Thursday, February 03, 2005

community members questions

Terrance: I have a suggestion for Black History Month but is it okay to send links?

It's more than okay. Demetrika did that today and wanted us both billed. (I corrected that after it posted, by the way. It had said "cowritten" and we actually compiled. No note on that because if I catch it in the first moments, I do consider it a draft, right or wrong.) I would argue that post was more Demetrika but she wanted to share. You can do whatever you want on those entries. Just choose someone you think should be highlighted this month and do bullets, do paragraphs, do links, whatever you'd like. And of course, you can just suggest someone if you'd prefer. (E-mail address is

Krista: The Friday after the inaguration, you highlighted several Indy Media cites, could you do that again?

Yes. I think we'll change AW Review to AMR for alternative media review. The reason for that is a large number of the alternatives are the same from one area to the next. You'll get the same columns, the same articles. If they have a big story, I might highlight them and certainly they'll be highlighted if you send something in from one. But I really think Indy Media needs to be spotlighted and thank Krista for pointing out the need.

Susan: What are you listening to right now?

Right now at this moment, I'm listening to Bright Eyes. Hold on and let me check the title to see which CD it is. I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. I also have the other one that came out but it's in the stereo in the living room (and I'm too lazy to get up and go get it). I was also asked by someone who didn't give permission to be quoted if I had Ani DiFranco's new one. Yes, I try to buy Ani the day she comes out. I haven't had time to get into it. With DiFranco, I really need to enter it slowly. In the last years, I've missed a great deal of the beauty of her work initially so I try to listen to it repeatedly before committing. I honestly haven't had time in the week and two days to do that. (I listened to Tori Amos's Tales of a Libraian today and now Bright Eyes. And that may be all I've listened to this week.) On the subject of music, Kat's working on a Kat's Korner and said I could pass that on. Three e-mails asking her to weigh in on something have resulted in two paragraphs. She says if she doesn't trash it, it should be ready sometime in the next seven days.

Billy: I appreciate that you're not taking sides regarding and Danny Schechter but if you're truly not taking sides, shouldn't you have a link to Schechter's blog since there's one to

Good point. And I've added the link before I started this post. (I also corrected "CodePink" which had been "Code Pink." Thanks to Tracee for e-mailing on that.)

Ralph: You said you weren't taking sides with MOo and D Schechter but I feel that you did and you weighted it in D's favor.

I may have. If I did, I'm sorry. There was a longer section on that which I deleted before the post went up. I also deleted a section on something I highlighted where I agreed with the blogger's commentary but not with a statement from a person being quoted (whom I felt didn't know what they were talking about). I got bogged down in that and ended up calling a friend who knows about what the quoted person didn't. This resulted in six paragraphs explaining why I thought the person quoted (not the commentator at the web site) was wrong.

I'd spent forever on that post. Then I saw another post from the same site and went with that.
That allowed me to delete the six paragraphs and I felt the entry was far too wordy from me so I deleted some of the comments on Schechter and I was tired and just wanting it up so if got the short end of the stick (or if Schecter did) it's very likely that deleting two paragraphs from the middle of that entry caused that.

I do think WMD is a great documentary. I do think has a right to decide what they want to highlight. We'll continue to highlight WMD (and Schechter here) and we'll continue to highlight

Both do great work. But, Danny Schechter's question is a solid one and not for alone, for everyone. Criticizing Fox "News" is easy criticism because they aren't news in any manner. We need to criticize all the mainstream media that's not doing their job or duty. (My opinion.) I believe has criticized mainstream media in the past and that they will continue to do so. But I do think we need to ask ourselves if we're going to do the sort of strong job that FAIR does (for instance) or if we're just going to focus on Fox, Limbaugh, et al.

I'm sure MoveOn could care less about 'respectability.' But if others have any hesitation of criticizing NPR, or the New York Times, or ABC World News Tonight or whatever, they need to get over it (my opinion) because Fox may be the worst offender but we're seeing a lot of journalistic "crimes" and the impression shouldn't be that the rest are doing a fine job.

Troy: The entries today were so brief when I think about what's usually up.

Yes, they were. I woke up thirty minutes late, had to workout (for sanity) and then had to do the normal morning pre-work junk. I avoided Robin Toner's article on the front page because I've been told (face to face) that I'm too easy on Toner. (I don't believe Toner's ever made the blog. And it's for that reason.) So I avoided commenting on that article. I also read Todd Purdum's article twice because I couldn't believe it was labeled "news analysis" (and might have read it a third time to be sure had I not read Bernado's e-mail and known I wasn't the only one dropping a jaw over that "news analysis").

That said, short entries should be a part of the mix. And I grasped onto that belief as an excuse this morning. I'm also dealing with e-mails today, one specifically which brings up the next question.

Keesha: What is ____'s response to Rebecca's post on Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude and are those the type of e-mails you've been receiving?

____ wants to make a comment to the community but ____ keeps changing ____'s mind about what it is _____ wants to say.
If you read Rebecca's post (which I'm not going to link to until ____ decides what ___ wants posted), it's probably obvious whom Rebecca is talking about.
The issue was not questions on my end. The issue was statements that were untrue. I don't mean opinions. I mean the sort of things Rebecca referred to where _____ wrote her and claimed she had blogged about a vacation we took together or an affair we had. Those are lies.
They didn't happen and Rebecca didn't blog on them.
And Rebecca's sharper than I am because when I get that sort of e-mail, I freak out and think, "My God, how tired was I when I blogged? I must have been falling asleep or something that I could write something that lacked so much clarity that ____ now thinks I was saying . . ." So I end up wasting time searching the blog for these "statements" and not finding them because they weren't blogged on.
And ___ noted I was frustrated with ___ when I made statements this week on ____ and questions. I was frustrated. I'd been told I'd said all these personal things about Donnie Fowler, things I wouldn't even know about. And I'd given ____ the benefit of the doubt and thought, "Well ___'s misunderstood and I need to find this post and clear it up because others might be misunderstanding as well."
Unlike Rebecca, I didn't read e-mails from ____ and catch on that they were intentional lies. But having read Rebecca's blog, I know what she's talked about. And Rebecca's response was to recognize a lie.
____'s problem in multiple e-mails today and last night revolve around ___'s belief that Rebecca and I arranged that entry. I read it after ____ e-mailed about it.
___ also feels that Rebecca broke a rule by quoting her without permission. I don't think Rebecca broke a rule because Rebecca has no such rule at her blog. (And a week or two ago, she quoted another person who'd been harrassing her in e-mails. So by that, a pattern should have been established that was obvious.)
Rebecca's blog is not The Common Ills. She can follow whatever policy she wants and she can disagree with anything here if she wants. Just the fact that she doesn't follow the same language policy we do here should indicate that she's not working out of some Common Ills rule book.
_____ had some good questions when they didn't include "You said"s that I'd never written.
If we didn't have our policy on quoting, I would have done what Rebecca did at some point because it was really beginning to irritate me -- being told I blogged about this personal experience with someone when I never did (and usually didn't have the sort of personal experience ___ was suggesting I'd had).

Brian: I wrote yesterday about a Times article but I didn't get the usual automatic reply.

I didn't have an e-mail from you yesterday and I don't have one on the Times from you as of right before I started blogging on this. If you don't get the automated reply, assume that it didn't go through and try writing again.
I know that's frustrating. As Wendy has pointed up, the Elisabeth Bumiller post today is up multiple times. That's because I wrote it around eight-thirty and sent it but it wasn't showing up, so I sent it again and again and again . . . I'll keep the first one that hit. (And others may show up, there are three more out there.) I have no idea why an e-mail didn't go through. I do check the bulk mail folder before deleting to make sure no one's personal e-mail went there by accident.

Lyle: Focusing on Black History Month each day currently, does that mean you'll focus on Women's History next month?

I would like to. I'll note that if we're still up this time next year, unless new entries are sent in by members, we'll probably do reposts. The Julian Bond entry (which is just "snapshots") took a couple of hours. If we do a mixture, we'll probably only repeat the ones you request be repeated.

Eli: Can we have a favorite song poll?

I think that's a great idea. So start e-mailing on that if you have a favorite song and we'll try to do a post on that for Sunday. Again, one song. It would help if you'd identify the artist you enjoy performing the song since many songs are covered by several artists. You can mention song writers or an album you enjoy the song on. But I'm not going to do links. (If you provide one, it will be included.) You can talk about the song in any way you like, what it means to you, what it reminds you of, what you think of when you hear it or any comments you'd like to make. And if those comments are to be quoted, please note that in the e-mails.

Rod: Where's the post Kara and Rob wanted on the middle east coverage in The New York Times?

I was taking too long on that (as I always do, sorry) and Rob and Kara are e-mailing each other and trying to come up with a post they'll write themselves. Since they are working on it, I've tossed out my clippings (after making sure they didn't need them). So it will be done by them or not at all.

Lyle: No offense, but I don't feel you've been on top of your game since the inauguration. Other than the post on Jacksonville, Florida, I really haven't been too impressed.

I'm not offended by that comment. Your opinion is welcome and is probably correct. I was wiped out from the protests and then coming back to the ever increasing e-mails. Add in that winter is my least favorite season (everything dies) and all I want to do when it gets really cold is sleep, I wouldn't argue with you and claim to be "on top of" my "game." I do think the post "Amy Goodman Warned Us About 'The Lies of the Times'" was a strong one because it revolved around Goodman and around resources for honest coverage of the protests. Other than that, I'm not sure that I've been overly impressed with anything I've done of late either.

Frank in Orlando: I feel you've really begun attacking the Times and not with humor.

You may be right. I am very frustrated with the paper and with superficial coverage.

Gina: I am glad you've taken a firmer tone with NYT and are expressing your opinions and not being all Oprah-like.

And you weren't the only one wanting more opinion of what was in the paper. Frank in Orlando does have a point, though. When I started commenting on the Times, I did try to just say: "Here's something worth reading" or "Avoid this." But many of you have e-mailed that you want more opinion so I've put in more opinion. I'm also very offended by the Times' obit on John L. Hess and probably feel a need to climb up on my soap-box as a result of what he stood for and how the Times portrayed him. Add to that the superficial job that has replaced the outstanding coverage of the tsunami and my disappointments in the paper are probably very strong. I really did hope that what we were seeing those first two weeks were a sign of where the paper could go in 2005. Now, I think that, as many of you pointed out during those first two weeks, what we saw was the paper scrambling to cover a big story when the "all stars" were on "holiday" and so real reporters (and real editors and real photographers) got to roll up their sleeves and shine. I think they did incredible work those first two weeks and I think they've fallen back into lazy habits since. Frank in Orlando's probably hearing my frustration over how quickly the Times fell from their high point.

Trina: That was a lot of links to add in one day and I'm trying to absorb them.

Wasn't it? I think it was too many as well. I'd already stated that we'd be linking to the NAACP and the ACLU and CodePink earlier in the month. (I believe I'd stated that.) Then when I was doing those links, I thought about the attacks on MoveOn and how important it was to support them because they are doing grass roots work and their spirit and activism is to be applauded.
Danny Schechter's blog is up now as well (and I'll try to do an entry on that tomorrow -- Billy's point was more than valid and I wanted to reply immediately by linking to Schechter's blog but I hadn't thought of what to say about it so it will have to wait until tomorrow).

Brenda: If I start a blog, can I count on some help from you?

Yes, but it may not be much help to you. I'm a computer idiot. But if any community member wants to start a blog, I will try to assist in whatever way I can. If you want to e-mail a draft, I'll be happy to read over it and give you whatever input you need. (Don't count on me to check spelling though. You don't want my help on that.) I can talk you through some basics that I've learned through trial and error re: technical issues. But I will try to be there in any way I can.
And I hope other people are thinking about it. Even if they don't end up blogging. Rebecca made a comment in her interview in The Third Estate Review about how my posts were very do-it-yourself. And they are. Full of typos and glitches. If I can do this, anyone can.

Cedric: Is there a reason you don't highlight Democracy Radio?

Yes, I wasn't aware of it. I wasn't aware that you could listen online. I was completely ignorant of it. That's why we need you to pass on what you're interested in and what you know about so that we can all be informed. I'll try to listen to Stephanie Miller's show in the next few days. (No later than Tuesday.) And I'll try to grab at least a half hour of Ed Schultz tomorrow.

Free Speech Radio News is a program I listen to daily and will probably provide a permalink to next month.

Cedric notes that "Air America isn't the only game in town." No, it's not. And we're lucky to have so many great voices available and hopefully can find someone that speaks to each of us. I do start my day with Morning Edition on NPR, then listen to Unfiltered on Air America. After that I'm usually catching Democracy Now! if I'm able to at that point. After lunch, I'll grab Free Speech Radio News (if I'm able to). Then I'll listen to The Randi Rhodes Show. By the time I'm home and settled, I'm listening to The Majority Report. If I'm not talk radio-ed out, I'll catch The Mike Malloy Show and/or the BBC. Before Air America started, I'd sworn off TV "news" and was existing on Democracy Now!, the BBC and NPR (I like The Diane Rhemes Show and Terry Gross's Fresh Air -- I listen to both now based on the guests they have; I listen to Morning Edition because it's a wide range of reports and, honestly, easier for me to switch off and get out the door than listening to Air America Radio's Morning Sedition -- I'm always rushing in the morning but I get caught up in Morning Sedition and I honestly, and sadly, don't have the time for that).

That's my schedule based on what speaks to me. There are other alternatives and if, for instance, Lizz Winstead and Rachel Maddow are doing a segment I'm not enjoying, I'll flip over to NPR and catch something there. (I need to become more familiar with the Pacifica stations.)
There are people who e-mail that they hate this show or that show. Obviously, that show's not speaking to you. So you should explore to see if you can find something that does speak to you.

During the lead up to the war, there was very little to listen to. (I did listen to The Randi Rhodes Show and The Mike Malloy Show pre-Air America Radio.) That we now have so many more voices is a plus. Hopefully, there are enough programs currently that we can all find something to listen to. There's Air America Radio, Democracy Radio, Fire on the Prarie from In These Times, The Nation's Radio Nation, The Progressive's Progressive Radio and Matthew Rothschild's Progressive Point of View, Pacifica, Fair's CounterSpin, Democracy Now!, Take Back the Media's TBTM Radio, and others that we'll all be able to find something that speaks to us. [BuzzFlash will choose their hypocrite of the week tomorrow. I always read that but you can also listen to it. So tomorrow, I'll highlight that.]

But those are the ones that I know. If there's a show you like (that can be heard nationally -- broadcast, sattelite or online), please share it so that we can all sample. We need more voices, not less voices. And they don't have to agree with one another. There's not one right point of view for the left. So if you know some show that hasn't been highlighted, do like Cedric did and e-mail in about it.

Bernado: Can you do a "magazine report" today?

Not today, I need to go to bed. But I'll do one tomorrow (Saturday at the latest) highlighting the mags I read in print this week, okay? That will consist of The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times and (hopefully) Mother Jones. (Hopefully means I need to finish the issue.) (We highlighted three things from Rolling Stone magazine this weekend, so I'll leave it out of the mix.) And if I'm really industrious, I'll finish Left Turn which Sally recommended I pick up.