Sunday, January 02, 2005

New links: Science And Politics, Interesting Times, Why Are We Back in Iraq, In These Times and NOW

Breaking with tradition, we added five links today.

Why five?

Three are blogs and they're blogs that a number of you cite in your e-mails: Science And Politics, Why Are We Back in Iraq?, and Interesting Times.

Those are three voices that you feel are important and worth listening to. We haven't done permanent links to blogs before because, quite honestly, this blog was started with me highly ignorant of blogs. A number of friends had stated in the last years, "You should do a blog." But who has the time? After the election last November, like many of you, I asked myself what didn't I do or try that I should have? A blog was the only thing that came to mind.

I spent another two weeks telling myself that there was a reason I'd never blogged, I don't know anything about blogging. (Something that's probably very apparent to many who come here.)
And that's probably very obvious -- from the very first entry [see "The Common Ills,"]. The quote took an hour to pick out. Finally having the courage to teach myself about blogging, it hit me as I attempted to register that I hadn't thought up a name for the blog. Sadly, the hour spent looking through various books that I found inspiring (for a name for the site) was nothing compared to the two hours it took to write that (bad) paragraph in the first entry. (Since then, my writing hasn't gotten any better but I worry about it far less.)

On the second day, five people e-mailed and those five and everyone else that e-mails have shaped The Common Ills in so many good ways. (I'll take all the credit for the bad ones.)
So I've read the blogs you've mentioned (positively or negatively) and learned from you and them. From your comments and what I've seen, these three are three of the best so we'll link to them. We may add others in the future.

But here are three voices who hopefully will push us to think and explore. I will state, however, that when you go to those or any of the links, you're doing so at your own risk in terms of language. Yes, we try to edit here to make sure everyone's safe if they're at a computer in a work environment. But that's our policy.

Which brings up Frank in Orlando's e-mail today. Kat used "some words" in Kat's Korner.
Frank in Orlando says he wasn't offended but what about the language policy?

Of an album review in The Nation (by Priscilla Becker), Kat wrote:

She could have slammed the album and many did. But they were either openly bitchy or amusing.

I didn't find that objectionable. Frank in Orlando says he didn't find it objectionable. Usually "ass" ends up "a--" on this site. (Sometimes I'm sure I miss it. I almost posted Kara with the "f--king" word without spaces this morning.) The "f" word and the "s" word (rhymes with "quit") got a friend of mine in trouble at her job -- for viewing sites with those terms used.
I don't think the term Kat used is going to get anyone trouble. When some wondered about citing the magazine Bitch by name, Rhonda e-mailed that her company has a very strict policy regarding the language at web sites viewed but that the magazine's name or the word itself wouldn't raise any objections. She said that the company she works at is supposed to have one of the more stringent policies.

Utilizing the list Rhonda provided, we do have a policy in place now. I'll now list all the words we won't use. Just kidding.

Kat's entry that didn't post was very funny. In the opening paragraph, it dealt with 2004 as a fading and disappointing lover -- in graphic detail. I laughed out loud while I read it but there was no way it could be posted as is and there was no way it would work with twelve words in the first paragraph being edited to include dashes.

She'd worked very hard on that and I felt awful that it couldn't be posted. I e-mailed Rhonda about her list and she forwarded it. That's the list we're working off of. Kat has it now and "bitchy" isn't a word that's off limits. (Thank you, Rhonda, for the list.)

Now it might get you in trouble if you're working at Focus on the Family, but somehow I don't think we have a great many readers from that organization. (I could, as always, be wrong.)

On the subject of Kat's Korner, the list ( resulted in a ton of e-mails to this site.
Many were "Way to go, Kat!" Some were "I wish ___ was on the list." And a few were very angry. Which is fine. There's no Daniel Okrent here that's going to step in and say, "Shame
on you for writing that!" Write what you want, it's still a free a country. Or, perhaps I should say, write what you want while it it still a free country.

In answer to questions to me about the list, I think it's a strong list. No, every album I own did not make the list.

Twelve people wrote in asking, "What album would you have included?" The one that you're thinking of, whatever it is. Seriously, the nature of lists (as Kat commented) is so subjective that I wouldn't be able to make one. (And I honestly couldn't name just one that I'd include.)

(No one e-mailed me asking what one album I'd take to a desert island. If they had, I would have replied that it would probably have to be at least twenty because I couldn't pin it down to one. If I was on a sinking ship, I'd end up bailing without an album because I know it would take far too long for me to decide on one. Which brings up my infamous chip aisle college experience. A group of us went to the grocery store and were supposed to each grab one item. I had been given chips and spent thirty minutes trying to decide which one type and which one brand to bring.) (And I'm not even big on chips.)

??? wanted to know last night if I was taking the night off. I did end up doing that because a number of people had e-mailed requesting a comment on the list Kat posted and I knew Kat was working on a reply and didn't want to end up commenting on it before she had a chance to weigh in.

Now that she's replied, I will say two things. 1) I enjoyed reading the list and appreciate all the work that went into it. 2) She mentions Creem and Jazz & Pop in her response (
Sadly, it doesn't appear that Jazz & Pop is coming back anytime soon. However, when I read her entry last night, I did look up Creem and it's back in business. WARNING: Creem's language will not meet strict work place guidelines (the "f" word is especially popular) but here's a link for those interested:

On the subject of magazines, we've added one magazine to our permanent links: In These Times. Why In These Times? Why not? Seriously, it's a strong magazine and it's one that's often overlooked.

Disclosure, I subscribe to In These Times. Dona wrote in asking if I received any monies or free stuff. No. I subscribe to many magazines (including The Progressive, In These Times, The New Yorker, etc.), I do not get them for free. (Or any discount rate other than the one offered to all subscribers when it's time to renew subscriptions.) I pay 46 dollars a month for my New York Times subscription. All CDs mentioned by me are bought by me with my own money. (The same is true of Kat.)

Someone's been saying that bloggers are getting paid so Dona e-mailed asking about that. I'm not getting paid. We also didn't sign up (at this site) for the "make money while you blog" offer that would have either allowed pop ups or added banners somewhere on the site. I doubt money would have resulted from it. But while I could have taken banners, I wasn't in the mood for pop ups.

It's an interesting question and I have no problem answering it. If I was receiving money (or gifts), I would disclose it.

NOW is now linked. (And Shirley says I need to correct the link to read "NOW" and not "National Organization for Women." She's correct and I'll do that shortly.) We've discussed NOW before on this site but I'm unable to find the link. NOW is obviously an organization I think is worthwhile. I do not serve on NOW. (To anticipate Dona's question.)

I know five links at one time is a lot for this site. (Debbie e-mailed that we broke with our usual "Noah's Ark policy of two by two.") But I hope you will check them out and see if they speak to you.

Are we going on vacation tomorrow, wonders Billie. No. We will go back to our normal schedule of one or two briefer posts with one lengthy post. (If the Times continues to cover the human costs of the tsunami in great depth, we'll note that in the evening post.) (Kat's schedlue is Kat's schedule. She weighed in three times in the last few days and she might want a break.)

To e-mail this site:; to e-mail Kat of Kat's Korner either e-mail or e-mail this site and it will be forwarded.

[Note: The post has been corrected to change "that" to "those." An extra "in" has been dropped from one sentence. Two words were dropped.]