Saturday, March 11, 2006

Lois Lane on Laura Flanders, FBI Grills Professor, Octavia Butler ...

I asked C.I. on the phone today if I dreamed it or had there been a story on the KPFA's Evening News yesterday about a college professor being visited by the FBI? Yes, there was an in addition to listening to the archived broadcast, you can check out 's "FBI Grills Professor Over Support for Venezuela:"

A Pomona College professor who is an outspoken critic of U.S. policy in Venezuela was questioned on March 7th by two agents from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in what he calls an act of intimidation.
The detectives visited Miguel Tinker-Salas during his office hours at about 2:40 or 2:45 pm Wednesday. They questioned him for about 20 minutes in his office at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. The detectives identified themselves but their names are being withheld at the request of the FBI.
According to Tinker-Salas, the agents told him they were interested in the Venezuelan community and concerned that it may be involved in terrorism. They asked him if he had relationships with the Venezuelan embassy or consulate, and if anyone in the Venezuelan government had asked him to speak out about Venezuela-related matters.
"They were fishing," says Tinker-Salas, "to intimidate and silence those who have a critical analysis of U.S. foreign policy."

is a democratically elected president and, last time I checked, we weren't at war with Venezuela. Exactly what is the doing questioning college professors to begin with, but, on top of that, questioning them about their statements regarding Chavez?

Apparently with Castro on up in the years, they need a new (undeclared) enemy and have settled on Chavez. While at , I saw an article on , who was one of Ty's favorite writers. So let me notes 's "The Genius and Courage of Octavia Butler:"

The first thing I thought when I heard of Octavia Butler's passing, just two weeks ago, is that her loss is insupportable. At fifty-eight years old and after having published in October her fourteenth book, Fledgling, Butler had many more thrilling tales of reason and self-consciousness in her and she was getting better and better at it. The loss of her knocked me down and, while writing these words in her memory, it's been hard to get up again.
In many ways, Fledgling was a new departure: a "vampire" book that had returned her to the supreme pleasures of storytelling. I was in the audience at a "lecture" she gave at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in November, a few weeks after Fledgling's release. There she admitted to everyone that writing Fledgling was fun, that she hadn't experienced this kind of joy in writing a novel for a very long time. In her most recent interviews, she was calling the new novel "light," yet this playful description was meant in direct comparison to her previous novels, which are utopian in the heaviest sense you can imagine.
I put "lecture" in quotation marks because all Butler wanted to do that night in New York was have conversation with the members of her audience. She refused to lecture. In their questions, many of her readers proved to be just as perspicacious as their writer-hero up there on stage lounging comfortably, as if this particular spot was for Butler no different than being at home in her reading chair. I remember thinking that these questions from the audience substantiate well the claim that every artist deserves the audience they end up getting.
This particular audience was simply brilliant, in a laid-back kind of way. It was a hard-earned cool, a self-ironic knowingness based on the fact that they have been reading, and rereading, books written not for the market or for a clique of like-minded people but rather for the genuine love of our abused humanity.

I see that Elaine's put up the announcement at her site () and I'm betting I've never noted it at mine, so let me put it out there here:

"Take Action: Demand Better Iraq War Coverage" (David DeGraw,
Join United For Peace And Justice, and tens of thousands of Americans in calling on U.S. media outlets to do a better job of reporting on the war in Iraq and the anti-war movement protests against it.
As the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approaches, the nationwide Peace & Justice movement is, for the first time, focusing protests on the Pro-War media slant that has made the war possible.With public opinion shifting from support for the war to calls for immediate withdrawal, the news media has an obligation to reflect on the role it has played in building a pro-war consensus with false and deceptive reporting. Many media organizations have published "mea-culpas" admitting "mistakes" and "flawed reporting," but the problem goes deeper and is ongoing.
The coverage remains one-sided and excludes anti-war voices from citizens and anti-war groups all over the world. We need real journalism, not jingoism.
It's Time to Make the US Media Accountable!
Click on the link below to send an email to U.S. media outlets now! Take Action: Demand Better Coverage

By the way, check out Elaine's "250 Doctors Condemn U.S. Treatment of Prisoners at Guantanamo" which is a sizeable read.

As I noted earlier today (at ) RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Saturdays & Sundays, 7-10pm ET on Air America Radio, has among other guests this weekend:

The America is Purple tour continues in Montana. We visit Big Sky country to hear from Democrats who are in power and activists making a difference. From the Montana Democratic Party's annual
Mansfield-Metcalf Dinner at the Civic Center Ballroom, 340 Neill Avenue, Helena, MT, we talk to JIM FARRELL, Montana Democratic Party executive director; political pioneer DOROTHY ECK; U.S. Senate candidate JON TESTER, Governor BRIAN SCHWEITZER, state Rep. KEVIN FUREY, an Iraq War vet, legislator and student; DAVID SIROTA, writer and co-chair of the Progressive Legislative Action Network and ANNA WHITING SORRELL, member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Northwestern Montana and Policy Advisor to the Governor.
Going deeper into who and what made the difference in returning Democrats to power, we go to the
Montana Human Rights Network (MHRN) and talk to: MHRN co-director and state Senator KEN TOOLE; MHRN co-director CHRISTINE KAUFFMAN; Montana Women Vote's TERRY KENDRICK; actress and activist, MARGOT KIDDER of, state Rep. MARY CAFARRO and WEEL state welfare specialist; THERESA KEAVENY of Montana's League of Conservation Voters, and HELEN WALLER of the Northern Plains Resource Council. If you want to be part of our audience on Sunday, call the Montana Human Rights Network on 406 442 5506 for address details.

C.I. forwarded an e-mail from Ken who was excited that Margot Kidder was going to be on Laura's show but Ken wondered how I could have not mentioned his favorite MK movie?
directed by . I meant to mention it. I was on the phone with C.I. making sure it was okay to post my entry and adding a little to it while I waited, Ruth's Public Radio Report got caught in posting hell and took forty minutes to finish publishing, and just talking on the phone about different things. When C.I. said, "Go ahead and post it, this isn't ever going to stop publishing," I went ahead and posted, having forgotten to mention Sisters. It's a favorite of mine. De Palma's seventies films are my favorites. Of his. is when he starts to lose me. I like the film and love in it but that's the beginning of my enjoying parts of his films. By , I'm pretty much off the reservation -- brought the only entertainment to the film, in my opinion.

Now check out Betty's "Club Membership: One" () and Mike's "Guantanamo, Spying and why it's important to get the word out " (). And check out all of Wally's The Daily Jot this week. They're brief and they're hilarious. And check out Ruth's report because I loved it. Ruth catches CounterSpin on WBAI , but I listen to it on KPFA and when Eric Deggans was going on about the poor mainstream media needing some big named politicians speaking out before they could cover issues like race and class, I thought, "You are on the wrong program and the wrong network." He really did excuse away the lack of coverage. It's the media's job to cover the issues. If the mainstream media wants to ignore the issues and hide behind the excuse of "no politician is speaking out!" that's their excuse and they can try to defend their failure to do their job but a supposed media critic (which is what Deggans fancies himself) shouldn't make excuses for the (it's really hard to get stories on race and class across on TV, etc.).

And speaking of women with common sense and strong voices (Ruth, Laura), check out 's "Enough of the D.C. Dems:"

Mah fellow progressives, now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the party. I don’t know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up there, and that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I will not be supporting Senator Clinton because: a) she has no clear stand on the war and b) Terri Schiavo and flag-burning are not issues where you reach out to the other side and try to split the difference. You want to talk about lowering abortion rates through cooperation on sex education and contraception, fine, but don’t jack with stuff that is pure rightwing firewater.
I can’t see a damn soul in D.C. except Russ Feingold who is even worth considering for President. The rest of them seem to me so poisonously in hock to this system of legalized bribery they can’t even see straight.

By the way, Rebecca thinks Russ Feingold is sexy. I say that not to embarass Rebecca, he may be sexy, but because everywhere I go lately some friend stops me about a piece at The Third Estate Sunday Review, I don't remember which one, I barely remember us writing it, that had something about Russ Feingold like "with your bad, sexy self" and wanting to know if I think he's sexy? A lot of women are telling me that they do. I've never really thought about it and don't generally find any politician sexy, but I keep explaining it so let me put it up here to clear things up.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Mag report: Rolling Stone

I always have this plan that I'll go through the mags and do a mag report. Then I put one aside, then another, then end up taking them to a friend's art class where the children cut them up for collage. (Which may be giving the mags more life than they deserve.)

But I've got the new and I've got a little time so I'll comment on it.

This is the March 23, 2006 issue. is on the cover and I'm getting why I really don't care for him. He's a blank. He's like a professional football player that probably has a really interesting story to tell but so worried about being anything other than generic and white bread that he never moves beyond "Hi, Mom!" in his statements. In terms of looks, he really does look, in the face, like a defensive football player. Or maybe just like a slightly younger Michael Bolton? I'd forgotten he was in . (He looks just like Michael Bolton in that.)

The article sucks, by the way. But what can you expect from a writer who says "Rolling Stone is like a team you play for and you walk back in, open up your locker and your jersey is still there , and you put it on and it still fits great, and you hustle out on the field." That's David Lipsky. The last journalist who should be writing for Rolling Stone because RS is never about 'good, clean fun.' Then again, in the days when Rolling Stone does "Rock's Top Thirty Moneymakers," maybe Lipsky does belong? "Yea! Jimmy Buffett, you made money off your food joints!" When RS thinks it Fortune, readers lose interest.

Page 14 has one photo of Bono where he looks like Jerry Lee Lewis in the Killer's faded years.
It's all about how he's nominated for a Nobel Prize, a Nobel PEACE prize. For the man who can't speak out on the Iraq war? A peace prize?

Here's real news from page 16:

, and
will headline Bring 'Em Home Now! an anti-war concert being held on March 20th at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Also on the bill:
, and peace activist
. "We continue to make more enemies and set a breeding ground for terrorism and anti-American sentiment, rather than create a foster tolerance and goodwill," says Stipe. "It's an endless cycle of hatred."

The "Spring Roundup" deals with upcoming releases. have an untitled release scheduled for May 23rd. Rick Rubin's producing. Mike Campbell did some work on the album and I'm confused why Rubin's getting credit for that when it's more likely that was the entry point there. She and Campbell (one of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers) have worked together and written songs together and she sang on the Chicks' last album. releases their self-titled CD on May 2nd.

Bono photo on page 32 makes him look like a bloated country & western star.

Pages 42 to 43 are a two page ad of and Back to Bedlham which notes that over 7 million copies of the CD have been sold worldwide.

Gavin Edwards has an article on which isn't all that. It's rehash her stats when they could have had a free wheeling interview wit her. But there's a great full page photograph by Sheryl Nields on page 56.

I'll skip the reviews because I'm listening to two albums reviewed and don't want to read about them before I've absorbed them. On Page 84, you have the charts. James Blunt's at number 5 with Back to Bedlam. Blunt also offers his list of five tracks (and why he picked them as faves). The include ' "Mr. Brightside"; 's "Feel Good Inc."; 's "Cash Machine"; 's "Let's Go Crazy"; and 's "Maybe Not."

And smartest writer in the issue (not kidding)? Jessi Stephen from New Lowell, Ontario who appears on the letter page:

I'm glad that you addressed the fact that teens are listening to classic rock, but I was pissed that you didn't interview any girls. What the hell? I love classic rock and I'm a fourteen-year-old girl. Dudes, that was just so not cool.

Hope Jessi becomes a professional music writer. She's not taking any crap at 14 so you better believe she won't play the game on down the line. Smartest writer in the whole issue.

Now go check out Rebecca's "when the fbi spied on laugh-in" (); C.I.'s "NYT: 'G.O.P. Plan Would Allow Spying Without Warrants' (Shane and Kirkpatrick)" and "Claude Allen, one time Bully Boy nominee to the 4th Circuit, arrested"
(); and Cedric's "Thoughts on Michael Jackson and heroes" ().
I'll have some more recommendations when I blog tomorrow.