Friday, December 24, 2004
The Common Ills Year in Review
The Common Ills Year in Review
Highs and Lows and we're as rude and as nasty as we want to be
[Yazz should enjoy most of this]
2004, the year where "everything changed" except the presidency. Think Bush has an easy ride now? That's pre-November 2nd thinking!
Headed for a Tumble Award:
George W. Bush
I teach at a high school and what I saw in the last years is adults who were unwilling to speak out or question. Students weren't intimidated and wouldn't be silenced -- one of the miracles of youth. In my school, they were the leaders on raising questions that teachers were scared to bring up on their own. We've seen a huge shift in the response (silence) nation wide to Bush and his policies. We are all of us asking questions and the genie's out of the bottle now.
His "leadership" has been a miserable failure and almost half of us who voted registered that. The world is registering that. Even the media is being pushed into doing their job (though some like Cokie Roberts and Matt Lauer resist). Things have changed and there's no turning back now. He will be held accountable in the next four years and the free ride is over. The right wingers can scream and try to silence us but our numbers will only increase. Had we been anywhere near as vocal in 2002 as we were in 2004, he wouldn't be in the White House right now. He's headed for a fall. Even his own party in Congress is showing signs of spunk. There will be stumbles and failures but we as a people will persevere and we will be heard. 2004 marks the end of the myth of Bully Boy Bush.
Person of note for 2004:
Medea Benjamin and the organizations she works with spoke for all of us. Whether standing up and being counted against the war or addressing the problems with our FCC, Benjamin gave voice to various issues that effect us all.
Her thanks? Being arrested at the Democratic Convention and the Republican one as well. She's a fighter and she won't be silenced. Like Joan Baez before her, where there's a voice needing to be heard, Benjamin is there. She inspires more people than she could ever imagine. And she was a driving force in 2004.
[Medea Benjamin is associated with many organizations. We'll highlight Code Pink here
Organization of the Year:
Mobolizing and creating a new sense of community in a nation that's grown ever more disconnected, MoveOn.org [ www.moveon.org] has demonstrated courage and backbone.
Marc Cooper might argue that choice. He wrote in LA Weekly [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/laweekly/20041203/lo_laweekly/58941]:
Just the title alone under which the meetings took place is enough to make you scratch ... um ... your head. "Bush Beat Kerry But He Didnt Beat Me" was the perky slogan that brought what MoveOn says are "tens of thousands" of supporters to these post-defeat huddles. And I do mean defeat. Because while Bush didnt beat MoveOn, he sure as hell whipped MoveOns candidate which, the last time I checked, is the only thing that counts in an election.
Cooper's entitled to his opinion but from a poli sci point of view, one could easily argue that one election cycle isn't the "whole game." MoveOn.org has laid groundwork and inspired.
The 527s did some outstanding work this election but MoveOn.org deserves special note because they're not turning into appeasers now. The infamous "We Bought it, We Own It" e-mail led to hand wringing from various pundits. But the fact of the matter is that MoveOn.org is right there at the forefront. And they're not going to go "soft" on reproductive rights just because some weak a--ed whiner wants to push the party to the right.
To quote from Eli ["Pariser, Justin Ruben, and the whole MoveOn PAC team"] 's December 9th e-mail:
MoveOn includes Republicans, Greens, and independents. But all of us who are struggling for health care, clean air, decent jobs, and a sane foreign policy can agree on one thing: we're better off with a vibrant, populist Democratic Party that's strong enough to challenge the extreme-right Republican leadership.
Why haven't we had one? Under outgoing DNC chair Terry McAuliffe, the Party cozied up to many of the same corporate donors that fund the Republicans -- drug companies, HMO's, media conglomerates, big banks, polluting industries. The result was watered down, play-it-safe politics that kept the money flowing but alienated traditional Democrats as well as reform-minded independents in search of vision and integrity. And so the Party lost ground.
But in 2004, something incredible happened: hundreds of thousands of small contributors gave millions and millions of dollars and changed the way politics works forever. New we have an opportunity to birth a new Democratic Party -- a Party of the people that's funded by the people and that fights for the people.
Those who try to degrade MoveOn.org only reveal how scared and frightened they are of the power and potential of MoveOn.org.
Best Blogging by a Professional Writer:
Steinem's blog was everything we've come to expect from her: inclusive, full of telling details and focused on the people, not the power players. When time constraints set in, instead of scribbling something, anything, she turned the writing over to the talented Alison Friedman. Between the two of them, we heard and met voices that went beyond what [Maureen] Dowd noted in the New York Times or [Richard] Cohen noted in the Washington Post: we went back to the people and not in a "On my way to the airport" or "while being served" Thomas Friedman [op-ed columnist for the Times] manner that patronized the "common person" but in a manner that treated everyone with the respect we'd like to be treated.
Amy Goodman & Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!)
If you're not watching Democracy Now! you're not watching news. While the media monopolies have focused too often on reassuring and underinforming, Democracy Now! has provided real points of view and real issues. This year, Democracy Now! broadcast internationally and provided us with music and voices that our domestic media has apparently judged not worthy of notice.
At a time when "broadcast news" has become entertainment and lost it's public service role, Democracy Now! reminds us of what the role of electronic journalism can be and should be.
While others worry and fret over the departure of Tom Brokaw and the impending one of Dan Rather, Democracy Now! viewers take pride in the committment Goodman and Gonzalez bring to their job but realize, as Goodman and Gonzalez continuously demonstrate, it's about the news, not the person.
Fifty of you wrote in to urge this award (some of you called it "Best TV journalism," some called it "Best Webcast," and some of you called it "Best Radio journalism" -- it is all three and much more). By maintaining a standard of journalism that far exceeds the budget limitations (should you be able to donate to Democracy Now! please consider donating), Democracy Now! consistently proves that the media conglomerates excuse of "budget cutbacks" and "layoffs" are no excuse for failing to provide the information we need as a people to participate in our democracy.
As Francisco noted:
While Brian Williams [is] telling Jay Leno that he would factor in whether a subject was appropriate for his children in deciding what to cover and while the story of the "get" becomes more important than the actual interview, while all big three morning shows pass of pretaped comments from their evening anchors as live "tosses" to them, Democracy Now! remains the only news show on my TV that I trust. To Amy Goodman, I would say "Thank you, you inspire me." To Juan Gonzalez, I would say, "Continúe, mi hermano."
Because it's supposed to be news oriented but isn't. I suppose we should be grateful that it's dropped the Cooking With Judy (Woodruff) segments but that was the least of its problems.
Each time it's lost to Fox News it's moved further and further away from news. The crawl gets on my nerves. I don't need that much information. If you can't report on screen via a person the needed news, then maybe it's time to pack it in? There's not a face on the network I have any trust in. Time and again, they've all disappointed me. Crossfire long ago outlived any pupose and by the time Jon Stewart (of The Daily Show) went on and pointed out how damaging the show was, CNN should have gotten the message. Janeane Garofalo's guest hosting may have been the last time a true voice from the left was represented. I've also noted that Julian Epstein has apparently vanished from the network. I have no ill will towards Anderson Cooper but when it was discovered that staffers had planted a question during a debate, his show should have been pulled from the network. He lost his credibility and it's impossible for him to regain it with me after that. Larry King's babbles still have the I-Can't-Believe-I'm-Hearing-This factor to them but I lost respect for him after he refused to book Kitty Kelley to discuss The Family. I don't even read Kelley but darned if King has been force feeding her to us for years as some sort of Princess Di expert. Yet let her write a book about an American political family and suddenly King can't find her number in his rolodex? Soledad O'Brien's pinched face and expressions which go from dour to jubiliant detract from any reporting she might be able to do. Judging by the grim expression she utilizes when reporting on Democrats, she hates them. I have better things to do with my time, the same attitude, I might add, that led me to dumping ABC's This Week when Cokie Roberts was added to the show. I know she's technically left so it should be safe to return to viewing it but everytime I try, there she is giggling with George Will who's a whole nother reason not to watch. I've found that breaking news can be found better online (even at yahoo news) and that I can get more out of an hour of Democracy Now! than CNN delivers in a full day.
Most Improved Magazine:
Suffering a mid-life crisis, they hired a "laddie mag" editor who came close to destroying the magazine and all it's stood for. The reign of Ed Needham will probably be most famous for the questionable "bug chasers" article (one that featured at least one source who publicly refuted the quotes attributed to him). With his departure, Rolling Stone has worked hard to recover their momentum. The soft ball (and continuous, as Kat noted in an e-mail) coverage of the likes of Justin Timberlake have been replaced with writing more along the lines of "Naked Lunchbox."
It's been a return to form that's resulted in some amazing articles and a renewed sense of purpose. The days of being a magazine for "non readers" appear to have ended with Ed Needham's departure and the Gary Trodeau illustrated cover was frame worthy. The coverage of the efforts to boost youth turnout this election was consistently strong (and often only addressed in Rolling Stone). The magazine matters once again and, right or wrong, Kara, Jonah, Ben and I all credit the return of journalism and significance to Jann Wenner and his renewed interest in the magazine.
Most Useless Magazine:
The New Republic (print) and Slate (online)
Tony on The New Republic:
You couldn't pay me to read The New Republic. The commercials on Air America are seductive but if you know anything about the magazine, even just a little familiar with, you know this is just another case of Madison Avenue trying to get inside your head. They supported the war. Now they're launching a new one [war] on the left. The magazine is completely useless to the left. The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times all came out against the war while TNR tried to mark time by playing appeasement and attempting to calm us. I quit buying it a year ago and it was the smartest decision I ever made. In it's heart, it's really Joe Lieberman.
Dallas on Slate:
Have a bigger bunch of uniformed prattling fools existed? The news that the Washington Post was buying it only demonstrated how out of touch they and Slate are, so it should be the perfect marriage! Jack Shafer veers from topic to topic with no consistency and writes like the demon spawn of Howie Kurtz and Cokie Roberts. Dahlia Lithwick may be worth the cost [it's free online] of Slate but as a subscriber to the New York Times, I feel she owes me money for the time she spent subbing for Maureen Dowd. I don't pay for that bull s---. I'm going to provide a link to The Daily Howler on Lithwick's first column and I'd say it applies to all of them.
But other things don’t make this gang mad. A question: When did Lithwick complain about the trashing handed to Candidate Gore? She’s troubled now when anonymous people dare to say that Bush is a dummy. But Gore was called a liar for two solid years, almost always because of stories that Lithwick’s press corps simply made up. Did Lithwick find herself troubled by that? Where are the plaints that she offered?
And one more thing doesn’t trouble this scribe. Where are the plaints that Lithwick pens about the American vice president, Dick Cheney? Last week, Cheney paraded across the land, lying through his teeth about Kerry. Does Lithwick stand up to complain about that? Of course not! Lithwick, writing her first Times piece, voices concern about all the Bush-bashing! Cheney can lie to you all that he likes. Lithwick has deeper concerns.
But I'm not done yet. I want to note the nonsense that is Jacob Weisberg's writing too! The man's a menace to democracy and lazy to the point that "phoning it in" doesn't describe the tone of his work. It's bad enough that his writing is in Slate but I can't believe the New York Times chooses to publish him as well.
I know you don't focus on the [New York Times] Book Review section but I want to draw attention to a review penned by this fool.
He ridiculed James Wolcott's Attack Poodles (and Wolcott [as] "someone who had spent far too much time watching ''The O'Reilly Factor'' with a notepad in hand") while claiming that
"[t]here was, as I remember it, a fairly vigorous debate about the wisdom of invading Iraq in the months leading up to the war, even if one did not find the most sophisticated expressions of it on cable news." What were you watching Weisberg because it wasn't on my TV and studies from everyone (including FAIR) have demonstrated repeatedly that voices opposed to the war were shut out from the discussion.
The Times printed this review which included this assertion by Weisberg:
The liberal caricature Phil Donahue was axed after a few months by MSNBC not because it prefers Republicans but because his ratings were too weak to make the show profitable. The problem may be that libs don't look to politics for entertainment the way cons do, preferring their news straight up, without a twist.
They printed that! And they never ran a correction! Despite the fact that their very own Bill Carter had reported in real time when Donahue was cancelled that it was MSNBC's highest rated show. Facts don't matter to Weisberg, he writes from the gut of "conventional wisdom." That seems to be reflected in all of Slate's article and that may be fine in a freebie but keep your lazy a-- "journalism" out of the paper I pay hard earned money for!
Periodicals That Nourish the heart, soul and mind:
Alternative Press Review
Columbia Journalism Review
In These Times
The Jackson Advocate
Little Blue World
The New York Review of Books
The New Yorker
[The above were submitted as stand out periodicals by Susan, Brad, Kara, Cedric, Bernardo, Kurt, Ben, Francisco, Liang, Erika, Abhilasha, Krista and Domnick.]
Best Fact Checker:
Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler
I learn so much from The Daily Howler. [www.dailyhowler.com] It exposes and educates -- usually with a large whopping of humor. Weekends without a post from The Daily Howler (which are most weekends) leave me feeling deprived! I wish that Bob was ten people and posted every hour.
Most Annoying News Trend:
"Values from the Heartland"
If I hear one more NPR correspondent or ABC reporter telling me that this is the heartland while they push their mikes on some homophobe, I will scream! I have no problem with other voices being heard (even racists or homophobes). I do have a problem with correspondents who present these people as representative of entire communities. Living in a community that's been profiled this week on NPR, I can say for the record that we're not all homophobes and we don't all tremble at the thought of two men or two women marrying. But to listen to NPR's report on my home town, I'm surrounded by homophobes. Actually, the voices quoted in that story are pretty much in the minority in my community. Had NPR not decided the slant of the story before arriving here, they might have put on some voices more reflective of my area. Instead, I suffered through the sort of "reporting" Cokie Roberts does in between pedicures.
Best Songs of the year:
Patti Smith's "Radio Baghdad"; Prince's "Cinnamon Girl"; Eminem's "Mosh"
I know some people will groan over this but of all the songs getting heavy rotation this is the only one that mattered. I'll grant that there were many great songs that never were heard in the mainstream but this one was. Listen to the chorus:
Come along, follow me as I lead through the darkness
As I provide just enough spark, that we need to proceed
Carry on, give me hope, give me strength,
Come with me, and I won't stear you wrong
Put your faith and your trust as I guide us through the fog
Till the light, at the end, of the tunnel, we gonna fight,
We gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march through the swamp
We gonna mosh through the marsh, take us right through the doors
(this song can be found on Eminem's album Encore)
I know Em's been sexist and homophobic and Kat may be upset with my choice but I do think it was an important song. I also think he's lightening up on the sexim and homophobia. Like in "Just Lose It":
Now I'm gonna make you dance
It's your chance
Yeah boy shake that ass
Oops I mean girl girl girl girl
Girl you know you're my world
Or in "Ass Like That":
Jessica Simpson, looks oh so tempting
Nick, I ain’t never seen an ass like that
Every time I see that show on MTV my pee pee goes DOING DOING DOING
I know he could be saying, "Nick, I ain't never seen one like that one on your wife" but that's not the way it sounds to me. Sounds like he's d.o.d. over both of their rears! I hope you'll use this and offer my reasoning so that people don't think I'm a sexist or gay hating loon.
[Cedric says "D.O.D." means "dropped over drooling."]
Prince's "Cinnamon Girl"
The song's amazing musically and you can get so caught up in the chords and Prince's guitar playing that you overlook the lyrics. They shouldn't be overlooked:
As war drums beat in Babylon
Cinnamon girl starts 2 pray
Eye've never heard a prayer like this 1
Never b4 that day
Tearful words of love 4 people she had never met b4
Asking God 2 grant them mercy in this face of a holy war
Cinnamon Girl Cinnamon Girl of mixed heritage
Never knew the meaning of color lines 911 turned that all around
When she got accused of this crime
So began the mass illusion, war on terror alibi
What's the use when the god of confusion keeps on telling the same lie?
(available on Prince's album Musicology)
Patti Smith's "Radio Baghdad"
It's the voices of ages combining a history lesson with social justice. Patti wouldn't bite when people tried to get her to slam [Ralph] Nader and that goes to her own principals of justice and truth all of which are in this amazing song. I play it nonstop and think that when the next Coppola (Sofia?) makes their Apocalypse Now this song should be featured as prominently as The Doors were. Blast the song as loud as your speakers can handle and prepare to be amazed:
Center of the world
City of ashes
With its great mosques
Erupting from the mouth of god
Rising from the ashes likea speckled bird
Splayed against the mosaic sky
Oh, clouds around
We created the zero
But we mean nothing to you
You would believe
That we are just some mystical tale
We are just a swollen belly
That gave birth to Sinbad, Scheherazade
We gave birth
Oh, oh, to the zero
The perfect number
We invented the zero
And we mean nothing to you
Our children run through the streets
And you sent your flames
Your shooting stars
Shock and awe
Shock and awe
Like some, some
Imagined warrior production
No chivalry involved
(this song can be found on Patti Smith's album Trampin')
Worst Song, Worst Act
"Soldier," Destiny's Child
Frank in Orlando:
Embarrassing. Either these three empty headed women have no idea what they're singing or they're gearing up for the big inaug celebration. Either way they disappoint like no one else. In a year when artists were on the road representing for Kerry, against the war, and/or for increased voter turnout, what Kat calls the Children of Destiny were no where to be found.
Think about the list of people who got involved! It includes names like:
Puffy, Jay Z, Bruce Springsteen, Ben Harper, R.E.M., Mary J. Blige, Bonnie Raitt, Russell Simmons, Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, the Dixie Chicks, Green Day, Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Melissa Etheridge, Dave Matthews, Incubus, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor, Paul Simon, John Mellencamp, Moby, Blink 182, Sheryl Crow, Chuck D, Neil Diamond, Missy Elliott, Carole King, and Randy Newman to name just a few of the artists that come to mind.
People were out representing and where were the Children of Destiny? Living high and helping no one but themselves. "Solider" is an insult and they should be held accountable for it.
But people should remember that they played at Bush's 2001 inauguration. Kat's drawn the line and I intend to follow it. In 2001 Destiny's Child, Ricky Martin, Jessica Simpson and 98 Degrees played the fool for Bush. Show up this year at your own risk because anyone who does loses my support. You're fighting the good fight or you're selling out and sucking up to the dark side.
I'm with Kat: if the right wants a cultural war, bring it on!
Biggest Bonehead of the Year Award (Democrat):
Appearing in Rolling Stone to talk up the Democratic Party while Frank Luntz talked up the Republican Party, Carville offered this "insight" to Rolling Stone readers when asked about the importance of the youth vote:
We're supposed to pay great homage to the youth vote, but I don't see any significant mobilization among young people in the country right now. The youth vote is less important than the elderly vote, because the old people actually vote.
Whether one feels Carville's remarks are accurate or not, what was he thinking! Did he think he was being interviewed by the AARP?
By contrast, in the same article Luntz is telling Rolling Stone readers, "It's important, and I'm worried that the GOP hasn't developed the language for the next generation, but still I think Bush is in better touch with the next generation of voters."
Rolling Stone is not made up soley of young readers but they are a significant part of the magazine's base. And Carville chooses this interview to tell them they're not important? What was he thinking? Sounding more like Bill O'Reilly stereotyping The Daily Show audience, Carville's remarks put him head and shoulders above anyone else who suffered the taste of their own foot in 2004 (on the Democratic side).
Biggest Bonehead of the Year (Republican):
Too many to list
Where would I begin. There's Bush, of course. But is he even paying attention? If not, does that make him the biggest bonehead? There's Senator Bill Frist who's willing to risk his reputation and right to practice medicine by offering up questionable assertions regarding AIDS. There's Jerry Falwell who, not unlike a herpe sore, always seems to pop back up just when you were starting to feel safe again. There's the "family values" Cheneys who appear to feel it's okay that Mary is a lesbian as long as no one uses that term. The acceptance goes out the window the minute any descriptive terminology beyond "unmarried" enters the room. There's Laura Bush who may win points for not coming off as embittered and angry as her mother-in-law but the fact remains bland is her dominat color. She piped off about the conditions of Afghan women (in a radio address no less!) at the start of that war but the issue seems to have fallen from her radar ever since. There's Tom DeLay who appears to work harder on his skin care regime than on any other issue not involving lobbyists. There's Orrin Hatch surrounded by his boy-toy posse that includes Rick Santorum and John Cornyn. I'm trying to figure out which one of the two is Mary and which one is Flo. Orrin's obviously Diana Ross calling all the shots. There's Kerik and there's Alberto Gonzales. Don't forget John Ashcroft, the lovely J-Ass. Condi Rice and her insufferable "Mr. Grrrr-aaaaa-nnntttt" imitation. When Mary Tyler Moore did it as Mary Richards, it was cute. Coming from the head of National Security is frighteningly immature. There's Ralph Hall who spent a lifetime in the closet before redistricting finally forced him to come out of the closet and declare what whispers of his voting record had long noted: he's a Republican. When Trent Lott is coming off as the more moderate voice in that party, I don't know where to start. There are just too many to list and too many to list just one.
Biggest Bonehead Move by this web site:
Linking to a Fox News item
The e-mails poured in over that (thirty-seven).
I understand the point you were making. It is a sad day when Fox "News" does a better job of representing the voices against the war in a story than the New York Times. It is a good point but please, please, I'm begging you, never link to Fox "News" again. Quote them if there's a reason for comparison but do not help them add to the hits their web site gets.
Point taken. We'll avoid linking to that site in the future. Even in an attempt to compare and contrast when the Times does an incredibly poor job of representing the various voices of America.
Thanks Go To:
David Cobb & Michael Badnarik
While the Democratic Party was willing to roll over and play dead regarding the Ohio voting issue, I think we should all take a moment to thank David Cobb and Michael Badnarik, presidential nominees of the Green and Libertarian parties. They forced this issue and without them the recounts wouldn't have happened.
I'd also like to note the work of Jesse Jackson, John Conyers Jr., Laura Flanders, Randi Rhodes, Common Cause, the Ohio Democratic Party and citizens in Ohio and elsewhere who were outraged by the lack of transperancy. Big media didn't want the recounts, the DNC didn't fight for them, even John Kerry has stood in the shadows. But with the work of these people and the attention they brought to the issue through a variety of forums and demonstrations, we got recounts. The recounts themselves don't inspire my trust but when you consider all the resistance to them, I'll count it as a win that we forced this issue.
Web Site You Should Visit:
The right has kept Drudge alive via monies but most of all visits. If people didn't visit The Drudge Report, the mainstream media would be less enthralled with it. Buzzflash does an incredible job highlighting a variety of issues and news sources and if we'd all take the time to visit it, we could get the media to stop this nonsense about we're in the minority and the country has gone overwhelmingly to the right.
Maureen Farrell puts Maureen Dowd to shame. Thom Hartman and P.M. Carpenter are always sharp and on the money. You're able to read the stories worth reading without having to wade through the junk that pads out most newspapers. It only takes one click a day to show your support for the left by clicking on Buzzflash (www.buzzflash.com).
Web Sites That Nourish the heart, mind and soul:
Baghdad Burning (http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/)
The Black Commentator (http://www.blackcommentator.com/)
Common Dreams (http://www.commondreams.org/)
Editor's Cut (The Nation) (http://www.thenation.com/)*
Interesting Times (http://interestingtimes.blogspot.com/)
Intervention Magazine (http://www.interventionmag.com/ )
Liberal Artists .Com (http://www.liberalartists.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi)
Liberal Oasis (http://www.liberaloasis.com/)
Media Channel .Org (http://www.mediachannel.org/)
Media Dissector (http://www.newsdissector.org/weblog)
Ms. Musings (http://www.msmagazine.com/blog/ )
No Logo (http://www.nologo.org/)
OpEd News (http://www.opednews.com/)
Progressive Trail Org. (http://www.progressivetrail.org/)
Righteous Babe News (Ani Di Franco web site) (http://www.righteous-babe.com/news/latebreaking.asp)
This Just In (The Progressive) (http://www.progressive.org/)*
Truth Alerts (Barbara Streisand web site)(http://www.barbrastreisand.com/)*
Why Are We Back In Iraq? (http://www.whyareweback.blogspot.com/ )
James Wolcott (http://jameswolcott.com/)
Women's E News (http://www.womensenews.org/)
These sites were cited by Maria, Alabama, Brad, Kara, Gore Vidal Is God, Dallas, Shondra, Rolanda, Rolondo, Maggie, Stephen, Andrew, Ethan, Rose, Eli, Dona, Jim, Rachel, Scott, Rob, Shirley, Martha, Yazz, Susan, Ben, Karl, Liang, Francisco, Kay, Melody, Kurt, Julia, Gary and Denise.
[Note: * indicates that you are going to a main page and must select from that page. Katrina vaden Heuvel does The Editor's Cut for The Nation, Matthew Rothschild does "This Just In" for The Progressive. Also note that web sites mentioned individually elsewhere in the awards were not mentioned in this section since they've already been highlighted.]
Web Sites You're Sick Of:
Diarists Passing Themselves Off as Bloggers
This is Jim & Dona's category.
I'm sick of sites where one person gets all the recognition but the work is being done by a multitude of people who are never brought into the spotlight. The ones getting the attention have turned into gatekeepers and are this generation's Cokie Roberts. They have grown infatuated with their own voices and mistake babble for "wisdom."
It's not just that certain individuals are bad at sharing the credit, it's that they appear to have become so addicted to the spotlight that they have to be forced by their own constituencies to deal with the issues that matter. I'd prefer it you'd never name them or link to them at this site.
I'm really serious about this. The web wasn't created so that two voices could dominate. I don't go online to reflect in the self-glory of those two.
Okay. Well, I've linked to one of the them already this month but unless a reader e-mails the site (firstname.lastname@example.org) requesting a link or a mention, consider it done.
The Littlest Judy Miller:
Juan Forero is the one to watch. FAIR has documented the problems with Forero's 'reporting' for some time now. There's no fact he's unable to spin. Because he does international coverage a lot of people aren't familiar with his work [Forero is a reporter for the New York Times] the way they are Miller's but trust me on this because Forero is Judith Miller in waiting. In fact, right now he's the littlest Judith Miller, el Molinero más pequeño de Judith.
[Note: If the n with the tilda doesn't turn out correctly or appears in smaller or larger type than the other letters in the word, that's due to the fact that this program doesn't allow for that in typing so I've copied and pasted in that one letter, as well as "A"s with accents over them, from other web pages to reproduce the e-mail the way Francisco has written it. ]
Most Surprising Blogger Turn:
Her work during the 2000 campaign has been rightly criticized. As a print writer, Seeyle has much animosity to overcome (and that's a result of her own work, sorry). But as a blogger for the Times during the debates (billed as "Kit" not Katharine), Seeyle offered some instant analysis that should have made it into print articles (but often didn't) and was frequently entertaining and -- in the instant analysis, blow by blow -- attempting to set the record straight.
Here are some moments that stood out to me:
8:55 p.m.This is Kit Seelye, tuning in with you to watch the second presidential debate. This one will be town-hall style in St. Louis.
9:03 p.m.Did Kerry just swipe Bush's back to see if there was a transmitter?
9:16 p.m.Bush is smirking. Did the White House shield him from the reviews of the first debate?
9:22 p.m.This may be as close as Bush comes to admitting that even if he didn't make a mistake, something went awry by invading Iraq: "I recognize that I've made some decisions that have caused people to not understand the great values of our country."
9:30 p.m.Kerry needs to curtail this tendency toward over-explanation when answering a question. But his style tonight is a lot like the arc of his political life: starting off indirect and unfocused but closing with a bang. Here's the bang: "If we have to get tough with Iran, believe me, we will get tough.'' Listening to that, Bush tried to wipe out the memory of his expressions in the first debate, saying Kerry's answer almost made him "want to scowl.'' But no one laughed.
9:45 p.m.Bush is trying to have it both ways on the importation of drugs from Canada. He wants to make sure that they cure you instead of kill you. But he is reserving the right to approve the importation in December -- AFTER the election. But, Kerry suggests, would he really go back on his inclination to do what's best for the big drug companies? Bush comes back to say, "If they're safe, they're coming.'' (Where are the dead Canadians?)
10:26 p.m.Bush has a simple answer: "We're not going to pay taxpayer money on abortion." There are no federal payments for abortion now. Bush is more comfortable saying he opposes abortion than Kerry is saying that he favors abortion rights.
10:28 p.m.Bush gets a second chance to say whether he has made any mistakes, after being put on the spot last spring at a press conference when he said he couldn't think of a one. The questioner asks for three examples. Bush still can't think of one. He says he made some mistakes in appointing people but won't mention their names on TV.
9:00 p.m.This is Kit Seelye strapping in with you for the last of our real-time debate rides. The polls have Bush and Kerry dead even, and this is their last formal chance to break out.
9:18 p.m.Bush says he "sent up my budget man" to Congress. A whiff of the lord of the manor sending one of his workers off on another task...
9:33 p.m.Bush should probably not laugh in response to a question about why health care costs so much.
[Yazz, one attempt at fairness shouldn't bother anyone. I really do think that Seelye was entertaining and, via common sense, refuting some of the things that would later appear in print -- at all outlets -- without comment. When the Times chooses to do instant analysis of another event, I hope they consider going with Seelye again. I never read any blogs or articles on her debate writing this go round, so if you want to be offended that she got a mention, considering it done in the interest of the preserving the public record.]
Most Mentioned Person Who Almost Didn't Receive an Award
Cokie Roberts, Lead Performer in the Clutch the Pearls School of Melodrama
Maybe it was Frank in Orlando's insistence that we quote from the pretend Cokie Roberts' "coverage" of Jodi Wilgoren's wedding [see http://thecommonills.blogspot.com/2004/11/first-e-mail-address-for-this-site-is.html]? Since that moment, e-mails have streamed in constantly mentioning the real Cokie Roberts. Her ears may be burning but she shouldn't feel beloved.
"A one woman echo chamber!" exclaims Gary. "The most irritating voice on NPR!" judges
Krista. And those are the kinder remarks. I was expecting that someone would e-mail the site with an award category just for Roberts. They didn't. So this one has been created just for her.
In an e-mail, Maggie noted an appearence (on Nightline) where Cokie's pearls were substituted with metal (Maggie thought they were silver or silver plated) ones. Details like that (and her hoarse voice during some NPR reports) tend to emerge in e-mails about Roberts. When asked if she had any idea why she focused on the metal beads, Maggie e-mailed back that with Roberts, "Discussions are so devoid of facts and common sense, that you focus on whatever can get you through. I've also begun to study her jowls and slight modifications in her hair do."
Or as Rob wrote, "She's speaking on NPR right now but all I hear is blah-blah-blah, evil Michael Moore, blah, blah, blah." Trina swore she wasn't "normally a violent person, but still I wish she'd clutch the pearls just a little bit tighter. Not enough to kill herself, mind you, but enough to make herself pass out. Charlie Gibson shouldn't be the only person sleeping on air."
E-mails to this site have repeatedly noted hearing Bond speak in person, hearing him on the radio or on television and being, in Trey's words, "blown away."
Get this man on regular rotation as a guest! He's not just 'still amazing,' he's even more amazing than he's ever been before. Like a proud panther, he moves with amazing grace that leaves you spellbound.
The NAACP [http://www.naacp.org/] is an important organization historically but it's easy for me to dub it "old school." Everytime I hear Julian Bond on the radio, I'm reminded me of how much it still matters, how the struggle still goes on and how the last of the brave pioneers is more important and more needed today than ever before.
This white woman is in awe of Julian Bond. If you have time, go to the archives [at Air America Place http://airamericaplace.com/] and listen to his May 17th interview on The Majority Report. I've never felt more inspired or more in awe. If there's anyone deserving an award at the end of this dismal year, it's Julian Bond.
I don't care if he's on Tavis [Smiley]'s show, on with Tom Joyner, on Democracy Now! or The Majority Report, I'm front and center. There are so many who turn into gas bags as they age and have nothing to offer but dusty recollections of the way things were and what they once did to change them -- not Julian Bond. He's still pertinent and vital and a part of today's struggle.
Lead on Mr. Bond, I'm marching right behind you.
Embedded in Our Hearts:
With his Iraq Dispatches (http://dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/), Dahr Jamail has won the admiration of many. Tony feels "the real bravery in covering Iraq is in doing it solo, the way a real journalist should. Dahr's doing that. He's the real deal." Gore Vidal Is God feels that, "Years from now, history will look back and very few reporters will be remembered positively for their Iraq coverage. Jamail will be the exception." Marcia feels "that when it comes to international reporting, there are only two names that are worth listening to, Dahr Jamail and Christian Parenti." Bradley, "When Dan Rather grows up, he wishes he could be like Dahr."
Sophie telegraphs her feelings: "Brave. Insightful. Brave. Reporter." Alabama writes, "Call me stupid, but until I started reading Iraq Dispatches, it really hadn't hit home how out of touch and distant most reporters 'in' Iraq are from the actual people and places. Iraq Dispatches should be required reading." Krista jokes, "Let me live up to what I'm sure is my reputation for being shallow, Dahr's a great reporter, but he's also kind of hot." As stated before (re: Yukos), as long as you're following it, Krista, any reason is valid.
[Note: This post has had a quick edit for typos and to put in bold type awards that were in plain type. The last entry also cut off in the original posting so it's been added.]
[Note II: I got on to do a quick post for today -- Saturday -- but had two e-mails. Frank in Orlando wondered why we didn't use his award and remarks. Honestly, they never arrived before. Blame it on the fickle fate of the internet. But it's posted now and, quite honestly, I was wondering if we'd have a readers' post in which Frank in Orlando wasn't represented. Thanks for sending it again, Frank, and sorry that it didn't arrive before. Keesha notified us that her post wasn't up. It was supposed to be. Keesha and Hank decided on the title of the honor for Julian Bond in various e-mails over the last three weeks. I know it was written in long hand on the legal pad when I was pulling from the e-mail print outs. Either I had a mind meltdown while I was typing -- highly possible -- or, like with Dahr Jamail's, it was part of the first attempt at this post that got lost in the posting stage. Both categories have been added and my apologies to Keesha for not proof reading better to make sure Julian Bond was recognized. Frank in Orlando forwarded his sent copy of the e-mail. If there's a category that you created or made an argument for prior to December 25th and it's not here, please follow Frank's lead and contact the site email@example.com so we can add it. If you have input regarding who made the list and who you wish had, we'll try to do a response e-mail in the next few days.]
[Note III: This post has been corrected in terms of the "Thanks to" award. David Cobb was the Green Party presidential candidate. I take responsibilty for that mistake because I should have carefully checked all readers comments in terms of names. Krista wrote an e-mail and the blame shouldn't fall on her because she's not posting this site. My apologies to David Cobb and the Green Party. And thanks to a reader for catching my mistake. David Cobb appeared on Democracy Now! June 23rd of this year and you can read the transcript of that segment, listen to it or watch it at http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/06/23/1359244. Again, my apologies to Cobb and the Green Party.] [Note IV: Kit Seelye's name has been corrected in the heading for her award and a link has been fixed and closed parenthesis added to two others.]
[Note IV: Juan Gonzalez's name was spelled wrong. It has been corrected. Francisco caught that. Our apologies to Juan Gonzalez.]