Saturday, December 10, 2005
Today on The Laura Flanders Show
On Air America Radio, 7-10 PM EST
Katrina woke us up. Has the nation gone back to sleep?
From Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's hearings in DC to the first Survivors Assembly and Saturday's Right-of-Return protest in New Orleans, we'll hear the latest from those on the front lines.
Plus, New York City's Playback Theatre on how performance helped Katrina survivors get to grips with their story.
And the premier broadcast of FALLUJAH, a new Iraqi-made documentary on the US attack.
You can listen to shows you missed: Download archived shows HERE or Subscribe to the Free PODCAST through the iTunes Music Store
Go to the Laura Flanders Blog
Okay, where else will you get that kind of diversity? On your TV? I seriously doubt it.
You've got Cynthia McKinney and the hearings. You've got Playback Theatre -- which I'm honestly not familiar with but am intrigued and look forward to finding about. Laura Flanders isn't looking at a list and saying, "Oh, here's something in the world of arts that everyone's talking about so let me find a way to say exactly what's been said before but on my show." (Read "site" if I lost you.) She's trying to provide a unique show and does that by offering topics and guests that you've not grown tired of and offering her own perspective. (And proving you can be fair without being "On the one hand, on the other.")
Any other Saturday, the first two items would be excitement enough. FALLUJAH raises the excitement bar. (And don't be surprised if The Third Estate Sunday Review posts late because I can tell you we will stop everything we're doing to hear about that.)
This a show the community responds to and one we wish everyone took the time for. So make sure you're getting the word out on it. (Be like Liang and her friends and organize parties to listen each weekend. Or be like Maria and make it your "adult time" away from the kids, which Maria always intends but frequently has to take breaks to address pressing issues such as who gets what toy. Or be like Eli who listens and takes notes to discuss it later in the week. If you read your gina & krista round-robin yesterday, you saw Eli's rundown of the important topics from last weekends shows and how he graded the mainstream media on following up on them. Reading his commentary, you should know that the mainstream media just doesn't seem to be able to find the time to raise the issues that Flanders raises.) Mia says the show centers her (in terms of being and soul, not politically). Brad says you just need to listen once to be hooked.
We're noting the above because, as Kara pointed out, if Randi Rhodes is starting her vacation on the 20th, Flanders may be doing the same thing, Point? If you've been thinking of urging a friend to listen, you've got this weekend and next for sure and then there may be repeats or a substitute host. So just invite a friend over and get them to listen along.
That's Carl's suggestion. He wrote that Mike and Rebecca had the right idea about having Democracy Now! on at the gatherings for Labor Day and Thanksgiving. He said he'd urged people to watch Democracy Now! and they'd say they'd give it a try. And he'd wait and wait.
So tonight he's got three friends coming over who always "mean to listen" to Flanders but still haven't. Carl writes that he's tired of suggesting and waiting so everyone's just going to sit down at the dinner table and listen while they eat tonight.
He also points out that one of his resolutions last New Year's Eve was to make sure that he talked about "more than sports with my friends" and he's kept it and wants to make 2006 be about making sure that people know what's out there. He's getting a leap on 2006 tonight.
Again, I'm way behind on the e-mails. If someone weighed in on Laura Flanders (Eli's column inspired the above to weigh in) and I didn't note you above, it's because I haven't gotten to your e-mail yet.
Remeber that you can listen to The Laura Flanders Show via podcast (as noted above), via broadcast radio (if there's an AAR in your area), via XM Satellite Radio (channel 167) or listen online.
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org. That's the public address. I won't go into that account until Sunday. I will be checking the private account so if you're a member, please e-mail to that account.
the laura flanders show
Accusing Democrats asking tough questions about the war as "undermining the president's credibility at our nation's peril." No-mentum, your statement was made in a speech and it's what we could easily term "fighting words."
I don't like Lieberman, I never have. His addition to the Gore-Lieberman ticket failed to excite me. His attacks on the entertainment industry made a big yawn from a far away state an enemy. But he's apparently tired of the entertainment industry lately and wants to go gunning for the party. So the question is do we wait until he's delivering the RNC speech condemning Democrats to call him Zell Miller?
No, we don't.
His words are exactly the same as Zell's. And possibly, when Zell spoke of having a few Democrats support his remarks, Zell meant No Mentum?
Lieberman's the depressed character you get stuck with in freshman year. The one always dragging you down and depressing everyone around you. And that's just while sitting there. When the mouth opens, it really gets bad.
No Mentum suggest that the reaction to his words are the result of a polarized nation. No Mentum's words don't heal "the breech." Al Gore elevated him to national prominence and Gore's reward for that was that Lieberma repeatedly undercut him during the campaign (rushing in to suggest that Al didn't really mean that, and we're not interested in discussions of class and . . .), destroyed the recount (where No Mentum mistook himself for the sole voice of the ticket and Tim Russert for the Supreme Court as they hammered out "a deal"), then became the laughing stock of the 2003 primaries (by 2004, it was already over for Joe but he hung around apparently for the laugh facotr), whined about how Al Gore had chosen him to be vice president but didn't even phone him to say he would support Howard Dean and not Joe . . .
It's always something from Mr. Crabby. Al Gore had already spoken out against the war before endorsing Howard Dean. But Mr. Crabby seems to think he's owed something.
He's owed, apparently, the right to insult Democrats (which is the party he's a member of -- in name only). He's owed an endorsement. He's owed this, he's owed that.
It's funny because America didn't feel they owed him any votes in the primaries.
But No Mentum's sense of entitlement is never far from the surface.
It's like watching the father on Alf on a holy tear.
Apparently some Republicans back slapped him while a large portion of Democrats booed and No Metum felt it was a sign that he can speak to everyone, reach everyone. As a politician, Joe's the guy who, when mugged at gun point, hands over not just the wallet but the unasked for watch and his shoes as well. Later, when he retells the story, he'll brag about how he and the mugger came to "an understanding."
Or as Brady, who says he will not be voting for Joe, writes: "Hey Joe, where you going with that stick up your ass?" (In a nod to Jimi Hendrix.)
We don't have a large number of members from Joe's state (or if we do, they haven't informed me) but there are five besides Brady. They're very vocal on this story and their disgust with Joe. As Joe attempts to cross party lines, he better worry because he's ticked off six people who are prepared to cross party lines if an anti-war Republican runs. (They do exist.) Otherwise, they'll just stay home. They write of how No Mentum never met a corporation he couldn't hop into bed with, how No Mentum's machine generated replies to their letters don't even have a thing to do with their letters. (Lillian wrote him about Social Security, the only time she bothered because "he never listens," and received a reply about the war. Maybe Joe just has war on the mind. You can almost picture him day dreaming about it while bits of spittle pool in the corners of his mouth.)
No Mentum says he's not worried because he'll run on his record. Brady weighs in that Joe should run from his record, not on it.
Matt Richtel's piece entitled "Live Tracking of Mobile Phones Prompts Court Fights on Privacy" resulted in a number of e-mails. Including Zach's. Zach comments, "Did people not see The Net?" (In that film, Sandra Bulluck's tracked via a mobile phone. I saw the film, Zach.) As mobile phone providers are now marketing this ability as an attraction, the courts are taking a look at what this means in terms of privacy. (For the record, in The Net, Sandra has to be using the phone to be found. In reality, the mobile phones can be tracked whether in use or not.)
We've got two highlights this morning (one in full). I am way behind on the e-mails, FYI. That's both the members' account and the public account.
First, Rory O'Connor's "Able Danger and Unaccountability" (Media is Plural, MediaChannel.org):
A December 8 Washington Post article by Dana Milbank, "Intelligence Design and the Architecture of War," described a question-and-answer session that followed a recent National Press Club speech by former deputy defense secretary (now World Bank president) Paul Wolfowitz.
"How do you account for the intelligence failures....in Iraq?" Wolfowitz was asked.
"Well," he said after a long pause, "I don't have to."
Precisely. That very lack of accountability at the highest levels of the Pentagon continues to be one of the biggest reasons why the world's only superpower is losing the war on terror.
Accountability for intelligence failures, Wolfowitz explained, just wasn't his problem. "And it's not just because I don't work for the U.S. government anymore," he said. "In my old job I didn't have to. I was like everyone else outside the intelligence community... We relied on the intelligence community for those judgments, so the question is, in a way, how do they account for it?"
To Milbank, the pass-the-buck, laissez-faire attitude exhibited by Wolfowitz "was an unexpected response from a man who, as the Pentagon's No. 2, sat atop 80 percent of the nation's intelligence budget and an intelligence agency that made particularly aggressive claims about Iraq's weapons."
But after months of chasing the Pentagon for answers about, and accountability for, intelligence failures relative to the Able Danger data mining operation -- which purportedly identified four 9/11 hijackers a year before the worst terror attacks ever on US soil -- the Wolfowitz "What Me Worry?" response was exactly what I expected.
Just this week, for example, after literally months of silence, the Department of Defense finally provided an answer -- of sorts -- to my many queries.
That's the good news. Now the bad news: the answer is "No."
Now, as requested by Kara yesterday, here's the editorial from The Third Estate Sunday Review (it was published Thursday night/Friday morning as part of the community's "special programming").
"Editorial: War Got Your Tongue?"
Let's give it up to the bloggers and the op-ed columnists with bravery because they've weighed in the war. The war that hits the third year mark in March.
You do know there's a war going on, right?
We kind of feel like we have to ask that question because most people don't appear to. Again, give it up for the bloggers and the op-ed columnists. Give it up for progressive media.
"'Why Are You Here' and 'What's Changed'" we asked at the D.C. protests in September. Here's how one person responded:
74) Ivan, 62, Michigan: I think today is great and am thrilled with the turnout. I protested against the war on Vietnam and there it took us years to get the momentum going. What I worry about is where are the people? I don't mean the protesters, I'm really encouraged with the cross-section today. But, okay, you've got Cindy Sheehan. Great spokesperson. Ralph Nader's here and maybe he can make up for the recent past or maybe not, but he's here. The actress from Tootsie and Cape Fear, right Jessica Lange. She's here and I didn't remember her name but she really did give a great speech. I'm glad those people are here. But we need more.
And in my day, the people had others. Yes, we had Jane Fonda, Fred Gardner, Joan Baez, Tom Hayden and others front and center. But you also had people backing it up. Like Bob Dylan. I think he went to one protest with Joan Baez for civil rights. But his songs backed up what his actions didn't. Or you turned on Dick Cavett or David Frost and there was an author or singer or someone and they weren't at the protests but they'd put it on the line and they'd say, like John Phillips [Mamas and the Papas] that the war was wrong. I caught Jane Fonda on David Letterman, when her book came out. And he asked her about the war and she said she was against it and the audience just went crazy with applause and cheers. But are there younger people doing that? Is it just people my age? Maybe there are and I just don't know them. But part of the reason the movement finally did end the war is that our cultural heroes were willing to speak out. You hear a lot of that sneering "You're a celebrity, shut up" talk and that's really fearing the power if they do speak out. With Vietnam, and this isn't a full list, just names that come to mind, you had Joan Baez and Jane Fonda front and center, but you also had Phil Ochs, you had the whole Mamas & the Papas, you had John Lennon, Mia Farrow, Tim Hardin, Laura Nyro, Peter Fonda, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrison, Janis [Joplin], the Rolling Stones, Grace Slick and the [Jefferson] Airplane, this whole list of people. And you had people my age and younger and we weren't that different from kids today, we thought about what was in front of us. So when you have these people that you watch or listen to talking about it, it put it front and center. There were a lot of priests and a lot of Quakers and a lot of really solid activists who worked and gave their time to ending the war. But what kept it on the front page was a) real reporting with real photos and b) the fact that you couldn't escape it. You turned on the TV to escape but there was some entertainer talking about it. It was front and center. Now maybe there are people doing that today. I don't watch much TV now. Maybe if I turned on Letterman every night, I'd see some young people coming on to talk about a movie or TV show and I'd hear them speak out against the war. But I really don't get the sense that's happening.The right spent a lifetime demonizing Jane Fonda. There's a reason for that. They want to make sure no one else is tempted to use their power. They're scared of what would happen if entertainers really started throwing their weight around and making the people buying tickets or records think about this war.
Hard to believe it to look around today, but that did happen. C.I. had lunch today with a friend who's trying desperately to work the war into a show he writes for. During the conversation a number of issues were raised about what's being ignored by the mainstream press. C.I. shared the converstation with Jess who said, "I had that same conversation!" C.I. came up with the title of this editorial. Jess tossed in something else. By then it was going to have to be a Third Estate Sunday Review piece because we all wanted to weigh in.
All we are saying is JUST TAKE A STAND
On this anniversary of the assassination of John Lennon, we're surprised by how few seem to act as if a war's going on. Ripped from the headlines our asses. Hiding from the headlines. And it goes on everywhere.
Maybe pop culture doesn't allow you to comment on Harold Pinter's speech? Maybe a playwright is too "culture" and not enough pop? Maybe it's just not really handing out awards if no one asks, "Who are you wearing?"
All we are saying is just take a stand.
If you're presenting as being on the left, why are you so silent on a war that's waged for almost three years? War got your tongue?
Hey, if you're for the war, come out and say it. You can find readers who'll support you. But quit hiding behind "I'm left" if you can't comment on the war.
You're not looking "moderate." You're looking ignorant. And when people read you years from now and see that you had nothing to say about a war that waged and waged, they're going to wonder about that.
We should wonder about it right now.
Bloggers, op-ed writers, Laura Flanders, Amy Goodman, The Progressive, The Nation, go down the list. They're the people who have kept the conversation alive, who have forced it to the front. They did that without you. They're still doing it without you even though polling consistently demonstrates a trend of the people turning against the war.
You waiting for it to hit 99% before you feel "safe" about weighing in?
Naomi Klein rightly argued about the need to bring Iraq to the NYC during the Republican convention in 2004. We echo that only we say it's time to bring it to the people. That means no jerking off over Jessica and Nick or whatever "hot" topic. If you're not weighing in on a war, what are you but a couch potato?
Are you in a coma? Do you not see what's going on?
We ask that question because Bright Eyes gets slammed online by a left site. "When a President Talks To God" is "trite, crudely so, and certainly unenlightening"? Harold Bloom, when did you come online? Or is it the Professor from Gilligan's Island? (We felt the Bloom ref might be lost on the "wit" who penned the critique.)
Maybe you missed the performance of that song? Maybe you weren't at any of the sites on the left that talked of this or listening to The Majority Report whan Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder played the clip? We're sure reading The New Rag takes up a lot of your time.
But is that your statement? Your full statement on the war?
Gee, thanks for weighing in. Maybe you're one of the sites or magazines that can also say you reviewed Jarhead?
We're so lucky to have you.
All we are saying is just take a stand.
Clooney and Damon have a new movie, you could blather on about that and claim you've addressed the war three times!
We're not sure what you're so scared of. Or why, having been silent, you think anyone cares what you think about the voices calling for an end to the occupation?
Are you Shelly Hack in Annie Hall?
"I'm bascially very shallow and have no ideas or thoughts of my own."
Is that it?
How's that working out for you?
As you muddle down the middle of the road, how's that working out for you?
All we are saying is just take a stand.
Or maybe you're a certain "lefty" radio personality who thinks it's "cute" to make fun of Pacifica Radio. You think it's "funny" to knock community radio that represents the people. We think it's "funny" that you defended your friend who wrote that article, you know the one, on Ann Coulter. We think it's funny that you excused him and let him off the hook, but never explained why or told listeners that he was your friend. We think that's almost as funny as the writer, an uncloseted gay man except in that article, acting like Ann Coulter got him all hot and bothered.
We're not hearing your brave voice. Last time we listened you were still pushing Colin Powell's (false) Pottery Barn analogy. Color us underwhelmed.
When you've done anything on the level of Margret Prescod, Deepa Fernandez, Jeremy Scahill, Juan Gonzalez, Andrea Lewis, Dennis Bernstein, Larry Bensky or anyone else at Pacifica then we'll take your little jabs a little more seriously. For now, deflate your ego, your nowhere near Amy Goodman's level.
All we are saying is just take a stand.
Or maybe you're the rag that helped lead us into war. Atrios puzzled this week over why one of the rag's writers attacked bloggers and defended The New York Times? We didn't puzzle. We know he writes for the paper's book review. We know he covers his own ass. When it takes years and years to turn out your simplistic book about how the world is just like soccer, you need those paychecks from The New York Times.
And if you had any self-respect, you wouldn't be working for The New Rag in the first place. Remember Stephanie's hilarious commercials on Air America? Having learned of the "joke" about Arundhati Roy, we've stopped laughing as we realize that while that attack occurred, Stephanie was schilling for the magazine, claiming it was left.
The New Rag didn't have Judy Miller -- it didn't need her to cheer on this war or every other one. Whether cheering on the contras or spinning false WMD claims, in times of strife, The New Rag will always lead the charge for war.
Remember when The New Rag pushed the racist Bell Curve? Or how about when it was home to such leading "lefties" as Fred Barnes and Andrew Sullivan?
All we are saying is just take a stand.
The New Rag took one. Now it tries to act like it didn't but people are wise to reality and that's why it's circulation is in the toilet. Of all the things that float in a toilet, we think The New Rag may be the most vile. It certainly gives off the worst odor. Can you smell it? It's the scent of death.
That's what war cheerleaders smell like. If and when Judith Miller puts out her signature fragance, I, Judith!, we'll all know the smell. In the meantime, take a sniff of The New Rag the way you would a perfume strip in Vanity Fair.
The New Rag pretends it's of the left when promoting itself -- but it's not. Maybe the fact that it's doing so poorly is why others can't declare that they're for the war?
We don't know. We just know that a lot of people who should have an opinion on the war and should express it don't seem to be able to.
Forget TV news for a moment, the war's hidden by more than TV news.
Seems like a lot of people are getting splinters up their hineys from sitting on that fence.
All we are saying is just take a stand.
Got an opinion on that war? Sitting on the fence waiting to see which way the wind's blowing? (No, that wasn't a Dylan ref.) It's blowing right past you.
Are you someone who rags on Pacifica, or think it's cute to make "jokes" about Arundhati Roy, or maybe you're too busy defending your friend who's penning mash notes to Ann Coulter, or maybe you just can't say anything? Maybe they forgot to program you before you showed up because you'd have to be a robot to have no opinion on the war, right?
Or maybe you're just so busy doing the Joe Lieberman that you've failed to note it's not, in fact, the new dance craze. As you lean over backwards to attempt to kiss ass, people are pointing at you. They're not saying, "What's that wild dance?" They're saying, "How pathetic."
And it is pathetic. It's pathetic that a slam on Bright Eyes will apparently have to pass for your war commentary. Or that Pacifica Radio, which gives voice to people who call in as well as guests like Naomi Klein and Norman Solomon and the Center for Constitutional Rights, is someone you think you're better then as you do your little skit, your little funny, and you summarize what was in the headlines yesterday or the day before or maybe several days before in that "moderate" voice you're so fond of using.
We must have missed you standing next to Amy Goodman and Alan Nairn in East Timor, huh? Because surely when you can knock Pacifica, you've done a butt load of things to be proud of. Not just for yourself of course, but for the whole world. Face it, you're a giver!
All we are saying is just take a stand
If Time had any guts (don't make us laugh), Cindy Sheehan would be their person of the year. The fact that she probably won't be, it has a lot to do with you. You who claim the left but can't be bothered by the war. Because surely what the world needs now is . . . distraction.
Danny Schechter, MediaChannel.org, and BuzzFlash are calling for the "Tell The Truth About The War" Campaign. We agree. But we also feel that sites and magazines wanting to get cred for being left and "left" need to start speaking out as well. It's not just the network news that fails us, it's the people who stay silent for whatever reason.
How is it that, after all this time, you still can't find your opinion? Reach around with both hands, maybe you'll fumble into it.
Again, Naomi Klein asked that we bring Iraq to NYC, meaning that we make it an issue that can't be ignored by demanding it be addressed. (Not, as a simp feared, that there be massive riots -- she wiped the floor with simpy -- the key was to bring up her age, he's very sensitive about his own.) But it is ignored as puff pieces and inane criticism is churned out.
Hey, we can talk about Nick & Jessica too. In fact, Ava & C.I. reviewed their special. Of course, Ava and C.I. got the point across early on that war has a cost -- even if Nick and Jessica couldn't grasp it. You can note the real world if you're reviewing something. You can note what's actually going on. It might require actual thought, as opposed to thumbing through your thesaurus, but it can be done.
All we are saying is just take a stand.
What purpose do you think you're serving? We're reminded of a classic film, of one scene in particular:
"I don't think that that's our function, Sally, I think that we're more a base gossip sheet. You know, fun and games for the fellas?"
"I-I just, I want to say that I'm really shocked, I'm just shocked that you'd rather write about a godd**n baseball homerun then what's going on in this hospital. I mean you wouldn't feel that way if they were your husbands."
Since for some of our brave "left" it was "fashionable" to trash Jane Fonda this summer, we might need to point out that the above is from Coming Home. Oh, but wait, she's spoken out against this war. Bright Eyes, he spoke out as well. Maybe you think trashing them qualifies for your war stance?
We think you need to figure out where you stand on the war. Choose a side already. Unless you are just a gossip sheet as well.
Kat's words can be distorted in any manner someone chooses. It doesn't change reality. It doesn't change the fact that anyone who reads her writing knows she's firmly against the war.So before a writer gets outraged that Kat disagrees with him, apparently after he took time off from scolding Kayne West over points of order, maybe that time would be better spent forming an opinion and actually expressing it. Not on the tired topic of Bob Dylan. No one needed, at this late date, your "moderate" view of Bob Dylan.
What a safe little post that was. On the one hand, on the other. He's wrong but I think Bob's great because . . .
Did you smell a Pulitzer? Or maybe a Webbie? We certainly had to hold our noses reading it.
It's not good enough. The war is about to enter year three. If you're for it, say you for it. If you're against it, say you're against it. Not some mealy mouth "on the one hand but on the other" statement. People are dying and if you can't find a voice you're not helping anyone. The fact that you're writing about "soft subjects" isn't an excuse. Kat can and has weighed in on the war in her CD reviews. Ava and C.I. have taken on Colin Powell and his "blot." This Sunday they highlighted a key line of narration, one that goes to where we are today, in their review of Everybody Hates Chris.
A war's gone of over two years, at what point do you find your voice? Knocking Pacifica or Bright Eyes, or Jane Fonda or Kat, may make you feel you look reasonable. You don't. You look indecisive.
Maybe you're afraid someone will distort your words? Kat's words got distorted, she lived.
All we are saying is just take a stand.
To paraphrase a line Michelle Pfeiffer delivers in The Russia House, "I hope you're not being frivilous with me. I only have time in my life now for the truth."
As of right now, we're looking at 22 American troop fatalites in Iraq [the month thus far]. Who knows how many Iraqis have died this month -- Bully Boy don't do body counts. We need the truth and we're not getting it from slams at Bright Eyes or attacks on Arundhati Roy. You know what's "unenlightening"? Your boring us with your useless blathering shout outs to The New Rag. Your inability to speak to the realities we're living through right now. Your blind eye to torture.That's "unenlightening." And before you use a word that conjures up the enlightenment, you might want to ask yourself what you've weighed in with that spoke to that period because a historical look at Bob Dylan is neither "hot" nor needed when done so poorly. In fact, we'd suggest that you listen to the song Dylan wrote with Sam Shepard and pay close attention when the line about "original thought" comes up because we think you'll be able to relate.
Until then, keep cheering on whatever adult plays a teenager in a push up bra with a flat affect that you feel passes for deadpan. It's post-post-modern! Or maybe more can be wrung out of a Republican's fantasy of women where they're all dithering airheads, just play-things with nothing to do but be helpless or backbite or fight over a man. They're their own play-things so maybe you think that makes the difference? We didn't buy it when Madonna claimed she was showing power because she chained herself.
Maybe the big topic in your home honestly is arguing over what entertainment programs you will watch on TV because you just feel that there are a wealth of choices airing. If so, that's rather sad if you're no longer 14.
You take a stand or you accept that you're frivilous. In which case, stop trashing the people who do have the guts to take a stand against this war.
We support the Tell the Truth movement. We just think it needs to be expanded to include people who seem left but can't find the time to write a thing about the war.
All we are saying is just take a stand
Need a topic? Norman Solomon has rightly pointed out that the air war is getting no mainstream media coverage. Instead of slamming someone who had the guts to speak out or tossing out shout outs to The New Rag, how about writing about that? Too hard? How about writing about Laura Flanders or Amy Goomdan or any of the people who are making a difference. It may not be as fun for you as drooling over a young hottie or play to the beltway but it might get the word out on something that truly matters. And guess what? There are many more names. We're sure you can find at least one that you don't feel the need to trash.
[This editorial was written by The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz and Wally of The Daily Jot.]
Laura Flanders this weekend? I'm looking at Martha's e-mail (she signed up for alerts to the show and forwards to make sure everyone knows what's coming up). It'll be the next post and that will be it until comes on later today. I prefer the Laura Flanders entry to be at the top in case a member logs on late in the date. It's a reminder. But I will note one word from Martha's e-mail here, Falluja.
The e-mail address for this site is email@example.com.
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The above is from Neil A. Lewis' "Justice Department Asks Court to Release Case of Terrorism Suspect" in this morning's New York Times. It's our spotlight. It's a brief story (and one with problems) but it's our spotlight.
In the current charges (the new ones) against Padilla, there's no charge of dirty bomb. That's what's been the reasoning for holding him all these years. Now Bully Boy & co. want to change things. They're asking the court to switch venues.
They've held him all this time and the issue before the court is whether the administration has the right to make the decision of what venue (legal court or military tribunal) he can be tried in.
The court's reluctance to move on this may indicate a struggle between the two branches. The administration is asserting that Bully Boy (and only Bully Boy) has the right to designate which venue a citizen will be tried in.
Not surprisingly, this isn't something the court has been willing to get behind. Accepting that reasoning, as one person points out in the article, means accepting that if the administration isn't happy with a court finding on Padilla, they could again decide he's an enemy combantant who needs to go before a military tribunal.
Why a non military, American citizen ever needs to appear before an American military tribunal is a larger question that's been dismissed (including in this article) as we've rushed to "recognize" powers for the Bully Boy that he frankly doesn't have.
Padilla was taken into custody on American soil. He is an American. (He was originally held as a material witness -- another classification that's often abused.)
How our "I'm a wartime president" Bully Boy justifies this is unknown. (It appears that something's supposed to be true just because he says it's true.) But the logic, if the adminstration pushes on this, may get examined. It'll be interesting to see who blinks first -- the court or the administration.
The enemy combantant was supposed to apply (and I didn't support it then) to people captured on a battlefield. Apparently America, like love, is a battlefield. (Call Pat Benetar and tell her to update her song!)
Having given Bully Boy the benefit of the doubt on the premise of enemy combantant, the court's now showing reluctance to give him the benefit of doubt on the right to change designated status at will.
That's important because we're dealing with an American citizen.
Does someone occupying the oval office have the right to determine whether an American citizen, detained at a US airport as a material witness, is an enemy combantant or not?
That issue probably won't be addressed by the court. They'll probably address the issue of classifcation in terms of altering it. But it's an issue to think about.
Regardless of who occupies the oval office, are we really comfortable with him or her having the power to override a legal system and designate an American citizen as outside the US courts?
The power's been accepted by many but it's one that we should question. (And for right-wing visitors, just picture it's Bill Clinton that has that right and your blood should get boiling.)
There are serious, longterm issues in this case. I doubt the court will address them. (I could be wrong.) (That doubt's based upon the fact that they don't seem overly concerned with Bully Boy's flaunting of the Superme Court finding.)
But Bully Boy's squirming. You won't find that in the article.
You won't find, in the article, a discussion of how the British court's decision this week questions Bully Boy's assertions of power.
You won't find any issue of whether or not the Senate should probe Alito over his feelings regarding international law. If you've forgotten, the right-wing went into spasms over Kennedy's opinion, writing for the majority, in Lawrence v. Texas, because they felt it showed too much deference to international landscape. (Acknowledging that there is civil society outside of America was apparently too much for some.)
This development is news and the Times could have made it a much longer article (and may well cover it on Sunday in their "Week in Review" section). But due to it being so brief, it might be easy to miss noticing that something serious is going on.
That's in terms of the abstract.
In terms of reality, Padilla's never been convicted in any venue (other than Bully Boy's head which supplied the designation of enemy combantant). He's been detained for years and is still awaiting a trial on charges (charges that have now been changed).
If we believe in innocent until proven guilty (a notion this country is founded upon but one thrown into question when Bully Boy can designate anyone an enemy combatant), there are serious issues in the case (and treatment) of Padilla.
The dirty bomb charge, the one J-Ass felt the need to weigh in on from Russia, what some might call poisoning the jury pool (in this case American opinion), is no longer a charge against Padilla.
He's not legally charged with it. But that charge didn't go away when the government dropped it.
Having promoted it, it's still in the minds of many. Neil A. Lewis feels, for some reason, it's pertinent to avoid larger issues but to label Padilla a former gang member. Considering all that's pertinent to this case, his emphasis is a strange one.
Maybe Alberto Gonzales can take to the airwaves with that since "dirty bomber" is no longer available?
There are larger issues that need to be addressed because this isn't just about Jose Padilla. It's about the Bully Boy's "powers." The reality is that while these are addressed, Padilla waits longer without a trial. Having decided to address those issues, hopefully the court won't now dismiss them in the face of opposition from the administration.
New topic: In what's become a "here it is, no it isn't," yet another update. Danny Schechter's books are available at News Dissector by clicking here. This has been a back and forth issue among members and hopefully this note will settle the issue.
On Schechter, Doug wonders why we haven't reviewed his books at The Third Estate Sunday Review. I support the library systems and do try to use them but, confession, the majority of the books we've reviewed, I've owned a copy of. I have book cases all over and am constantly having to add more due to running out of space. So it's not a problem for me to weigh in on those. However, Betty is one who uses the library system religiously. (Betty also owns books, but she is a firm supporter of her library system.) They don't have Danny's new books. Santa's enroute with Danny's books to Betty but until that happens and there's time for her to read them, there's not going to be a discussion. And she's only one person that's had trouble locating them. So if you're someone who enjoys Danny's books (I do) something you might want to consider doing is gifting your library system with a copy so that others can enjoy them.
By the way, I don't think we're doing Mary Mapes' book this Sunday either. Betty had just received her copy from the library yesterday and I doubt she's had time to read it. When we spoke on the phone, she was just wanting to go to sleep (and hoping her kids would so she could).
And before anyone thinks I've spoiled Betty's gift for her, we drew names, all participating in putting out The Third Estate Sunday Review and I got Betty's. She had requested something by Danny so I grabbed the books because I hate shopping late. Late is anytime after Thanksgiving. I just wanted to get in, grab and go. Not to stand there and determine which book to get her. As Folding Star always pointed out at A Winding Road, books may great gifts.
Martha and Shirley are still working on their list. This has to do with the fact that they're offering opinions in it and don't want some uninformed male, you know who I mean, writing in and demanding a correction. Or possibly this time, he'll write in to decry the fact that's he's not mentioned. Actually, Shirley reports they're rewriting the introduction and when that's done, they'll be done. I'll be away from the computer for several hours today so I've told them to take their time and if it's not done by mid-day, we'll hold it until next weekend.
Ruth's posting on Sunday. She "swears" she'll have something ready for Sunday. (I suspect it will be late Sunday because Sundays at her house are a big family event.) She's going to be noting an event (members, you do know what I'm hinting at) and she'll also note one radio program. She says it will be a mini-report. And she's getting feedback from Treva on every draft which is why she's "late" this weekend. (She's not late. It's an honor to be able to post her reports.)
Maria? Did you see that last entry? Maria is upset that she was dismissed (not by me) and says she's in "a sour mood" but will have something today. I told Maria her mood is understandable (no one likes to be ignored especially by someone whose work you'd admired) and if she needs the week off, take it. Francisco's also offered to fill in this weekend and do the post but Maria says she'll do it "but I'll be dragging my feet due to what happened." (If you're a member who's been off the face of the earth, welcome back. A sentence Kat wrote at her site was distorted and posted at another site. Maria attempted to point that out and got what she felt was "cute little Latina pat on the head" and her comment that a quote was distorted was dismissed.)
Rebecca read the previous entry and phoned to say, "I'm glad we're not letting it drop." We're not. I'm not attempting to bring it up. But if arises, from members or my own thoughts, it will be noted. Kat's not going to be slammed in the face with a 2x4 by some man eager to turn a mob on her and Maria's not going to have a serious objection dismissed only to find me saying, "Hey everybody, let's just move on." (Rebecca thinks that would be the case if it involved only me. She's probably right.) Rebecca also said she was trying to figure out whether she could write about it or not. Of course she can. Don't censor yourselves for me. And I think what was done was not "feministic." When I did the long rambling post, I was stopping and starting and really exploring what happened. It hadn't even crossed my mind until then that with enraged people posting comments slamming a person, Bernie's attempt to introduce Kat into the conversation, with a distortion and a slam, could also be read as his attempt to sick the mob on her. "Few witches burning gets a little toasty . . ."
Not here, it doesn't. Burn one of us, burn us all. We'll stand together. (Quote from Tori Amo's "God" which appears on Under the Pink.)
Our concern is members.
We're not going to focus on this but we are going to address it when it arises.
I'm deleting a long section but thanks to ___ for calling and the support. The points we discussed will be addressed by Ava and I in our TV report for The Third Estate Sunday Review.
And, if anyone's wondering, these were ready but people keep calling and I keep getting involved in phone calls. (Kat's got a lot of support from people I know.) After this indexes and publishes, look for the second entry.
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.
the new york times
neil a. lewis
sex and politics and screeds and attitude
thomas friedman is a great man
the third estate sunday review
The above is a quote from Folding Star. I've been in the e-mails tonight and focusing on those. A lot of members weighed in on this in the regular edition of the gina & krista round-robin that went out Friday morning. But Folding Star didn't and since A Winding Road is no more, I wanted to be sure to note FS's comments.
A lot of e-mails still come in asking, "How's Folding Star?" or "Have you heard from Folding Star?" so members who've been here awhile will be happy to read the remarks above.
For new members to the community, Folding Star is a member of the community and used to be a member who ran their own site. FS started A Winding Road in January of 2005 and it ran until the first week of July of 2005. I believe it was after Rebecca started her site but before The Third Estate Sunday Review began. (I could be wrong. Check with Rebecca on that if you have questions because she follows all of that better than I can.)
If you're a newer member and you read the book discussions over at The Third Estate Sunday Review and wonder why it's "Five Books, Five Minutes" or something else ("1 Book, Ten Minutes") the title was an acknowldgement that within the community, Folding Star was the book critic. On the weekends, FS would always do a lenghty book chat.
So that was just acknowledging that for deep book discussions, check out FS and for more of a conversation (that sometimes used the book as a starting point to discuss other issues), go to The Third Estate Sunday Review. Book discussions were FS's terrain.
After FS shut down A Winding Road, a curious thing happened. Someone grabbed both sites.
FS had a mirror site like we do for The Common Ills (though nothing's gone up there this week).
Not only were the sites grabbed as A Winding Road but the person grabbing them used the name "Folding Star." That's not Folding Star.
The first time a member e-mailed saying that FS was back to posting and that they were glad (I believe this was Maria) but FS sounded strange, I checked it out and it wasn't FS's writing. I e-mailed FS and FS said, "It's not me."
We delinked from the sites. I'd wanted to leave the links up because FS is a part of the community and A Winding Road was one of our voices. So even though Folding Star had deleted all entries and shut down the sites, it just seemed to me a way to honor the a member. When it was obvious that someone was trying to be FS, I stopped the links. (Betty may still have a link to one of the sites. I believe Mike does as well. That's due to the fact that no one likes to go into their templates.) (Which is where you'd change the links.)
So for older members, you'll be happy to know that Folding Star weighed in as well. FS didn't disappear or leave the community; FS just stopped blogging.
Thursday night meant hitting the wall and beyond to get the "special programming" together. And Friday, most people have taken time for themselves. (Mike posted Friday evening, Wally posted early Friday morning.) I was prepared for an all nighter as were Dona and Jim and Rebecca. We didn't know about the rest and didn't expect that everyone would be.
I can go without sleep and still function (to a degree) but Jim and Dona blowing off classes is one thing. Betty and Cedric and Elaine still had work the next day. Kat can make her own hours. And Rebecca's fortunate enough financially that she doesn't have to work if she doesn't want to. (And currently doesn't want to.) So for some, the all nighter wouldn't be that hard. (And for me, I don't like not going without sleep but I'm used to it. I did work Friday.)
But what ended up happening was that everyone wanted to stay through until the end. Which is why Jim & Dona rightly worried about the fact that three pieces were not near completion and we pulled them together to do "Editorial: War Got Your Tongue?"
It was noted that Elaine didn't say much during the roundtable. That's for two reasons. First, there were more points that Dona had wanted to get to but we all knew we needed to get something up so Dona stopped it early. (And it's a long roundtable as it is.) Second, Elaine had been doing private sessions during the day and then had to do the group session she does on Thursdays. So she was wiped out. I really didn't expect her to stay through the end of special programming. I knew she was going into work on Friday so I thought she'd bail by one o'clock.
She didn't. She stayed. Betty stayed, everyone did.
On the phone tonight, Betty said she was glad it was cold because the kids were tired and she thought they'd fall asleep before nine and was planning to hop into bed immediately. So it took a lot out of everyone.
But the editorial and the roundtable were done and they were done for a reason.
We weren't sure how to address the issue. Was it a Kat and Bernie issue? I was hoping it was.
When someone else at Bernie's site elected to weigh in and weigh in with a misstatement (either because she didn't know or because she didn't think it was known, I don't know), everything changed.
There wasn't any member with a site that wasn't offended that Bernie thought he could demand Kat change her opinion. We suspected (and events would prove this out in our opinion) that he wasn't interested in having a say, he wanted it to appear that Kat had changed her mind.
That's the reason he twice refused her offer to write something (anything he wanted) and have it posted at Kat's site. What he appeared to want was for Kat to write something and for it to appear to be her idea. As though one day she'd felt one way and another day she had another thought.
I wasn't pleased that I'd given a generic, in fariness statement to Gina Thursday morning and that later my attempt at a high road, like my hope, bites me in the butt.
At the most basic, Bernie had an opinion on Dylan, Kat had an opinion on Dylan. There should have been no problem. Especially since, as Kat noted in her first reply to Bernie, Kat didn't critique Bernie's commentary. She could have. She could have demolished it, "point by point" as Christine claims she can Kat's. Keep claiming that Christine, but with all due respect, you don't know music. Not just you don't music as well as Kat who's trained in several instruments and has performed onstage and has spent her lifetime listening to music, but you don't know music period. It's not your "beat."
Bernie's a bad music writer. He can't write anything worth reading. It's the sort of tut-tutting that kills music journalism. On the one hand, on the other. Do you have an opinion or not? Are you able to express or not.
Now you didn't see any comments like that here. Nor would you now.
But Christine felt the need to weigh in that Bernie was right and Kat was wrong.
Music criticism is opinion based on information. Kat's done a disseration on Bob Dylan's music. I don't know what Bernie's done but I know he's fond of sounding self-important.
Kat could do that too. But she's chosen not to. She thinks music journalism needs to be alive and to breathe. It needs to give you the excitement that a good song does. (Bernie's apparently dancing to a polka.)
So when Christine chose to weigh in, all bets were off.
Her statement that Bernie had to post on it at Pop Politics because Kat doesn't allow comments was less than forthcoming because readers of that site were never told that the day Bernie posted that comment on Kat, he'd contacted her and she'd told him, write what you want and I'll post it at my site.
He had another outlet.
He chose to slam her at his site. His opinion and we would have dealt with it in another manner.
Rebecca and I were offended that Kat, a woman, was being ordered to do a correction to her opinion. We still are offended. We're also offended that there's no acknowledgement of that at Pop Politics.
But what bothered me was Christine weighing in.
I'm going to assume she was unaware of Bernie's e-mails to Kat. I'm going to assume that she didn't know that while Bernie posts one way at the site, in e-mails he insists upon a correction to Kat's opinion. I'm going to assume that because what was done to Kat wasn't feminism.
So I'll give her a pass on that.
What I won't give her a pass on is the slap at Kat's writing. Kat writes better than Bernie. Kat writes with passion and fire and Bernie writes in a limp manner that only comes half way alive when he's found the time to scold Kayne West or someone else. (In what reads like, "See I'm not one of those leftists!")
It's an above it all, in the clouds style of writing. One far removed from the "style" in the e-mails. (Elaine has an analysis of that style. She may or may not blog on that.)
I didn't feel the need to slam Bernie's bad writing.
But when Christine claims she can pick apart Kat's writing, I am bothered.
I'm bothered because I don't understand why Bernie grabbed a 2x4 and slapped Kat in the face to begin with. But having done that, I don't understand why Christine, a feminist, thinks she can slam another woman?
Christine claims to have read Kat's piece and Bernie's piece. If so, why didn't she notice that Bernie's misquoted Kat?
Maria, who was one of Christine's hugest supporters in this community and has worked her butt off to get the word out on Christine, attempted to calmly explain, at Pop Politics, her problem with what had happened. She didn't bring up Bernie's e-mails because she knew about it from the round-robin and because she didn't want to embarrass Christine by posting, "You say Bernie had no other outlet, what about Kat's offer to print any statement he wrote to be posted?"
So she just stuck with what was known to readers of Pop Politics. And she raised an issue: the distortion of Kat's words.
Christine replied (in a comment that's outraged the community and hurt Maria's feelings) but never acknowledged the issue that Kat's words were altered. Christine claims she read Kat, so she should know that the quote Bernie chopped up doesn't reflect what Kat said.
Maria can't get over the fact that a serious issue was raised by her and that Christine, someone she admired, chose to ignore the most serious issue in Maria's comments.
A community member was asked to phone Christine. I found out about that after the "shut off contact" entry of mine went up. The member saw that and didn't call her. Didn't reply to that e-mail.
My opinion before Christine's comments were a) Bernie's a jerk for demaning a correction to an opinion; b) Kat had an opinion, Bernie had one and both were out there so end of story; c) Bernie shouldn't whine to Kat that he's been misunderstood when he creates a misunderstanding by chopping a sentence of her's apart to imply that she said he quoted The New Rag. (Kat said he could quote it. She also said he could cream in his pants.)
Bernie's coming off like one of those men who can't take it when a woman disagrees with him.
He can share it in the locker room but let a woman weigh in and he's outraged.
I don't care for Bernie. Though I didn't like that a man thought he could demand a correction of Kat's opinion (of any woman's opinion), to me it was a matter between them. When Christine weighed in, that changed things.
And that's why we did special programming.
If the statements go from being Bernie's to include others, you better believe we're not going to be silent in this community. And I'm outraged that a woman who self-identifies as a feminist, thinks she can knock the writing of another woman while at her site the writing of the woman is chopped up to misconstrue the meaning.
I don't know what trumped the sisterhood, but something did.
And when Christine's comments went up the idea that I would high road it and play in fairness (though some feel I did in the roundtable) went out the window.
Kat's a woman. She wrote an opinion. One that avoided dealing with Bernie's critique because Bernie writes for Pop Politics and I know Christine. So for that reason, she didn't go into Bernie's opinion. She instead focused on the comments. Christine explains that the post appeared at a Dylan site or was linked to by one and that the comments were coming from outside Pop Politics. You allow commenting, you're responsible for it.
That doesn't mean censorship. That does mean that when we had commenting and some of the centrists who haunted the comment section would get out of control and I'd hear about it, it was my responsibility to go in and say, "Things are getting a little heated here." Bernie didn't do that. He was fine with someone being trashed because the person disagreed with Bernie. Bernie didn't have a comment until he posted his comment on Kat.
By which point there wasn't anything feministic about the majority of quotes. So let's be clear here, there's a bashing going on of a comment made by someone who disagrees with Bernie and Bernie chooses to weigh in. Not to say, "The guy's got a right to his opinion" but instead to slam Kat which reads like an implied suggestion that "We've got another person to bash."
He doesn't want her bashed?
Then why did he chop her quote to make it appear she said something she didn't?
So Bernie's actively encouraging, my opinion, a mob mentality.
For Christine to weigh in and back Bernie's post and not acknowledge that Kat's meaning has been altered by Bernie is not feminism.
And I won't pretend that it is.
I could pick up the phone and call Christine as me, not as C.I., and we could talk about this.
But I'm not doing that.
They've chosen to respond in a way that makes me not want to try to do a high road.
Bernie distorted a woman and did so in a forum where the distortion would encourage anger towards the woman. I don't see that as feminism. (A point made in repeated calls to me Friday of the "You see what we were saying" nature.)
They've put up their opinion. Christine and Bernie have.
Fine. We're not smoothing it over through backdoor channels.
They decided to do this. They did it.
We'll respond in our forums.
And note, no one has ever asked them for a correction. Kat didn't. The roundtable didn't.
We've noted Kat was distorted.
We didn't ask for a correction, we certainly didn't demand one.
They can write whatever they want at their site.
Which includes posting a quote that's a half-quote and it's a half-quote to distort Kat's meaning.
Encouraging anger at a woman by distorting her words isn't feminsim.
Backing the man who does that, a man who's demanded a correction from Kat, isn't feminism.
Christine has to wear several hats and I know that.
I can even respect that.
I can't respect what was done to Kat and I won't pretend that I do.
Nor will I be silent about it out of some sense of sisterhood since sisterhood went out the window when Christine elected to back Bernie and to take issue with Kat's writing.
I don't think Christine's qualified to judge Kat's writing.
I think Kat fits into the brave tradition of women who've tackled the male assumptions of rock (Patricia, the Ellens) and done so in a female voice. That Christine has no respect for that voice is an issue to me.
Had I posted the saved draft, the point I made re: Kat and Bernie, first paragraph, was that they each had their opinion. (I wasn't aware that Bernie had altered Kat's quote. I was only aware that Bernie had linked to it and disagreed with Kat.) I was aware that Bernie was insisting Kat correct her opinion. On that I said people have a right to their opinions. Bernie did, Kat did. People do not have a right to insist that someone else "correct" their opinion.
Because it was Christine's site (and because I was tying it into to what had happened to me and to what had happened to Rebecca in similar circumstances -- which meant dredging up a lot), I didn't post the entry.
I wanted to be supportive of Christine's site. (I still do, believe it or not.) However, when Christine elected to weigh in and to take issue with Kat's writing, the line was crossed.
Martha made her own decision not to call Christine. (She saw my entry of "stop contact" but it was her decision. And please note, the person taking that dictated entry, took out my qualifiers of "please" and "I think" because he thought it read better without it. And for the record, I didn't note that he was Ava's godfather. I know Ava's aunt. And we do a number of the same people so it's amazing to me that we never knew each other until The Third Estate Sunday Review. I was quoting her aunt to her, a strong feminist, one time when we were working on a TV review and Ava said, "She is a smart woman." And then asked if I didn't know that was her aunt? I honestly didn't know that. Watch for Ava, she's going to be one of the strongest voices of the next wave of feminism. My predicition.)
But we're not doing private contact of any kind with that site or anyone connected with it. Friends who know I do this site, called all day Friday to express their outrage over what was done to Kat. With everyone, I asked, "Did I do wrong by going public?" I wouldn't ask that question if Pop Politics was run by a man, a point several of them made to me.
But as was pointed out by one woman after another, you can't hide behind sisterhood after you've slapped down a woman.
I don't hate Christine. I don't dislike her. I am disappointed.
Unless Kat asks that we delink from Pop Politics, we're not delinking. That will be Kat's call.
I wish Christine the best with her site. But I don't support what was done to Kat. Not the altering of her statement via selective pull quoting of a sentence that doesn't even include the word "can" that immediately precedes the half quote Bernie's supplied -- to pour fuel on Kat, my opinion, for the burning Bernie expected Kat would receive.
How is Kat? I've asked her to post "this is how I feel now" when commenting on this at her site. She said sure but thought I meant that she would feel less bothered as time went on. That's not what I meant and I want to be clear on that here and not just to Kat. As time goes on, this may really piss Kat off. It's kind of shocking when this happens to you for the first time. That it comes from a site run by a woman and that the woman participates in it (I don't think Christine knew Bernie was in contact with Kat) takes awhile to absorb.
What I mean by "This is how I feel now" is don't paint yourself into a corner.
Don't post, "It's over." Because it may not be. You may realize a week or two from now that you are more offended than you realized. This is the first time Kat's been on the receiving end of a distortion or a smear job. (It was both a distortion and a smear job.)
She doesn't need to figure out how she feels for all time right now. She needs to process her feelings and that's a continual process.
I asked Kat to post here (in the first place) because she's very smart and very passionate about music. I'm offended that this happened to someone whom I asked to share her thoughts with an audience. Rebecca thinks that's why my response was so immediate. And she's probably right. I'm very protective of this community. I was hurt by what was done to me but I've largely avoided it because it was done to me and I really don't care.
The cancer mocking still hurts, I'll be honest. But the rest of it, he can have his opinion. I don't worry every time some man, especially one I don't know, has an opinion of me that's negative.
And his opinion could very well be right (on things other than mocking my illness) and I could be wrong. That's the thing about opinions, they're opinions. They're based on someone's take of the information they have.
Which is why I didn't feel the need to say, "Kat is right! Bernie is wrong!" Until Christine weighed in.
Now we have a few waves of feminism since I came of age. But in my wave, we didn't make a point to tear down a woman and prop up a man. We didn't mistake push up bras for empowerment. I've read some of Chrstine's commentaries on TV and thought, "Goodness" because it's so far from what I knew feminist criticism to be. But feminism, like everything else, is a living thing and it will grow and be added onto. And it should be.
So she can like Commander-in-Chief and feel it's a feminist show and I don't have the need to scream, "You're wrong!"
I can offer my opinion (it's the usual patriarchial nonsense with the window dressing of a woman in the lead to push the war, war, war, and female exception, Queen Bee nonsense). And it's nothing anyone has to lose sleep over or get into an argument about.
In our TV reviews, Ava and I aren't chasing down trends. We're not trying to write about what's "hot" and dropping it, the way so much TV criticim does, the minute the cultural movement moves on. What we try to do is provide a feminist critique. A critique. Not the critique. There are numerous strands and waves of feminism.
We're not doing plot summaries or recaps. We're looking at a TV show as feminists (and people concerned about the war and other issues because, as NOW notes, peace is a feminist issue) and basing our opinions on that while attempting to be humorous. (And thankfully, friends whose shows we've reviewed have been very accepting of the humor and more want the "Ava & C.I. treatment." We try to always note that we're reviewing a show a friend or friends work on when do a review where we know someone working on the show.)
We're not going to be everyone's cup of tea. That's not a surprise because it is opinon. You can cloak it in "on the one hand but on the other" all you want (and have really bad writing to show for it) , but it's still opinion. That's what criticism is.
Is it based on knowledge. Yes, all criticism is. It may be faulty knowledge (as when one person ran with the false claim that ABC didn't promte Commander-in-Chief -- they need only check on the budget for Billboards, bus panels, etc. to know better -- for Ava and myself that took one phone call), but it's knowledge based.
Someone may deliberatly skew the facts (as in altering Kat's words) but more often than not people are processing through their own frame of reference. I've always taken exception to Bob Somerby's comments that a report on a candidate that presents them as "higher class" (for lack of a better word) is intended as an insult. Especially with regards to the New York Times, that's not an insult to their intended readership. At the New York Post, that would be an insult. They're a paper for the masses. (With a conservative tilt which is why I won't even touch the paper.) But the Times has never been about the masses. It's always wanted to be the paper of the elites.
So when Ava and I do a review, we're processing it through our feminist lens. When William Safire writes something (or wrote something), he's doing it through his conservative lens. I don't cover the op-eds here despite repeated requests from members. I'm not interested in a back and forth over opinion. Because people are entitled to their opinions. We cover the reporting becasue that's supposed to be fact based.
Thomas Friedman irriates the hell out of me. I wasn't aware of that until Betty started doing her site. Why? Because I avoided him. He had nothing to say to me and I disagree with his take on things. For him to claim that no Muslims did this or did that goes beyond opinion (and FAIR's pointed out his mistakes there). But if he wants to offer that he feels the Muslim response to whatever is inadequate, that's his opinion. It's one I disagree with but it's his opinion.
In a court room, witnesses will conflict because of their own points of view (both internal beliefs and where they were when they observed something). So a columnist, who's limited in space, or someone writing brief things, like Bernie does, doesn't really bother me too much with their opinions. I read it and think, "Uninformed" and move on to voices that speak to me.
When Elaine and I saw the film a friend brought over (an evangical one looking for distribution but it won't find a reputable one because the production values are so shoddy), I knew I wouldn't like it (and didn't want to watch it). But that's someone's take. Someone truly believes that the whole world is out to get them. That's how they're filtering the world.
I might look up and see rain and think, "Well, we needed it." They're looking up, and due to their frame of reference, thinking, "God is punishing us!"
I disagree but am not going to lose a lot of sleep over it.
But what's happened to change things is that the opinions offered to us are even more narrow than they once were. (And I don't buy the myth that the press suddenly got bad. No feminist I know would argue that there was a "good old days" for the press. The press was racist, sexist, and you name it. For the time. Not in looking back with what we know now.) That is a danger.
John Tierney becoming a Times columnist doesn't have to be a bad thing. For some readers, like myself, it actually means less time reading the paper.
But the fact that they could have provided a different perspective and chose not to is a bad thing. The Times offers no feminist critique. One woman columnist might have been "brave" for the paper once. At this late date, it's not. Maureen Dowd is the token. (That's not a slam at Dowd, she's made similar statements herself.)
I worked on, but didn't post, a thing on Susan Estrich's comments re: op-eds. Something else came up, from members, and since that wasn't requested by members, I dropped it. But she had some strong points. And I didn't feel the need to offer qualifiers or my opinions of Estrich to take on the points she was making.
It's not brave that women are still on the same position in the op-eds that they were many decades ago. It's not brave that few are allowed to offer a feminist critique. It's not brave that a critique of race isn't to be found, or one of class, in most papers. What you do find is, male or female, a ton of right-wing critiques coming at how awful the liberal media is and the liberals are.
There are right-wing critiques that go beyond that. So don't kid yourself that because the right-wing has more columnists they're point of view is well represented. It's not. Steve Chapman (Chicago Tribune) is a conservative. He's often a lonely voice despite that. That's because he's actually thinking and writing as opposed to pulling out a play book to grab talking points.
I don't do talking points here. I can't imagine anything more boring. When I read Anne (Peevish...I'm Just Saying) or Ron (Why Are We Back In Iraq?), I'm not responding to talking points. I'm seeing them process meanings and provide their own perspective. I can agree or not but I'll always end up thinking. I can read and enjoy Delilah Boyd (A Scrivner's Lament) because she's taking on events and finding the humor in them. (Not in a "everything's great" tired, old manner.)
But due to the fact that the right wing has an echo chamber (that echoes some conservatives though not all), I don't think we need an echo chamber on the left. We need more access, we need more voices, but we don't need everyone saying the same thing.
That might help you win one election cycle but unless you think electoral democracy (and one cycle at that) is the beginning and end of politics (and democracy), I don't think that helps anyone.
When a member wants us to go hard left, we go there. No worries about how it won't appear "moderate." We stake out our ground. And whether you agree or not (visitors) that helps the dialogue. Someone can Joe Lieberman it and use us to appear "moderate." Or we can raise issues that wouldn't be raised otherwise.
The worries about talking points and framing come from the fact (and it is a fact) that when we're all supposed to be on the same page, spouting the same points, you have to narrow things down and when things get narrowed, people get left out.
Usually what happens is the message gets "white-ended" and "masculinized" (despite the fact that there are more women who could vote than men). Like gender, sexuality and gender orientation fall by the way side as well.
It is very difficult to "frame" universally. That's why niche marketing is so huge today.
And there was a huge section below. It's not being included. Why? Ava and I were wondering what to write about TV this week and I think that's it. It's a topic we talk about a lot, what was below, and one we've noted in many reviews but, if she agrees, it's an essay for The Third Estate Sunday Review.
So if you're a visitor, you're now frustrated. Where was this going? I must have my ending!
If you're a member, you know there are no tidy packages and that life goes on. Members look for something that continues this discussion at The Third Estate Sunday Review. (I'm positive Ava's going to say yes because this is an issue we raise everytime we're on the phone watching a show to review it.) It will pick up the thread. It will not be a "part II." I've deleted the section below so it will not be a part II.
I'm not going to read over this. For visitors, dismiss it as "one of those feminist manefistos" (a lot of visitors see every entry as that). This was an attempt to explore some topics and I'm not going to tidy it up. I am going to change the time stamp on it due to the fact that I've written for several hours. No links, no nothing. It is what it is, Kat's phrase.
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Friday, December 09, 2005
Democracy Now: Hurricane Katrina, Leah Hodges and Tina Susman; Margaret Kimberley, CODEPINK, Anne-Marie Cusak
US Military to Probe Video of Contractor Shootings
Meanwhile, the US military has announced a probe into allegations private contractors with the defense company Aegis have randomly shot at Iraqi cars. A video recently posted on a website maintained by Aegis employees contained footage of an unidentified gunman shooting at cars in Iraq. In one clip, a Mercedes is fired on before it crashes in to a civilian taxi. In another, a white sedan is shot at repeatedly as it drives on an open highway. London-based Aegis is in Iraq under a $290 million dollar contract. In a written instruction posted on the same website, Aegis CEO Tim Spicer wrote employees: "Refrain from posting anything which is detrimental to the company since this could result in the loss or curtailment of our contract with resultant loss for everybody."
Amnesty Criticizes European Leaders For Accepting Rice Comments on Torture
Amnesty International is criticizing European leaders for accepting Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's recent explanation U.S. interrogators are forbidden to use torture both at home and abroad. The issue followed Rice throughout a trip to several European countries this week amid allegations the CIA has used European airports to transfer detainees and is also running a secret prison in a former Soviet state. European leaders had hailed Rice's comments as a major shift in US policy. Natacha Kazatchkine, Amnesty International's top officer for human rights in Europe, said: "The European Union, as a Union of States, must reaffirm that they do not accept any practise violating the international convention on torture, and they have to explain what occured, and be all transparent on information we recently heard about this case."
Six Environmental Activists Arrested in Pacific Northwest
Federal agents have conducted a series of coordinated raids in New York, Virginia, Arizona and Oregon and arrested six environmental activists in connection to a string of arsons in the Pacific Northwest. Daniel McGowan of New York and Stanislas Meyerhoff of Virginia were arrested for allegedly setting fires in 2001 at a lumber company and an experimental tree farm in Oregon. Although no one was injured in the blazes, they both face up to life in prison. McGowan is a prominent New York activist who also went by the pen name of Jamie Moran. He was a member of the RNCNotWelcome collective and an advocate for imprisoned environmental activist Jeffrey Leurs. He has denied any role in the incidents. The four others arrested face between 20 and 25 years in prison. Chelsea Gerlach of Portland, Oregon, was accused of destroying an Oregon power transmission tower in 1999. Kevin Tubbs of Oregon and Bill Rodgers of Prescott Arizona were accused of arson at the Animal and Plant and Health Inspection facility in Olympia, Washington. And Sarah Harvey of Flagstaff Arizona was accused of a 1998 arson at U.S. Forest Industries in Medford, Oregon. Earlier this year a top FBI official called groups such as the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front the nation's top domestic terrorism threat. The FBI however has been accused of overzealously prosecuting alleged members of the movement. Last month the FBI agreed to pay an environmental activist named Josh Cannole $100,000 for mistakenly jailing him as a suspect in a string of arsons and vandalism at SUV dealerships in California.
The above three items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Francisco, Lynda and Liang. Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says)
Headlines for December 9, 2005
- Group Claims to Have Killed US Worker in Iraq
- Ex-Gitmo Detainee Calls for Peacemakers' Release
- Al-Libi Fabricated Iraq Claims to Avoid Torture in Egypt
- US Military to Probe Video of Contractor Shootings
- Iranian President Says Israel Should Be Moved to Europe
- Schwarzenegger Holds Clemency Hearing for "Tookie" Williams
- NYU Bans Coca-Cola on Campus
New Orleans Evacuees and Activists Testify at Explosive House Hearing on the Role of Race and Class in Government's Response to Hurricane Katrina
Three months after Hurricane Katrina ripped through the southern coast of the United States, decimating communities in Mississippi and Louisiana, we play excerpts of an explosive congressional hearing focusing on race and the government's response to the disaster. [includes rush transcript - partial]
How Many Are Missing and Dead After Katrina? Three Months After the Hurricane, the Numbers are Still Unknown
Questions still remain over how many people died after Hurricane Katrina as well as the whereabouts of all of the evacuees. The official death toll stands at about 1,300 but thousands of people are still reported missing. One newspaper reported the whereabouts of 6,600 people reported missing have not been determined. We speak with New Orleans evacuee Leah Hodges, who is still missing her brother, and Tina Susman, a Newsday reports the number of missing include over 1,300 children.
Billie notes Margaret Kimberley's "Evil Racist Children and the Media Who Love Them" (Freedom Rider, The Black Commentator):
Americans need to know more about white supremacist organizations. Too often the corporate media either deny their existence or diminish the danger they pose. Even when they gather a cache of bombs and machine guns, we get little if any information about their activities.
In 2003 a group of white supremacists near Tyler, Texas were discovered with 500,000 rounds of ammunition, bomb making equipment, canisters of cyanide and a KKK calling card. There was little if any media coverage of this terror plot in the making. The same journalists who saw no need to tell us about plots involving deadly poisons think that we need to know about white supremacists who are cute, at least according to European beauty standards.
Lamb and Lynx Gaede fit that description. The 13 year old twins, always described as blonde and blue eyed, come from a family who unleashed them on the public singing paeans to Adolf Hitler and Rudolph Hess. They spend their time vicariously killing black people via video games and raising money for white hurricane Katrina victims.
Their mother regrets her divorce because it deprived her of the opportunity to make more Aryan babies. "I could have produced four to six more children with that ideal eugenic quality that [Lynx and Lamb] possess."
Billie notes that this is the "Noonday group." She writes, "Famous for the Noonday Onions, their festival and now for being home to alleged terrorists." Billie also notes this from CODEPINK:
The American people are saying, "Troops out," Iraqi people are saying, "Troops out." Are you listening, Hillary? CODEPINK has launched a nationwide campaign against Hillary Clinton because of her opposition to immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq. We plan to tail the senator around the state and the country to persuade her to oppose the war. Our protests in Chicago, Washington D.C, and New York have generated a buzz in the media. Click here to read about our actions and planned protests!
Brady notes Anne-Marie Cusac's "Harold Pinter Interview" (The Progressive):
Several months back, a colleague handed me a copy of the British journal The New Internationalist. The issue would interest me, she said, because it included a special section on U.S. prisons and because Harold Pinter had written an essay for it. (She knew I had long admired Pinter's plays.) I read the Pinter essay, finding to my surprise that it mentioned the stun belt and the restraint chair, two subjects I had reported on for The Progressive.
I wrote Pinter, requesting a couple of hours for an interview. He promptly agreed.
I first checked out a copy of The Caretaker from the library years ago, on the advice of a writing teacher. When I finished with that one, I returned and checked out all the Pinter plays on the shelves. I read them over the next few weeks, pausing to gasp at a particular music I soon realized was Pinter's own--simultaneously lyrical, hard-assed, implicitly brutal, and rhythmically dead-on.
His twenty-nine plays, which include The Birthday Party, The Caretaker, The Homecoming, Betrayal, Party Time, and One for the Road, have inspired the adjective "Pinteresque," which the Financial Times defined as "full of dark hints and pregnant suggestions, with the audience left uncertain as to what to conclude."
But Pinter might be reluctant to apply such a phrase to his own writing. "Once, many years ago, I found myself engaged uneasily in a public discussion on the theater," said Pinter on being awarded the 1970 German Shakespeare Prize. "Someone asked me what my work was 'about.' I replied with no thought at all and merely to frustrate this line of enquiry: 'the weasel under the cocktail cabinet.' That was a great mistake. Over the years I have seen that remark quoted in a number of learned columns. It has now seemingly acquired a profound significance, and is seen to be a highly relevant and meaningful observation about my own work. But for me the remark meant precisely nothing. Such are the dangers of speaking in public."
Pinter is also an actor, director, and screenwriter. Among his twenty-one screenplays are The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1969), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1980), The Trial (1989), and The Tragedy of King Lear (2000).
Born in 1930, Pinter is also an outspoken human rights advocate. He has protested the NATO bombing of Serbia, the Gulf War and the bombing of Iraq since that time, the ill-treatment of U.S. prisoners, censorship, the U.S. role in Latin America, and the Turkish government's mistreatment of the Kurds. He has also demanded the release of Mordechai Vanunu--the Israeli citizen imprisoned for fourteen years because he told the British press that Israel had developed nuclear bombs.
I interviewed Pinter in his office in early December. Careful with his words, he often paused for a time before stating his opinion. He had an artist's caution about summing up or explaining his plays and an artist's enjoyment of craft talk. He expressed delight when demonstrating another actor's clever move. He was serious, but quick to laugh. And when talking about abuses of the state, he was passionate.
Just before I left, Pinter pulled two books from a high shelf and handed them to me. One was Celebration, his most recent play, which I had told him my library didn't own. The other was a book of screenplays which he said he was giving to me because I clearly admired The French Lieutenant's Woman.
Question: Early on, you didn't talk about some of your plays, like The Birthday Party, The Dumb Waiter, or The Hothouse, as political. But more recently you've started to talk about them that way. Why?
Harold Pinter: Well, they were political. I was aware that they were political, too. But at that time, at whatever age I was--in my twenties--I was not a joiner. I had been a conscientious objector, you know, when I was eighteen. But I was a pretty independent young man, and I didn't want to get up on a soapbox. I wanted to let the plays speak for themselves, and if people didn't get it, to hell with it.
On Pinter, remember this from yesterday's Democracy Now!:
Plinter Blasts US, UK in Nobel Acceptance Speech
British playwright Harold Pinter accepted a Nobel Prize Wednesday by delivering a stinging criticism of US and British foreign policy. Pinter won the award for literature -- the world's highest honor for a writer -- in October. At a ceremony in Sweden Wednesday, Pinter accepted the award via a taped video message from Britain, where is being treated for cancer. Pinter said: "The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatent state terrorism demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore the public." Pinter is author of such plays as "The Caretaker" and "The Homecoming."
Staying with The Progressive, see if this looks familiar:
Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's "Pinter Lays It All Out: Indict Bush, Blair" (This Just In, The Progressive):
Occasionally, an award recipient will chuck the clichés and park the platitudes and actually say something meaningful, something daring.
Such a thing happened on December 7 in Stockholm, when Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize-winner for Literature, delivered an amazing, taped address.
Taped, because he was too ill to deliver it in person.
But he was by no means weak.
He let Bush have it.
But it wasn't just Bush.
It was Blair and Britain too, a country he called America's "own bleating little lamb tagging behind it" on a leash.
Pinter asked, "How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand?"
It looks just like something up this morning. It was. But Sean noticed that I failed to provide the link to Rothschild's piece. Thanks for catching that, Sean.
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