Monday, January 02, 2006

The Common Ills Year in Review 2005

So last year, we got the year-in-review up on December 25, 2004. (Note, writing began on the 24th. It was completed on the 25th. I didn't know you chould change the time and date on the entries back then.) It's January 1, 2006 now. (January 2nd as I finish.)

I'm always running behind the times
Just like this train
Shaking into town
With the brakes complaining

-- "Just Like This Train" words & music by Joni Mitchell (Court & Spark)

Looking back to last year's year-in-review, Bonnie noted Maria's comments about what she was seeing among the students at her school and calls it "prophetic" but also notes that it's something the mainstream media didn't want to pick up on. Bonnie thanks Maria, Francisco and Miguel for compiling headlines from Democracy Now! each week and writes that she reads the Spanish version first and attempts to figure out what they say before going to the English version. "'Mientras tanto' means 'meanwhile' which is a word I've learned in 2005 thanks to the headlines. Keep it up, give me time and you'll find me picking up more."

Heath's pick for news of the year is the Downing Street Memos.

Heath: When you hear that NYT sat on the NSA spy scandal for over a year, it goes back to DSM. They weren't interested in that story proving that the intel was cooked and they wouldn't be interested in the NSA story if they didn't have a reporter [James Risen] with a book on the subject due out any day. NYT is only interested in stroking themselves. Harsh truth is that's true of most of our big outlets.

Billie notes the spy scandal as well and for those who are late to the story (don't laugh, someone always is), we'll note Democracy Now!'s summary of it when it first broke:

Report: Bush-Enacted NSA Program Monitors Phone Conversations, E-Mails
The New York Times is reporting the National Security Agency has been eavesdropping on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals without court-approved warrants. Under a Bush administration directive enacted in 2002, the agency has monitored the international phone calls and e-mails of hundreds, and possibly thousands of people inside the country. The National Security Agency’s mission is to spy on communications abroad. Although officials said the program had helped thwart at least two potential attacks, most people monitored by the N.S.A. have never been charged with a crime.
The Times says it delayed publishing details of the program after a request from the Bush administration at least one year ago. At the request of the White House, the Times also says it has omitted information administration officials said could be useful to terrorists. The disclosure comes two days after NBC News revealed the Pentagon has kept detailed records on the events and meetings of anti-war groups across the country.

Billie: I just want to know why the Bully Boy gets to determine coverage and, since he does, why his name isn't on the Times masthead?

Larry and Keshawn both note, in separate e-mails, the air war in Iraq. Larry notes that it took Norman Solomon addressing the issue for it to get the little bit of traction it has in the mainstream media.

Larry: He had to shame them into talking about it.

KeShawn notes that as well as the fact that the air war has been ongoing, including in the run up to the invasion.

KeShawn: A press that never wanted to tackle DSM is the same press that's never questioned the fact that while we were being warned of the possibility of a mushroom cloud, we were bombing Iraq. If Bully was really worried then he wouldn't have taken actions that invite a strike in revenge.

Gloria drops back to January when Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Barbara Boxer stood up to question the 2004 election vote. Gloria also notes that Tubbs Jones stayed on the issue even when others "moved on" and cites KeShawn's commentary on that from March.

Marcia picks the story of the year as one effecting the online distribution of news. She notes that the New York Times now has "premium content" which is available only to those who either already subscribe to the print edition of the paper or who pay a yearly fee to have online access. This is an issue that Marcia's followed for some time and she she thinks that in five years time, people will look back at the Times' move and realize it was the "place where the free flow of information was started."

Marcia: Support indepedent media. Whether it's Democracy Now!, Free Speech Radio News,, BuzzFlash, Consortium News, Pacifica or something else (or all), support independent media. In the years to come it will help you much more than a column by Paul Krugman or Maureen Dowd did, columns that will be collected into book forum anyway. We need independent media.

Picking up on that thread (and adding CounterSpin, Wakeup Call and Law & Disorder to the list), Jobie also notes independent media as the story of 2005.

Jobie: No matter what the story is, it was indymedia that got it out. Even NY Times' front pager on the NSA spying on ordinary citizens, credit goes to indymedia which probed the story and explored it. That was done historically and not just as thought, "Oh, here's something new and now let's move on to discussing our great leader's latest speech." More often than not, 2005 was the year indymedia was not only getting the word out, it was they year that they broke stories. Juan Gonzalez who's been making the story of the dangerous effects of the depleted uranium news since 2003 and this year [2005] it finally got huge traction, Naomi Klein with too many things to note, Amy Goodman ditto but I'll cite the interview that she, Juan and Margaret Prescod did with Hugo Chavez [C.I. note: a two-parter, click here and here], David Lindorff with NY Times killing the story of Bully Boy's bulge . . . The story for 2005 was indymedia. It's power, it's reach and it's truth telling.

Erika backs up that point and notes The Laura Flanders Show in addition to the other outlets mentioned.

Erika: Carl has my gratitutude for getting the word out on Flanders' show by inviting people over to listen. The story for 2005 is what indymedia has accomplished and the story for 2006 should be indymedia becomes the mainstream -- not due to selling out but due to reaching many more listeners, readers and viewers.

Jonah picks the Bully Boy's "year of idiocy in the open" as the story of 2005. (Which is a great reason to run Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts, "2005: Bully Boy exposed" at the top of this entry.)

Jonah: All the money poured into creating "Homeland Security" and we saw with Katrina (and Rita and Wilma) that it was money down the drain because it wasn't spent on improving anything but the wallets of a few cronies. Brownie, we hardly knew you! But we continue to pay your salaray. The Downing Street Memos revealed that you can't lie forever, something most of us learn from our parents as children but Poppy and Big Babs must have forgot to teach Bully Boy that lesson. Mr. "Bring It On!" who can put troops in danger but can't take it when Cindy Sheehan brings it. He never looked more cowardly than when he hid out in his ranchette while Cindy was camped outside awaiting a meeting. We passed the 2,000 troops killed in Iraq mark and his words about "liberation" only grew more hollow. Time after time, 2005 was the year of idiocy in the open as Bully Boy demonstrated once again that he should never have assumed the presidency.

Olive notes Cindy Sheehan as the story of 2005.

Olive: I'm not sure how many Americans realize that Cindy Sheehan was a huge story. Here in Australia, we heard of Camp Casey and her vigil was heard all over the world. Though no one would believe that man of so little intelligence could represent a nation, Ms. Sheehan was like an ambassador to the world telling us that serious divisions exist in the United States. At The Third Estate Sunday Review, I often read of how she woke up things in America and started your country talking and that makes me very happy but it's also true that her reach went beyond your shores, she had the world's attention and used it for good.

??? and Markus pick Plamegate as the story for 2005. ??? provides this from Democracy Now!:

Libby Resigns After Five Count Indictment in CIA Leak Case
For the first time in 130 years, a White House staff member has been indicted for crimes committed in the office. On Friday, Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted on five counts of obstruction of justice, perjury to a grand jury and making false statements to FBI agents during the CIA leak investigation. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines. Until Friday Libby was a central figure in the Bush White House holding three top positions: chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, national security adviser to the vice president and assistant to the president. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald announced the indictment on Friday. President Bush's chief advisor Karl Rove has so far escaped indictment for his role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson. But Rove remains under investigation. On Sunday Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called on Bush to apologize and for Rove to resign. Bush and Cheney have both praised Libby for his service. The top candidate to replace Libby is David Addington who currently works as the vice president's legal counsel. Three years ago he wrote a memo that asserted the war on terrorism renders obsolete the Geneva Convention's limitations of questioning detainees. Ambassador Wilson accused Libby and the White House of outing his wife, Valerie Plame. He said, "Senior administration officials used the power of the White House to make our lives hell for the last 27 months. But more important, they did it as part of a clear effort to cover up the lies and disinformation used to justify the invasion of Iraq. That is the ultimate crime."

Markus points out that along with an indictment and a continued investigation, "Plamegate's also exposed the press and their cozy relationship with power. From Judy Miller to Matt Cooper to Bob Woodward to Robert Novak . . . Our mainstream press has proven itself to be far from independent and far from a watchdog."

Susan notes Plamegate, the response to Hurricane Katrina, the Supreme Court nominees, the press being reported on as opposed to reporting (Bob Woodward, Judith Miller, Matt Cooper and Armstrong Williams are noted by Susan), the war, the events in the Gaza strip and the wall, the attacks on reproductive rights, Jose Padilla, the detainees at Guantamo and finally decides that the story is the authorization by the Bully Boy which allowed the NSA to spy on Americans without court warrants or an act of Congress.

Susan: Ratner put it best.

"It's an assertion of power that goes way beyond anything I've seen. . . . It's really the usurping of our Constitution and our checks and balances. . . . It's criminal and impeachable."
Michael Ratner on the NSA spying authorized by the Bully Boy (CounterSpin, December 23, 2005).


Last year, Bully Boy was awarded this honor by Maria. 2005 was the year he took a tumble. Gareth thinks he still has some more "tumbles in him" and notes the Bully Boy's "lack of shame and refusal to learn from mistakes" as "key" to continued tumbles in 2006. Lucy, Eli, Joan and Rachel also noted him for this category.


The apathy in America is probably even scarier than the administration.
Alyssa Milano (to Esquire)

Submitted by both Keith and our youngest member. (The latter of which needs to select a name but she's Ellen's daughter.) That quote sums up the bulk of 2005 pretty well but hopefully the summer of protest changed that (and will continue to change that).

I didn't grasp for the longest that e-mails coming in with excerpts were for the year-in-review. Previously, we'd just created our own categories and noted the year's events by whom we selected. I'm glad that Felix wrote about his selection in the gina & krista round-robin because I'd looked at the e-mails from Felix and others and assumed you were noting important events from 2005. We're starting with Milano's quote (which I believe is in the January edition of Esquire which came out this month). If you didn't include a link of some form, your highlight's not noted. The quotes are "sourced" based on how members sourced them in their e-mails.

Again, I hadn't realized what was going on when the e-mails first started coming in and my apologies for that. But instead of a "voices who speak to us" type category (which we had last year) that just lists various people, it does make more sense to provide an excerpt from a voice that spoke to you that you feel captured an important moment in 2005. There were many excerpts provided from writings by members with their own sites. I made the decision to go with one excerpt for each of the community's site. If you highlighted someone and your highlight's not up, that's why. For instance, Wally was highlighted making an observation and some, possibly including Wally, might feel another excerpt would have been better. But it blended with the excerpt a member provided for Mike and it captured a feature (not a good one) of 2005. (Wally is excerpted in full for one post later on in the year-in-review. He's the only member with a site who is and you can read on to find out who argued the case for that.)

By the same token if you found X to be a voice that spoke to you and so did other members and you all highlighted X speaking (at different times) on the same topic, one highlight was chosen.


"Dexter Filkins politics are very different from the Dexter Filkins politics we know in the New York Times. [In person, he's saying] 'Oh it's awful, the situation is totally out of control.'"
Christian Parenti (on The Laura Flanders Show January 23, 2005)

Felix picked that because (as he noted in the round-robin) Parenti's a writer who speaks to him, it was a said on a program he enjoys and it addresses the problems with the New York Times.

"I applaud Katherine's courageous stand against the continued U.S. role in bringing violence to the Middle East."
Medea Benjamin
on GA Army National Guard Specialist Katherine Jashinski decision to refuse to deploy (Milwaukee Indymedia)

Picked by Third Party who noted that Medea Benjamin's "always there when it's time to be counted."

"In any case, New Imperialism is already upon us. It's a remodeled, streamlined version of what we once knew. For the first time in history, a single empire with an arsenal of weapons that could obliterate the world in an afternoon has complete, unipolar, economic and military hegemony. It uses different weapons to break open different markets. There isn't a country on God's earth that is not caught in the crosshairs of the American cruise missile and the IMF checkbook. Agrentina's the model if you want to be the poster boy of neoliberal capitalism,Iraq if you're the black sheep."
Arundhati Roy
from CODEPINK's Stop The Next War Now.

Abhilasha noted Roy and added that "we need to get the heart of the matter, this isn't about democracy, wherever we interfering."

I don’t believe that our government will be able to do once more what it did after Vietnam--prepare the population for still another plunge into violence and dishonor. It seems to me that when the war in Iraq ends, and the war syndrome heals, that there will be a great opportunity to make that healing permanent.
Howard Zinn
("After The War," The Progressive)

Elaine phoned Sunday night and I told her I'd missed the whole point of the bulk of the e-mails that had come on (I'm often wrong). She asked if she could sneak Howard Zinn in despite the cut off. Since there's another excerpt in this section that came in late, I told her if she'd e-mail it to me with the citation, we'd include it. By the way, it's from the January issue that's on sale now. (January issue of The Progressive.)

The media system is vulnerable as never before. Note how many of the big media companies themselves are in crisis with credibility scandals, profits falling, audiences disappearing and structures disaggregating. Many are de-merging, admitting errors and being fined. They are in disarray. "Desperate housewives" is a metaphor for their distress; "Runaway bride" for our dissatisfaction.
This is the time to act on behalf of an enraged majority that is being cheated by greed in the executive suites and the crap on the air. Now is the time to fight to for real news, to take back PBS, support independent media, and reclaim the airwaves.
Danny Schechter ("Meet Me in St. Louis 2005: The Media Reformers Are Coming to Town" Media, May 9, 2005)

Martha picked the above and noted "Media, media, media!"

I agree with [Howard] Dean--a political figure I admire-- that the war in Iraq has put the US in greater danger. But the question facing us today is who will speak for the millions of Americans who believe that continued occupation increases the danger? Who will speak for the millions who believe that the US has gotten bogged down in Iraq? Who will speak out against the (majority of the) Democratic Party's silent consent to the Bush Administration's Iraq war policies? Who will speak out about the wrenching human and economic costs of occupation? Who will speak out in support of a clear and honorable exit strategy? Who will make a clear, unequivocal declaration that the US will not maintain permanent military bases in Iraq?
Katrina vanden Heuvel
(Editor's Cut, The Nation, April, 2005)

The above was selected by Tracey (yes, Ruth's granddaughter) and Trina (Mike's mother). I did speak to Trina Sunday night and asked if she and Tracey organized a selection (a ballot box stuffing?) but she hadn't spoken to Tracey about the year-in-review. She and Tracey did, however, talk about this column (repeatedly) when we were all in D.C. at the protests in September. Trina remembered those conversations.

Trina: I think it was the fact that it was at a point where Howard Dean could have been given a pass. He's the people's "good guy" and certainly we could do much worse with a DNC chair. So this was important to us because instead of acting like it wasn't happening, Katrina vanden Heuvel addressed it. I assume she's speaking for herself in her Editor's Cut but, as the deciding voice at the magazine, it reassured readers that The Nation wasn't going to play nice on the war.
Even when it was someone that was fondly thought of like Howard Dean, there was going to be accountability. That's what Tracey and I kept coming back to when we were discussing it in DC.

This report documents the desperate supply shortages facing hospitals, the disastorous effect that the lack of basic services like water and electricity have on hospitals and the disruption of medical services in Iraqi hospitals by US military forces.
This report further provides an overview of the situation afflicting the hospitals in Iraq in order to highlight the desperate need for the promised "rehabilitation" of the medical system. Case studies highlight several of the findings and demonstrate that Iraqis need to reconstruct and rehabilitate the healthcare system. Reconstruction efforts by US firms have patently failed, while Iraqi contractors are not allowed to do the work.
The current model in Iraq of a "free trade globalized system," limited in fact to American and a few other western contractors, has plainly not worked. Continuing to impose this flawed and failing system on Iraq will only worsen the current healthcare crisis.
Dahr Jamail
(from the intro of his "Iraqi Hospitals Ailing Under Occupation," June 2005)

Brad selected the intro because he feels that Jamail's report didn't get the attention it deserved and wonders if it had come out "post-Camp Casey, would it have gotten more attention? These are serious issues and even those not doing Operation Happy Talk 'we just painted a school!' stories aren't addressing realities in Iraq."

Insane American Christians are spending this Christmas season torturing and defending the use of torture. Condi Rice, church going queen of torture, traveled to Europe where she tried to justify extra judicial kidnappings and secret prisons. She began her visit by scolding uppity Europeans who took exception to the American inquisition. She told them that interrogations and renditions were saving their wimpy, unappreciative lives.It was a bit inconvenient for Dr. Rice when Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen, sued former CIA director George Tenet during her European tour. El-Masri was accused of being a terror suspect upon entering Macedonia. He was flown to a CIA run prison in Afghanistan, where he was denied access to counsel or any contact with the German government. His imprisonment lasted for a total of four months. George Tenet kept him behind bars even after his identity and proof of his innocence in any wrong doing were confirmed.
Margaret Kimberley
("Condi, Torture and Christmas," The Black Commentator, December 2005)

Keesha selected Kimberley and noted, "If Margaret were a singer, I could pick her out on the radio in three notes. She's that unique."

Let me get this straight...
Bin Laden & Zarqawi are going into the oil biz after taking over all of Iraq?
They'll be able to rebuild the infrastructure so that the oil flows again?
And the world will do business with these guys?
And that's why we're in Iraq?
What the hell is George W. smoking?
Delilah Boyd
(A Scrivener's Lament, August 2005)

Kansas selected Delilah and noted that he and his wife always check out A Scrivener's Lament when the news gets "too dark and we really need a strong dose of humor."

But as I looked around yesterday, I saw grief that was mature and reasoned. There was no need to question, "Why us?" It's perfectly obvious why us. We have engaged with and supported the policies of the United States not limited to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. This has been done despite the large objection coming from the people of our country and despite the fact that the objection has only grown as we have been confronted with the reality that there is no "win" in Iraq, not for us, not for the States.
"Why us" does not trip off our tongues because the answer is obvious and frightening.
Equally obvious has been the answer which is that we must pull out of the illegal occupation. Thursday's events make that quite clear and, all around me, that was the sentiment most often shared.
(on the London bombings, July, 2005)

Brady picked Pru's statement on the bombings and notes that we were lucky to have that up here (agreed, we were) as well as the fact that "I wish we had some of that clear headed thinking on 9/11 and the days after. If she weren't British, I'd try to talk her into running for President."

They wanted something else noted on this anniversary of Falluja, retired people aren't frothing at the mouth over Bully Boy. They see that in our church and at the nursing home they live in.
Our church is a Black church. Other races are welcome, but we're a Black church. And African-Americans haven't been big supporters of Bully Boy Bush (unless they were on the payroll like Armstrong Williams). But their nursing home is a mixture of races and the ones there who did support Bully Boy stopped as the war turned out to be lies and people kept dying.
Tuesday, they took me around to some of the former Bully Boy supporters. The thing I heard the most was that they were appalled that Bully Boy hasn't attended one funeral of an American military person who died in Iraq. This wasn't the thing that turned them against him but it was always the first thing that they noted. They'd name presidents who had attended funerals and they'd say it was shameful that Bully Boy hadn't attended even one. Then they'd usually follow that with their belief that he couldn't attend one because he knew he lied and he'd have to confront the costs of lies and deal with reality -- which he can't do.
Most of the people were white. One was a Hispanic woman and one was a man whose parents had come over from Japan in the 1920s. These were the ones who had openly supported the Bully Boy and even voted for him in 2004.
Three Cool Old Guys know that this might be something that's just happening in their nursing home but they wanted it noted.
on reality hitting the Bully Boy's assumed base (Cedric's Big Mix, "It's Not Just Young People," November 2005)

Melinda wrote that as "an admitted Deaniac in 2003 and 2004, I got so sick of the press saying we were all just a bunch of 'kids.' His support was much more than that. When I read Cedric's post, I thought about how the alternate stereotype is that the elderly must be behind Bully Boy."

Bob Woodward. What a career arc. From exposing a presidential cover-up in Watergate to covering up his role in Plamegate. And being forced to apologize to his own paper. And asking a colleague, Walter Pincus, not to mention Woodward's role in the story. And failing to tell his editor that he had vital information about a major story.And, to bottom it out, doing the TV and radio rounds, minimizing the scandal as "laughable," "an accident", "nothing to it" and denigrating Fitzgerald as "disgraceful" and "a junkyard dog" without ever once divulging that he was not just an observer of the CIA leak case but a recipient -- perhaps the first -- of the leak.
Hear that hissing noise? That's the sound of the air being let out of Woodward's reputation.
Arianna Huffington
on Woody ("Woodward: From Watergate Hero to Plamegate Goat," The Huffington Post, August 2005).

Kevin noted Arianna and wrote, "CJR Daily repeatedly dropped the ball on the scandal of Bob Woodward's behavior. The Huffington Post was mocked by a lot of people but in terms of the Woodward story, they have every right to turn around and mock. I credit Arianna with getting that issue as much attention as it received."

Gone are the days of waiting for wars to break out and then drawing up ad hoc plans to pick up the pieces. In close cooperation with the National Intelligence Council, [Carlos] Pascual's office keeps "high risk" countries on a "watch list" and assembles rapid-response teams ready to engage in prewar planning and to "mobilize and deploy quickly" after a conflict has gone down. The teams are made up of private companies, nongovernmental organizations and members of think tanks--some, Pascual told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in October, will have "pre-completed" contracts to rebuild countries that are not yet broken. Doing this paperwork in advance could "cut off three to six months in your response time."
The plans Pascual's teams have been drawing up in his little-known office in the State Department are about changing "the very social fabric of a nation," he told CSIS. The office's mandate is not to rebuild any old states, you see, but to create "democratic and market-oriented" ones. So, for instance (and he was just pulling this example out of his hat, no doubt), his fast-acting reconstructors might help sell off "state-owned enterprises that created a nonviable economy." Sometimes rebuilding, he explained, means "tearing apart the old."
Naomi Klein
("The Rise of Disaster Capitalism," The Nation, April 2004)

KeShawn picked out the above Klein and noted that she "takes on the very system and gets to heart of what's going on."

What has Chavez done to the United States that the United States should murder him?
In the Bushwhack way of thinking, Chavez has committed two crimes worthy of capital punishment. He is not White and he is head of a country that has lots of oil: The Bush crowd has proven that those two ingredients are a prescription for destruction.
Barbara Reynolds
("Pat Robertson: The executioner," The Chicago Defender, August 2005)

Lynda noted Reynolds and wrote that "the war on Chavez continues and the mainstream media doesn't even question it, just repeats it."

A week after a Cuban civilian airliner was blown out of the sky in 1976, George H.W. Bush's CIA was hearing from informants that two right-wing Cuban extremists were implicated in that terrorist attack -- as well as in an earlier assassination in Washington -- but the Bush Family has continued to protect these operatives for the three decades since.
That long record of loyalty is now being tested by Venezuela's demand that one of the Cuban exiles -- former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles -- be extradited from the United States to stand trial as an international terrorist for the airplane bombing that killed 73 people. The request is before a federal immigration judge in El Paso, Texas.
It remains unclear whether the judge will order Posada deported to Venezuela or -- if the judge does -- whether George W. Bush's administration would comply.
When Posada illegally sneaked into the United States earlier this year and hid out in Miami for several weeks, neither President Bush nor Florida Gov. Jeb Bush took any known action to catch the fugitive terrorist. Only after Posada called a news conference was the U.S. government shamed into arresting him.
Robert Parry
("Bush Family's Terrorism Test," Consortium News, Fall 2005)

Zach, who often e-mails to highlight Parry, selected the above as "a topic with so many elements but he was the one of the few willing to explore them. People should make a resolution to check out Consortium in 2006."

Some bloggers preach to their choir. I guess I'm just whistling in the wind. No one seems to give a sh*t that "freedom of the press" may be about to become a quaint relic, not only in America but all over the world.
Ron Brynaert
("Committee To Imprison Journalists," Why Are We Back In Iraq?, August 2005)

Eddie noted Ron and noted, "You can probably count on the fingers of one hand how many people on the left were willing to ask what was going to be the fallout from the Miller case. I found the Times editorials laughable coming from that paper but if they actually practiced what was in those eidtorials, the importance of a free press, it wouldn't have been laughable."

anyone remember antonio sabato junior? he was a hot stud. and he was the calvin klein underwear model while andrew sullivan was the editor of the new republic. mulitple issues, including the one of my uncle's and every other one i bought, featured a full page, glossy back cover of antonio in his skivies.
black briefs, white briefs, i couldn't take my eyes off him. my favorite shots were the ones where he'd be seated with his legs spread and i study the photos in desperation trying to peer up the leg openings of his those tiny briefs trying to check out the eye candy.
sometimes junior wore socks. sometimes he wore socks and t-shirt with those briefs. somehow i found him most exciting in those little white briefs, socks and t-shirt. he looked so boyish and i held onto those copies of the rag until i was 14. there was also this one full page ad where he wears these little black briefs and is standing in profile so you get a nice shot of junior's junior.
[. . .]
the only thing the new republic should be remembered for is those full page, glossy ads of antonio sabato junior. while everything else the rag has done has hurt the nation, those ads of junior in tighty-whites at least taught me the meaning of 'it's a wet day.'
Rebecca breaking down the "value" of The New Rag (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, January 2005)

Rebecca was popular with a number of members e-mailing but Sherry made the case for this entry by arguing a number of points. "1) Who but Rebecca, due to her profession, would remember an ad campaign? 2) Who but Rebecca would have the guts to beyond 'nice body' when recalling a pivotal memory? 3) From her early days of blogging, she's called The New Republican for what it was? Like Tony said last year, 'In it's heart, it's really Joe Lieberman.'"

The New Republic magazine - a pro-war Democratic Party rag - thought it would be provocative to muse about killing and torturing anti-war activists. New Republic writer T.A. Frank found it cheeky to sit in and mock an anti-war panel sponsored by the DC Anti-War Network, the DC ISO and others. He thought it would make his colleagues chuckle to wish for "John Ashcroft to come busting through the wall with a submachine gun to round everyone up for an immediate trip to Gitmo, with Charles Graner on hand for interrogation." The New Republic thought they would score points with their puffy beltway buddies by printing a call for someone to "take a bunker buster to [internationally known anti-war author] Arundhati Roy." The New Republic also thought they'd get away with it. They were wrong.
On Friday, about fifty-plus anti-war and global justice activists picketed their shabby Washington DC offices [tough times for TNR]. We were loud and proud demanding both print-space to rebut Frank's psychotic rant as well as a formal apology. As we chanted gems like "Stop the Threats, Stop the Lies; New Republic Apologize" and "New Republic YOU can go Kill and Die for Texaco," their quivering editorial team remained holed upstairs, refusing to address our demands, defend Frank's rant, or even leave the office. While their staff shook in the newly christened "New Republic Panic Room," we handed out hundreds of leaflets to passers-by outlining their nasty dirge.
Our "Fight the New Republic[ans]" campaign began when we posted a response to Frank on the Counterpunch website. The reaction was staggering with TNR receiving hundreds of e-mails and phone calls. It was incredible, as letters poured in from around the world, from anti-war vets to unionists in India. Despite the diversity of responders, the message was quite unified: if you want to get to Arundhati Roy, you have to go through us first.
Dave Zirin ("Fighting the New Republic[ans]," Common Dreams, February 2005)

Belinda selected Zirin and noted that based on the above, she purchased Zirin's What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States last month.

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?
The Third Estate Sunday Review
("War Got Your Tongue?" Decemeber 2005)

Rod picked the above and apologized for not selecting something from Democracy Now! "but there are just too many things from that show to select." (Agreed, and Rod's the one who usually e-mails the heads up for Democracy Now! and noted in the e-mail that anyone can go to Democracy Now! and sign up for their e-mails -- "The Daily Digest.")

Rod: It really amazes me that as we're on the verge of hitting the three year mark supposed brave souls and left voices can't find the time to say anything on the war. "War Got Your Tongue?" was funny but it also spoke to me.

But Rod (I'm being sarchastic), there were so many other more "important" things to discuss. There was a "relationship" as noted in the next two highlights.

24,000 seems like a big number to me. [24,000 Iraqis estimated killed in the occupation by Iraq Body Count and Oxford Research Group.] But I guess not to other people. My sister and I were talking about this today and wondering what the magic number was? What magic number do we have to reach before we care?
It's like the guys and gals we have dying over there. I'm looking at ICCC and the count right now is 1770 US soldiers have died.
What's the magic number on that?
You look around and it's hard to believe we're a country at war as we waste time worrying if Brad loves Angelina now and if it's more than he loved Jennifer.
("Iraqi casualities continue to mount, recruiters want to raise age limit, spicing up foreplay and a song," Mikey Likes It!, July 2005)

Carl picked the above by Mike and noted, "It's really true. This is still a topic of discussion for a lot of people, Brad and Angelina. I'm not making it up."

We know you aren't, Carl. Read on.

Mom wanted me to note something. Saturday night, she turns on the local news. She hears something like, "When we come back, an attack in Iraq and what are Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt planning?" She couldn't believe it. (They're either planning marriage or about to adopt a baby and then get married or something. It doesn't matter to anyone but them and their family and friends but some news genius thought it was equal to news from Iraq.)
("Bully Boy's lips were flapping but he was rapping an old track," The Daily Jot, December 2005)

"An attack in Iraq and what are Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt planning"? Our mainstream media at its finest, apparently. This excerpt from Wally was selected by Joey and it's the one I mentioned in the intro that was selected because it worked best with what others (Carl and Rod) were highlighting and saying.

Joey: Another proud moment for broadcast journalism.

We kid ourselves that we're in a "clean" war. Less so now. But I can remember when the invasion began, deaths were treated as nothing big. We had a "purpose" so what were a few lives?
Of course those "few" lives were all Americans and we never stopped to study the other deaths, the ones that TV wasn't interested in and, pretty soon, the print media took a pass on as well.
"Clean" war, "safe" war. When you outsource it, it's all the harder for the people to know what you're doing.
What Bully Boy's doing is kidnapping people, who have not been found guilty in a court of law of anything, and then allowing them to be tortured. As C.I.'s pointed out, apparently our rules, laws and mores aren't things we carry inside of us, but only things we hold dear while our feet are planted on domestic soil.
It's as though Bully Boy's strutting around the Oval Office saying, "It's Abu Ghraib, baby! What happens in Abu Ghraib, stays in Abu Ghraib!"
on rendention (Like Maria Said Paz, November 2005)

Micah noted Elaine's comments and wrote "Frighteningly true." which says it all.

There is a very limited number of "seats" available for the left in the mainstream media. It's past time that The New Republic and their ilk were ejected from occupying seats that are supposedly reserved for the left. We won't get Laura Flanders, Ruth Conniff, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Medea Benjamin, Arundhati Roy, Amy Goodman and other strong voices on the left into the mainstream if their seats are taken by war cheerleaders from a magazine that hasn't been liberal in decades now.
It's past time that the Mark Shields-type pundits and guests were not allowed to represent the left. We won't get our message out by those who play left in the mainstream media.
I want to be really clear here because these types do not represent the left anywhere but on TV. They are part of the gatekeeping system. The New Republic has a shoddy circulation rate. There is no reason they should be on TV at this point when, to name two publications, both
The Nation and The Progressive outsell them. But they're dubbed "left" by the Cokie Roberts crowd and they take our seats. That needs to stop in 2006.
Polling shows that the country didn't move to the right on abortion but to watch TV you'd think it had. One of the longest struggles in our nation (globally as well) has been feminism. The struggle continues and that's fine. There will always be strong women to strive for a better world. What's not fine is losing ground. Next month is the thirty-third anniversary of Roe V. Wade (Januaray 22nd).
the roundtable (at The Third Estate Sunday Review), they went over various issues for the year 2005. Here's one section:
Elaine: Good pick. But one issue that came up over and over in 2005 was the attack on reproductive rights. They, the right-wing, were even willing to use Terry Schiavo, a comatose woman, as a pawn in their efforts to remake the landscape. We're not supposed to question the Bully Boy's nominees on reproductive rights because that's apparently a "specialized" issue and not a "universal" one despite the fact that women's health has a huge impact on the nation. We're in the work force and we have some insurance plans that recognize a much smaller range of health options for us than they do for men. Certainly as the ones who give birth, our health impacts children. Equally certain is that with the number of working mothers, health isn't just an health issue for the nation, it's an economic one that incomes both families headed back single parents and those headed by parents where at least one is female and she works. The assault includes an attack not only on abortion rights but also on birth control and upon our right to know about our options. The Justice Department no longer includes information on emergency contraceptives in the information given to rape victims. So this was one of the important issues in 2005 as the right turned up the attacks on reproductive rights and the press largely tended to treat each attack as unconnected when there is a pattern and a framework to these attacks.
Ruth: I'll add to that my own disappointment because I'm old enough to remember Roe v. Wade becoming law and how monumental that day seemed. Now it seems that the organized efforts on the part of a few to overturn it will come to fruition. It's very depressing.
It is very depressing. But these are depressing times and 2006 should be the year that we find a way to be more vocal, more active.
Sometimes it takes realizing how much is at stake to motivate us. With the Bully Boy spying, lying and destroying the planet, maybe we're really willing to roll up our sleeves and fight in 2006? Let's hope so.

Kat addressing what's at stake ("Sense of Purpose," Kat's Korner, December 2005)

Long excerpt but Rachel felt too much was in it to prune it any further. She wrote a long e-mail explaining that she knew she'd missed the deadline but that this entry spoke to her (and she explained why in detail). On the issue of the Court, Brian noted the next excerpt.

A picture from a few years back comes to mind. Remember when Congress passed that bill banning so called Partial Birth abortions, and the picture was of Bush, surrounded by a group of other white men, signing the bill into law as they all smiled?
Make one of the men African American and slap on some Judicial Robes, and you could have the future slim majority of five on the Roberts court as they take away a woman's right to choose.
The Democrats may be fighting a losing battle, but even if they are they've got to fight it. They can't back down from using the filibuster on Alito. If nothing else, it sends the strong message that the Democrats WILL be an Opposition Party. They may even be able to cobble together enough votes from some of those seven Republicans from the 'Gang of 14' or other more moderate Republicans to actually save the filibuster and keep Alito off the Supreme Court at the same time.We'll never know unless they try.
The Senate Dems showed some backbone yesterday, surprisingly, by forcing the Senate into a closed session to discuss the lack of follow through by the Republicans on an investigation into the pre-War intelligence and the Bush Administration's possible manipulation of it. Let's hope they continue that trend of standing up and making themselves heard with Alito.
("Opposition Required," Seth in the City, November 2005)

Brian: Only with all that's going on, from the war to the corrpution in the adminitratio,n could we have two vacancies on the Supreme Court and have them be topic B or topic C.

The next four voices are all speaking on Hurricane Katrina and the after effects.

Forget about Bush's words. Watch his actions.
For all of Bush's pious pronouncements last week about his concern for racism and poverty on the Gulf Coast, he's already taken steps that belie that concern.
If he's so worried about poverty, why did he lift the requirement that government contractors pay the prevailing wage on construction jobs?
If he's so worried about racism, why did he lift the requirement that government contractors have an affirmative action plan in place?
The answer is obvious. He isn't worried about poverty or racism. He's worried about helping out his friends in the business community.
Matthew Rothschild
("Hollow Words From the Hollow Man," This Just In, The Progressive, September 2005)

Cindy selected Rothschild as a voice that speaks to her "and to Lloyd" (Lloyd often highlight Rothschild's online columns) and felt that "while some others were fretting about how you couldn't look in the Bully Boy's heart, Matthew smacked them upside their heads saying, 'Well how about just examing his words."

Hurrican Katrina gives us another opportunity to take a hard look at ourselves and begin the re-ordering of priorities necessary to prevent recurring natural, social and political disasters like 9/11, the Iraq war and New Orleans.
The fury of Katrina, followed by the racist, classist, subhuman herding of the black, poor and elderly into the Superdome and convention center, left without food, air, water and toilets and to war against one another, while government officials at all levels (including blacks) ran around like Keystone cops, has created a crisis of biblical and constitutional proportions.
We must seize this opportunity to ask ourselves and one another "Why has this happened? Where do we go from here?"
Forty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr., agonizing over the twin disasters of the Vietnam War and the urban rebellions, called for a radical revolution of values.
Grace Lee Boggs
(The Boggs Peace Center, September 2005)

Just as Cindy noted Lloyd for highlighting a voice that spoke to her, Yazz thanked Liang for noting Grace Lee Boggs here the first time.

Yazz: I wish I could say, 'Grace Lee Boggs, always knew about her' but I can't. Her voice has become a strong one to me and that's how this community works best, with someone bringing a voice that speaks to them to our attention. Thank you to Liang for sharing an important voice.

Bush proudly promoted the trillions in tax cuts he had passed as supposedly helping the economy, and then went on the attack. "The tired, old policies of tax and spend," Bush said, referring to Democrats, "are a proven recipe for economic disaster."The implication in Bush's statement is one America has been hearing for years from the right: namely, that conservatives' agenda of tax and spending cuts is not tired, but rather somehow "new," and is, most importantly, a path to success.
But with New Orleans residents still bailing water from their streets, that seemingly impenetrable axiom of American politics has crumbled almost as quickly as the infrastructure supposedly protecting our Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina. "Tax and spend" was not the recipe for economic disaster--tax and spending cuts were.
David Sirota
("Hurricanes Rain on Bush's Tax Cut Parade," In These Times, September 2005)

Molly: To me, David Sirota and Ari Berman are two people calling the DLC out and not afraid to take on the New Democratcs either. They are two strong voices speaking for the people which includes the "little" people. In a year that saw the death of John L. Hess, we need more like Sirota and Berman.

But this crisis didn't start with Katrina --the seeds were sewn by Hurricane Bush and his cronies long before the storm began gathering steam. And now they're using it to line the pockets of their rich cronies, who will get richer on the rebuilding efforts while those who need the work most will be lucky to get the crumbs.
For seeds, start with FEMA, which Bush demoted from cabinet-level status to a subsidiary of the new Department of Homeland Security in the post-9/11 consolidation of power. And the new department's tunnel-vision focus on terrorism, marginalizing the traditional preparation for natural disasters. Not to mention the last two FEMA directors, first a Bush 2000 campaign manager, and then his former roommate, neither of which was qualified for the job.
Want more Bush seeds? Remember when Bush flew over New Orleans and dipped the wing of Air Force One to take a look, declaring innocently, "Who'd have thought this would happen?" Who? I'll give you a few names: how about the Army Corps of Engineers, for starters? In 1995 the Clinton administration funded the start of a long-term levee rebuilding project - but Bush has cut funding every year. Or how about former Republican Congressmember Michael Parker, who in 2002 was forced out as head of the Corps of Engineers when he dared to protest Bush's funding cuts?
Kim Gandy
("Seeds of Disaster," Below the Belt; NOW, September 2005)

Kyle selected the above.

Kyle: If a year ago someone had told me I'd be visiting NOW's web site regularly, I would've thought they were crazy. But they really do cover everything. And Kim Gandy's a strong voice
who should run for Congress or president when her final term as NOW president ends. From Katrina, to the war, to the Supreme Court, to human rights and reproductive rights, NOW never sits on the fence. It's been my strongest resource in 2005 and no one could be more surprised about that than I am.

"Sometimes," Dominick wrote, "you just need to laugh." His selection should make us all laugh (though I'm betting the majority of us have already read it):

The hostess' name was Liang though Thomas Friedman insists upon calling her "Soon-Yi" repeatedly. He also insists upon telling the same lame joke each time we go, "Soon-Yi, in America we call this 'Chinese food' but in your country it would just be 'food!'"
Between that, his Soon-Yi comments, and just for being Thomas Friedman, Tuesday afternoon, Liang replied, "You know in China you would be called 'American bore' but in this country you are just a 'bore.'"
Thomas Friedman was furious. "I will never come back to this communist cell!" he screamed as he piled his plate full of General Tso's chicken. As usual, he piled my purse full of shrimp which is bad enough but he tends to scoop it out of the ice with his hands and many ice chips fall in as well.
A lunch buffet to Thomas Friedman means you eat all you can there and swipe enough to have dinner on at home as well. He calls that "the free market at it's finest."
explaining her "husband" Thomas Friedman's economic views ("Thomas Friedman, Living on the Five Finger Discount" Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, October 2005)

Someone (I think Rebecca), has compared Ava and my work on the TV reviews for The Third Estate Sunday Review to what Betty goes through to write as "Betinna" at her site Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man. Wrong. Betty drags herself through hell and back for each and every chapter in Betinna's life. That doesn't begin and end with having to read Thomas Friedman's columns. (Though that's a hazard in its own right.) Ava and I toss those reviews off in about the time it takes for them to be read plus a few phone calls (what the Times calls "reporting"). We don't like them, we don't make a point to read over them. (Thanks to Ty, by the way, who goes through and fixes punctuation. We were hearing about that in e-mails and it took forever before Ty admitted it was him. That's very nice of him because our only focus is making a joke, making a point and getting done with the damn things.) Betty's never done with her's. If she had the time, she'd rewrite every entry and is always thinking about how they could have been "better."

If you ever wonder why Betty's cited at all the sites, it's because we know the work she puts in. There's the pre-work which can last for days as she tries to think about what Friedman's saying and what that means in terms of his body of work. Then it's time to think of her reply and then to fit it into what Betinna could know about or be aware of. After all of that work, it's finally time to write. When it's "done," it's not posted. Betty will think about some more and try to figure out what point is weak. At which point, she's usually had a few e-mails asking, "Aren't you posting this week?" Which usually leads to a total rewrite as she rushes to get something up for those who are waiting. When it's time to repost something at The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat and my attitude is always, "Leave the typos in." (Or, as Kat would say, "It is what it is.") If there's time, Betty will rewrite her entry (in one case, not just a sentence here and there but the entire thing) and then go make changes at her site. For all the "dogging" Ava and I do of her TV reviews, we're not Betty.

It's not about "perfectionism" (as some have wondered in e-mails), Betty takes her character (Betinna) very seriously and wants to do right by the character. And she really puts herself through hell to do that. So if you wonder (as some have in e-mails) why we always talk about the work Betty puts into those chapters, that's why. You can read her chapters just for the jokes and enjoy them that way, or you can read for the jokes and the points she's making (which she tries to do without being "on the nose" -- my term -- about them) but even if you read it for the jokes, the points and the continuing developments in Betinna, I don't think, even with all of us pointing it out, most people grasp how much work goes into every entry that she posts.

I know I'm way off topic and that's not just because it's late (it's now Januaray 2nd), it's also because we are all impressed with Betty's dedication to her characters (all of them really). Method acting is the closest thing I can think of to what Betty does, she's a Method writer and she has to burrow deep into her characters. On to other voices that speak to us and, for the next few highlights, the topic will be the invasion/occupation.

Let me tell you where I stand personally. I do not believe the Iraq War is worth another drop of blood, another dollar of taxpayer subsidy, another stain on our honor. Our occupation is the chief cause of the nationalist resistance in that country. We should end the war and foreign economic occupation. Period.
Tom Hayden
("An Open Letter to Howard Dean," ZNet, May 2005)

Denise noted Tom Hayden.

Denise: That really says everything that needs to be said. It's too bad that so few can say it now, it's even worse that in May fewer still could speak the truth. Tom Hayden's not a new voice to me but in 2005 he is a voice that I rediscovered.

"I want to ask the president, 'Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?" she said, her voice cracking with emotion. "Last week, you said my son died for a noble cause' and I want to ask him what that noble cause is?"
Cindy Sheehan
(August 2005)

Lloyd called the above "The question that the country heard."

Lloyd: The Bully Boy's abstract war with it's far away location and distant reporting was finally brought home.

The only person that I spoke to individually after General Miller's visit – briefing, his in-brief, that initial briefing, I went to find the JAG officer, the legal officer, lawyer, who was with General Miller, and she was -- I believe she was a major and she had been working down at Guantanamo Bay. So, I asked her, I said, "What are you doing about releasing the prisoners down at Guantanamo Bay?" And she said, "Ma'am, we're not releasing prisoners. Most of those prisoners are going to spend every last day of their lives at Guantanamo Bay. They're terrorists. We're not releasing them." And I said, "Well, what are you going to do? Fly their family members over to visit them?" She said "No, these are terrorists, ma'am. They don't get visits from home." And that was -- that was absolutely shocking, thinking about the fate of these, what we believed was, several hundred prisoners down there, 680 prisoners spending every last day of their lives at Guantanamo Bay, and particularly important because that meant that military police would be guarding them for the foreseeable future.
Janis Karpinski
(Democracy Now! October, 2005)

Tori says nothing shocked her more than Karpinski's statements to Amy Goodman.

Tori: I thought I'd heard it all or enough that I wasn't shockable by this administration anymore. Then came that interview and I thought about how the detainees weren't getting trials and how they were being held, and, really, the hunger strikes. There was no noble purpose behind the evil of Guantamao, it was planned evil from the start.

On July 28, 2005, in a small non-descript courtroom on Ft. Stewart, Georgia, a Courts Martial is scheduled to begin. Again. One Army NCO who decided that he had no choice but to make a conscious choice NOT to return to war is being put on trial for caring about humanity.
This soldier fulfilled his commitment, he kept his promise to his enlisted contract, and when ordered to deploy to Iraq at the start of the invasion, he went, not because he wanted to "kill Iraqis" or "destroy terrorist cells," but because he wanted the soldiers he served with to come home safely. He returned knowing that war is wrong, the most dehumanizing creation of humanity that exists. He saw war destroy civilians, innocent men, women and children. He saw war destroy homes, relationships and a country. He saw this not only in the country that was invaded, but he saw this happening to the invading country as well – and he knew that the only way to save those soldiers was for people to no longer participate in war. Sgt. Kevin Benderman is a Conscientious Objector to war, and the Army is mad.
Monica Benderman
("One Soldier’s Fight to Legalize Morality: Army Sgt. and conscientious objector Kevin Benderman to face court martial July 28," Not In Our Names, July 2005)

Billie selected Monica Benderman as a voice that speaks to her and notes, "The news you can uses is apparently not part of 'all the news that's fit to print.' If it were, NYT would have covered this case. A question needs to be asked at some point and that's why the paper, with all it's resources, is able to do multiple front page stories on Michael Jackson but has never been interested in this case or in the case of any other war resistor?"

I agree with Billie but before some visitor e-mails to say, "The paper did cover it!" -- it's a daily paper. They had plenty of time and space to cover Jackson's court case day after day after day.
Someone at the Times covered Jeremy Hinzman in at least two articles (I believe it was Monica Davey) but that was only one case, and it had (and has) international implications (Hinzman is trying to get asylum in Canada -- I believe that's on appeal, correct me if I'm wrong and we'll note it here, the court found against Hinzman and his lawers are appealing). But there has been a large resistance to the war among those serving and, reading the Times only, you'd probably never be aware of that. Kathy Dobie wrote a lengthy article (twelve pages) on that topic ("AWOL In America: When Desertion Is the Only Option") for the March 2004 issue of Harper's Magazine. And apologies to Dobie because when we noted her appearance on Democracy Now! to discuss the topic I mispelled her name in the title of the entry. I discovered that just now when I searched to see if that article was available online and also see that Monica Davey wrote an article for the Times on this topic. So a) she's probably the one who wrote the articles on Hinzman (or cowrote) and b) a monthly magazine, Harper's, has given more attention to the G.I. movement than has a daily paper, the Times. While glad that Davey at least got a fraction of the paper's attention on this topic, Billie's point stands.

"It's overtly political. I do not believe that this country went to war for the excuses that they're putting out in their propaganda, the idea of us exporting democracy or actually defending this country. You know the president has already come out on TV and admitted not that they can't find any weapons of mass destruction but that there aren't any weapons of mass destruction. The links between Iraq and Al Qaeda and 9/11? False. I guess we could still claim that we are trying to export democracy but those were fraudulent elections . . ."
Carl Webb
, AWOL soldier (interviewed by Matthew Rothschild on The Progressive Radio, July 2005)

Portland e-mailed to note the above. [And my apologies to Portland because when this finally posted, it did so without attribution. Shirley caught it.]

Portland: What is news? To me this was. But outside of indymedia, you really didn't hear this story and the many others like it. Years from now, when a retrospective is done by the mainstream on this time period, are they going to utilize indymedia from this time period or are they going to just act as though large portions of history didn't exist? In the mainstream media, many news stories didn't exist.

But many people don't have an understanding that signing a contract and wearing a uniform doesn't mean that we can't make our own decisions or that we can't, based on our political and moral beliefs, make the decision to refuse a particular war, or to refuse war, period.
If you truly disagree with something, there's no uniform, and there's no Uniform Code of Military Justice, and there's no order that can force you to do it. In the end, you always make your own decision.
Camilo Mejia
(CounterPunch, September 2005)

Travis: When people take heroic stands they should be noted. I admire Mejia's committment to speaking out and think he's a voice worth noting.

I am convinced that the current war in Iraq is illegal. I am also convinced that the true causality for it lacked any high ground in the topography of morality. I believe as a member of the Armed Forces, beyond having duty to my Chain of Command and my President, I have a higher duty to my conscience and to the supreme law of the land. Both of these higher duties dictate that I must not participate in any way, hands-on or indirect, in the current aggression that has been unleashed on Iraq. In the past few months I have been continually asked if I regret my decision to refuse to board my ship and to do so publicly. I have spent hour upon hour reflecting on my decision, and I can tell you with every fiber of certitude that I possess that I feel in my heart I did the right thing.
Pablo Paredes
(statement at his court-martial via Democracy Now!)

Jill selected Pablo Paredes (and aslo noted Camilo Mejia) while wondering, "If we all heard his statement, all over the media and not just on Democracy Now! and other indymedia, what sort of difference would it make? I think it would seriously harm the 'stay the course' nonsense argument. And I think that's why the mainstream media doesn't cover it."

Use the earlier link to Amy Goodman's interview with Kathy Dobie, but I believe that Dobie or Goodman makes the point in that interview that the Pentagon doesn't want the AWOL story to get a great deal of attention due to fear that it might influence others.

Brandon notes that he's a music fan and that the following review led to him purchasing his first Joan Baez albums. (Baez, for those needing a transition, has, of course spoken out against the war and performed at Camp Casey as well as at the protest in DC last September.)

So there we were at The Fillmore. Sumner, Maggie, Dak-Ho and me. Toni couldn't go because she'd just started a new job and had to be on call. We'd driven to San Francisco so it was just as well because Toni swears the city is out to get her and every other smoker in the country.
It was 2004. March. That much we can agree on.
After that, it gets messy. Maggie's convinced it was the 21st of March. Sumner says it was the 12th. Dak-Ho can't remember. My ticket stub says March 13th. You might think my ticket stub would settle it. If so, you don't know my crowd. All the ticket stub led to was debates of "What if the stub had the wrong date on it?"
All four of us agree that we were at The Fillmore in 2004. Except for Dak-Ho, we can agree it was in March. Maggie can remember her exact outfit. You might be thinking, "But Kat, she's got the date wrong!" (Because, Maggie, you do have the date wrong. And I'm still waiting for you to return that Judy Collins CD.) Maggie can remember her exact outfit on any day, any event.
"Maggie, remember that time we saw Dylan?"
"We never saw Dylan."
"Maggie, remember that time we saw Dylan and you wore the black mini-skirt?"
"Oh, the leather one!" she'll squeal. "I remember I had on the cameo and when he performed 'Just Like A Woman' . . ."
Point is, there's never a great deal of agreement. But on one thing we do agree. Joan Baez was phenomenal. We're disputing the opening act. (I'm sure it was a female with an acoustic guitar and I'll put money on that.) We're disputing where we ate after the show. We were too nervous to eat before because when you're seeing the Queen, you don't want to show up stuffed -- the music will feed you.
Dark Chords On A Big Guitar was the album she was touring behind and we were all agreed that it was one of her finest. We tried to remember that Baez had been hitting the road for four decades now and that what could be accomplished in the studio might not be replicated live.
Point is, we were concerned about the voice. Forget Mel Gibson, Joan Baez is the road warrior. What, you thought it was Dylan? You obviously missed his periodic retirements.
("Kat's Korner: Joan Baez Bringing It All Back Home on Bowery Songs," September 2005)

Brandon writes, echoing many e-mails, "Kat makes the music come alive for me. Her writing is so much more than here's a factorid, there's a factorid, thumbs up! or thumbs down. I appreciate her contributions to the community."

Amen. We appreciate all the contrbutions, in fact, by all the members.

Today was a historical day and don't let anyone kid you otherwise. In my own home, my granddaughter Tracey and several of her friends came over to listen the live coverage on Pacifica. They sat spellbound as they listened to Congressman John Conyers, Jr.'s hearing, not because the Downing Street Memo was new to them (it wasn't), but because this was a moment of truth telling and the youth of any era always breathes in that sort of fresh air.
Watching them as they listened spellbound, as they exchanged excited glances, as they nudged one another during some sections, I was reminded of how it felt to hear real truth during the Vietnam conflict. There's this idea that the press, during the sixties or "back in the day," was on the trail of truth throughout and that's simply not how it was. We had our complaints, deserved complaints, about our own Operation Happy Talk that was being played out before us. But once we hit the tipping point (or, with a nod to The Third Estate Sunday Review, the tripping point), the whole phoney facade began to crack.
I think we're there or almost there today.
And to anyone discouraged or wondering if the hearing made any difference, I'd urge you to look around and notice how many people paid attention and became aware of the Downing Street Memo. I'd urge you to also note that for the first time NPR seemed to realize that it was a serious matter and one worth paying attention to.
Ruth (Ruth's Morning Edition Report June 17, 2005)

Charlie selected the above and noted that Ruth's contributions have become one of the things he looks most forward to. (Look forward Ruth's latest, this evening, Charlie. And Kat's as well, Brandon. I'm too tired at this point to be able to copy and paste their entries into Blogger without screwing something up when I have to fix the spacing. My apologies for the delay.)

Charlie: I always learn about a show I haven't heard of but should have and should be listening to. My one request to Ruth would be "More Yiddish in 2006."

Finally, we'll close this section out with Lily's pick which she dubs "advice to live by."

"If the F.B.I. wants to talk to you, call a lawyer."
Michael Ratner
(Law & Disorder, December 19, 2005)


Francsico: NBC's Dateline. Because . . . I'm kidding! The best news broadcast this year is the same as last year. It's hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez and it's Democracy Now!

Of all the honors (and dishonors) from last year, this was the one that hundreds wanted to weigh in on and I honestly don't know why. That's not an insult to Goodman and Gonzalez. But reading through e-mails listing this show (many of which were written in a "I'm going out on a limb on this" kind of manner), I had to wonder if some in the community honestly thought this category was ever in doubt? Were members worried that some heretofore unknown rogue element of 20/20 freaks had snuck into the community to stuff the ballot box?

As the cut off date for selections drew closer, more e-mails arrived on this topic. For those who may have been worried, everyone who e-mailed selected Goodman and Gonzalez's show. So I'm going to assume that the huge numbers of e-mails on this resulted from the fact that this show speaks to so many in the community. We went with Francisco's remarks because he selected it last year and because he made me laugh. Not at first. At I started reading, I thought, "Okay, we can note that one person also cited another show. These are chosen by members and Francisco's got a right to have his say." When I realized he was joking, I laughed. However, I'm guessing that some members reading this entry came close to having a panic attack before they got to "I'm kidding."


Dallas, West and Stephanie selected BuzzFlash. As Dallas noted, "They started off the year on a high point with an editorial for each day leading up to the coronation of the Bully Boy and they never let up. Whether you needed to laugh, fume or just be informed, BuzzFlash had what you were looking for, 365 days of the year with no vacations. And here's another reason to visit, this year they'll be doing what they do so well 366 days of the year because it's leap year."


For Eddie, Rachel, Micah, Mia, Jonah, Ned, Doug, Cindy and Susan the answer was obvious: Pacifica. Cited by all was the live coverage of the Conyers' hearing, the live coverage of the Roberts confirmation hearing and the day last month devoted to the archives. Also listed was pretty much the entire programming lineup but no links were provided and I'm not hunting them down. (I did grab the Pacifica link.) Wakeup Call, Law & Disorder, Flashpoints!, The Morning Show (KPFA), Sojourner Truth, and Free Speech Radio News were the ones mentioned most often.


Beth: If I've learned anything in the last few months as the ombudsperson it's that there are people who like to complain more than I do and they have access to e-mail. When C.I. invited me write something about the year 2005, I thought of a lofty message, or maybe something really deep. Then I figured "Beth, save your own ass." So in the interest of cutting down on some e-mail, let me answer the two most asked questions here. I've answered both in my column in the gina & krista round-robin, but still the questions continue to come in. What is the most linked article by the site? That's one that I thought I knew before I started counting and I was right. Naomi Klein's "Baghdad Year Zero" from Harper's. And as a bonus, I'll toss out the least linked magazine identifying as the "left." You should be able to guess this one but, hell, it was obvious to me that Klein had the most linked article before I started counting so who knows? With a total of zero links as of today, and I'm sure this will be true as of tomorrow and forever after, The New Republic. Congrats to The New Rag, it earned the silent treatment and then some. So question number two is also about links, is the New York Times the most linked to site here? No, it's not. It is the second most linked to site. Though the Times gets two entries a day, everything Democracy Now! does is linked to that day and links also pop up in Maria, Francisco and Miguel's headline summaries, in additional entries and in entries on the Times. So bookmark this entry before you write in and ask whether the Times is the most linked to by this site. Seriously.


Susan, Julie and Shane pick Bright Eyes performing "When A President Talks To God" on The Tonight Show.

, who most members know was effected directly by Hurricane Katrina, made the case for Hurricane Wilma.

Kara: It was as though Anderson [Cooper] and the others didn't see enough violence to interest them. In fact, Wilma got more attention before it hit than after. Before it hit, there was a lot of news teases, "When we come back, Hurricane Wilma headed towards Florida." When the destruction wasn't of interest to them, they stopped mentioning it.

Kara asks that we include Wally's "Florida edition" in full:

The Daily Jot isn't a morning blog. I like to get it out of the way but there are times when it's not possible. Like this morning. The agreement to get my grandfather to come to my mom's was that when he was ready to go back home, no one would try to talk him out of it and I'd just drive him back.
I'm still rubbing my eyes when he says this morning he's ready to go back.
So I took him and guess what, some homes still don't have electricity. Let me repeat that: Some homes still don't have electricty. Maybe you forgot, national media hasn't been interested, but Florida Power & Light swore that by November 22nd power would be back on. They missed that deadline.
So this is the Florida edition of The Daily Jot where I'm going to tell you what the national media hasn't because they don't care.
People who lost their housing are still waiting. They may be in a shelter temporarily. That's the lucky ones.
Car sales and home sales are down for the month. Some say the market in southern Florida has "
cooled" due to the hurricane.
Here's a story on something you probably didn't see in the "nation's paper" (New York Times), Joel Hood "
S. Florida's funeral homes coped creatively with Wilma's power outages:"
In the frantic first days after Hurricane Wilma, funeral homes in Broward and Palm Beach counties were forced to come up with creative ways to deal with power outages.
Without electricity to power crematoriums, some funeral homes stacked bodies in dressing rooms. Some shipped bodies to refrigerated holding rooms at county medical examiner's offices. Others embalmed bodies whether families wanted it or not.
Industry officials estimate funeral homes lost millions in the aftermath of Wilma on Oct. 24. Also, some now say restoring power to funeral homes should receive the same priority given to hospitals, supermarkets, and fire and police departments after a natural disaster.
"If we're unable to properly store bodies in a refrigerated facility or do embalming, there immediately starts to be a health issue," said Daniel Perrin, vice president of the Florida Funeral Directors Association, which represents 700 funeral homes.
That's from yesterday's Sun-Sentinel.
Remember when I told you that it was the rains that came through after the hurricane that hurt? Here's a story about today, "
20 to 50 residents displaced after building roof collapse in Oakland Park:"
Heavy rains on Tuesday afternoon left about 20 to 50 building occupants out on the street after a roof collapse in Oakland Park.
The building located at 4061 N. Dixie Highway was determined to be unsafe by a building official and was red tagged. The building had suffered previous roof damage from Hurricane Wilma.
The displaced residents are making arrangements to relocate on their own.
Diane C. Lade's "
Gas costs hurting volunteers who help disabled, elderly:"
An AARP survey of 568 people age 50 and older, released in October, found 62 percent limited their daily driving because of gas prices after Hurricane Katrina drove up fuel costs. And 41 percent said they cut spending in other areas to pay for gas.
For effects on the high end, check out Douglas Hanks III's "
For a stylish measure of Hurricane Wilma's economic impact, don your best apparel and head out this evening to the White Party.
Half of the restaurants signed up to cater the gala at Miami's Vizcaya Museum have pulled out of the event, saying they lost too much money in the Oct. 24 storm to justify donations to the AIDS fundraiser, organizers said.
''After the storm many called and said, 'We've been out of power for 10 days, we lost all our food, we were in trouble anyway. And we won't be able to help you,''' said Rick Siclari, executive director of Care Resource, the AIDS charity that puts on White Party.
Here's the Associated Press's "
Wilma highlights plight of Florida's migrant farmworkers:"
Ernesto and Carmen Vasquez intend to celebrate the holidays at home despite the SUV-sized hole in their living-room ceiling -- a calling card left by Hurricane Wilma -- and the red "X" on their door marking the trailer as condemned.
It's been one month since Wilma whipped through their Everglades mobile home park in western Palm Beach County, flattening many of their neighbors' homes, but the couple have yet to receive a visit from aid workers or local officials. Shelters here are scarce, so they plan to remain in their two-bedroom trailer with their two children -- if the rest of the roof doesn't cave in.
"We still have a house, so I suppose we are among the lucky ones," Carmen Vasquez said, as she looked up at the ceiling boards, sagging above photos of her children.
The Vasquez family is among thousands of Florida's uninsured farmworkers, some still without electricity, who are awaiting help in the wake of the Oct. 24 storm that thrashed South Florida at the end of the nation's worst hurricane season on record. Farmworker advocates say the situation is bad, but worse is the fact that it is looking like a repeat of last year, with migrant workers' flimsy housing rebuilt just in time for the next season's storms.
Maybe you needed aid? How's that going? This is from "
Food Stamps Yet To Arrive For 50,000 Wilma Victims:"
Almost 3 million people filed for emergency food stamps in one of Florida's biggest disasters -- Hurricane Wilma.On Tuesday, one Boynton Beach woman said it's taken so long to get the food stamps, she's had to take out a cash advance and skip Thanksgiving.Ketty Jules is just one of about 50,000 people who are still waiting for that emergency help.Jules is a working single mom who, like many, lives from paycheck to paycheck.When hurricane Wilma roared thru last month, Ketty lost her electricity and a week's paycheck.
"Because of everything defrosting, I threw away everything in the fridge and went to John Prince Park and waited for almost four hours," she said. "They told me food stamp cards would get here in 7 to 10 days, and nothing ever did."
Well at least the rent stayed the same. Who wants to move to the area now? But believe it or not, rent's have risen. This is from Robin Benedick's "
South Florida landlords blame rising taxes, insurance costs for rent surge:"
Landlords in South Florida say skyrocketing taxes and insurance costs are forcing them to sell their units or raise rents -- in some cases by several hundred dollars a month.
Rental property doesn't qualify for Florida's Save Our Homes property tax break, which limits annual property tax increases on homes to 3 percent.
I could go on and on. There are millions of stories. Too bad the national media doesn't seem to give a damn.
So that's it for the Florida Edition of The Daily Jot today.


In case Gwen Ifill missed it, the front page of the New York Times on Saturday October 29, 2005 featured a prominent photo of Patrick J. Fitzgerald (by Doug Mills) and one of Scooter Libby (also by Mills) along with the main headline "Cheney Aide Charged With Lying in Leak Case." Under that headline were the following articles, "Inquiry Quest: 'Straight Story': A Prosecutor's Focus Shifted to a Cover-Up" (Todd S. Purdum), "Libby Quits Post: Rove's Fate Unresolved -- Political Crisis for the White House" (David Johnston and Richard W. Stevenson),
"Novel Strategy Pits Journalists Against Source" (Katharine Q. Seelye and Adam Liptak) and a small photo of Karl Rove (Tim Sloan, Agence France-Press -- Getty Images) tops a notice of three additional stories inside that day's paper. (No links, I'm working from the print copy.)

Why do we feel the need to note all of that? Because Brenda nominated Ifill for an "honor." Condi Rice's cooking buddy. Still undisclosed on The NewsHour? The NewsHour is where Gwen Ifill embarrassed herself (more than once to be sure, but we're focusing on July 18th, 2005's telecast, as noted by Bob Somerby) by calling Plamegate "a summer scandal."

Fitzgerald's still investigating, Libby's been indicted (this fall) and Brenda wonders if Ifill still feels it's only a summer scandal? At Brenda's request, the words to "It's Only A Summer Scandal" which should be sung to the tune of Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler's "It's Only a Paper Moon" as you picture Condi and Gwen kicking off their shoes, pushing the couch back and performing the song:

Say, it's only a summer scandal
Bully Boy will soon have the handle
He's the king of the make-believe
Do you believe in me?
Yes, it's only a scandal de sum
Reporters move on if we play mum
King George of the make believe
Do you believe in me?. . .
It's a Bully and Cheney world
Just as phony as it can be
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me

Eli asked that we note "When Judy Goes Scoop" which is Harold Adamson and Hoagy Carmichael song "When Loves Goes Wrong" with "When Judy Goes Scoop" taking the place of "When Loves Goes Wrong:"

The sun don't beam
The moon don't shine
The tide don't ebb and flow
A clock won't strike
A match won't light
When Judy goes scoop
Nothing goes right

And that's it. Those are the honors as selected by members. If something was missed, e-mail and we'll try to add it it in. That means if you wrote before the original deadline and highlighted a person, program or site that wasn't mentioned, e-mail and we'll add it in. (That doesn't mean that if you suddenly remember something we'll add on to this entry.) Last year, I accidentally overlooked Keesha and she e-mailed me to remind me. It could happen again (and probably did). *ADDED* A number of e-mails came in saying they'd noted this TV review or that by Ava and myself. Yes, those were noted. I'd checked with Ava when they first started coming in and asked if she was okay with them not being mentioned. She was, I was. (You also don't see mentions of any members who noted something I wrote here -- for the same reason, it's self-referential. I made the call, take it up with Beth.) But I did overlook someone and my apologies for that.


West created this award for Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts comics. As requested by West, I'd forwarded that e-mail onto Isaiah and then, honestly, forgot about it until West e-mailed asking about his category. My apologies. (If I forgot anyone else that noted a person or topic not already covered, we'll do it in a separate entry because this one is so huge that it takes several minutes to get back into it. If there are corrections on this, they will also be done in another entry for the same reason. I did pull a statement I'd made about Davey's articles not being front paged on the AWOL soldiers because I'm not sure at least one of them wasn't.)

West: It's great to see what other members are interested in and to read the commentary but on Sunday's we always get Isaiah's latest comic if he's not on vacation and that's something I look forward to. It breaks up the text look of the site and it's also very funny. In 2006, when he's on vacation, I hope you'll rerun an old comic on Sunday because that's really one of my favorite things about Sundays.

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