Friday, December 30, 2005

Sense of Purpose

To the left is Jake Gyllenhaal, the actor. Rebecca has the photo posted at her site and comments in her year review for 2005 so check it out. (It's a big photo at her site.)

I really enjoyed Rebecca's look back at 2005 and I think you will as well so make sure to check it out.

Tick-tick-tick, 2005 winds down.

I have a thing on music that will be going up at The Common Ills. I had a post I was working on for tonight but Gina's computer fried and she lost a good chunk of today's gina & krista round-robin so when she called last night, for computer advice and I was no help, I told her she could have the thing I was working on and run that if it would help any.

I had an e-mail, that I hope was a joke, suggesting that I write more. This site is just a jot. In fact Wally's The Daily Jot should have more up than I have here. What I mainly do online is note albums. The Common Ills had some new stuff by me last Friday, Saturday and Sunday --

Carly Simon's No Secrets, James Blunt's Back to Bedlam and Bright Eyes' Motion Sickness. This site is more for thoughts I have about a CD that's not sparking a full length review. That could mean that I don't care for the CD. But that's usually not the case. I just may not feel that I have anything to say that hasn't been said over and over. I'm not like Bernie trying to dig the same grave repeatedly.

I also usually help out with The Third Estate Sunday Review. Due to Christmas, I wasn't able to last weekend. But they put out a wonderful edition which included Ava and C.I.'s the year in TV news, a great editorial, a DVD review of Wal*Mart: the high cost of low price, a roundtable featuring Ruth (who doesn't always have time to participate but when she does she adds a great deal) and a hilarious parody of my "friends" Bernie and Christine.

Lynda e-mailed that what should be said to Bernie and Christine can be found in Cass Elliot's "Burn Your Hatred" which I noted back in August:

I've had my say and now I'm through

I've just got to get myself away from you

You've twisted and you've turned my mind

Because of all the dark I find inside of you

Side of you

Burn your hatred out on someone else

You can find Cass' song on The Solo Sessions 1968-1971 and it's certainly worth purchasing that double disc CD.

In 2006, we don't have time to waste with crowd suffering from "War Got Your Tongue" who shouldn't be allowed to leave the kiddie table because they're unable to address adult concerns. Let those types shine it on for TV shows that promote a young woman crying rape falsely. Let them be as simple minded as they want to be.

But let's find our brave voices because they are out there and we need to embrace them.

Rebecca and I were talking about The New Republic and it's ilk. They are as damaging as the right wing echo chamber because they too shift the country to the right. Pretenders and posers and cheerleaders for the war should not be allowed to be on NPR or the networks representing the left. They are not the left.

Rebecca noted this from The Nation Wednesday:

NADER'S 'UNSAFE' AT 40 William Greider writes: Ralph Nader and dozens of old friends got together recently to celebrate the fortieth birthday of a book -- Unsafe at Any Speed, his auto industry expose. It has its origin in "The Safe Car You Can't Buy," which first appeared in The Nation in 1959. The book was the starting gun for the consumer movement and, much more, for citizen activism. At the gathering Nader introduced some early collaborators -- Village Voice columnist Jim Ridgeway, who wrote a riveting account of Nader's campaing in the then-liberal New Republic, and publisher Richard Grossman, who created a hard-hitting genre known as "Nader books." Some of his young deep-digging associates described their work in what is an ongoing fight. The old crusader, we are pleased to report, has not mellowed.

There is a very limited number of "seats" available for the left in the mainstream media. It's past time that The New Republic and their ilk were ejected from occupying seats that are supposedly reserved for the left. We won't get Laura Flanders, Ruth Conniff, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Medea Benjamin, Arundhati Roy, Amy Goodman and other strong voices on the left into the mainstream if their seats are taken by war cheerleaders from a magazine that hasn't been liberal in decades now.

It's past time that the Mark Shields-type pundits and guests were not allowed to represent the left. We won't get our message out by those who play left in the mainstream media.

I want to be really clear here because these types do not represent the left anywhere but on TV. They are part of the gatekeeping system. The New Republic has a shoddy circulation rate. There is no reason they should be on TV at this point when, to name two publications, both The Nation and The Progressive outsell them. But they're dubbed "left" by the Cokie Roberts crowd and they take our seats. That needs to stop in 2006.

Polling shows that the country didn't move to the right on abortion but to watch TV you'd think it had. One of the longest struggles in our nation (globally as well) has been feminism. The struggle continues and that's fine. There will always be strong women to strive for a better world. What's not fine is losing ground. Next month is the thirty-third anniversary of Roe V. Wade (Januaray 22nd).

In the roundtable (at The Third Estate Sunday Review), they went over various issues for the year 2005. Here's one section:

Elaine: Good pick. But one issue that came up over and over in 2005 was the attack on reproductive rights. They, the right-wing, were even willing to use Terry Schiavo, a comatose woman, as a pawn in their efforts to remake the landscape. We're not supposed to question the Bully Boy's nominees on reproductive rights because that's apparently a "specialized" issue and not a "universal" one despite the fact that women's health has a huge impact on the nation. We're in the work force and we have some insurance plans that recognize a much smaller range of health options for us than they do for men. Certainly as the ones who give birth, our health impacts children. Equally certain is that with the number of working mothers, health isn't just an health issue for the nation, it's an economic one that incomes both families headed back single parents and those headed by parents where at least one is female and she works. The assault includes an attack not only on abortion rights but also on birth control and upon our right to know about our options. The Justice Department no longer includes information on emergency contraceptives in the information given to rape victims. So this was one of the important issues in 2005 as the right turned up the attacks on reproductive rights and the press largely tended to treat each attack as unconnected when there is a pattern and a framework to these attacks. Ruth: I'll add to that my own disappointment because I'm old enough to remember Roe v. Wade becoming law and how monumental that day seemed. Now it seems that the organized efforts on the part of a few to overturn it will come to fruition. It's very depressing.

It is very depressing. But these are depressing times and 2006 should be the year that we find a way to be more vocal, more active.

Sometimes it takes realizing how much is at stake to motivate us. With the Bully Boy spying, lying and destroying the planet, maybe we're really willing to roll up our sleeves and fight in 2006? Let's hope so.

In "Sense of Purpose" (Pretenders), Chrissie Hynde sings, "Give me a sense of purpose, a real sense of purpose now." I think we've got it for 2006.

Monday, December 26, 2005

What does someone involved in drafting the FISA act say about whether laws were broken?

I had a really great Christmas and will, hopefully, write about it at some point soon. For now, I want to note that The Third Estate Sunday Review put out a great edition so if you missed it, please, check that out.

And now, here's a thing that we all worked on tonight.

"News roundup including did Bully Boy break the law?"
Did Bully Boy break the law by authorizing spying on American citizens and circumventing the FISA courts? If so, how many years can someone be sentenced to for that crime? We'll highlight a radio discussion on that issue, but first, news on Iraq, Morocco, Afghanistan, the Phillipines, Russia, Chile, Israel, activism and more.
As reported on The Daily Iraq Wire, December 25th wasn't a day of peace in Iraq. Two bombs went off in Iraq injuring seven Iraqis. In addition, a reported al Qaeda group in Iraq announced Sunday that they had kidnapped and killed four Arabs who had been "working with the US authorities and the Iraqi government in the fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad."
Monday violence and unrest continued. Deepa Babington, reporting for the Irish Examiner, notes that Baghdad saw five explosions today killing eight and wounding thirty-eight. Outside of Baghdad, there were attacks in Falluja where a suicide bomber killed himself and two police recruits. In Dhabab, five Iraqi soldiers were killed.
Reporting for IPS, Gareth Porter reports today a "looming confrontation" between Shi'ites in Iraq and the American officials who are urging the disbanding of Shi'ite paramilitary groups. American officials fear groups may have close ties to Iran. The "looming confrontation" emerged when American officials decided to make an issue of the "torture houses" run by Shi'ites. "Decided?" Major R. John Stukey and others first reported the existance of "torture houses" in June of 2005. From June to November, US officials remained silent.
As of Monday, US military fatalities in Iraq stand at 2169, official count with 56 of those fatalities for the month of December. Iraq Body Count, which gathers totals by following media reports, estimates that as few as 27,592 and as many as 31,115 Iraqis have died thus far since the invasion.
In other war news, Agence France-Presse reports the American military is claiming that "very soon" the number of troops serving in Iraq will drop from 19,000 to 2, 5000.
In activism news, NOW is calling for action on Samuel Alito, Jr.'s Supreme Court nomination:

There is work to be done, both in Washington, DC and throughout the country. As a part of Freedom Winter 2006, NOW and Feminist Majority Foundation are working together to bring grassroots activists to DC between January 3 and January 20. We're also encouraging activists to organize in their communities.

More information can be found online at NOW as well as online at the Feminist Majority Foundation. In related news, Ms. Magazine has compiled "the top ten news stories for women in 2005." Topping the list, Sandra Day O'Connor's announcement that she will step down from the Supreme Court bench. Planned Parenthood has also compiled a look back at the year 2005. Their look back begins with a listing of the five best and five worst places to get birth control prescriptions filled:

Brooks/Eckerd Corporation

Rite Aid

In international news, Al Jazeera reports that Augusto Pinochet will finally stand trial for the deaths and disappearances carried out under his dictator regime as the head of Chile. Chile's Supreme Court, in a three to two vote, ruled that Pinochet is fit to stand trial. The BBC reports that charges will be filed Tuesday against four US marines for rape. The four are currently at the US embassy in Manila and "it is unclear whether it will hand over the marines." Abdul Rahman Khuzairan reports, for Islam.Online. net, that on Sunday a sit-in was staged in Casablanca by Morocco's Equity and Reconciliation Forum "to protest the mass grave found recently with the remains of 82 people." Canada's Star Phoenix reports that Monday in St. Petersburg, shoppers in one store were exposed to a mysterious gas: "Boxes containing timers wired to glass vials were discovered at the scene of the attack and three other stores in the same chain in Russia's second-largest city." And in Tut-tut Tuttle news, the Finanical Times reports that car dealer and contributor of $70,000 worth of donations to the GOP in 2004, Robert Tuttle continues to stumble in his post as US ambassador to England. For the second time, Tuttle has been forced to issue a correction to the BBC following an interview. Embassy work, not as easy as moving cars off a lot.
"Have we made poverty history?" asks The Independent of London? The debt relief in 2008 will go not to Africa but to Iraq and Nigeria. In addition the United States is backing off from it's earlier committments. Also reporting for The Independent, Maxine Frith notes that charities and aid workers believe that Live 8, and those involved in the concerts, "hijacked" the effort and gave the world a false sense of resolution when the problems of world poverty contine. Meera Selva reports from Africa that the people supposed to benefit from the concerts in London's Hyde Park have seen little difference in their lives. One woman tells Selva, "We have problems in Africa, big problems. What can plastic bracelets and pop concerts do to solve them?"
Reuters reports Israeli helicopters firing three missiles into Gaza. This comes as Al Jazeera reports that the Israeli government has announced intentions to build an additional 200 homes on the West Bank. The BBC reports, in other news from the region, that Ariel Sharon has been urged to "curb his appetite" by doctors as he awaits sugery "to close a small hole which doctors found in his heart after he had a minor stroke."
For the KPFA Evening News Anthony Fest spoke Monday evening to Christopher Pyle, "a consultant to Congress in the drafting of the surveillance act, today he teaches political science at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusettes." (What follows is a rough transcript, use the link to listen to the archived broadcast.)

Pyle: The Church Committee was set up because during the Watergate era we had discovered extensive domestic surveillance operations by a number of agencies including the FBI, military intelligence, the CIA and, the largest intelligence agency of all, the National Security Agency. It does electronic intercepts worldwide. It has stations around the world. It picks up communications off of statellites. It picks them off of landlines and it searches them with a dictionary of watch words. And during the 1970s, we discovered that the National Security Agency had maintained files on about 75,000 Americans and they particularly targeted political activists like Dr. Martin Luther King, the folk singer Joan Baez, and the anti-war protestor Dr. Benjamin Spock. We sought to end that massive surveillance, which had no judicial authority what so ever, by passing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. That law said that if the government, when the government wanted to monitor electronic communications it had to go to a special court to gain a national security authorization, a speciall warrant. And for a number of years, it appears that the government did go to the special court and was able to conduct its monitoring with special warrants. But three years ago, the Bush administration decided that this was inconveinent for some reason that's not fully understood. And they just ignored the court and began collecting, uh, information rather broadly. The law itself says that it's the exclusive method by which monitoring may take place and that anybody who violates the law is guilty of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
Fast: So there's no leeway for interpretation here, it's uh, it's black and white that if you don't go through the FISA court, you are in violation of the law?
Pyle: Exactly. So what we have here is the rather extraordinary situation of a president who has admitted to committing a felony. Now he says that Congress excused him by passing the resolution against al Qaeda but that says nothing about electronic surveillance. And then he says that the Constitution excuses him because the Constitution places him above the law. There's actually a secret memo produced by the Justice Department to justify torture that says that a war time president can ignore the criminal law of the United States. There's no basis for this in law, there's no basis for this in the history of Constitutional law and Constitutional interpretation and that's of course why the memo was kept secret because if it had ever seen the light of day it would have been laughed out of court. Well now it's seen the light of day and assertions based on that theory have seen the light of day and we're not laughing because we realize the government is really out of control.
Fast: Doubtless the techonology of surveillance is incrompably more powerful today than it was in the 1960s. Is there any indication yet exactly how wide, how wide a net the NSA was casting or how many people had been surveilled?
Pyle: No. The initial reports by the New York Times were that up to 500 people at a time had been targeted but perhaps thousands had been intercepted. And if they were, let's say, monitoring all e-mails and searching all e-mails in the United States for certain code words or phrases then it would be probably hundreds of thousands or millions of people who would have been monitored, not simply 500 people targeted at any given time. But we really don't know. But what we know is that the judges on the FISA court are extremely upset. One of them has already resigned because of this. The others want to know particularly whether this warrant-less spying was being used to then produce probable cause for specific warranted spying. In other words, infecting the very process with illegaly obtained information.
Fast: Since the administration was apparently conducting surveillance that was more in the nature of data mining then watching individuals is there any legal grounds under which they could conduct that kind of operation?
Pyle: No, that is what was known in the common law as a general search. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution forbids general searches. The second clause of the Fourth Amendment says that the warrants must be obtained that specify the place to be searched and and the things to be seized. The FISA warrants specify the persons who are the targets of the intercepts. There has to be specifity. There can't be a great dragnet collecting everything and then sorting it by computer and putting everybody under suspicion.

Did Bully Boy break the law? Better question, after trotting out Vicky Toe-Jam in print and on TV to put forward false claims about the Congessional act passed in the 80s to prevent the outing of CIA agents, why has the mainstream media been so reluctant to pursue people who helped with the drafting of the FISA act?
The above is news you may have missed and was compiled by Wally, Rebecca, Mike, Kat, Jim, Jess, Ty, Cedric, Elaine, Betty, and C.I.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Thank you

For those who've missed the news, Bully Boy's been authorizing the spying on American citizens. That came out last Friday. Bully Boy's done a number of dances including the "I didn't spy on calls that started and ended in this country." We've learned since that domestic calls were listened to.

If you've missed it, Rebecca, Wally, Mike, Elaine and C.I. have been hitting hard on this topic all week. I'd love to pretend like I have as well. I haven't. I've been working on pieces for The Common Ills. Three in all. The first one went up this morning, another will go up Saturday and the last one will go up Sunday.

As most of you know, while attempting to steer some traffic and raise some interest in another site, I was rewarded with a slap in the face by a 2x4. That was shocking for a number of reasons. Such as, I've had people disagree with my opinions before but, as an adult, I've never had someone tell me that I had to change my mind. I'd also had never guessed that a private attempt to force that, by a man, would be seen as no big deal by a woman who identified as a feminist. Or that said feminist would hold a man's way of writing up as an ideal. Or that my words would be distorted (while in quote marks) at a site that was so busy screaming privately that I change my opinion. I didn't trust the "peace" offer but was willing to attempt it and had no idea that my "sister" in feminism would spend all her time trashing me in various e-mails. (But never any to me.) Trashing me in words she wouldn't say publicly but felt free to e-mail out to a reader of her site and to my friends.

While claiming to want "peace" and in the midst of a cease fire on my end and everyone else's in the community. Ava replied to one of them in a detached manner only to get a screaming reply back from our "sister." When Jess made a point to reply to one of the many trash me e-mails, he got no reply. Probably because he wasn't detached and noted that the continued trashing of me made it appear the "sister"'s olive branch had a lot of thorns on it.

The trashing took me by surprise when it first happened, it continued to shock me as it refused to let up. If it had just been the jerk demanding a correction, I wouldn't have been so shocked -- I'm not new to the male ego. But it did shock me that a "sister" would conduct herself as that one did.

I hadn't written anything for The Common Ills since the start of November and I had been working on two pieces when the trashing started. I had no idea how much it effected me until I submitted the first one to C.I. and immediately started doubting it. C.I. assured me it was great. Then I had to send it to Rebecca to get her opinion on it. Both were supportive and encouraging. Even so, I had to call Cedric who is really busy right now and read it to him over the phone yesterday.

To say the trashing did a number on me would be putting it mildly.

For Eli, I reviewed Carly Simon's No Secrets. It's up now. Tomorrow's review is of an album that came out next year. (And it is already written so don't think, "Oh, it's going to be a week and a half before we see that one!")

I appreciate everyone in the community's support and I think that's why I was able to ignore how much the trashing hurt me. I was able to talk about my anger over the trashing but not about the hurt. So I'll say now that it hurt a great deal and that the encouragement really helped me through. Thank you.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Rushed post, Mark Crispin Miller and Eleanor Clift on The Laura Flanders Show Sunday

The Laura Flanders Show is on its second hour.

Mark Crispin Miller will be a guest on Sunday.

Currently Jonathan Tasini is on.

Listening, I'm reminding of a point that C.I. made this week. Laura Flanders' voice sounds like she's got a cold or worse. That's not a complaint in terms of listening. It's like when Phoebe on Friends had her sexy voice. But Amy Goodman had laryngitis this past week and had to miss a day (Juan Gonzalez filled soloed that day) and someone (Kyle?) wrote in asking C.I. where Goodman was?

It was Kyle who wrote in. Here's a section of that entry by C.I.:

Kyle missed Democracy Now! yesterday. He caught today's show on the radio and wondered where Amy Goodman was? The medical answer, which she gave yesterday, is that she has laryngitis. The metaphorical answer?
How about this? How about it's time for people to stop pointing to Amy Goodman and saying, "Oh well she talks about it." Yes, she does. She reports on it, she analyzes it. She puts herself out there. A lot of people don't.
Are you supporting the voices who do that speak to you? Are you making a point to listen or read or watch the voices that speak to you? Are you getting the word out the way Carl did this week by having friends over to listen to
The Laura Flanders Show together?

I think the metaphorical answer is one to think about. And I know I love Laura Flanders and Amy Goodman. I am glad that they and other strong voices are there. But we can listen and gather strength and encouragment absolutely. But it shouldn't stop with listening.

We all have voices and we need to use them. You love Amy and Laura, they're voices that speak to you and nourish you? Why let them be lonely voices?

You use your voice and you speak out.

By the way, Laura Flanders voice just kicked in. That was weird. She was speaking about the war and it was as though the passion of her beliefs gave her voice the strength.

Did it medically? I don't know.

But metaphorically, it did.

If we use our voices, we are all more powerful.

It's great to listen Laura or Amy or anyone who speaks to you. But are you sharing what you learn or your view with the world around you?

Are you discussing the war or do you suffer from a nasty case of "War Got Your Tongue?"

This is not a time to be silent on the issues effecting us.

The public had a case of laryngitis after 9-11. You saw nasty little bullies puff out their chests and try to shame people. Through their echo chamber, they challenged everyone and voices of dissent were hard to find in the mainstream media. Things are only slightly better now in terms of the mainstream. But a lot of people learned to turn to alternative media.

Why is this alternative media? A huge number of people are reading it, listening to it or watching it.

If we're using our voices then we might be able to force the mainstream to open up. But if we're really using our voices, we don't need mainstream media. If we're really using our voices, we're empowering ourselves and empowering the country.

If we're wasting our voices by staying silent or filling the void with junk, we're harming ourselves and others. I do music reviews for The Common Ills. In those reviews, I can address the war, sexism or any number of topics. Nothing stops me from doing that. I could stop myself. I could choose to write about music in a sterile environment, to divorce it from the world and act as though it's "only" music.

Or I could "position myself" to be "liked" and give shout outs to really lousy rags like The New Republic. I could sell out my beliefs and do that. I could follow the designated path which is to reposition yourself and avoid anything "controversial." Maybe not embrace the Republican position but not make a point of advocating any left or "left" position.

There's a lot of money to be made doing that as the pundit circles have demonstrated.

But I'm not willing to pay the cost of selling out my soul. I'm not willing to have a voice and a platform of any kind and waste it by talking about junk in noncritical terms. Or to divorce myself from the world around me.

Some people are.

And they'll argue that away from their platform they do this or they do that.

I don't think it matters. I think it matters how you use your platform.

Let's say you read my site and you nod along and maybe you contact your representatives to back up your beliefs. But within the people around you, where you could make a difference, you say nothing. That's the same thing as having any kind of public platform and refusing to address any issues.

I agree with C.I. that we need to be taking our issues into our circles. I agree that we need to be sure people know where we stand.

When Bully Boy tries to demonize or Dixie Chick, it works only if others are too scared to speak and if they think they're alone.

We need to use our voices. We have power when we do. Own your power, don't turn from it.

Heads up to a debate Laura Flanders will be moderating:

December 20th, 7:00 pm
Tarrytown Music Hall
Tarrytown, NY

Cedric's going to posting in the middle of our Third Estate Sunday Review session and has most of it written already. Rebecca says she'll get something up in the next three hours.

Lastly, thank you to Ruth for her wonderful Ruth's Morning Edition Report that went up today. Those are always wonderful and a treat to read but I did appreciate the kind words she offered. It's always a pleasure to read Ruth and today it was also an honor to be mentioned. Thank you, Ruth!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ryan, remember this is Heddy we're talking

I had the best night last night.

There's something about waiting for the other shoe to drop.

When it finally does, you were expecting it.

Wally, thank you for doing the "Community Jot." I saw that and was able to catch up on what was going online while I was out having fun last night.

To Ryan "Kansas" and his wife, my apologies that you weren't given an apology but were instead lectured about me. What can we do with someone obsessed?

Not much.

I'm feeling a little like Briget Fonda in Single, White Female but I imagine it must be worse for you because while I can crack jokes about "Heddy," she wrote and led you both to believe it was an apology.

Are we really so surprised that someone who seems to believe I should write 'like a man' in order to win her approval can't apologize to someone she's wronged?


And anyone who assumes that there is only one way to write isn't someone that we should concern us with too much.

But I am sorry for you (Ryan) and for your wife. I did feel a fire storm was brewing over there.
I'm sorry that instead of addressing that at her site, "Heddy" decided to make me the focus. I'm also sorry that when she finally writes the "apology," she's still made me the focus (she's not the first to be obsessed with me) instead of addressing what happened to you.

But do you think she ever apologized to Arundhati Roy? Do you think she ever wrote her?

Let's picture how that would go:

to: Arundhati Roy
from: Heddy
title: Apology from All Puff and No Politics
C.I. passed your address on to me. I did try to write you but you mispelled something in your address because it's your problem, the problem is never me, it is always someone else. And of course I'm only writing because an obvious point, that I may have hurt you, wasn't obvious to me because I didn't see it on TV in a push up bra.
I think you need to understand that when Kat wrote that I was endorsing attacks on you, she was obviously wrong. Just because I link to and regularly promote an anti-feminist rag that wished you harm and treated your safety as a joke, just because I continue to promote them, doesn't mean that Kat has any right to question my feminism! Sorry that you won't be visiting All Puff and No Politics anymore.

I think that's how it would go. I think she'd continue to be obsessed with me.

And isn't that easier than addressing a serious issue like what happened to you?

Or explaining why she promotes a magazine that encourages attacks on Arundhati Roy?

And Heddy's busy trying to chase down "complexity" in TV portrayals of men behind bar. Or trying to track down quotes she can put up since, and are we surprised, thinking is beyond her.

A thinking person would have realized that was no apology to you.

But why think, or examine, when you're convinced that you're always right?

We're all wrong. The whole world is wrong. Heddy's right.

She was, guessing here, right to laud shows like Veronica Mars as "good" for women and young girls. As Veronica's become the woman who cried false rape, she has nothing to say on that. She's too busy slobbering over how Rob Thomas may be the next Joss Whedon!

Surely that is the most important topic facing the world today.

In her mind.

If you're a Black Eyed Peas fan, you may know "Going Gone." You may know the chorus that Jack Johnson offers since it's from his song "Gone." It's a message lost on Heddy. Maybe if I substitute some words? I'll sub four words and they will all be in caps. Otherwise, this is from The Black Eyed Peas with Jack Johnson, "Going Gone:"

You see yourself in the mirror
And you feel safe coz it looks familiar
But you afraid to open up your soul
Coz you don't really know, don't really know
Who is, the person that's deep within
Coz you are content with just being THE QUEEN BEE TOKEN
And you fail to see that its trivial
Insignificant, you addicted to material
I've seen your kind before
You the type that thinks souls is sold in a store
Packaged up with inscent sticks
With them vegetarian meals
To you that's righteous
You're fiction like books
You need to go out to life and look
Coz what happens when they take your material
And you already sold your soul and its
Everything gone
Give a damn
Gone be the birds when they don't want to sing
Gone people
All awkward with their things

Ryan, think about it this way, you're anti-war. And Heddy is still trying to figure out where she stands. So it's okay that you're attacked, that I'm attacked, that Bright Eyes is attacked and that
Arundhati Roy is attacked. If you ask me, I'd rather be on Heddy's hate list.

I'd rather be with people like Bright Eyes and Arundhati then the old rag. If you think about it like that, I think you'll see that being on Heddy's hate list is actually a plus.

Like The Black Eyed Peas warn, "What's worse is your soul gonna be gone" (gone, going gone). So Heddy's got bigger problems than me. There's a world out there and wars going on and we need voices who acknowledge that. She can't. Her problem.

Take comfort in that, Ryan.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Gone, going, gone (not me; but it's dedicated to someone)

Cat got my tongue?


But I am laughing on the phone with that sexy bastard Jess.

I can't write laughing like this.

But I will tell people they should watch those blog rolls on community sites. Watch mine, oops, someone's gone. Gone at Third Estate Sunday Review, gone at The Daily Jot, . . .

Gone, going gone . . .

As Jack Johnson sings. In fact "Gone" (his version and the Black Eyed Peas) actually makes for a good dedication to someone.

She knows who she is.

So to her, I dedicate "Gone."

I'll have more when I'm done laughing -- and calling everyone I know.

In the meantime, sing "Gone" to yourself.

Or join Jess & I in our update on Poison: "Every olive branch has it's thorns . . ."

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Coming up on The Laura Flanders Show

Today on The Laura Flanders Show
On Air America Radio, 7-10 PM EST
Katrina woke us up. Has the nation gone back to sleep?
From Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's hearings in DC to the first Survivors Assembly and Saturday's Right-of-Return protest in New Orleans, we'll hear the latest from those on the front lines.
Plus, New York City's Playback Theatre on how performance helped Katrina survivors get to grips with their story.
And the premier broadcast of FALLUJAH, a new Iraqi-made documentary on the US attack.
You can listen to shows you missed: Download archived shows HERE or Subscribe to the Free PODCAST through the iTunes Music Store
Go to the Laura Flanders Blog

C.I.'s got a great post on this that will make you want to listen if you're new to the show so check that out.

"And your posts, Kat?"

Don't even give me any flack about my posting this week.

I was so prepared to post. This was my week of focus. I had my time planned for discussing the new Rolling Stone on Wednesday. Also on Weds. I was going to finish a CD review that I was doing at Eli's request and by Friday, I would've finished my year in review music summary.

None of that happened.

I'm sure you know the story so I'll try to give just the basics.

Bernie e-mails me demanding a correction. He doesn't like my opinion.

Now normally that crap goes right into the trash can of my e-mail account.

But he's with Pop Politics and C.I. is very protective of Christine, so I try to take the e-mail seriously. I offer Bernie that if he'll tell me what he wants up here, I'll post his comment.

And I wait and wait. He gets back on the next day. (Passive aggressive much?)

Now Bernie doesn't tell me in his e-mail that he's mentioned me at his post. I'm almost done with my e-mail when Sumner makes a "whatcha doing?" call and I tell him and he goes to look at Bernie's post. He's going, 'what an idiot' while he's reading along. Then he shouts 'holy crap!' and I'm what?

Bernie's linked to my post and Bernie's taken a sentence of mine, a part of it, to make a point I didn't make. He's altered my writing.

Sumner says 'trash that fucker's e-mail' and I should have. That should have been the end of it.
but I write back.

He's demanding a correction of me based on my opinion and yet he's gone and intentionally altered my quote?

I point out in my e-mail what I said. I tell him I don't see anything to correct but if he's got something to say, write it down and it will go up. I thought it was a nice e-mail and one I avoided screaming in. Despite the fact that he's trashed me at his site and altered my words.

The end of it?


He writes an insulting e-mail finally. I'm 'Cat' and not 'Kat.' Apparently he gets to decide what to call me. Well he thinks he can strip me of my opinions why am I surprised that suddenly he's stripping me of my name?

He knew my name the day before when he e-mailed me and when he posted. But now I'm "Cat." Why didn't he just type "little lady"?

So I'm wading through his nonsense trying to find where he's going to say, "Here's what I want to put up." It's not there.

He's wasted my time on top of everything else. That's when I'd had enough of trying to find a way to make peace with Bernie who's not able to take a woman having a different opinion that ne has.

Meanwhile at Pop Politics, Christine takes shots at my writing.

Shall I return the favor, Christine?

Christine claims she can refute me point by point.

I haven't gone over that claim with C.I.

I'll do it here.

One of the things that Bernie seemed bothered by was that I focused on comments to his post and not the post itself. Bernie appears to need a lot of attention. So when I wrote Bernie back, I explained to him that I didn't focus on his opinion because I disagreed with it and if I had, I could refute him . . . and what do you know similar words are used by Christine when she decides to comment on me.

So the thing is, I don't believe that Christine didn't know about Bernie's e-mail. I don't think it's just a coincidence that Christine writes that in her comment. I think she's quite aware of the e-mails that were exchanged. It's strange that they're not interested in noting the e-mails but to do so would weaken the claim that Bernie had to post about me because he had no way of commenting at my site. Just like putting one extra word into the pull quote would weaken Bernie's claim.

And I don't think it's an accident that when Maria's comment raises the very serious issue of Bernie distorting my meaning by pulling half of a sentence and providing it as a quote, Christine somehow misses that point when she's replying to Maria in her own comment.

I don't think a feminist site stands behind Bernie's demands for a correction. I don't think a feminist site lets Bernie distort a woman's words.

Christine's now joined in the trashing. So at some point, when I'm in the mood to, I may take apart Christine's writing point-by-point.

C.I. said to note "This is how I feel now." I thought that meant, "Kat, you'll clam down later." That's not what C.I. meant. C.I. meant that I'm still kind of shocked that this happened with a woman who's idetnified as a feminist, Christine, backing it up. And that, as I think about it, I may grow angrier.

So that's what happened. Whiney Bernie couldn't take my opinion and wanted it corrected. (He was never able to provide me with anything factually wrong. ) But apparently I was supposed to post something like "After reflection I think jerkface is right. "

I don't think he's right. I offered my opinion on the comments.

But let me tell you that anyone who promotes The New Republic is supporting them. And I can't get behind that. Now he can do whatever he wants, he can even quote them. (Which Bernie will probably shorten again as he did last time. "She said I quoted them! That mean woman!")

This is from Dave Zirin's "Fighting the New Republic[ans]:"

The New Republic magazine - a pro-war Democratic Party rag - thought it would be provocative to muse about killing and torturing anti-war activists. New Republic writer T.A. Frank found it cheeky to sit in and mock an anti-war panel sponsored by the DC Anti-War Network, the DC ISO and others. He thought it would make his colleagues chuckle to wish for "John Ashcroft to come busting through the wall with a submachine gun to round everyone up for an immediate trip to Gitmo, with Charles Graner on hand for interrogation." The New Republic thought they would score points with their puffy beltway buddies by printing a call for someone to "take a bunker buster to [internationally known anti-war author] Arundhati Roy." The New Republic also thought they'd get away with it. They were wrong.

A feminist doesn't support that. A feminist doesn't promote a magazine like that. The New Republic is guilty of many crimes against journalism. But in terms of Arundhati Roy, what they did is so disgusting that a feminist wouldn't support that magazine.

I take is as a compliment that the same site that trashed Bright Eyes and trashed me supports The New Republic. To be honest, I'd be worried if a site like that praised me. Or even tried to practice accurate journalism with regards to me. (Distorting my words intentionally isn't accurate journalism. I said he could if he wanted to, I didn't say he had.)

I was saying that to C.I. on the phone and C.I. replied, "Hello, fellow bums!" I was lost for a moment. Then I remember that Nixon called anti-war activists bums. And that in a speech, Jane Fonda had greeted a rally with "Hello, fellow bums."

The trashing of me? Consider the source. Today it feels like a compliment. They support abuse of Arundhati Roy (don't whine to me in an e-mail that you don't, when you link to that rag, you endorse it). People like that should trash me.

I'm not a pretend feminist who rushes to stand behind a guy when a woman's being attacked. Not to stop him but to pat him on the shoulder and say "Good job."

And I'm not one of the ones suffering from "War Got Your Tongue?"

So they should trash me.

I'm a woman of heart and mind (as Joni would say) and that's apparently too much for Bernie to deal with. Christine?

If Christine thinks she can blow me out of the water, point-by-point, she should do so. It might actually be worth reading. I think, however, it would be along the lines of "Male critic says this, male critic says that."

Why do I think that? Because Bob Dylan's misogny wasn't a subject I stumbled upon. I'm hardly the first female to make that point. It's come up repeatedly, from women, throughout his career.

"Sweetheart Like You"? He was given a chance, by Rolling Stone, to explain that insulting song. ("A woman like you should be at home, that's where you belong . . .") He failed. Or what about "Is Your Love in Vain?" with lines like: "Can you cook and sew . . ." What did he say about that?

Do we want to talk about "Joey"? We can do that too. We can question the whole purpose of that song. Or we can address the issue of simplistic (what Bernie feels Bright Eyes is when addressing the Bully Boy) and we can go down the list of examples of how Dylan was simplistic. Maybe Christine is too young or uninformed to know this but people who knew folk music weren't all blown away by Dylan. Bernie's adjectives dismissing Bright Eyes have been applied to Dylan from the start of his career. (By more thoughtful critics than Bernie.)

And the reality is that Bernie's starting point/touchstone is neither. He is not the originator or the creator. He is the male Madonna. Not the mother of Christ, the other one. He's changed his image, with far less success, more often than she has.

Or maybe Christine's questioning my comments on Dylan's sales? If so, question. I know my figures. You may not. You probably don't even know what Dylan's best selling album is. But Dylan's not a best seller. He rarely was in his career. At CBS, Simon & Garfunkel and Barbra Streisand both surpassed him easily in the sixties. In the seventies? Oh, we don't want to talk about Planet Waves, trust me. He was poached by David Geffen and not because he had this outstanding sales record -- but because he's seen as a prestige act. Having him let's you tell an artist you're trying to sign to your label, "We have Dylan." And they'll start picturing how it will be. How if they sign with you, you'll keep all their albums in print, how you'll give them publicity for every release and at least once a year, whether there's a new album or not, set up these big displays at Tower and other place to push your complete catalogue. How even when your album fails to crack a milestone (forget gold, way lower than gold) in sales, they won't punch the hole in it and send it to the cut out bin.

Sales alone are not an indication of success. But the myth that he's a best seller is a myth.

Now it's fashionable, especially after the mythic PBS special, to rewrite history and act like he was neck and neck with the Beatles. He wasn't. It's not just that the Archies outsold him, crap always sales more. It's that within his peer group he didn't sell that well.

And that wasn't because he was being banned the way Janis Ian was for "Society's Child." He got airplay, the label worked him to the radio, he got publicity, the label worked him to the press. Someone receiving that kind of attention should have one million seller right after another. Doesn't happen in real time.

Fortunately CBS worked his catalogue like crazy, year after year. So the sales of a Knocked Out Loaded, for instance, aren't all that.

Hey let's play a game. What well known music critic, now better known via TV, wrote this, about which Dylan album:

. . . the result seemed curious embalmed: a record bereft of the rhymtic exuberance that has always characterised the artist's best work. The songs themselves were graceless and chilly in their self-righteous certitude. Bob Dylan, whose search for modern moral connections once summed up an entire generation, has found the Answer: 'Repent, for the end is near.'
This ancient wheeze long ago failed the simple test of time and the clunky fervour with which Dylan advanced it only made him sound more ridiculous. Abandoning the greatest of human religious quests -- the intellectual pilgrimage toward personal transcendence -- Dylan settled for mere religion. His art, which arose out of human complexity and moral ambiguities, was drastically diminished. With a single leap of faith, he plummeted to the level of a spiritual pamphleteer.

Now that's not the sort of astute and thoughtful criticism that Bernie can handle. He honestly thinks the tut-tutting nonsense he wrote was taking a tough look at Dylan. Tough look? It was like swatting a dog on the nose with a kleenex.

So if Christine can point-by-point critique me, if she's not just stealing my words from an e-mail, please feel free to do so. It might be the best thing you ever write.

But if you can't put up, then maybe you should think twice before you question my knowledge of music?

Now if it's my style of writing that you can point-by-point reject, please do.

Possibly, you don't like my messy style. I'm writing about music, mainly rock, and that's not a framed painting hanging in a museum.

When I do one of my reviews, I'm usually looking for a living moment in my life that captures the album's feeling. Those who like stuffy writing from up tight prigs won't get into my writing style. I'm not on Patti or Lester or Patricia or the Ellens or Ann's level. (Are you trying to figure out the last names?) But that's the kind of writing style I'm aspiring to. You'd probably be better served if you knew something about rock criticism before you slammed mine and praised Bernie's. Or maybe you just naturally assume that Bernie's style is right and mine is wrong because Bernie is a man?

I did an essay about how cold, lifeless writing could kill music (and anyone's response to music). I think Bernie's guilty of that. I think if there's any life in music, Bernie will track it down and try to stamp it out. He writes deathless prose on a topic that's very alive.

I didn't need the trashing. Not from Bernie who I'd avoided critiquing. And certainly not from another woman who wants to present herself as someone supporting the concept of sisterhood.
This from a woman who feels the need to compare me to a man. That says a lot doesn't it?

He is her measurement. I'm just the foolish woman.

What she did was hurtful to women. Not just me.

She decided to play compare and contrast with me and Bernie (and did it badly, there are no examples offered) and Bernie wins out. Based on what? The fact that he has a penis?

Is that what lets her slam me?

It sure isn't his writing style because there is none. Just cold, dull "so and so says this and they may have a point but if we consider . . ." Is he trying to put us to sleep?

You two screwed over my week, that's all you did.

With the combined efforts of your attacks, that's the most you could accomplish.

Now you stand guilty of trashing a woman. And the woman still stands.

I hope your comments and the distorted quote stay up there because they say a great deal about you. The shout outs to The New Republic also say a great deal.

A feminist I admire tremendously called this morning. I woke up in a bad mood. I hear this voice that sounds familiar and she's saying that C.I. gave her my number because she wanted to tell me to stand strong. I was blown away and had to journal and call everyone I know after the phone call to say, "Guess who called me!"

But she asked that I put in a message to Christine. Christine, if you're still trying to figure out where you stand on Iraq, be advised that there are cats and dogs in harm's way in Iraq. She had to explain it to me but she knows Christine will grasp the meaning right away.

So maybe if the voices of Pop Politics are done with me they can attempt to figure out where they stand on Iraq? If they're not, just let me know because, since my writing has been judged, I'd be more than happy to return the "favor." And I can go point-by-point. I can also, in the words of Stevie Nicks, follow you down 'till the sound of my voice will haunt you.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

White mobs do love their Bobby Dylan

What am I working on? Two things for The Common Ills actually. Hopefully, I'll have at least one completed this week.

In the meantime, have you been following Pop Politics?

There's a fire storm going on. Bernie posts that Bob Dylan is next to godliness and someone doubts that in the comment and it's a fire storm.

Misogynist Dylan's baby boom defenders swarm in on their Little Rascals to holler.

This is the same crowd that booed sinead o'connor at the 30th tribute to Dylan.

Bernie can cream in his shorts over who ever he wants. He can even quote the neocon bible The New Republic. The comments surprise me: a) didn't realize the readers were all baby boomers and kids who wished they were; and b) they can't take a contrary opinion.

You really should read the comments because they're really hilarious.

The one who upset the boomers said that Dylan had done anything in 40 years which is more or less true. By then, he'd stopped ripping off the melodies of folk songs that most people then and now didn't know so they'd talk about what wonderful music Dylan wrote. I always wonder about people who brag about his ability to write music -- does it hurt to be that stupid?

But the defense is hilarious. Dylan got married! And divorced! And he had kids!

With those hips? Don't think so.

What that has to do with art is beyond me but then Dylan hasn't approached art in a little less than 40 years.

This comment's too priceless not to note:

how about becoming a father and husband, going through a divorce, finding a new faith, battling drug addictions, carrying the dylan burden, remarrying, alcoholism, fighting a rare heart disease and constantly touring while releasing around twenty albums....

"Releasing around twenty albums" is the closest the comment has to do with music. (Strange that the children outside of marriage aren't mentioned. But then maybe they don't realize that while he was on his Jews for Jesus trip and preaching the gospel, he was also fathering kids? Reportedly, he married her. I don't remember if it was the second time she was pregnant or after she'd had the second child.)

Dylan's a joke. He was a Buddy Holly wanna be who couldn't mesh with a band and ended up in folk. His best moments were then but it's not as though he wrote any wonderful music and only the musically ignorant would claim otherwise. If I write "Where's The Rain?" and set it to the Lennon & McCartney's music to "Yesterday," I haven't written great music.

That's really why his post folk period is so disappointing.

He's an old man who preaches the apocalypse and has for years. "Drifting Too Far From Shore."
Does anyone pay attention to the "message" these days? He's an old crank.

I can party down with the Wallflowers but Dylan hasn't made it in years. We're all supposed to go "Hey, 'Hurricane' was about something!" But it was a badly written song.

But the same mob that booed Sinead turns out to scream, "Leave our Bobby alone!"

As for Bernie's opinion, he's welcome to it. I disagree. Bright Eyes "When A President Talks To God" is not only a great song, it's a watershed moment. If you can't handle it, how do you handle someone singing "ten dead in Ohio"?

I do, however, worry about anyone that reads The New Republic. (And hat tip and thank you to Rebecca who gifted me with Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege which dispenses with any thoughts that the rag, New Republic, is anything but a conservative bible -- why do you think Fred Barnes and Andrew Sullivan wrote for it? Or how about the fact that they supported every war, not just the current one, although Marty P puts the "P" in PNAC.)

As for the mob, when you're too busy jerking off to the sixties and mythic icons, you may have trouble hearing actual music. You'll also notice that they didn't comment on Ani DiFranco. That's because the mob has a hard time acknowledging women. Rock criticism hasn't fed them women over and over and all they know is what they're told.

"Both Hands" is better lyrically than anything Dylan's written since he went electric. And since Ani actually wrote her music as opposed to stealing from a folk song, she's also a better music writer than Dylan.

As for the rap claims, I went to a rap lover there. I asked Cedric, "The Roots, Dylan influenced?"

After he stopped laughing, he told me that he couldn't think of any Dylan influenced rapper though he feels the White press likes to push that notion.

It's like that laughable moment in Dangerous Minds when Michelle Pfeiffer teaches the kids Dylan. They would have booed her out of the room. Which is why in the actual person that the movie's based upon, LouAnne Johnson's (who wrote My Posse Don't Do Homework) used rap, not Bob Dylan.

Cedric's right. The White world needs to believe that Bob Dylan means something to everyone because they've invested so much in him.

Two suggested reads, Cedric's "Collaborative working" which takes a look at what goes into turning out a new edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review and C.I.'s "NYT: 'U.S. Interrogations Are Saving European Lives, Rice Says' (Joel Brinkley)."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Laura Flanders Show on right now

Swiping from C.I:

Via Martha, here's what's coming up on The Laura Flanders Show:
Today on The Laura Flanders Show
On Air America Radio, 7-10 PM ESTFrom cutting and running after Katrina to shredding more than abortion rights. We look at corruption 'W' style and consider solutions.
MILES RAPOPORT, president of on Connecticut's political reforms.
LOUISE MELLING, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project director, on what difference a single Supreme Court decision might make.
A report from the U.N. global warming conference with KERT DAVIES, GreenpeaceUSA research director.
And singer-songwriter-animal rights activist JOY ASKEW.
You can listen to shows you missed: Download archived shows HERE or Subscribe to the Free PODCAST through the iTunes Music Store
Go to the Laura Flanders Blog

So make a point to listen. I always do unless I'm at a concert. If I've got a party I'm throwing here, I've got the show on in the kitchen. (If I'm throwing a party, music's always on the living room stereo.)

Thursday was an effort to blog about race and/or racism online. Rebecca, Wally, Mike & Betty and Cedric participated. I tried to. I don't do well with assignments as anyone who sat in class with me, and I'm sure my permanent record, could tell you.

I spoke on the phone that day to Cedric and C.I. I tossed out ideas to both and both made a point to say, "If you can't do it, don't." C.I.'s reasons were because . . . Well there's a reason C.I.'s dubbed me the Hunter Thompson of the community. My reviews always come later than I say. "I'm working on it, it'll be done tomorrow!" is a popular phrase of mine. And I always mean it. Sometimes it will be something interesting in life happening. And I'll use any excuse to avoid writing. Sometimes it will be that I'm just not happy with a phrase.

Which isn't to claim that my reviews are perfection to the world but it is to say that if my name's on it, I want it to reflect what I feel.

I never care about typos. I do care about sentiment expressed.

C.I. knows that about me and has heard for a year now (because it is a year that I've been contributing to The Common Ills), "It's almost done, it will be done tomorrow."

Now when C.I. went to D.C. to protest the inauguration in January, I did fill in. I probably did two entries that day. I told myself I wasn't going to worry about anything but getting something up because I really believed in (and approved of) C.I.'s protesting the inauguration. So I just wrote essays about the state of music and I had my topics ahead of time. I also was fueld by several pots of coffee, music blasting on the stereo and, of course, the desire to support C.I.'s efforts to say no to the Bully Boy.

Cedric knows I'd rather do anything besides blog. He also knew my problems with the topic which weren't as beautifully expressed as his own but did mirror them on some points. (Read Cedric's "Race" because it's wonderful.) I've lived through enough "Year of the Women" -- which actually seems to be a week of one month while some news magazine, usually Newsweek, declares it such, so for that week, people talk about it and then move on.

When C.I. started using the phrase "the summer of protest," I was leery of that as well. Fortunately, at community sites, it hasn't been something noted once and then forgotten. Everyone who has a site (and Gina and Krista with their newsletter) has written on that theme, extended it and made it more than a happy slogan we all rallied around for a week and then promptly forgot.

I was going to write about music. About the breakthroughs early on, then the Motown breakthroughs (Smokey, the Supremes, the Four Tops, etc.), then Stax and Atlantic and the notion that some weren't "black enough," followed by disco, followed by the quiet storm, followed by where we are today. It was going to be about "crossover" artists and the efforts behind them and about rap and a number of topics.

I even did an outline. Cedric said, "Kat, the minute you wrote that outline, the piece was dead." He was so right. But he said not to work myself up over it. After several attempts at an opening paragraph (and after considering writing a huge draft and then asking C.I. for some editing help), I finally figured, "Screw it" and went to a jazz club with Sumner and Dak Ho to enjoy some music.

Good for everyone that participated but I didn't even blog about C.I.'s "Target: the 9th Circuit (The Republican war on the judiciary continues)" and that went up Tuesday. I figured I would on Saturday. My thoughts on that are "When does the Republican Party get reigned in?"

It's insane what they will do. Sneaking an effort to split the Ninth Circuit into a budget bill?
The thought of the split and Bully Boy stacking a new circuit court neither thrill me nor make me safe.

But I don't do well with assignments and there was no way that finding out Thursday morning that Thursday was blog on race and/or racism day was going to result in anything by me.

And while I've been typing, stopping, reflecting, I've wasted time and Laura Flanders has already started so let me post this thing. (I hate deadlines.)

And let me note Mike's motto:
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.

I'll also note that I just heard, on Flanders' show, Bully Boy's "I will not cut & run remark." I read about it this week but I avoid him on TV and radio. Hearing his lifeless "I will not cut & run" nonsense reminded me of a guy who's bound and determined to make sure you have an orgasm to the point where sex loses all of it's joy.

Turn on your radios, Laura Flanders is on right now.

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
Subscribe to the Free PODCAST through the iTunes Music Store
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.