listen to the rachel maddow show if you haven't already

if you're listening to the rachel maddow show, you're hearing some strong radio. if you're not, and it's on very early, consider listening to it via air america place.

this morning, i got up and got online early. read the common ills which, to be honest, is my must read in the morning. the new york times just lays out on the porch in it's little baggie.

here's what i read this morning at the common ills:

And let's give credit where it's due, Rachel Maddow stressed this story this morning on The Rachel Maddow Show. Remember, if the show is on too early for you, you can listen to it online at Air America Place. Also on this morning's show, you'll hear clips of Henry Hyde admitting that the impeachment of Bill Clinton was probably motivated by a need for 'payback' for the attempted impeachment of Richard Nixon.

i read that and my mouth just dropped. it's so petty, and so true to the nature of people like henry hyde. richard nixon was run out of office and for good reason but there they were planning and plotting their revenge. so a consensual sex affair and trying to bring down a president over it becomes 'payback.'

isn't it just typical of their petty mind set?

i rushed over to air america place to listen to rachel maddow's reporting on it and was really glad i did. and of course, now it's the talk of the web. but i wonder how many others bothered to give rachel maddow credit? that's 1 of the many things i love about the common ills, c.i. is no glory hog and is more than happy to credit others. you'd be surprised how rare that is online.

if you want to read about it, via buzzflash, go to abc7chicago. have to keep it short tonight due to company.


brian williams and the need for a new sensation

joe hagan has a wonderful article in the latest new york observer. c.i. passed it on knowing i would especially appreciate one item:

Tonight on NBC, the original Apprentice—that is, Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News. Is it just us, or does Mr. Williams seem like the genetic result of crossing Jimmy Stewart, Paul Lynde and a tangerine?

no, joe, it's not just you. there is something truly creepy about brian williams. why? i think joe's gotten close to the issue, there is nothing authentic or genuine about brian williams as he comes off on television.

when he's 'anchoring,' you never for a moment forget that he is reading the news. there's no substance, there's nothing. you just watch (if you must) and think, 'oh, he's reading the teleprompter.' he's done nothing to earn the viewers trust or respect.

but to watch nightly news, you'd never know that. he operates, not unlike the bully boy, as though he has a mandate. he doesn't. to the average nightly news reader, brian williams is a big shrug, a big huh?

it's not just that he's bland, it's, as joe points out, that he's not quite right. there's just something there that doesn't fit. it's as though there's no person sitting behind the desk.
it's disturbing.

i want to quote something else that was forwarded to me, this time by sherry:

The new American militarism also manifests itself through an increased propensity to use force, leading, in effect, to the normalization of war. There was a time in recent memory, most notably while the so-called Vietnam Syndrome infected the American body politic, when Republican and Democratic administrations alike viewed with real trepidation the prospect of sending U.S. troops into action abroad. Since the advent of the new Wilsonianism, however, self-restraint regarding the use of force has all but disappeared. During the entire Cold War era, from 1945 through 1988, large-scale U.S. military actions abroad totaled a scant six. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, however, they have become almost annual events. The brief period extending from 1989's Operation Just Cause (the overthrow of Manuel Noriega) to 2003's Operation Iraqi Freedom (the overthrow of Saddam Hussein) featured nine major military interventions. And that count does not include innumerable lesser actions such as Bill Clinton's signature cruise missile attacks against obscure targets in obscure places, the almost daily bombing of Iraq throughout the late 1990s, or the quasi-combat missions that have seen GIs dispatched to Rwanda, Colombia, East Timor, and the Philippines. Altogether, the tempo of U.S. military interventionism has become nothing short of frenetic.
As this roster of incidents lengthened, Americans grew accustomed to -- perhaps even comfortable with -- reading in their morning newspapers the latest reports of U.S. soldiers responding to some crisis somewhere on the other side of the globe. As crisis became a seemingly permanent condition so too did war. The Bush administration has tacitly acknowledged as much in describing the global campaign against terror as a conflict likely to last decades and in promulgating -- and in Iraq implementing -- a doctrine of preventive war.
that's from andrew j. bacevich's
'the normalization of war' and i think we need to be thinking about this.

when we all get together on saturday nights (ava, dona, jess, ty and jim of the 3rd estate sunday review, c.i., betty, sometimes kat and/or folding star of a winding road), we discuss a number of issues that never make it into the third estate sunday review. we're all rushing to read through this or add a thought about that and we get into some really free wheeling conversations.

of late, one of them has been about our nation's responses. it seems more and more that the bully boy has set the agenda and our only response to any problem, crisis, tragedy is a military response. there are more responses than sending in the marines and i think we need to break from the knee jerk reaction to always resort to sending in troops (which risks their lives). grown ups can do that, they can find other solutions. but the bully boy can only think war, war, war! and it's hurting our country.

we need to move beyond thinking there 'oh send in the troops.' mad maddie albright (as c.i. calls her) is infamous for wanting to send in troops during clinton's administration against the opinions of colin powell. when he objected, mad maddie replied basically with what is the point of having this military if you don't use it?

mad maddie, we have vaccines for small pox, what are you suggesting?

because that sort of limited thinking does suggest somethings. (no mad maddie wasn't suggesting small pox.) we need to move beyond the idea that 'we're mad and we're going to kick your ass!'

these are conversations we have on saturday nights and pull from what we see in our activist circles and it's obvious that this is a dialogue that's going on nation wide even though it's not getting a lot of attention and even though it doesn't have everyone's ear.

but this is a point when we need to start asking, how do we deal with these things?

and i also think we need to move beyond dualism. granted the 'carrot' would be an improvement over the bully boy's little stick - which must be red and raw from over use by now.
but i do think that we need to be actively considering what our government could be doing.
i think we've accepted the idea that because this is how our country responds to x, then that is just the way it should be now and forever.

so if you have time tomorrow, put yourself in the oval office and think of a situation. think of sudan or nepal or any area and ask yourself, 'what could i do?'

if you're nervous, don't be.

if the bully boy can do his bad job and get away with it, could you really do worse?

attitudes are being bred across the world, anger at us over our government's policies. that anger will be there long after the bully boy's term ends. we need to figure out how we're going to address it. in 3 more years, bully boy's stick will be a small, bloody stump. we're going to need to have some new tools to work with. think about it.

in the words of inxs:

A new sensation
Hate baby hate
When there's nothing left for you
You're only human, what can you do?
It'll soon be over
Don't let your pain take over you
Love baby love
It's written all over your face
There's nothing better we could do
Than live forever
Well that's all we've got to do
Hey nowI'm gonna take you over, a new sensation, a new sensation
Right now
Gotta hold on you a new sensation, a new sensation
A new sensation, a new sensation


brian montopoli can still kiss my ass but no i am not upset with ava or c.i.

to those asking, yes, brian montopoli can still kiss my ass. no, i am not upset about by ava and c.i.'s post.

they have a right to state an opinion. i disagree with it regarding brian montopoli but i do understand where they are coming from. even if i didn't understand, i'd still back and support them.

i was given a heads up as was jim, jess, ty and dona of the third estate sunday review. none of us needed a heads up because they stated very clearly at the start that they were speaking for themselves.

here's the basics. a joke they came up with in passing may or may not have hurt brian montopoli on a personal level because it may or may not have had some truth in it. they came up with the joke and they felt responsible.

they had alerted all of us to what was going on and why by mid-day and they were going to be taking notes for a review last night. since none of us objected, nor would we ever object to them saying what they wanted to, they went ahead and did that last night.

c.i. was already going to right about boy nags (i like that better than nag boy, by the way so i hope they continue to use boy nags) and the washington post thing which is no surprise because a) community member brad had asked for some comments and b) boy nags was a part of the outing of "george" and that is a topic c.i.'s addressed before.

so with no objections and talking about brian montopoli, they went ahead and wrote the thing they were thinking of writing later.

my personal feelings are that brian montopoli, young or not, is open season the way any 1 is but they felt it was similar to when they write a tv review and attempt to not critique child actors too strongly. check out their review of hope & faith and you'll see that they pin the problems with the daughters on the writing. that's because the daughters are played by young actresses who are not yet 18 and are not the stars of the show.

there thinking with brian is that if this came in about some 1 at the times, tough titty, they're grown up and they're established. but with brian montopoli he is still early in his journalism career and they'd much prefer to go after more 'worthy targets.'

i understand where they are coming from and i respect it. i disagree but i'm not upset.

my attitude is that brian montopoli is not a 'young journalist,' he is a journalist who is an adult.
and he is fair game the way any other journalist is.

but i also realize that candy perfume boy is their creation. they've created an entire character out of candy perfume boy and it's larger than life. when 1 aspect of the joke might have really upset brian montopoli, they felt very bad because they had been aiming the guns at that. if they upset montopoli it was the result of cross fire because they had not been trying to touch an issue that they had no idea of.

i'd also argue that having created candy perfume boy, they feel very loyal to their creation and see it as a commentary for good and the fact that it could cause harm in a non-journalistic criticism manner bothered them. this was a humorous way to do criticism of the press and the idea that it might have gone beyond that bothered them.

they're not worried that brian montopoli feels 'candy perfume boy is an embarrassment to me' and they aren't dropping the character. they love the character. but let's say brian was allergic to bananas and didn't want people to know and that, without knowing, they wrote a thing where candy perfume boy is rushed to the hospital after eating a banana, they would feel bad about that. they were just riffing and coming up with jokes and had no idea he was allergic to bananas.
now this detail that they came up with was causing him embarrassment and revealing something he'd prefer to keep private that has nothing to do with journalism.

that's what their statements regarding brian were about.

and they were aware the e-mail from the person claiming to be brian could be a crank.

jim wondered if a private e-mail to brian might not be the better way to go but c.i. and ava both felt that to do a private e-mail to him without telling readers could be compromising.

candy perfume boy is their creation. so if there was a problem with it, they wanted to deal with that and not run off to the safety of a private e-mail that readers or community members never knew of.

if it's nothing, and it may be nothing, they've noted it and noted that this is a joke and that they are actually fond of brian montopoli. or that they have grown fond of him which may be confusing their creation of candy perfume boy with brian montopoli himself. if that's the case, it happens with creative people and ava and c.i. are very creative.

they also are the 2 least jaded of all of us.

they do believe that most people can change. and with regards to brian montopoli they feel that he really just needs to focus on his true priorities and he won't fall into the fluff crowd.

again, i disagree. i think he's shown his true nature and don't give him a pass for being politically unaware. but i do understand why c.i. and ava do and i don't fault either of them for that. and with 2 degrees in poli sci, c.i.'s a better judge of politically unaware than am i.

jodi wilgoren got serious about her job. i see that as the exception. i'm a bit more pessimistic than c.i. or ava.

but this was their creation and they were using it to criticize journalism and rounding it out, with no knowledge of brian montopoli, to create this wonderful, funny character (which it is) and in the process some 1 e-mails that brian was truly upset by something that they created to flesh out the character because it happens to be true.

that's why they said that they can easily drop that. it's not central to the character. but they don't intend to drop the character.

a cokie roberts or some 1 on that level has spent their lives being irrelevant and making a mockery of "news." they could care less what cokie roberts thought of 1 of their jokes. but they see brian montopoli as a young journalist attempting to make his way and as such they felt bad that something they wrote might have been not just a joke but something very personal to brian montopoli.

if he responds will they note it? that's the 2nd biggest question i've gotten today. and i'm guessing it's payback for being lazy and having e-mail go to c.i.'s e-mail for so long and letting c.i. forward it to me lol.

if brian wanted to say something to the community they would note it. if he wrote a private e-mail it would be as private as any thing any 1 else wrote so it wouldn't be mentioned.

they are the creative 1s of all of us. they did their replies to e-mail last saturday in 1 hour and the bulk of that hour was waiting on replies from people they quoted to get permission. and in their e-mails they noted that they would be replying in a sarcastic manner.

there was a great reply they had to 1 crank but that crank didn't give permission so they cut that out. but i'd be surprised if they spent more than 15 minutes on it and yet it is funny and to the point. that's what creative people can do. and even with that, they wanted to be sure that every 1 who was quoted knew that if they were quoted, they'd be getting a smart remark back.

or look at the media roundtable where some 1 said, maybe it was me (it was ty, i just read over it), that randy cohen told us that daniel okrent was censured and c.i. had to correct that with cohen said he believed that or thought that.

sherry worried that the post might mean that c.i. was going to stop going after elisabeth bumiller or others. don't worry, sherry. those are professional, established journalists. it's the difference between nicole kidman and the kids on life with jim. they aren't going to go after kids. and that's how they see brian montopoli, as someone attempting to establish himself as a journalist. as such when they intentionally joke about something, they are joking about the writing, not the person. candy perfume boy is their creation and it is a means to criticize brian montopoli but it is not meant to be the inside dope on brian montopoli as a person.

laura was the only 1 who picked up on the most important point of the piece, or most important to me. c.i. has never outed the times reporter that screamed in an e-mail 'you are destroying my life!' but when the e-mail came in on smallville and ava noted it and how the e-mailer said 'that's the kind of writing you should be doing' c.i.'s face gave away that this was the person.
to me that's the point of the entry, the main point.

professional journalists want to whine, and did to howard kurtz, but when you are writing about a tv show in the same manner, they think that's fine. they think it's funny.

professional journalists are not above criticism and as c.i. and ava noted, that's the same sort of criticism they've long run in papers on authors, film makers, singers, etc. but when that same treatment is aimed at them, they want to cry foul.

i don't like barry manilow. but papers have felt no reason to criticize his work on a 'higher ground' plane. they've trashed him relentlessly. but somehow when adam nagourney is turned into the barry manilow of his profession, that's a 'foul.'

so when some reporter wants to say 'that was so cruel' about something about them but wants to go off and praise a smallville review that rips the show apart, in a very funny way, then what we're seeing is that the reporter feels there are 2 kinds of criticism, the kind for him and the kind for others.

it doesn't work that way.

1 line that got caught from the roundtable, or 1 section that got cut, had kat saying that journalists were once again becoming the new rock stars and c.i. replied that no, a few were becoming the new rock stars or rap stars and the rest of them were churning out easy listening crap.

i don't remember why that got cut. it was a very long transcript. we all worked on the 1st cut and it was in there then. ava and c.i. went off to write their review and the rest of kept working on shaping it and making it flow. a lot was left on the cutting floor. and when you're re-reading something for the 12th time, you're not noticing what's gone, just if it flows.

if i'd noticed that the section had dropped out, i would have argued for it to be put back in. i thought it went to the topic and i thought it was appropriate.

if you do your job well or even half-way and you write for the new york times main section, your byline has been mentioned. when people write me they say things like 'amy waldman wrote' or 'marc lacey wrote' and readers know the writers bylines. that's great and any writer should be excited by that. c.i. was making the point that we could probably list all the writers who regularly contribute to the times. could we have done that 10 months ago? no. but we can now and members of the common ills community can as well.

by the same token, if you're the journalistic equivalent of barry manilow, middle of the road, the way adam nagourney is, you're known for that. if you're the debby boone of the journalistic set, then elisabeth bumiller, that's what your known for.

if you're not happy with the image your work has created, that's your own fault. you don't get to be jimi hendrix (robert parry) or bob dylan (bob somerby) or aretha franklin (amy goodman), etc. without having dug deep.

a robert taylor e-mails me to say that we should all 'just shut up already!' mr. taylor feels that when honest mistakes are made, 'you all pile on like a pack of mad dogs.' i disagree. john f. burns has gotten sloppy and c.i. has noted that but c.i. has not piled on john f. burns like a pack of mad dogs. there is sloppy and then there is outright malpractice and those are the 1s that c.i. goes after. although juan forero gives c.i. a headache to c.i. usually avoids juan unless members are asking for comments. i'll bring that up in the next roundtable and hopefully it will make the final draft.

and let me repeat this since so many e-mails asked, i am not upset with ava and c.i. they addressed a concern in a manner they felt was ethical. jim, jess, dona and ty aren't upset. i doubt kat is but i haven't heard from her. (she really pours herself into those reviews and it can be hell trying to reach her immediately after she finishes one. and wasn't the tapestry review something?) but for those wondering, yes, brian montopoli can still kiss my ass.


our bendy buddy harry reid

this evening, i want to draw your attention to the third estate sunday review's "Harry Reid: Determined to lead us to the promissory note land?" which, disclosure, i helped on.

if you missed it, after all the 'fight the social security battle' talk, after everyone stood firmly on the left, some dems are now ready to sell us out.

that's no real surprise. and maybe it's why bully boy's recent staged events re: social security get less and less attention.

who'll cave next? i have no idea. but we need to seriously address the issue of minority leadership in the senate because harry reid is doing a lousy job.

what issues won't he cave on? that's the basic thrust of the third estate sunday review's humorous piece so please read it.

it's becoming really disgusting. and i've got three letters asking me to donate money to the democratic party that piled up this weekend. one is telling me what 'nancy' needs. that would be nancy pelosi. i'll mark her higher than i will harry reid, but here's a hint, start addressing the needs of the party membership and stop begging for money.

anti-choice harry reid was never the right choice to begin with. he's been badgered into standing up bill scher of liberal oasis has done an especially good job on that from day 1. but unless we're planning on embedding bill scher into harry reid's life 24 hours a day 7 days a week, it's time we start thinking about this.

i don't think the democrats have the guts to remove harry reid before the 2006 elections.

they should, but they won't.

so we need to figure out what qualifies for leadership in the future. harry reid isn't it. little wimpy, corporate invested, anti-choice whining harry reid who bends from the waist everytime the wind blows isn't a brave leader. the democrats can do better.

send suggestions into sexandpoliticsandscreeds@yahoo.com.


and the tracking goes on

sherry e-mailed me friday about an article in last sunday's new york times magazine.

i had to attend a wedding this weekend and that entailed traveling so no posts for friday and when i got back on saturday evening, i was helping the third estate sunday review.

but i hadn't yet tossed out last week's sunday paper so i still had it around. (the times makes articles available online for free.)

the article is headlined 'our ratings, ourselves.' it's by jon gertner and nobody freak if you missed it because i'll give you a basic summary.

to track who's watching what and listening to what better, arbitron is trying an experiment in houston, texas. you basically wear something the size of a beeper and it allows recording of what you watch and listen to. the author notes that a small chip could be implanted on a page that would also, at some point in the future, allow what you read to be monitored - including how long you spend reading it, what pages you turned, etc.

this article runs over six pages of text. triple columns on each page, magazine style of text.

and in all this excess wordage, jon gertner never once raises any issues of privacy concern.

he's doing a great job marketing, but i don't think i'd call this reporting.

it's a puff piece for new technology. i don't see any print ads that are tied in with the article, but why run print ads when the story itself is one long advertisement?

arbitron should be thrilled (nielsen less so) because this is a writer firmly in arbitron's camp.

that arbitron managed to place ad copy in the form of an article in the new york times, lengthy ad copy at that with high gloss photos including 1 that's two pages, is a victory for arbitron.
whomever set us this article should be promoted. tremendous public relations victory.

but it's not a news story because a news story requires something other than 'let's brag about tracking.' the article notes that houston radio stations have been talking into changing their feed so that arbitron could track and that they were talked into doing this at their own expense. the author of this ad copy notes that arbitron basically has some 'way awesome salesmen.'

while i'll hope that arbitron has sales women as well, the fact is they sold to jon gertner as well.
whether he bought it blindly or willingly, i have no idea.

i keep waiting for some 1 to do the brave defense of privacy. i'm still waiting.

right now arbitron is testing this in the houston market. that sentence is intentional because that's what we're reduced to, markets. did you think you lived in a city? think again as you can become less and less a citizen and more and more a consumer.

i'm glad sherry called my attention to this article. it's ad copy and that needs to be noted. arbitron is in competition with nielsen and this is a p.r. victory for arbitron. but this wasn't a story or an article. c.i. wrote a wonderful thing about the difference between hard news and feature stories. this isn't even a feature story. this is rah-rah-rah arbitron and people tracking.
it should have been labeled as an advertisement because it's certainly not journalism.

again, congratulations to the people who set up this article. it's a marvelous press relations coup. it's just an article that belongs in the new york times without being labeld "advertisement."