Monday, January 03, 2005

The Randi Rhodes Show, Unfiltered, The Majority Report, Interesting Times, A Winding Road and Democracy Now!

The e-mails today were mainly on the return of Unfiltered and Randi Rhodes to The Randi Rhodes Show. (I'll check e-mail after The Majority Report to see if there are any comments on it.) Forty-two of you wrote saying Randi was back and in top of form. Nine of you wrote praising Lizz Winstead and Rachel Maddow on today's Unfiltered. Two e-mails were on the return of The Al Franken Show. For non-Air America listeners, Unfiltered and Franken were repeats last week, Randi Rhodes had Thom Hartmann substituting for him. Comments from those of you who gave permission to be quoted:

Tammy: "Randi gets a lot of flack from people who don't get her but to all the people who say stupid things like she's 'rude' they better have heard her today and the glowing things she had to say about [Thom] Hartmann. She is far more gracious than anyone ever gives her credit for. And she can do something like that and then shift the focus back to the outrage we should all have over the Bully Boy. She asked that we all try to make one resolution this year that will be hard for us because that's how they end up meaning something. She was hilarious riffing on the current state of TV and I made that my resolution. I am giving up TV. I get my news from Air America, online and from magazines and NYT. There's no news on TV news. And the non-news shows are just embarrassing. I hope other people will think about what they could do to make a change in 2005."

Beau: "I understand what Joan was talking about last week. And I hope that we will never again have hours and hours of repeats on Air America. They should turn over that time to guest hosts like Randi Rhodes did. But Rachel [Maddow] was on fire today. I wish they'd bring back her Sunday show that they had in the last weeks before the election because she's too intelligent to just do one show."

Carter: "Randi Rhodes is our goddess! I'd type more but I'm kneeling as I listen to her. Welcome back Randi!"

Trisha: "Oh boy, Lizz and Rachel had me laughing today so hard I thought I was going to pass out or pee on myself. I almost didn't make it through last week without them. My job sucks and the only thing that makes it bearable is being able to listen to them at work. They get me through a day that is non-stop drudgery."

Boyd: "Al rules!"

Tamara wrote in requesting that we specifically highlight one item from Democracy Now!'s headlines today:

White House Prepares to Detain Terror Suspects 'Indefinitely'The Washington Post is reporting that White House officials are preparing long-range plans for indefinitely imprisoning suspected terrorists whom they do not want to set free or turn over to courts in the United States or other countries.
According to the paper, the Pentagon and the CIA have asked the White House to decide on a more permanent approach for potentially lifetime detentions, including for hundreds of people now in military and CIA custody whom the government does not have enough evidence to charge in courts. This policy would also affect those expected to be captured in the course of future counterterrorism operations. One proposal under review is the transfer of large numbers of Afghan, Saudi and Yemeni detainees from the military’s Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center into new U.S.-built prisons in their home countries. The prisons would be operated by those countries. As part of a solution, the Defense Department plans to ask Congress for $25 million to build a 200-bed prison to hold detainees who are unlikely to ever go through a military tribunal for lack of evidence.
The administration considers its toughest detention problem to involve the prisoners held by the CIA. The CIA has been scurrying since the Sept. 11 attacks to find secure locations abroad where it could detain and interrogate prisoners without risk of discovery, and without having to give them access to legal proceedings. The CIA is believed to be holding most, if not all, of the top captured al Qaeda leaders, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Ramzi Binalshibh, Abu Zubaida and the lead Southeast Asia terror suspect known as Hambali.
CIA detention facilities have been located on an off-limits corner of the Bagram air base in Afghanistan, on ships at sea and on Britain’s Diego Garcia island in the Indian Ocean. The Washington Post reported last month that the CIA has also maintained a facility within the Pentagon’s Guantanamo Bay complex, though it is unclear whether it is still in use.


Francisco wrote in about Meet the Fockers: "This film is hilarious and if you like funny movies you need to go because there were people there putting it down in the lobby. When I asked for two tickets the guy behind the counter rolled his eyes and I go 'What is that?' and he says Bush won doesn't Barbra Steisand know it's time to leave the country. America is sick of her and all these stupid leftists. I said somethings in Spanish before I calmed down. But if people who are selling tickets are doing that and saying that I would say if you like funny movies and you are on the left you should really try to see this movie. Everyone is really good but Ben Stiller and Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman really came off like a real family."

I did see Meet the Fockers because of the attitude Francisco's writing about. I ended up really enjoying the film. I'll also note that it's doing well at the box office: 162.4 million dollars
( Box office doesn't make a film "great." The only reason I bring it up is because when someone speaks out or is known for speaking out, immediately they're supposed to be "unbankable." It's not true and if this community existed during the nonsense aimed at the Dixie Chicks, I would've noted their chart positions during that time.

I think art or entertainment (some movies are just there to entertain) should be talked about in terms of does it satisfy you on some level. But with various links and items that have been e-mailed to this site ( it's obvious that some on the right was expecting this film to stall economically. That didn't happen, so I think it's worth noting the box office, not to say, "See, this film is art!"; but to say that those rooting for Streisand or Hoffman (those were the two most targeted in the things you sent in to this site) didn't get their wishes fulfilled. This time.

I like silly comedies. Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion can make me laugh even on a bad day. So if you like films like that or like the first Meet the Parents, you should probably check out Meet the Fockers. (And I don't think you have to see Meet the Parents before you see Meet the Fockers so if you missed the first one, don't worry you'll have trouble "catching up" if you go to see the sequel.)

While I'm plugging entertainment, if you are a John Fogerty fan or a Creedence Clearwater Revival fan, please check out Fogerty's latest Deja Vu All Over Again. I was lucky enough to get it at as a Christmas gift and listened to it Sunday.

Did you hear 'em talkin' 'bout it on the radio
Did you try to read the writing on the wall
Did that voice inside you say I've heard it all before
It's like Deja Vu all over again
Day by day I hear the voices rising
Started with a whisper like it did before
Day by day we count the dead and dying
Ship the bodies home while the networks all keep score
Did you hear 'em talkin' 'bout it on the radio
Could your eyes believe the writing on the wall
Did that voice inside you say I've heard it all before
It's like Deja Vu all over again

Those are (some) of the lyrics to Fogerty's "Deja Vu All Over Again." We ask where are the people commenting on the world around us? Here's one.

If it's not your style of music, I'm not trying to push it off on you. But I want to be sure that everyone knows the album is out.

If you go to his official website (, you can read the entire lyrics and also listen to the song (via Real Player or WindowsMedia). I'll also add that the album made the list that Kat (and Iwan, Toni, Maggie, Sumner and Dak-Ho) worked so hard on.

Rachel wanted to know if we could highlight Kat's Korner in terms of providing a link to each of them. Not a problem. As Rachel points out, we don't have a site search option. (I have no idea of how to do one, sorry.) I'll do that this week.

Three people wrote angry e-mails to this site and wanted something addressed but didn't want to be quoted and didn't want to be named.

PARAPHRASE: 'Interesting Times has endorsed Simon Rosenberg, will we now do so?'

Chris Anderson of Interesting Times (which we link to) is entitled to have any opinion he wants and to express it any way that he wants.

Are we going to express a similar opinion? No. I'm not going to express it for myself and the community is intensely opposed to Rosenberg for DNC chair. All three e-mailers were convinced that there was a plan in the works to get behind Rosenberg and that's why Interesting Times was linked to on Sunday. (The Rosenberg post went up today. Anderson may or may not have blogged on this issue before.)

The only plan in linking to Interesting Times (or Why Are We in Iraq? or Science And Politics) was to highlight sites that members felt were worthy.

We'll disagree with Interesting Times on this issue and appreciate Chris Anderson's right to express his own beliefs.

I will note that Simon Rosenberg's response was posted today and appears to owe a HUGE debt to a piece Eric Alterman wrote for The Nation. (A piece posted Dec. 22nd online and in the current issue -- I got mine in the mail last week.) I felt Alterman (whom I no great fan of) had a much firmer grip on the argument. (Possibly because it was his argument that both were utilizing?) If you'd like to read Alterman's argument, click here

Is that an endorsement of Alterman's argument? No, it's not. It is noting that on January 3rd (today), Simon Rosenberg weighs in on an issue that's been ongoing for some time. (The
New Republic editor Peter Beinart felt that some "purging" was needed -- including and Michael Moore.) Which struck me as the usual Rosenberg pattern, when an issue won't go away, try to co-opt it. (Again, I'm speaking for myself personally and not the community.)

His argument appears to be one of how are we going to be "The Cops of the World" (as Phil Ochs titled a song mocking us for our belief that we can enforce ourselves upon others). Alterman, to his credit, writes this re: Beinart's writing: "Such naïve hubris about America's ability to remake other cultures to our liking at the point of a gun is what underlay the decisions that cost us 58,000 lives in Vietnam and wrought death and destruction across Southeast Asia for more than a decade."

Rosenberg doesn't appear to be familiar with the period or else he's endorsing a cops-of-the-world attitude when he writes statements like:

The issue of Soviet-American relations is in essence a test of the overall worth of the United States as a nation among nations. To avoid destruction the United States need only measure up to its own best traditions and prove itself worthy of preservation as a great nation.

Under Truman and Eisenhower (whom Rosenberg name checks) the US was almost destroyed by the Soviet Union? That may not be what he's trying to say. Then again, he may be a proponent of the military industrial complex. I have no idea. I could tell you what Alterman's arguing. I could tell you what Beinart's arguing. They constructed arguments. My opinion, Simon's a kid named Russell in second semester international relations who sees that there are five minutes left in class and feels the need to say something to up his participation level so he tries to ape someone who spoke before.

His "rebuttal" to Beinart isn't a rebuttal. (And Beinart may feel insulted by it because, though I disagree with his opinion, he obviously put in a great deal of thought in constructing his argument. I'm not seeing any real thought in Rosenberg's "response.")

Rosenberg supported the current war and continues to support it. He now wants to bicker over how it should be fought. That comes through louder than anything else in his post. He's of the opinion (listen to him on Unfiltered when Lizz & Rachel asked him hard questions) and you'll hear that there as well. The fact that there are no WMD is not a concern to Rosenberg. It's a war he supported then and a war he supports today.

It doesn't matter that we went to war to take out Saddam and have ended up staying for months and months and months. It doesn't matter that the coalition government has no real authority (thanks to Paul Bremmer's last minute decrees, among other items). It doesn't matter that the people we were liberating from what we called a despot are now the same people we are fighting against.

You're either for the right of self-determination or you're not. And to imply that we're allowing the people of Iraq to determine their own way and their own role is to be very unaware of basic facts.

I'm going to highlight Naomi Klein's article from last week again:

Let's start with the idea that the United States is helping to provide security. On the contrary, the presence of US troops is provoking violence on a daily basis. The truth is that as long as the troops remain, the country's entire security apparatus--occupation forces as well as Iraqi soldiers and police officers--will be exclusively dedicated to fending off resistance attacks, leaving a security vacuum when it comes to protecting regular Iraqis. If the troops pulled out, Iraqis would still face insecurity, but they would be able to devote their local security resources to regaining control over their cities and neighborhoods.
As for preventing "anarchy," the US plan to bring elections to Iraq seems designed to spark a civil war--the civil war needed to justify an ongoing presence for US troops no matter who wins the elections. It was always clear that the Shiite majority, which has been calling for immediate elections for more than a year, was never going to accept any delay in the election timetable. And it was equally clear that by destroying Falluja in the name of preparing the city for elections, much of the Sunni leadership would be forced to call for an election boycott.


That's the heart of the matter.

Let's get to the heart of the matter regarding Rosenberg.

I spent 2 hours and fifty-five minutes answering e-mails this evening. The last one (sorry) ended up with an e-mail that went on and on. The e-mailer had brought up Rosenberg (the e-mailer opposed Rosenberg as DNC chair). Somewhere in my jumbled response, I brought up the issue that I don't feel is being addressed.

Yes, we all know Simon Rosenberg wants to be DNC chair. Can anyone tell me why he's qualified for it? (No, I don't want to see the astroturf that so many of you brought to my attention including such "valid" reasons as "he's young!")

How is he qualified?

The DNC needs to rebuild the infrastructure. (These are not new points, we brought this up in the "red" series as well as in "Questions for a Questionable Simon Rosenberg.) Rosenberg knows about this how?

Howard Dean knows how to do that. It's the same plan he's spoken of for months (it may be years at this point). And to anyone who might pipe up, "Well he didn't win the primary!" -- neither did Rosenberg. But Dean knows how to campaign nationally. I suspect that Harold Ickes does as well. (Others may also.) Rosenberg doesn't indicate any knowledge there.

What does he do? He makes comments that Kerry did lousy with Latino voters. Nagourney put that myth to rest for the New York Times Sunday. Has Simon retracted his statement? (We asked if he would in "Questions for the Questionable Simon Rosenberg.")

No. Early reporting on polling got the results wrong and Rosenberg showed up (after) to say this was appalling and Kerry's fault.

Now Beinhart has written a piece that's been discussed and discussed and continues to be discussed. (Again, I disagree with it, but he did put time into framing his argument.) After everyone has weighed in, suddenly, on January 3rd, Rosenberg wants to weigh in (with a piece that appears to crib from Alterman -- and in the process misunderstand some of the points Alterman was making). It's a brief little thing. All this time and that's what he can write, that's how he can respond?

I thought we need leadership? So you're telling me that if Rosenberg was DNC head and a charge was leveled at someone, Rosenberg would weigh in . . . weeks after everyone else had?
That's leadership?

Rosneberg's late-to-the-party comments indicate to me (personally, not speaking for the community in any of this) that once again he's going to seize on an issue after it's already been staked out and discussed by numerous other people. Check my math, but according to my calculation, Alterman weighed in on this twelve days ago.

Alterman's not running for DNC chair. But he could put his thoughts and comments down twelve days ago. Rosenberg wants to be DNC chair. Are we take to his twelve days after Alterman response as indicative of his "rapid response" style.

Rosenberg (my opinion) doesn't have the experience or the vision to be the DNC chair. He could overcome one of the two but not both. For instance, if he lacked vision, that wouldn't be an issue if he had solid experience in what needs to be done. Or if he had vision but no practical experience, that could lead him to work like crazy.

He's got no experience for the job and he has no vision. His positions are slogans based on what's already been said or written by others. It comes across everytime he's interviewed and it comes across when he "weighs" in on Beinart.

Like Russell (remember, from second semester international relations?) he wants to turn in
his paper late and the professor is going to tell him (as she did Russell) that there wasn't an ounce of original thought in his statements and that it appears he copied the remarks of
someone else without understanding the argument they were making.

Now there's nothing wrong with that in terms of a student. Russell can learn from that and maybe end up a better student next semester. (Russell ended up switching majors to English.) But that's not fine for a DNC chair.

We don't need someone who will stake out an opinion long after the discussion has ended. Picture him on Today opposite a GOP spokesperson. Matt Lauer asks, "Where does each of your party stand right now with regard to vouchers for schools since a number of states have come out against them?" The GOP person will reel off a response that Bush supports them and test cases are demonstrating ___ and blah blah blah. What's Rosenberg going to say? "Uh, Matt, can I come back in twelve days to answer that?"

Howard Dean knows where he stands. Howard Dean doesn't need someone to go out and poll on an issue before he can respond. That's what makes him a leader.

Whether Simon Rosenberg is DLC now or not is something only he can truly answer but his organization started as "junior DLC" and remained that way until recently.

You may be the best Brownie in the world and have raked up a ton of cookie sales. That doesn't mean I'm going to nominate you for city council. Lacking vision, Rosenberg thinks he can leap over the hurdle of experience and win the DNC chair. (And he very well may.) Maybe other people can get behind that, but I can't.

Ideally, a leader has both vision and experience. But I don't see how you overcome having neither. In the last e-mail I was replying to, I was saying that people supporting Rosenberg may be seeing something in him that I don't. I won't question their sincerity in their support of Rosenberg. But I do wonder what they are seeing in him.

For me, I'm basing my judgement on what I've learned from campaigns, from grassroots work, from undergraduate and graduate poli sci classes. Utilizing what I've learned from those situations, I'm not seeing anything in Rosenberg that excites me.

All of the above is my personal opinion. The community has spoken regarding Rosenberg and we have said no. That's our right and it's my right to express my opinion. We can't support those rights and then deny Chris Anderson his right to express his opinions.

He may very well be right and I may very well be wrong. (And it wouldn't be the first time.) But I can disagree with him and not feel the need to pull him from our links. Chris Anderson's blog entries show that he is not right-wing. He's a voice on the left. If you're able to listen to him, then listen to him. If you agree with him, you'll be on firmer ground for having read him. If you disagree with him, you'll still be on firmer ground for having read him.

Ryan (who was not one of the three e-mailers) wrote in that he checked out Interesting Times today and found something posted that made him think. He wasn't sure he agreed with it or not, but he found it interesting.

Anderson allows posting on his site so you can take up the issue there if you'd like to. Here' we're not going to make it a point to note each time we disagree by saying, "Well we disagreed with this." But three community members who've been with us almost two months now (this site has been up since Nov. 19th) were asking these questions. So I'm responding to that. Anderson's an interesting voice and Interesting Times is a good site. He can offer a different opinion than we do. So can Science And Politics or Why Are We In Iraq or Iraq Dispatches or Democracy Now! or Buzzflash or No Logo or Ms. Musings or In These Times or NOW. They are there as resources.

The Common Ills community is about resources and reviewing the mainstream media. The NOW link prompted Sue in Waterbury to e-mail that now we "have decided to push the feminist agenda" and that (she said quote her) "You are sick sick sick sick and why I ever wasted my time on you I don't know!!!!!!!!!" First off, I didn't know that Sue in Waterbury was still reading us. Thanks for following us.

Second of all, as a community, we gave an award to Gloria Steinem in the year in review post. Myself personally, I've been very upfront about being pro-choice and a feminist. And Ms. Musing is a link that's been up for sometime. Sorry that we somehow managed to trick you, Sue.

Lastly, thanks for the diagnosis but we'll worry when we get a second opinion from someone who's a part of the community.

If a resource doesn't work for you, don't use it. (Gina's groaning, I'm sure. If so, yes, here comes the "Oprah moment.") We aren't carbon copies of one another or clones. We're individuals and we won't all agree on everything at every moment. If something works for you, use it. If it doesn't, ignore it.

I support his right to disagree with me (on anything) and I hope you can support his right to disagree with the community over the Simon Rosenberg issue. We're not pulling his link, he's a strong voice and one that more of you admire than the three who decided today that he needs to be pulled. If those of you who support him e-mail the site, we'll post that. We'll highlight his blog in an entry when someone notices something and e-mails it in or I notice something on my own. The fact that he's supporting someone else for DNC chair does not make him bad, mean, evil or stupid. He's an interesting and strong voice. If the Rosenberg issue is a make-it-or-break-it issue for you, don't go to the site.

Which brings us to the issue of A Winding Road. Beth feels that site is being pushed in place of others. If we're not spotlighting someone you feel needs to be spotlighted, e-mail about who we're missing. I'm sure there are many great voices that I haven't heard of and, though the community is smarter than I am, ones that members of the community haven't heard of. We're a resource and we're happy to highlight and steer or even plug.

As for A Winding Road, when a member of our community decides to start a blog because they've been in some degree influenced by the sharing that goes on here, we'll spotlight them.
That's nothing new. We spotlighted Andy's "Jesus Was a Liberal" proposal weeks ago. We've spotlighted any poetry that a member's chosen to share. The entry on Shirley Chisholm was a strong one and worth highlighting. (And I mispelled Chisholm's name in my comments. I'll correct that as soon as the post shows up in the edit function but it doesn't currently.)

But we're a community and we're members and not just "readers" here. So if you have something to share, we can share it.

Speaking of e-mail . . .

Okay, we have ten e-mails on The Majority Report.

Elaine: "It was so great to hear Janeane [Garofalo] and I've missed her voice so much. Just hearing her gives me hope in 2005."

Jerry: "First time Majority Report listener tonight and I found it funny and on topic. Thanks for the heads up or I probably would've missed out."

Liang: "Janeane like an old friend and hearing her return tonight gave me the same kind of excitement I feel when I pick my brother up at the airport."

Trey: "Okay, now this is a show I can get into!"

Gore Vidal is God: "Janeane's going to lead us all out of the darkness, mark my words."

All comments were positive but only those who gave permission to be quoted were.

[Note: This post has been corrected to indicate a paraphrase of a question the three e-mails were asking re: Simon Rosenberg. Chris Anderson rightly points out that he has not endorsed
[Note II: This post has been corrected to take an extra "I" out of Sue's statement. Sue is correct, she did not stammer. I did. Rob also caught that. I've put "Ms. Musing" into italics as well. Other than that, the mistakes are standing with one exception, if I've gotten your words wrong, please let me know.]