Saturday, October 15, 2005

This weekend on The Laura Flanders Show The Cowboy Junkies, Chris Hedges, Farnaz Fassihi

Repost from something at The Common Ills that I did.

"The Laura Flanders Show : The Cowboy Junkies, Chris Hedges, Farnaz Fassihi"

Kat here, working from an e-mail provided by Martha. (Thank you, Martha.) C.I.'s helping out with a local organization and had agreed to volunteer early in the morning but some relief volunteers haven't shown up. (If you sign up to help out, you really need to show up. It's not enough to pat yourself on the back for caring enough to sign up, you need to show up. End of lecture from Kat.) So I get a call asking if I can do the run down for The Laura Flanders Show.

No problem, I love The Laura Flanders Show , I love Laura. I may not tune in to much on the weekends, radio or TV, but I have to have my Saturday and Sunday dose of Flanders. Unless there's a concert I'm going to. If I've got a concert to attend, everything is put on hold. And you know what? I think Laura would agree with that. A concert's a communal experience and it's about getting together and sharing. Just like The Laura Flanders Show.

Liang shares. She and a group of friends get together every weekend, they cook a meal, make some drinks and eat the meal all while listening to Laura. They started that before The Common Ills started. It's what they do on the weekend. They get together and they've got food, they've got conversation, they've got information. Liang's e-mail (which C.I. said to include) reports the only problem is when they have margaritas and it's time for a fresh batch.Why? No one wants to use the blender until there's a commerical. She says she's not sure when they started this but it was probably a month or two after The Laura Flanders Show started. She wanted to share the show with her friends and she & two of her friends were tired of always having to explain why something was important to friends who only got their news from TV (which misses a whole hell of a lot). Saturdays and Sundays, they started throwing their Laura Flanders house parties. On Saturday's they usually go to "J"'s place, she writes, because it's the largest and Saturday's house party is always the largest since some people have committments (church, etc.) on Sunday evenings. But on Sundays, which they rotate in terms of hosting, they can still count on at least fourteen people regularly now.

Liang: It can get loud and energetic with people agreeing or disagreeing but it's a lot of fun and most of the time we hold discussions until the commercial breaks. Most of the time.

Liang says it's a way to stay informed, share and make sure everyone's on the same page information wise. She says that if you're someone who spends all week explaining what the mainstream media isn't telling us to your friends, you might want to hold a house party during The Laura Flanders Show.

Liang: It'll allow your conversations during the week to start right up with no dropping back to give someone the basics. Everyone's up to speed.

Sounds like a great idea to me. Here's what you can expect this weekend:

This weekend on Air America Radio, 7-10 PM EST
Clerics in Control – from Baghdad to the Beltway.
Are we at a watershed for small as well as big D Democrats?
CHRIS HEDGES, author of Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America, has the scoop on the squeeze Christianists are putting on the President.
Wall Street Journal’s FARNAZ FASSIHI reports from the mosque-war over the constitution in Iraq.We revive our media roundtable of criticism/self criticism by journalists.
And we’ll have The COWBOY JUNKIES live in studio with their new anti-war CD, Early 21st Century Blues.
Don't Forget - You can listen to past broadcasts of the Laura Flanders Show: Download archived shows HERE or Subscribe to the Free PODCAST through the iTunes Music Store
Go to the Laura Flanders Blog

Chris Hedges writes for Mother Jones and other publications now. Most probably know him either from his reporting for the New York Times or from his book explorations on the topic of war and how it effects us (including those who cover it). Farnaz Fassihi isn't a name I'm recognizing (though when I hear Fassihi's voice, I'll probably remember an earlier appearance on The Laura Flanders Show). And The Cowboy Junkies. Never has a group done more with Lou Reed, than the Junkies did with "Sweet Jane." That's not their only solid track. But I wasn't aware they had an anti-war CD out. I'll run to Tower and see if we can do a discussion of it for The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Maria always encourages you to share and Liang does as well. The reason is because knowledge is power. So take some time this weekend to listen to The Laura Flanders Show which you can listen to over broadcast radio (if there's an AAR in your area), via XM Satellite Radio (channel 167) or listen online. It's a program that airs Saturdays and Sundays. (Sundays is not a rebroadcast unless the show is on vacation.)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Evel and Derry

C.I. passed something and wrote in the e-mail, "Do you want to take this?" I read over it and just think, "Oh Kelefa." The New York Times has a lot of bad writers. They have only two writers who know anything about music. Kelefa Sanneh is one of the two. (The other is Stephen Holden.)

Today Kelefa made a big mistake. Not a mistake in judgement. This wasn't an opinion. This is the sort of factual mistake that puts the "OH!" in Lola's work and it's honestly beneath Kefena.

The article is "Cracking The Code In Hip-Hop." The mistake:

The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard chart and has yet to drop out of the Top 20, with a hit single that just reached the Top 10; it has already been certified platinum, for shipping more than a million copies to stores.

When I read C.I.'s note there was no indication what the mistake was. So I'm reading along for the writing but also like I'm working my way through a puzzle. Then I come across that and know I solved the puzzle.

Checking my calander, I see the year is 2005 not 1975. In 1975, for instance, Warner Bros. put out The Best of Carly Simon vol. I (the "vol. I" is in small print and most people omit it from the title). In 1975, that album shipped gold.

Many albums did back then.

Back then Billboard based the chart positions not on sales but on orders from stores (orders being requests that X number of albums be sent to their store). If your label had a dog but needed it to bolt up the charts, they could release a small amount and because everyone was putting in orders, the thing would move up the charts even though it was not selling. In 1979, and Joni Mitchell talked about this to Musician Magazine, her album wasn't selling. She heard about it because Carly Simon's Spy was selling but Joni was on high on the charts.

That's when chart positions were based on orders.

These days, chart positions are based on sales. On point of sales at the stores. And you no longer get certified for what you shipped, you get certified for what you sell.

If Kelefa had written this in 1975, she wouldn't have a problem but in 2005 she is wrong. No album today is certified anything based on how many units it ships; they're certified based upon sales. The bar code allows them to track this.

Now to answer a question about childhood that an e-mail came in on.

The most tense situation of my childhood involving toys.

It was the Billie Jean King v. Bobby Riggs match in real time.

My brother, who's two years older, was facing me down from the other side of the hall.

Derry Daring v. Evel Knievel.

It was a month or so after Christmas. We'd each gotten the toys for Christmas. We'd seen them in the store with their pretty photographs of the toys on the front. Obviously, Santa shopped at the Sears outlet store because they came in plain cardboard boxes as we saw when we ripped off the paper.

Bruce had been a pain in the ass for a month. So much so that Mom wouldn't let us play with them in the house if we used the crank. See you put them on the base, with their motorcylces, and you cranked it up with your hand and they'd zoom off their base wheeling off somewhere. Bruce kept letting Evel hit the wall and Mom had had it.

She was out on the porch talking to a neighbor who she didn't want to let in because the neighbor would never leave. She would come over at noon and still be there when it was time for dinner. So lately Mom tried to head her off by keeping her on the porch.

Bruce said that gave us exactly a half-hour.

With brothers and sisters watching, and choosing sides, we had two ramps in the middle of the hall via the encyclopedias. Who would jump the furthest and the highest?

Bruce was doing his usual trash talk.

"Oh Derry looks so pretty in her pink and white."

She did look pretty. She had a year round tan, long blonde hair, and, yes, a pink and white costume. With flair cuffs on the pants of her jumpsuit. So nah nah nah.

Meanwhile, Evel was in this all white jumpsuit like he was going to grab the scoop and top off your ice cream cone. He had a cape for God's sake. And a cane.

I can trash talk with the best of them.

"Does Evel have his cane? Is he afraid he's going to get a boo boo?"

"It's a walking stick!" hollered my brother too loudly.

We all froze. Had Mom heard us?



It was time to put up or shut up.

We both started cranking. As fast as we could. This was going to be extreme.

I can feel it, I'm going to win.

You know how you get the feeling and you just know how it will turn out.

But crap. Bruce is whining.

His crank broke.

No fair, no fair, no fair, he's hollering.

"Pipe down," I bark at the big baby.

So to make it fair, we agree that I won't use the crank. We'll both just hold them in our hands, zoom them along the floor immeidately in front of us repeatedly and then on "Go!" we'll both let go and see which one jumps the highest and the farthest.


We let go.

They're off and zooming.

Derry's hair is flying. She's a toy. She doesn't need to wear her helmet.

Evel needed his. Right away because Bruce had the worst aim.

Right away Evel crashes into the wall. Misses the ramp. Goes straight into the wall.


She hits that ramp.

She's soaring.

She's flying.

She's airborne.

She's hitting Mom right in the stomach.


Even though Derry obviously won since we both got punished for playing with them in the house and since Evel's tires once again left a black skid mark on the white walls, Bruce wouldn't admit he lost. He never would. He was always that way. Still is.

But he lost a lot of face in front of of our brothers and sisters.

Now check out Mike's interview with Tracey. And read C.I.'s "NYT: Laura uses 'sexism' on Today and the Times says it's 'news.'" After you've read C.I. call it like it is with regards to Laura Bush, check out C.I. & Ava's "TV Review: Threshold Surpasses the Audience's" which is hilarious as always. Rebecca's covering Senator Meow Meow and yesterday she had a poll that I wish I'd have participated in. Elaine's reposted a hilarious comic by Isaiah and also is running down a number of topics. I really enjoyed Cedric's church discussion so check that out. Betty's working on a new post but until that is up, don't miss the latest in Bettina's hideous marriage to Thomas Friedman. And Seth's discussing what he's reading and apologizing for not being able to post that much lately. Seth, say it with me, "It is what it is." No guilt.

Monday, October 10, 2005

George Clinton documentary on Independent Lens (PBS)

Remember Indepedent Lens (PBS) will feature George Clinton -- as they say on Larry King, "FOR THE HOUR!" It's called Parliament Funkadelic -- One Nation Under A Groove. It's a documentary.

I'm going to note "The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review 10-09-05" from Sunday. I'm including Ava's part right before my music report because I know she worked her butt off to get her report as brief as possible because we were running short on time. The news review is done in one hour and Dona keeps time. We do it like we're doing a news broadcast.

Dona came up with the idea after they were talking about the pressures in one of her class, the pressure of delivering the news when you had a TV deadline as opposed to a print one. While they were discussing that, it hit her that this would be a feature for The Third Estate Sunday Review that everyone could work on and that could be done in an hour because there are some features, that when they go up, you'd never believe how long they took to write. So this was a way to provide a feature where there was a set time limit. It's a lot of work, intensive work, and it can get crazy because Dona and Jim are dead serious about it being an hour. If someone's not ready, you could have "dead air." That's why C.I.'s anchor. Dona made that decision because you had to have someone who could keep the conversation going on any topic. And someone who would listen so that if we've compressed something so much to fit everything in and it's no longer clear, you end up with a comment or question of clarity.

C.I. hates being the anchor and feels like we get to have all the fun vs. sitting there and saying, "Now we go to . . ." C.I. does have to do the "Now we go to" but if you read those things, you'll see C.I.'s doing a lot more than that each week. Ava did her report quickly, in half the time that she was timed on it. So Dona says "Stretch" and C.I. brings up The Smurf story. That was our favorite news item. Jess' parents found it and we knew that had to go in somewhere.

C.I.: Thank you, Rebecca. For a grab bag of items not covered elsewhere, we go to The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ava.

Ava: C.I., following up on Rebecca's look at the environment, I'll begin by noting that a mudslide is thought to have killed 1400 people in Guatemala. Mario Cruz, spokesman for the Fire Brigrade, has stated that there are no survivors. India, Pakistan and Afghanistan have been rocked by an earthquake that's thought to have killed 1800 people in Pakistan alone, with 300 people thought to be dead in India. With regards to Afghanistan, Scotland's Sunday Herald reports that: "Given the remoteness of so many communities it may take weeks to know the full death toll. " The Sunday Times of London has an excerpt from James Yee's book For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire. Yee, a Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, was falsely accused by the United States government of espionage, charges that were bandied about by various news outlets who assisted the government in smearing Yee. The book is his response and offers an inside look at conditions in Guantamao Bay. As noted by the International Federation of Journalists, workers at Canada's CBC have ended their fifty day walk-out and appear victorious in contract talks. Finally, what's happened to TV's The Smurfs since the animated cartoon stopped production of new episodes? Canada's The Windsor Star reports that, in a new cartoon put out by UNICEF, the village the animated cartoon characters reside in is destroyed by bombs dropped by war planes.

C.I.: Thank you, Ava for including the promised update on The Smurfs. The reason for the cartoon?

Ava: Unicef is attempting to raise awareness on the victims of bombings. The cartoon has already began airing in Belgium.

C.I.: Thank you. For our final report, on the world of music, we go to Kat of Kat's Corner (of The Common Ills). Kat?

Kat: This week, check your local listings, PBS will air a documentary on funk master and pioneer George Clinton on Independent Lens. Saturday's broadcast of The Laura Flanders Show featured a discussion on this documentary in the third hour. In other news, the Beastie Boys are denying rumors of a breakup. November 8th sees the release of the group's first hits collection entitled Solid Gold Hits. The Black Eyed Peas will be performing a free concert as part of Honda Civic Live that will take place October 22nd and 23rd. The Independent of London has a wide ranging interview with Carly Simon entitled "Carly Simon: Boho Queen" where Carly discusses breast cancer, meeting Mick Jagger, marriage to James Taylor, her current marriage to poet Jim Hart, and various other topics including Joni Mitchell. Carly's Moonlight Serenade is released in England Monday. Stevie Wonder, who played harmonica on "As Time Goes By" for Carly Simon's Coming Around Again, album not only has a new album coming out, as noted last week, entitled A Time To Love and due to be released October 18th, he's also discussing participating in a new surgery, involving microchips, that, if successful, would allow him to see. December 1st, Comedy Central's The Daily Show will feature it's first musical performance when the White Stripes come on to perform and be interviewed by Jon Stewart. Rolling Stone reports that Police guitarist Andy Summers is working on an autobiography to be entitled One Train Later. Rolling Stone also reports that a new concert film from Greenday will debut in select theaters at the start of November. On November 15, the film, entitled Bullet In A Bible, will be released on DVD.

C.I.: Thank you, Kat. And that wraps up The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review for 10-09-05. As always Jim and Dona, both of The Third Estate Sunday Review, worked behind the scenes to edit, research and keep things running smoothly. In addition thanks to Jess' parents who help with the research and to Dallas who hunts down links.

Remember too that Dolly Parton's new CD comes out tomorrow Those Were The Days. The single's a mistake (not because of a song on it but because it's a sampler that's not labeled as a sampler) but it should be a strong CD. Her voice sounds good and in the bits on the sampler demonstrates that she's singing the material like she means it and making it her own.