Thursday, February 10, 2005

Community Members Weigh In on Various Topics

Annie: I wanted to address the issue of social security. I really do think this covered at length elsewhere. There was a post recently about how a bank executive was compared by a prosecutor to benefitting drug trafficing and yet he got off with a fine while a woman who was forced into being a mule is locked away. Those are the kind of issues and stories I enjoy seeing highlighted and those aren't all over the net at every site. Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude) made a great point in her interview with The Third Estate Sunday Review about how we're really concerned with social justice at The Common Ills and I think she got it nailed right. I understand and agree with not posting or commenting on any NYT article until they identify who is reporting from the confines of the Green Zone based on self-reports from the military and who is going outside and filing first-hand reports which was a real good point Lizz [Winstead] and Rachel [Maddow] made on Unfiltered. But I hope we'll continue to address the occupation.

Barney in Little Rock: I'm glad that the net's come alive on the social security issue but to be frank here for a moment I do think there are other important topics. The net deserves credit because the bloggers banded together to refute Bush and that's great. But I do have other concerns. I don't want talking points and I'm fine with the level of links provided here on this issue. I'm concerned with the war in Iraq and think that 3rd Estate Sunday Review touched on my feelings when they spoke to young adults about suicide and 2 of them talked about how heavy the war weighed on them and made them question humanity. I'm concerned with issues like AIDS in the 3rd world and what's going on with Iran which we seem like we're gearing up for war with any second. I'm concerned with the violations of human rights and basic democratic concepts and the level of acceptance that we seem to be greeting each torture revelation.

Tori: I know this may seem late but I just want to rebutt the State of the Union address which I listened to on The Majority Report. (I couldn't have gotten through that without Janeane Garofalo's common sense and humor.) Here's the true State of the Union. We're stuck with four more years of the Bully Boy; we've got bravery in the Senate from Barbara Boxer and a few others are starting to speak up but not nearly enough; we've stamped torture as a-okay by confirming Alberto Gonzales and Condi [Rice]; we're destroying Iraq and we have no plans to leave soon or to let them have any real say in their country; the death squads are coming back and that's because Poppy [George H. W.] Bush pardoned people right before he left office; our nation is battered by the continued assaults from the administration on the environement, reproductive rights and the poor. State of the Union? We've grown accustomed to hatred and abuse as normal and part of the American character. We better get vocal.

Betty: If someone's as unhappy as Frank in Orlando is about something, anything, why don't they do their own blog. I'm going to announce this and please post it because I am one of those people who has to talk about it ahead of time or I won't do it. I read Thomas Friedman's crazy-based column today and I'm going to start my own blog. I'll try to do it this weekend. I'll be commenting solely on Friedman and since he's only doing two columns a week I should be able to handle two entries a week. As soon as I get it up and running this weekend, I'll let everyone know.

Lillian: Can we highlight A Winding Road's post today: "Senate to Corporate America: Happy (early) Valentines Day!" I am so angry about that vote. And I'm so glad that community members are doing their own blogs because we do need as many voices as possible. I like reading Rebecca because she's so darn naughty! And Sunday afternoons means cups of coffee and cigarettes as I settle in for a nice long read with The Third Estate Sunday Review. I enjoy A Winding Road's Book Chats on Saturday but I especially look forward to hearing the Senate commentary and I think today's post may be the strongest yet. I would highlight this paragraph:
What this basically comes down to is the Senate handing Corporate America yet another advantage over the average citizen of this country. They've now limited even further our ability to take on these already overwhelmingly powerful companies. The Republicans love to play up the specter of frivolous lawsuits just as much as they've loved to play up the myth of the Welfare queen driving around in a Cadillac, but the truth of the matter is that what they've done today will make it even harder for us to hold these companies accountable for the very real damages they're often responsible for.
And the DINO Hall of Shame was long needed so read the post!

Carl: I'm choosing words carefully here but I want to weigh in that I'm really tired of the attitudes of two members. One feels she can e-mail you or Rebecca and make up lies to try to trap you into revealing something. The other wants to gripe that a topic that's been covered and mentioned isn't mentioned and covered enough. This isn't a one issue community. One member has monopolized the community's time with her incessant questioning and the other takes up too much time with lengthy questions when, if he's got that kind of time, even though he doesn't want to be quoted, only summarized, he could write something on his big issue and it could be posted. This is do-it-yourself media. For anyone waiting, Kara and I are still trying to put something together on the Palestinian elections. It's not as easy as it looks. Hope everyone will be kind when Kara get done. And for the record, my great-grandparents came over from Ireland. That shouldn't matter but the person who's wasted our time with way too many questions seems to think disclosure means noting everytime you take a dump so I'll toss that out there.

Ben: I want to weigh in on Barbara Boxer because I expected that others would and e-mailed the site asking about that. No one weighed in so there was no post. I think it's great that we all praised her for standing up on the Ohio voting issue but I think we need to work hard to not take her for granted. She strikes me as a strong woman who will do what she thinks is right regardless of whether she feels she has support for speaking out or not. But before we take it for granted and stop noting her bravery we need to remember that others are influenced by her actions and if we're not commenting and praising her, there's no motivation for others to take a stand and a lot of Senate Dems lack her bravery and need the push or competition to do what they should be doing. So let me end with this: Barbara Boxer is the only person serving in the Senate that I would gladly vote for president if the election was held tomorrow. Thank you, Senator Boxer!

Cedric: If you got a problem with something you read here you need to say so. "I don't think that was fair" to some NYT reporter doesn't cut if. If you disagree with some commentary here, you need to explain why. I'm getting real tired of hearing one person complain that the commentary was too rough on someone. Reporters need to be held accountable and, news flash, there's a lot of humor in the commentaries. Stop being a hater with tsk-tsk. You got a problem, you need to state what it is in something more than "How dare you write that about Elisabeth Bumiller!" This member finds comments like that from another member as wasting space that could go to a serious discussion. The person who keeps griping should realize I'd have more respect for him if he was doing more than thumbs up or thumbs down. I might disagree with that member, and I think I would, but I wouldn't feel my time was wasted if he would share something beyond, "That was mean!"

Frank in Orlando was informed of this. This is the entire response he wanted quoted: "I weighed in on Hillary Clinton and was made to look like a fool. I did get an e-mail asking me are you sure you want to be quoted because you may want to read the post again. I feel I should have been told in that e-mail that I had missed that the entry I was commenting on said 'if the Times is right.' I don't think I should be responsible for reading every word. But when that entry went up, I felt humiliated. So I'm not in the mood to share my words at this time."

[Note: A number of e-mails are directed at Frank in Orlando and he'd already e-mailed that he felt humilitated by being quoted in the Hillary Clinton post. He didn't want to be quoted then but I did think that as a member he should be allowed to comment within this post if he wanted.
I am very sorry that he felt humiliated.]

Brad: I want to thank everyone who's sharing the voices that speak to them. I find that so interesting and enjoy hearing about other voices and checking them out.

Dallas: In the opinion post yesterday, there was a reference to an editorial after WWII that I'm not aware of. But John L. Hess, in his book My Times, notes this on page 36:
When Jeanette Rankin, the first woman to be elected to Congress voted against going to war in 1917, a Times editorial called it "final proof of feminine incapacity for straight thinking." When the troops came home from the first world war and race violence broke out, the Times mourned for the prewar days when most blacks "admitted the superiority of the white race and troubles between the two races were unheard of."
There may be an editorial from WWII (I wasn't born then, let alone reading the paper) but I think this might be the editorial that was referred to. And I think, regardless of which war it was, this backs up the points made by the three reporters.

Shirley: I've photocopied and scanned in the title page and a page of text as an attachment to this e-mail. They are from Myra Friedman's Janis Joplin biography Buried Alive. From the book, page173:
After all, expressing reservations about Woodstock at that time would have been akin to complaining of gout in a nursery -- stuffy and irrelevant. One had to look out for one's self-esteem. Either that, or have a lot of guts. Thus did Barry Farrell at Life dissent from the magazine's splendor-in-the-grass "Woodstock" supplement and indicate clearly that the festival had made him nervous about the future. A Time essay treaded water. As for The New York Times, it went absolutely schizy. In the front, its news papges were cloud-borne. In the middle, its ridiculous "Nightmare in the Catskills" editorial was ridden with the spirit of Lawrence Welk; somebody had to be possessed to dream up "maddened youths." Nonetheless, the following day, the Times came up with a retraction, a sort of apology to what would soon become known as Consciousness III. The final evidence of cultural power was in; Spiro Agnew never had it so good.
This goes to the heart of what was being stated yesterday. The paper is a coward and they proved that before and will again. The most they can ever hope to do is offer the "either/or" paradigm.

Brendon: I want to pass on how pleased I am with the Black History Month highlights. Everyone's sharing some quality stuff. I'm sure it is work for everyone but it is enjoyed and educational as well. I'm looking forward to March as well for Women's History Month. This has been one of my favorite things, hearing about people I should already know about but don't always and hearing people sharing their views and voices. It's hard to believe tonight's only the ninth because so many incredible people have been highlighted. I've enjoyed "snapshots" or "cuttings" and I've enjoyed the op-eds. I think this is one of the best segments The Common Ills has done. There was a complaint from someone that they didn't think the time should be spent on this. Then the same person wants to gripe that members' voices aren't spotlighted. My guess is that there have probably been no more than four entries by C.I. and the other five have been members. If someone is skipping this series, I don't think it's fair to complain that he doesn't hear enough from community members. Even if the guy doesn't like history, I think he should appreciate that members are weighing in with their choices in their words.

[Brendon e-mailed yesterday before someone e-mails that a correction is needed to his date.]