal with the escalating costs of these pension funds.' I've been doing a little bit of investigation over the past few weeks as a result of the transit strike and, by the way, the transit workers were able to stem the attempts to erode their pension system.

Investigative reporting? Can't Juan Gonzalez 'get with the program' and just fluff like everyone else? Doesn't he grasp that no one's interested in labor? Well, the mainstream media isn't. You saw that in the constant attacks on the strikers. You saw that in the repeated cries of 'They are breaking the law!' Outside of your independent media, did you hear anyone point out that the MTA broke the law?

They did. During the strike, if you watched Democracy Now!, Juan Gonzalez explained it in "NYC Transit Strike Enters Third Day: Negotiations Resume, Threats to Workers Heat Up, Public Support Remains High"

Yes, the Taylor Law does forbid public employees from striking, but it also forbids an employer, any government agency, from attempting to force pension changes onto a union contract. Pension changes are made by the state legislature only, not through the collective bargaining process. Although unions often do agree to go with an employer to petition for pension changes, they are not legally part of any collective bargaining process. And that's what Toussaint kept saying when he said that the proposed -- the demands of the MTA were illegal demands.

So it's surprising that the strikers were portrayed as law breakers during the strike while the mainstream media took a pass on exploring the law breaking of the MTA. What's especially pathetic is that last week, with the strike over, The New York Times still can't raise that issue( "Pension Demand Was an Error, Chairman of M.T.A. Concedes" by Sewell Chan and Steve Greenhouse). They can report that Peter Kalikow calls the pension demand "an error," they just don't have the stomach to call it what it was: breaking the law.

Throughout the strike, the reporting in the paper of record was slightly better than the heated editorials bashing the workers. This wasn't "even handed." Even leaving out the fact that a law broken on both sides (and broken first by the MTA) was reduced to "STRIKERS BREAK LAW!"type nonsense, there was no attempt at balance.This was yellow journalism. In another time, William Randolph Hearst might have practiced it in blunter terms, but that that's what we saw. Even after the strike, the paper of record reduced the breaking of the law to "an error." During the strike, the editorials attempted to shame the strikers while never noting the paper's own recent pension problems.

Juan Gonzalez, also a columnist for The New York Daily News, is one of the few journalists at a paper who will cover the labor movement. Let's hope he never "gets with the program." (And we can't imagine that he ever would.) But, in noting the way that the mainstream media covered this issue, let's note an issue we've touched on in roundtables but never editorialized on: the lack of a labor beat at your print institutions.

Flip to a paper and you'll find the news (or "news") section, the sports section, the arts section and the business section, day after day. The business section focuses on the stock market, trophy wives who've made the decision to stop working (which is promoted as a trend and possibly is . . . for those couples raking in the millions) and gentle slaps on the wrists of various greedy CEOs. To focus on The New York Times, they're happy to provide other sections once a week, such as their Science section. They just don't seem to think that labor merits even once a week coverage.

In terms of television, Danny Schechter, among others, has long pointed out that PBS features various shows that track investments and address the stock market, they just never feel the need to provide a Worker's Report. When so-called public television can't be bothered with the labor beat, it's really not surprising that the wanna be tastemakers at The New York Times can't be bothered.

But it's still sad. It's also bad journalism because when someone reads a paper or watches a news program, they may be under the mistaken impression that they are being informed. How can you be informed when the mainstream media fails to cover something? The attacks on pensions and unions have been ongoing for years. News consumers dependent upon the mainstream media may be in the dark in that. If they are, it's because their outlets of choice aren't covering it.PBS (and NPR) regularly brag of their "upscale" market. Possibly the sweat and struggle of so many millions of Americans might mar the illusion being built? The pension issue didn't result from workers, it resulted from employers who didn't want to contribute their share. The business model is seriously flawed and, by not confronting that, it's only become more flawed.
The Bully Boy "base" seems determined to destroy everything the labor movement won over years and years of struggle. But the Bully Boy just got installed at the right moment.

With the issue of minimum wage being a non-issue on the national level, it's been left for states and municipalities to address it. With the issue of the labor beat, it's been left to the independent media to cover it. Pay attention to both developments, even if you think it doesn't impact your life, because it is news -- despite major media's indifference to addressing the issue of labor.

[This editorial was written by The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz; and Wally of The Daily Jot.]

And if you don't get the problem, the New York Times was happy to underline it today. Read C.I.'s "NYT: 'More Companies Ending Promises for Retirement' (Mary Williams Walsh)."