Saturday, November 19, 2005

Who's on The Laura Flanders Show?

Okay gang, I'm going to call out some titles.

Thelma & Louise.

White Palace.

Bull Durhum.

Dead Man Walking.

Atlantic City.

The Witches of Eastwick.

Little Women.

The Client.


Any ideas?

Susan Sarandon starred in all of them and much, much more. In less than an hour

The Laura Flanders Show begins and Susan Sarandon is one of the guests.

C.I. says Sarandon called in before but this will be her first time being a guest on the show.

The Laura Flanders Show is something to look forward to each weekend regardless of whom the guests are but I must admit, I'm excited to listen with Susan Sarandon being a guest on the show. She's a great actress and a strong supporter of human rights who is not afraid to speak her mind and refuses to be bullied or shouted down.

More information can be found via C.I.'s "Susan Sarandon on The Laura Flanders Show along with Ed Rampell:"

Title emphasizes Susan Sarandon with no sleight intended towards Juanita Millender-McDonald or any other guest. But Sarandon is on this afternoon/evening/tonight (depending upon your time zone) and after last week's mistake (mine) of saying Gloria Steinem would be on Saturday's show, I don't want to make the same mistake again. Susan Sarandon will be on The Laura Flanders Show today/night.

TODAY on The Laura Flanders Show
On Air America Radio, 7-10 PM EST
What difference do movies make?
Oscar-winner actress and activist
ED RAMPELL, author of 'Progressive Hollywood.'
California Congresswoman JUANITA MILLENDER-MCDONALD on the latest cruel GOP budget cuts.
And as FEMA abandons
New Orleans evacuees, we talk to people cleaning up homes one block at a time:
Common Ground Collective in NOLA
The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Rebuild Hope Now campaign.
Plus the price of protest for
GEOVANY SERRANO, an anti-war high schooler in Los Angeles.
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

You love Laura, I'm betting you love Susan. It should be a great show. And if all the guests noted above are on tonight's show, the only problem will hearing about so much that you should have heard about (but didn't) from the mainstream media all week, you'll beat yourself up for having wasted time on evening broadcasts of TV news. Pay special attention to Geovany Serrano's story.

And remember you can listen to
The Laura Flanders Show via broadcast radio (if there's an AAR in your area), via XM Satellite Radio (channel 167) or listen online.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Running down the week

Shocking phone call Thursday.

It was Aunt Paulina. Dad had shown her what I posted here (from The Third Estate Sunday Review) about her fudge. She is so sweet. (And she's bringing the fudge to Thanskgiving dinner.) She guards the recipe with her life but she said I could pass on that one of her secrets was using real butter and another is white corn syrup.

If there are any cooks out there who can decode that, let me know.

So what a week's been. We've learned that despite denials, massive denials, the US military did use white phosphorous as a weapon in Falluja a year ago. If that's new to you, you're not watching Democracy Now!, are you?

Pentagon Admits White Phosphorus Use in Iraq
After initial denials, the Pentagon is now admitting it used white phosphorus as an offensive weapon in the attack on Fallujah last November. The allegations were made in an Italian documentary produced by the Italian state television network RAI. Democracy Now played an excerpt of the film last Tuesday, the day of its premiere. On the same program, Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Steve Boylan denied the allegations, saying "I know of no cases where people were deliberately targeted by the use of white phosphorus." The Pentagon now says it used the weapon against insurgents. White phosphorus produces a dense white smoke that can cause serious burns to human flesh. The RAI documentary, entitled "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre", showed graphic footage of civilians with severe wounds and burns allegedly caused by phosphorus bombing.

(I'm swiping that from C.I. because C.I. included links to Democracy Now!'s earlier reports.)

What else were big stories this week? Well how about the ultimate nerd, suck up, embedded before the US provided beds, Bob Woodward?

Seems wooden Woodward knew about the outing of Valerie Plame before anyone else did. Seems he knew in June of 2003. And though he was quite the chatterbox on chat & chews, he was never forthcoming that he had inside information. He covered, he says, because he had a book to work on. Always got to save those "explosive bits" for the books. Without those bits, there's no "explosive diarrhea" to his books, just diarrhea.

Rebecca wrote a very apt description of Bob Woodward this week:

forget barney, he is the white house pooch. belly scratched, head petted and fed, he was neutered and white house broken long ago.

And of course C.I.'s been all over this. You should check out "Editorial: Someone explain to Bob Woodward that a reporter reports" first, then "NYT: Woody hits the fan," "Democracy Now: Falluja, white phosphorous, Michael Ratner; topic Woody: 'Dylan,' Danny Schechter, Arianna Huffington, Alexander Cockburn ...." and "NYT: Woody sees his shadow and goes back underground."

By the way where's that brave watchdog CJR Daily? Well they did one nothing blog report. And late today they offer two pieces. "The Phantom of the Operative" reads like an editorial without a point and Woodward is "addressed" in passing. The point that Woody didn't just hide a source but also took to the airwaves to denounce Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the outing of Valerie Plame is a point that's lost on the watchdog.

Here's another point that's lost as they whine about "sources." Woody didn't write about it, just like Judith Miller didn't. Can you read this and not wonder how it's different with Woody? Woodward didn't go to his editors (until October of this year as the investigation was winding down). Woody operated by different rules, just like Miller. Woody's pieces depend upon anonymice just like . . . Judy.

Another dopey ass piece at CJR Daily tosses out Woodward's name before going off into Walter Pincus land.

By Wednesday, this was a huge story. CJR Daily is supposed to be the journalistic watchdog. And it's filed how many stories that even mention Bob Woodward? Three. One blog report and two that mention Woody in passing (including the editorial that never finds its point).

So what is with CJR Daily? Are they too chicken to "grade" a journalistic "institution"? Or are they just more inclined to beat up on a woman? "Real-time media criticism" boasts their new slogan. Where is that real-time media criticism?

Nowhere to be found on the subject of Bob Woodward.

It's shameful.

CJR proper. In 2001 they were still praising Judith Miller.

As late as 2003, they were still sticking to the sidelines, afraid to make a call:

Judith Miller of The New York Times, for example, was attacked by Slate's Jack Shafer and other media critics for her credulous coverage of MET-Alpha, the weapons inspection team to which she was attached. When the team interviewed an Iraqi scientist who said that the Hussein regime had destroyed its weapons of mass destruction days before the war began, Miller, who never interviewed the scientist herself, described it as a "silver bullet" in the search. Shafer and others accused her of functioning, effectively, as a spokeswoman for the unit.

They can't make a call but on this section of their scorecard (entitled "Did the media get it right, or at least more right than wrong?") they give the media a grade of "B+" -- a grade of B+.

In fact, online, the only criticism of Miller before 2005 is to be found by a contribution from Harper's John R. MacArthur. Take that 2003 piece out of the mixture, and CJR doesn't have much to say until the pile up is underweigh. Note also that the piece takes Miller and Michael Gordon to task. Those late to the show, who only learned of Miller after the dog pile began have forgotten all about Michael Gordon's own involvement.

So CJR, the "watchdog", in all its forms has a lot to answer for.

Now, as a media storm rages, at their daily site, they once again sit on the sidelines, sit on their hands, and wait to see what sticks and what doesn't. These kind of "watchdogs" we don't need.

Cedric took them to task this week:

Is Bob Woodward an employee of the Washington Post or their chief client? That's the sort of question CJR Daily should be asking. (I haven't spoken to C.I. today. I did speak to Rebecca and I know from her some of what is going on at CJR but only a little.) So CJR Daily wants to cover the press in "real time" but can't find the "time" to cover what's going on with Bob Woodward.
Are they scared? Are they afraid of offending the biggest name in journalism? This all reminds me of the kid gloves treatment Doris Kearns Goodwin got when she was outed for plagiarism. It didn't stick to her. She can still go on Meet the Press and tubby Tim never will ask, "Is that your final answer? Are you sure that is your final answer or did you swipe it from someone else?"

Cedric also raised the issue of race, the issue we're not supposed to notice.

At The Third Estate Sunday Review, we did a parody of them recently "Watchdog Daily" (we is Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and Jim of The Third Estate Sunday Review, C.I. of The Common Ills and now, with Heather Locklear special guest star billing, part of The Third Estate Sunday Review, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, Wally of The Daily Jot, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, and myself). I thought it was a hilarious parody and very to the point. But these days, it seems like they're becoming a better parody of themselves than anyone could think up.

The week also saw a lot of grandstanding by the Republicans on Iraq. First they had their no peace "peace resolution" pass and by the end of the week, they were all in attack mode when a House Democrat dared to speak the obvious truth. They're running scared and I think Elaine said it best:

"Peace Quote" (from me):
Peace doesn't arrive on empty promises.

That's it for tonight. Sumner's jiggling the keys and Toni lost patience when she smoked her last cigarette.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Thanksgiving thoughts

Darn that Betty. This weekend, while we were all working on The Third Estate Sunday Review, Mike was after all of us to try to blog on the same day this week. Cedric was saying, "Monday!"
Betty and I were like "Uh-huh." And I thought we were in this together but she just called to say, "I posted."

I haven't read it yet. I'm sure it's funny. It's called "Thomas Friedman's mind is like a bowl of Chex mix." I'd love to read it. The title alone makes me laugh. Plus Betty ran some ideas past us this weekend. She even read the rough draft to Ava, C.I. and me. It took her thirty minutes. I'm not joking. She writes long, really long, and then whittles it down. So I'm sure it's wonderful and I'm sure it's great but she's blogged so now I need to.

And as if I didn't have enough pressure, there's the fact that there's a message that Blogger will go out at nine. So I'm rushing to throw something up here before I'm told I was the only one who didn't post.

So I'm pulling my hair out and gritting my teeth and it's like when we used to go to my grandmother's, my father's mother, for Thanksgiving. The house was one of those plastic cover nightmares. Even with the cover, she'd holler, "Are you kids spilling?"

On the plastic.

No, we weren't. We were terrified. Terrified of spilling, terrified of her.

We'd nibble and never finish anything because we were trying to be so careful at the table because the table cloth was an antique. Now it was covered with clear plastic. the table cloth. But one drop of juice or one bit of food and we'd have to hear how she had to keep plastic on everything and it was all because of the "damn kids" and how hard it was to keep anything nice when you had kids around and how the smartest thing she could have done was to not have kids, how kids bring nothing but trouble. She'd punctuate her spiels with a lot of "damns" and "hells" which was kind of shocking when we were kids.

Looking back now, I'm more offended for my father. Pop was an only child. So all that talk of "damn kids" keeping you from having anything nice was all aimed at him.

Now at my other grandmother's, my mother's mother, things were wonderful. We would be so happy to learn that it was her house. We would mope around on years when it was my Nana's because there was no fun to be had there.

I started thinking about that after we did a thing on Thanksgiving this weekend. I'm going to pad this entry by including it.

"Let's Do The Turkey Trot"
"Let's Do The Turkey Trot" is the title of a song recorded by Little Eva (famous for singing the original hit version of "The Locomotion"). We're going with that title because we have an e-mail from a reader who asked to be unnamed but will not be home for Thanksgiving and asked us to write about our favorite Thanksgiving foods.

Betty: Chess pie. There are a ton of things I enjoy, but the holidays always mean chess pie. My mother makes the best one in the world. She's taught me how but, honestly, I'm too lazy to make one. Even if I cut corners and used ready made pie crust, I still wouldn't have the time or energy. But at Thanksgiving I have the time and energy to grab as many slices as I can. She makes one pumpkin pie but she makes several chess pies because we all love that pie. It wouldn't be a Thanksgiving in my family without my mother's chess pie.

Ava: I'll go with the cranberries. I don't care if it's out of can or if it's cooked. My mother makes a big production out of cooking it from scratch and, to me, it tastes pretty much the same either way. But when I think of Thanksgiving, that's what I think of. I'll usually grab a roll, put a little bit of turkey in it, put a little bit of cranberry sauce in it and that's Thanksgiving. My mother will be saying, "Eat something else" but that's really all I need.

Jess: I'm not sure what to pick. There's a green bean casserole that I really like and there's also a squash dish that my mom makes. The food's always nice but it's really just that we're all around the table together that stands out to me.

Cedric: My favorite thing isn't lunch. Lunch is good and the food's all warm and all that. But my favorite thing is a few hours later. When you're hungry again and you go back in the kitchen and everyone makes their own plate. People are more relaxed then. Usually some weirdo that someone's brought over as their date has left and a beer or two has quieted down one uncle who's always too loud, plus no one's worrying about how their dish tastes because everyone's already sampled it. You make your plate, you head back to the living room and it's just a quieter version of the lunch.

Ty: Mashed potatoes and gravy. My favorite food all year round and at Thanksgiving, there's so much you can have thirds and fourths and there's still plenty left over. It's from real potatoes and not the instant stuff. And the gravy has some of the turkey drippings so it's really good. That's what I'll be thinking about when we all grab our plates and start piling the food on.

Jim: For me the big thing is that my dad and I go out with my grandfather to the trees in his yard and pick up some of the pecans that have fallen off them. We go inside and crack them open, enough for grandma to make a pecan pie for Christmas, but I don't think they last for that because my granddad eats them all the time but that's what he says we're doing it for, and we just crack them open and snack on a few as we go and talk about whatever. That's what really makes it Thanksgiving for me.

Rebecca: I'm going to go with pie, like Betty. My favorite pie is apple pie and my grandmother makes them from scratch. Slices the apples, rolls her own dough, all of that. For years, I was always one of those people saying, "Well, how about colas? I could bring colas. Ice?" Everyone in my family is an outstanding cook. I'm an okay cook, I'm not outstanding. But male or female, everyone in my family, except me, has a dish they can make that's amazing. So, hat tip to C.I., I mentioned this one year as Thanksgiving was approaching and C.I. said, "Rebecca, I'm going to teach you to make a Key Lime pie." I didn't think so. C.I. asked if anyone else brought a Key Lime pie and I said no. So I get told, by C.I., that this is going to be my signature dish and everyone's going to love it, that on holidays when I don't make it, I'll hear, "Rebecca, why didn't you make that pie?" I didn't believe it. But I played along and it is now my signature dish. And everyone loves it. "Rebecca, you're bringing the Key Lime pie, right?" I always get asked that. Now here's the secret, I never eat it. I really don't like Key Lime pie. So I'll grab some of my grandmother's pie.

C.I.: The turkey. Because it's a nightmare to cook and because it means using the giblets to make the gravy and it's just a nightmare all around.

Elaine: I'm going to add to C.I.'s story because I've observed the cooking process. C.I.'s turkeys can be photographed. They're golden. They look like something you'd see Martha Stewart pull out of the oven. How does that happen? By putting the turkey in at midnight and basting, basting, basting and more basting. Where does C.I. sleep through the night on the night before Thanksgiving? On the floor in front of the oven. I'm not joking. The turkey's cooked with green apples and I have no idea what else, onions and some other things, for flavor. One Thanksgiving, I actually attempted to cook a turkey and it was a nightmare. It looked ruined. C.I. brought it back to life with a ton of butter and a ton of chicken stock. But that's the only time I've ever cooked. My brother and I get together if he's in the country but if not, I go visit a friend or else just eat a turkey TV dinner.

Dona: Holidays can be rough. I feel like, and I'm not trying to bring up anything painful, that we should note that Elaine and her brother lost their parents when Elaine was very young. Geez. I'm not sure, I guess I'd say the stuffing. I love all kinds of stuffing provided it doesn't have raisins in it. I can't stand raising in the stuffing. I also prefer that it look like stuffing with bumps and all as opposed to losing like a sheet cake. My father's always in charge of the stuffing we make. Other relatives usually bring some with them, but the one that's made in our house is made by my father. He puts in celery and onions and I don't know what else. But no raisins. It's just the right blend of everything, whatever he uses and just thinking about it right now is making me hungry.

Elaine: I'll add that it didn't bother me what Dona added. I probably should have added it myself because the holidays can be difficult for a lot of people. I'll also add, to lighten things up, that C.I. can't fry worth ___. And C.I. can't make gravy. Except giblet gravy. In a pan, C.I. can make it. In a skillet, forget it.

C.I.: That's true. I can fry an egg and that's about it. I can't fry chicken or make gravy in a skillet. If I make "fried" potatoes, they're really baked because I can't fry. Which is now a good thing because fried foods are bad for us.

Wally: They may be bad for you, but I eat a ton of french fries. And wouldn't dream of calling them "freedom fries." Whether the electricity is back on or not, Grandpa knows we're going to Mom's. She has electricity. She keeps begging him to come up and stay with her but he's convinced that they'll get the electricity on at any minute. C.I. and Elaine were talking about giblet gravy and my mom uses all that in her gravy. I think that's the best gravy and wish we had more than just on the holidays. I'll put it on my mashed potatoes and on my dressing and on my turkey. I like the chunks of meat in the gravy. Guess I'm like the dork in the Sonic commercial talking about the "meat dressing."

Mike: I know everyone thinks turkey when they think Thanksgiving but I'm not rushing for the turkey. It's nice and I'll have a slice but what I always grab for is the ham. My mother makes this really great glazed ham. It's juicy and it's the thing I want. Day after when everyone else is making turkey sandwiches, I'm reaching for the ham. On our birthdays, Ma always lets us pick what we want and fixes it. I always ask for her Thanksgiving ham. One year, my brother broke his arm and we all had to go to the emergency room. When we got back, the ham was almost done and Ma was hurrying trying to fix some stuff to go with it and I told her all I really wanted was the ham. I meant it too. I wasn't trying to be nice. Just cut me off some ham, slap it on a plate and I'm happy.

Kat: Fudge. Fudge brownies are not the same thing as fudge. The only time I ever had fudge growing up was on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'd ask for it during the year and would usually get "fudge brownies." They're not fudge. I have one aunt who makes it each year. I do her like people do Rebecca about her Key Lime pie, "Aunt Paulina, you're going to bring the fudge this year, right? You are bringing the fudge?" I've pestered her every year since I was eight according to my father. But he says she loves it and is just thrilled that I ask for it. Everyone eats it and there's never any left to take home, but apparently I'm the only one who will request it. I think everyone else just expects her to bring it. And they should because she always does. (Laughing) But I have to check and make sure.

Maybe that made you think of some Thanksgiving memories of your own. Who knows? I posted.