Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ruth, C.I. and it's the weekend so Laura Flanders (RadioNation with Laura Flanders -- listen to it)

I've been on the phone most of the morning. With Ruth, she was wondering if she was writing her Public Radio Reports too long? Not at all. Everyone loves them. Dallas hunts down links for her posts and C.I. does the tagwork. Last week, I took dictation. Ruth dictated her post to me and it's an excellent report. But Dallas hunted down links while I worked on (my own) punctuation and spelling and hunted down tags. They can take a lot of time.

It is up now at The Common Ills, Ruth's Public Radio Report. Be sure to check it out. Ruth's noting Democracy Now!'s tenth anniversary. Ten years of quality broadcasting. Congratulations to Democracy Now! If you read the latest Ruth's Public Radio Report, you may want to count the tags: 60. And that's not every person she mentions got tagged.

Ruth said they seem so much longer now and I pointed out that she used to do several during the week and now just does one each weekend. She's worried that they are too long (despite the fact that everyone enjoys them and that I keep telling her that they aren't) so if you're a community member, drop her a line and let her know they are just fine length wise.

For this one, she interviewed some of us who do sites to get us to pick a story that stood out from Democracy Now! C.I. wisely goes "historical." Anyone who wants to e-mail, "B-b-b-but what about in ___ when Amy interviewed ____?" just got cut off at the pass. Truly.

That was a smart move. Other members were doing contributions before I started doing my album reviews there but I was one of the first to do a regular entry. And if I didn't like something and mentioned it (even in passing, I've only bothered to review one album that I didn't like at), everyone would want C.I.'s opinion and C.I. would avoid getting in the middle.
Now days, members are used to me (and a number enjoy the reviews) so if they think, "I disagree!" they are more likely to blow off my opinion (fine with me, it's a matter of opinion, feel free to disagree) or just write me themselves.

But C.I. gets stuck into a box where we all expect that it is "Speak for me!" all the time, 24-7. You'd think C.I. would lose it from the pressure. The only time I've seen C.I. "lose it" with regards to that was at The Third Estate Sunday Review when we're all working on an article and Jim's focused just on the article and not hearing or listening. C.I. will have to get loud and say, "That sentence can stay in but if it does, I need to take my name off of this because it will offend a number of members in the community." C.I. takes that responsibility very seriously.

It always surprised (and still does) me that no members have ever been offended by Ava and C.I.'s TV reviews. I guess because it's TV and it's funny, members just enjoy it. I'm not saying that there is anything offensive in the reviews. But C.I. and Ava offer opinions in those and there's never been any fallout. A member wrote me last year saying he was bothered by a joke C.I. made at The Common Ills and that he had e-mailed C.I. gotten a lengthy apology for it and now the member was thinking, "I really over-reacted." He wondered what he should do? I e-mailed him back to "leave it alone." And I told him that he's not the first person to do that and won't be the last. Learn from it and realize that a joke can be told even in "trying times" (I think that was what the guy said he used -- his problem was that C.I. was making fun of the Times about some article they'd half-assed done on a serious topic).

I'm glad that people give Ava and C.I. the room to cut loose in their TV reviews but I really wish members would extend that to the stuff C.I. writes for The Common Ills. When we're working at The Third Estate Sunday Review, C.I. can not just tell you what sentence might offend but also which members will likely be offended. Again, I couldn't take that kind of responsibility. Just keeping track of everyone and their issues alone would fry my brain.

You know who else has that kind of patience and tact? Laura Flanders. You can tell is just by listening. She believes strongly in her opinions but, short of someone making a jerk of his/herself, you can tell that she really takes care to respect people's feelings. (And you really have to make the ultimate jerk of yourself to tick Laura off.)

RadioNation with Laura Flanders!
This Weekend:
Do progressives need a new strategy in the culture wars?
Saturdays & Sundays, 7-10pm ET on Air America Radio
From South Dakota, Planned Parenthood's state director Kate Looby, Lynn Patrow of National Advocates for Pregnant Women and Charon Asetoyer of the Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center on what's next and what's needed as the nation's cruelest abortion ban awaits the governor's pen.

Then, from the Chicago suburbs, Democratic congressional candidate Christine Cegelis on her grassroots primary campaign. Plus an Oscar preview with the Nation's culture-watcher Richard Goldstein.
And a media roundtable with New Orleanian Jordan Flaherty and "Information Is Power" reporter Terry Allen.
If you missed last weekend's live broadcast from Nevada, a one-hour version is available here:
It's all on RadioNation with Laura Flanders this weekend on Air America Radio.

Lastly, in case anyone missed it, Cedric, who only blogs twice a week, did four entries this week (one being the joint entry we all did together). So make a point to check out Cedric's Big Mix. Why did I say lastly? One more thing, it's Saturday so Trina should have a new post up at Trina's Kitchen this evening. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Just checking in

Isaiah's latest entitled "." That made me laugh. (The movie's worth seeing too.) ( in case anyone's confused. is a hottie and I'm pulling for him to win the Oscar. My favorite photo of Jake remains the one Rebecca found that I posted here.)

So I called C.I. to compliment for the catch in "NYT: One sided 'reporting' (Neil A. Lewis)" and to ask if anything was going on this evening community wise that I should know? Yes, Betty's got a new chapter going up, I was told. It is up. It's called "Thomas Friedman's one moment of public truth."

What else? I'd recommend you read C.I. and Ava's "TV Review: Close To Home (and floating in the toilet)." As usual, they don't fluff. If you're one of the many sick of and his "morality/cautionary" tales, you'll want to check out their review of . I actually caught the episode they reviewed because Maggie was having a freak out and Toni and I were enlisted to be the friends in waiting steering her through. The TV was on and I won't add "in the background" because one hour is about all the patience I have for tears over a guy not calling -- one that you've never been out with, one who only exchanged phone numbers with you, and especially when it hasn't even been a week. So Mags had it on CBS and I caught the whole Friday lineup while mechanically saying, "No, it's not fair. Uh-huh. You are too good for him."

That series was so reactionary and so FLAT. 's will never be mistaken for the high quality of or even
but it is watchable and she's not doing a bad job herself. But Close to Home is beyond dull. Not even taking off his shirt could bring that sick puppy to life. However, I would gladly trade out Kane for the guy playing Hewitt's husband who looks like he just stepped out of a minivan while wearing a fanny pack.

I've been asked, "Where's the latest music review?" I'm working on two at once so it's going a little rougher than usual.

So give me time, I hope to have them finished by the end of the week if not sooner. In the meantime, I hope you're checking out Wally's stuff. The Daily Jot was always a good site but since he's revamped it, it's a laugh destination. I hope you're already checking it out but, if not, please start.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

News from the real world

Mike just called to say, "Kat, it's not up at your site. I've already posted it at my site and Ma's site." (That would be Trina's Kitchen.) Chill, don't freak out, it's going up here. I just wanted to grab something to eat first. (I didn't want to munch in everyone's ears while we were working on this.) Mike asked me what I was going to call it and told me what everyone else had called it.
I think I'll call it "News from the real world."

In the United Kingdom today, over 200 people gathered at St Nicholas and Writhington Church, in Radstock, Somerset for the funeral of Corporal Gordon Pritchard who died in Basra on January 31, 2005 becoming the 100th British soldier to die in Iraq. 101 British troops have died in Iraq, official count. Gordon Pritchard, who was 31 years-old, is survived by his wife Julie-Ann and his children Stacey, Harrison and Summer.

Alexander Panetta, of the Associated Press, is reporting that Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay maintains that "latest intelligence" indicates that the four memebers of Christian Peacemaker Teams are still alive. The four members, kidnapped in November, were last seen in a January 29th videotape. The four members are:

James Loney, 41, of Toronto;
Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, a former Montreal resident;
Tom Fox, 54, of Clear Brook, Va.,
Norman Kember, 74, of London

Sunday's upsurge in violence continued on Monday. Reuters is reporting that bombings in Mosul and Baghdad today killed "at least 19 people." The Associated Press reports that in Karbala one American soldier was killed in a bombing and that in Mosul, a bomber killed himself in a "restaurant packed with policemen eating breakfast, killing at least five people and wounding 21, including 10 policemen". The Department of Defense has identified Capt. Anthony R. Garcia of Fort Worth, Texas as one of the 34 US military fatalities this month. Garcia died of from gunshot wounds after a February 17th shooting that took place on a military base in Tikrit. Garcia is survived by his wife Doris and his children Kelly and Garrick.

Brian Zimmerman, of Gannet News, is reporting that questions still surround the shooting death of Army Reservist David Douglas who died two weeks after returning to the United States from a one-year stint in Iraq. Commenting on the violent deaths of many returning veterans, National Guardsman Alfonso Williams told Zimmerman:

You have a whole lot of built-up anger from being over there. . . . You can't explain (what it's like) to anybody. And to them, what they may think is screaming and hollering to you is a normal tone.

In 2005, the military reports that 136 active duty personnel committed suicide. No figures are kept for those who are inactive. The current number for US military fatalities in Iraq stands at 2276.

As Jane Mayer reported in The New Yorker, early warnings were ignored by the administration about the environment created for abuse of prisoners in Guantanamo. Noting that "Human rights are under threat," Amnesty International is calling for the closing of Guantanamo. Tuesday, Amnesty International will host a live online discussion:

Live chat with Moazzam Begg, ex Guantánamo detainee, on 21 February, 6-7pm GMT

Moazzam Begg, British citizen, was held for "nearly three years," as noted on Democracy Now!. Amnesty International's call echoes the call of the UN investigation team as well as the prime ministers of Germany, France, England and Malaysia. U.S. Charm Minister Karen Hughes, speaking to Al Jazeera, rejected calls to close Gitmo and reportedly maintained that not only are the people imprisoned in Guantanamo wanting to kill Americans but that some released "have gone back to fighting and killing Americans." If the report is accurate, it is surprising that such an assertion would be made by the Minister of Charm and not Bully Boy himself.

In this country, the Associated Press is reporting that Republican governors George Pataki (New York) and Robert Ehrlich (Maryland) have joined the chorus of voices objecting by administration plans to turn over control of "six major U.S. ports" to Dubai Ports World.
Senators Robert Menendez (New Jersey) and Hillary Clinton (New York) are also objecting to the proposed plan. Speaking out against the plan involving the Arab company, Mendendez stated today, "We wouldn't turn over our customs service or our border patrol to a foreign government. We shouldn't turn over the ports of the United States, either."

Feminist Wire Daily is reporting that CWIG (Center for Women in Government and Civil Society) has conducted a study on "the percentage of women in policy-making positions - such as state legislators, elected officials, high court judges, department heads, and top governor's advisors" for the years 1998 to 2005 and found that the rate of growth for women in those positions increased by only 1.6% -- "from 23.1 percent to 24.7 percent." FWD notes:

Slow progress for women in state government has national implications, says Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers. State and local office serve as a "pipeline" to draw women into national politics. Not to mention, adds Walsh, state legislatures themselves are "making a tremendous amount of policy" –- in 2005, 48 state legislatures considered over 500 anti-choice bills.

On the national level, NOW notes, that although "almost nine million more women voted than men" only fourteen women serve in the United States Senate and only sixty-seven in the House, while of the fifty governors in the United States, only eight are women.

As noted on Sunday's KPFA Evening News, Saturday Feb. 25th, a Counter-Recruiting workshop will be held, open to the public, from 2 to 5pm at the Veterans' Memorial Building, Room 219, 401 Van Ness Ave. March 1st is the National Law Student Day Against the Death Penalty (SDADP).

In other news, Philadelphia Indymedia is reporting that Governor Ed Rendell vetoed the Pennsylvania's Voter ID bill. Rendell, who spanked Casey Junior in the 2002 election race, stated, "I see no reason to enact laws that will result in voter confusion and disenfranchise legitimately registered voters." Member of Protect the Vote had successfully fought against the proposed legislation and were on hand for the veto ceremony.

In other civil liberties news, following what BuzzFlash has called "Just Your Average Week of the Bush Administration Betraying America," the ACLU features a snapshot of governmental spying/snooping in the form of Betty Ball who states:

It is true that I have become more motivated to work for justice and social change knowing that the government is abusing its powers like this. But I am worried about how far the government will go to squelch First Amendment rights and silence dissent. Will we all be rounded up and incarcerated? Already so many people have been frightened away from participating in our events, and have asked to have their names removed from our mailing lists, for fear of the consequences of associating with us. I hesitate to call people to discuss plans for rallies or protests because I don’t want them ending up in an FBI file labeled as a "domestic terrorist."

Meanwhile, author and activist Diane Wilson remains in a Victoria County jail in Texas. Wilson was arrested for unfurling a banner that read "Corporate Greed Kills--From Bhopal to Baghdad" at a Dick Cheney attended fundraiser in Houston on December 5, 2005. Wilson's banners are apparently too much for the delicate sensibilities of the foes of democracy. She is currently serving a 150 day sentence for a 2002 action where she climbed a Dow Jones tower and unfurled a banner which read "Justice For Bhopal." CODEPINK is calling for Wilson's release.

In other take action news, is asking you to Take Action: Demand Coverage of Able Danger (more info on the Able Danger program can be found at Able Danger Media Monitoring).

Finally, Monday's Democracy Now! featured:

"Readings From Howard Zinn's 'Voices of a People's History of the UnitedStates:'"
Today we spend the hour with readings from a Voices of a People's History of the United States edited by historian Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove. It is the companion volume to Zinn's legendary People's History of the United States ­ which has sold over a million copies.We will hear dramatic readings of speeches, letters, poems, songs, petitions, and manifestos. These are the voices of people throughout U.S.history who struggled against slavery, racism, and war, against oppression and exploitation, and who articulated a vision for a better world. Performances include Danny Glover as Frederick Douglass, Marisa Tomei as Cindy Sheehan, Floyd Red Crow Westerman as Tecumseh and Chief Joseph, Sandra Oh as Emma Goldman and Yuri Kochiyama, and Viggo Mortensen as Bartolomeo de Las Casas and Mark Twain.

This entry was compiled by:

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