Let Cindy Sheehan's actions motivate you to own your lives

Elaine here until Rebecca's back from vacation. (And if you missed it earlier in the week, I posted a message from Rebecca here.)

Wally and Lane wrote kind e-mails on my ear. I rinsed it with peroxide and let it drain. It's popped up a little off and on today but it's fine. Thank you for caring and for your kind e-mails.

Mike had asked me to listen to Joan Baez last night while doing the post and I wasn't able to due to swimmer's ear but I'm listening tonight. From Every Stage is the album I'm listening to, on CD, and it's a live album. I also know that Kat, C.I. and Mike have been noting Joan Baez's upcoming album (Sept. 6) so I'll do so as well: Bowery Songs and it's a live album.

Remember Kat's review "Kat's Korner Green Day v. the Disney Kids"? Kat wrote:

I'm throwing out this battle cry: We need to reclaim our music.
[. . .]
The right wants a cultural war? In the words of the Bully Boy, Bring It On! In climatic times in our nation, the arts have spoken and having lost their heavy hitter The Gropinator, they're in no position to defend themselves. (Not that the stiff known best for portraying a cyborg was a lot of help to them.)
Kat's Korner exists on the far left side of the world and I'll be lobbing my spitballs from here at every prude who thinks their antiseptic, black/white, good/evil view of the world is somehow reality. The world's messy, life's messy. You can lock your bodies in a chastity belt (and your minds as well) but don't try to pass that off as cool.

I agree with Kat one-hundred-percent. We need to reclaim music. I also agree that we do that by avoiding the plastic churned out by minor talents and instead using our purchasing power to show support to the ones who stand up and are counted. So I hope you'll consider buying Joan Baez's CD when it comes out.

Now let me note Democracy Now! and it's the same story that Mike will be noting as well.

Camp Casey Vigil Heads to Washington Next Month (Democracy Now!)
In the United States, Cindy Sheehan has spent her second night back at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas and announced she will take her vigil on the road next month, following President Bush in Washington. She said she would launch a bus tour from Crawford starting on September 1 that will converge on Washington, on September 24 in time for the major antiwar rally planned for that day. On Thursday, the American Friends Service Committee presented Sheehan with the boots of her son Casey who was killed in Iraq. His boots have been part of a traveling memorial to soldiers killed in Iraq called "Eyes Wide Open." Mark Andersen of the American Friends Service Committee presented the boots to Sheehan.
Mark Anderson: "Too many people have died, both military and civilian. This travesty must end, and our brave and dedicated troops must be brought home and brought home now. Cindy, I want to know that it has been a profound privilege to care for these precious boots of your beloved son, Casey, and I now return them to you, so they may serve as a guiding light to carry your message forward, so that together we can continue the struggle to end this war."
Meanwhile, Cindy Sheehan is striking back at the smear campaign being waged against her by several powerful media personalities and the Bush administration. She directly confronted those who claim that her son would be against what she is doing.
Cindy Sheehan: "I know my son. I know him better than anybody else. And, he wasn't married, we were very close. He called me everyday when he was at Fort Hood. We talked about all of his life, all of my life. And, I lost my best friend when I lost my son. But I know my son. And, I know he would say 'I don't want anymore of my buddies killed just because I am dead; I want my buddies to come home alive.' And I know when I get up to greet him, when it is my time, he is going to say 'good job, Mom.' He is not going to accuse me of dishonoring his memory. And, anybody who knows my son better than me, would like to come forward and tell me something different, I would be glad to hear their voices."
As Sheehan settles in at Camp Casey 2, which is closer to President Bush's property than her original location, prowar activists are making their way to Crawford for a rally on Saturday. Sheehan and other antiwar military families have invited prowar families of soldiers killed in Iraq to share a meal with them this weekend. One of those parents has challenged Sheehan to a debate, while others have set up a new site called "Camp Reality." Meanwhile, the Rev. Al Sharpton has announced he will travel to Crawford this weekend for a prayer service on Sunday.

There are so many times when we think about doing something but then the little voice inside our head whispers negativity such as "what's the point?" or "you can't make a difference." Imagine if Cindy Sheehan had listened to those voices. She didn't, nor should you.

Little steps lead to the journey and we all need to be aware of the power we have if we choose to use it. Cindy Sheehan's used it and she's started a national dialogue. Own your power.

I'm not attempting to pass it off as an easy thing to do. Even once you own your power (and your actions), it won't be easy. Look at the attacks on Cindy Sheehan.

But if there's something that matters to you, you either take action or live with the "what if?" for the rest of your life. Let Cindy Sheehan's action motivate you to own your lives.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.
Jane Addams

Usually I end the entry with a quote on peace but tonight I want to end with an entry by Kat.

"Diamonds & Really-reals"
Chill, cats, chill. I thought I'd have some fun and read some e-mails and there are forty-three of you asking where my review of Cass Elliot's latest collection is. It wasn't going to run on Monday. And I knew that so I'd asked C.I. to hold it to give me time to rework a section of it.
I'm reworking it right now. If I finish, it'll be up tomorrow morning at The Common Ills. If I don't it will be Wednesday probably.
If you missed it this afternoon at The Common Ills, Joan Baez has a live album due out. It's called Bowery Songs and it comes out on September 6th. I don't know whether I'll review it or not (that depends on if it speaks to me) but I will be buying it. I hope you'll think about it too because Joan Baez never sits on the sidelines or waits to see which way the wind is blowing. She's been a brave independent voice for decades and we need to support artists who are like that. Notice that I said "artists." If Baez didn't have that goods, I wouldn't bring it up. But she's a strong singer and I actually prefer her voice as it's matured. I know a lot of people who say they miss that early sixties purity but I think she gets the songs across better now that her voice is lived in. If Joan Baez is someone you've only heard of but never heard (she is mythic and legendary) then Bowery Songs is a chance for you to sample her. And for all you kids out there that don't listen to Bob Dylan but pretend you do because he's "cool," you should pick up Joan's album because she lived the life Dylan sang about. Dylan's not able to hold my interest for much of his eighties out output and after the eighties I'm really lukewarm on him. If anything, I listen to his more recent albums and wonder what Phil Ochs would be recording if he were still alive.
Dylan also has a tendency (after the motor cycle accident or "motor cycle accident" since no one knows for sure what happend) to get way too Old Testament for my tastes. It's the same way I feel about Leonard Cohen. It's just a little too "The end is nigh!" for my tastes.
A good example of that sort of song would be "Dark Eyes." Judy Collins recorded it on her Judy Sings Dylan: Just Like A Woman album of the nineties and she really managed to put it across.
But with the Dylan whine and surrounded by more bleak, despair, get in the Arc 'coz the flood's a' coming! songs, it really didn't work on his Empire Burlesque. I think Judy and Joan both do a better job with Dylan's songs than Dylan does himself. That's got nothing to do with range. Judy Collins & Joan Baez have strong vocal ranges, true. But Dylan's never really had one. (Except when he tried to sing on the breath during his Nashville Skyline period and tried to pass it off as "My voice changed 'cause I stopped smoking" nonsense. Though nasal, Dylan always sung in his thoat, forcing the notes out. Critics who fell for the "I stopped smoking" crap didn't know the first thing about singing. Dylan had obviously been working on breath control and was singing on the breath. That's why his voice sounded that way.) Not having a range didn't hurt him in the early days.
But the difference was that he seemed to believe in what he was singing then and sang it with force. Too many songs since have not reflected that he believed in what he was singing. Or he's gotten so lost in his (Old Testament) imagery that he's forgotten how to connect with an audience.
Joan Baez is the Howard Zinn of the music set. I say that because she's political but also because she's something of a historian herself. She's pursued the traditional folk songs and kept them alive for new generations. She's also recorded some of her own songs (I love "Diamonds and Rust" and "Sweeter For Me" to name just two) beginning in the seventies. But something she's done almost from the beginning is to record songs by current writers. Besides exposing Bob Dylan's work to a large audience in the sixties, she's also recorded Phil Ochs, Richard Farina, Natalie Merchant, Ryan Adams and many more.
I'm not saying she doesn't have a clunker in her catalogue, but I am saying that her albums overall are a historical source for strong songs -- traditional ones, her own and some of the best of other writers today.In an ever more plastic world where "singers" are embarrassed by their belt buckles singing and "enhanced" in the studio by digital tricks, Joan Baez is one of the really-reals. She's authentic and she's true. So consider checking out Bowery Songs September 6th.
What am I listening to? Well I was listening to her live CD From Every Stage (one of my favorite live albums) when I started this but now the Beatles' Abby Road is playing.
Speaking of really-reals, I want to note something that C.I. wrote last week. Mike really wanted it to be a Blog Spotlight at The Third Estate Sunday Review in their latest edition. Everyone got behind that idea except C.I. who feels that other people need to be spotlighted more. So a thing by Jess (which is great) got spotlighted instead. Dona and Jim both kept going "We can have more than one Blog Spotlight." But C.I. said no, to give the focus to Jess. So I'm posting "Scattered Thoughts" in full here. From a really-real, a strong and true voice. We need more of them in all areas.

"Scattered thoughts"
Tonight, when things appear to be improving in the United States in terms of debates and discussions, I want to drop back to how things were not all that long ago.
Following 9/11, debate was hushed by the mainstream media and certain gatekeepers. That's not something unique to our times but hopefully online sources will help it be remembered. Bartcop and other sites that were around then have real time discussions on the climate in this country at that time.
Why is that important?
When we look at the internment of the Japanese-Americans in this country during WWII, for instance, we're shocked and it seems so against the fabric of our society that we have a hard time comprehending how it could happen.
In our country we saw Muslims rounded up, we saw secret deportations and numbers of other activites that wouldn't seem to fold easily into the fabric of the United States. But they happened with little outcry registering.
When the issue did resonate, outside the mainstream media, and the events were spoken of, sometimes there was a tendency was to put it in the perspective of Germany as Hitler rose to power. That offended a number of people. (That's not my slamming anyone who made that comparison -- people making such comparisions were usually doing so in a solid manner despite the whines and slams from the right.) But we really didn't have to go other shores ("we" being American community members, apologies to our members from other countries, I'll probably continue to use "we" as I rush through this).
We've had witch hunts many other times. McCarthyism is but one example.What bothered a number of people (rightfully so) besides the actions following 9/11 was how little discussion there was of them. We take our cues, as a nation, from our media. (A point that shouldn't be controversial whether someone's a reader of Noam Chomsky or Marshall McLuhan or In Style.) And we found ourselves faced with a media that was owned by or in part . . .
(If your new to this topic, refer to this web page from NOW with Bill Moyers which has a drop down menu you can use.)
We link to many independent media sites (I'm not providing a ton of links in this entry so use our permalinks on the left) like The Progressive, The Nation, Democracy Now!, BuzzFlash, In These Times, Ms., The Black Commentator, CounterPunch, Indymedia, Pacifica, Clamor, LeftTurn, etc. They exist, they are out there. (Along with many others.) But we're more apt to have Fox "News," MSNBC, or CNN in our homes than a magazine on our coffee table. (We as a nation.)
In his book, A Matter of Opinion, Victor Navasky explains that he sees the importance of The Nation and other opinion journals as presenting ideas to a wider audience. (That's my bad summary of a major point in his book. My apologies.) It's the point of this community in terms of trying to hook members up with voices that speak to them. As FAIR has documented repeatedly since it's inception, the voices presented by the mainstream media grow narrower and narrower each year.
If tomorrow an apple is used as a weapon and fright wing senator goes on Meet the Press to call for banning all apples and hawkish Dem is the "opposition" arguing that we should instead implement a testing procedure for apples, to the public, that's the debate clearly drawn. That's the debate the mainstream media popularizes and gets behind. And if you're thinking there must be some other idea/plan or even thinking, "We're talking about one apple here!" you're left with the impression that you are so out of the norm that no one else in the country shares your opinion. It's not on the TV, it's not on the radio. So it must be you going out on limb all by yourself.
And the result may be that you dismiss your own opinion and attempt to get with the program. Even if you don't, you may feel you're the only one who would ever think that way, so what's the point?
Following 9/11, you 'got with the program' in some manner or you were demonized. (Susan Sontag, et al.) And we need to remember that because people will ask, "How did this happen here?" They'll ask that about the secret deportations, the roundups, the practice of torture and rendention and a host of other things.
People being frightened does play into it and for that you need national hysteria. The lack of serious debate and a limited number of opinions and voices reaching out through the mainstream only aid the creation of a national hysteria. If, in the future, we attempt to answer how we entered a period where secret hearings, et al. were suddenly "American," we won't have to look to Germany to explain what happened here. We'll merely need to note that few people in power used their power (most abdicated it) and the press didn't do their job (ditto). And maybe, if we can all remember that, it can serve as a lesson the next time a similar event pops up (and they always do). Laura Flanders says, "Don't leave politics to the politicians."
You can't. They're not going to advocate (with few exceptions) anything that they're not being pressured to do. Possibly, that's understandable. You are a representative of a certain area and if the citizens in your area aren't pushing for action, it may be "smart" not to take any.
The myth of the brave press isn't reality. At best, we've been able to count on a few strong voices in any era. To use McCarthyism, the press largely took a pass on the witch hunts in real time and, like politicians, waited for the mood of the nation to change. That might have been "smart" as well. They are selling papers, magazines or commercial time.But what's smart business isn't smart democracy. And if there's a lesson from our recent history, hopefully it will be "Speak out soon and speak out often." The only way ideas will get traction is if they're heard. Too many times, I heard someone say, "I'd say something but I'm the only one who feels this way." (And when this site started, that feeling of "I thought I was the only one who thought that" has been a constant in e-mails.) If you see something you think is wrong, dig in your heels and stake out your position. Don't wait for an editorial in a paper or for backing from a politician. Don't wait for the "mood" of the nation to shift.
Even shut out of the mainstream media, your ideas can still take life in the people around you. And if media consolidation isn't dealt with, we're going to need to be very aware of what power we do have and we're going to need to be willing to use it.
When an anchor person (Dan Rather) goes on a talk show (Letterman) to say he takes his marching orders from a president, we need to realize that regardless of the anchor, regardless of the person in the oval office, there's a problem. When an anchor (future at that point, Brian Williams) goes on a talk show (Leno) to say that he's interested in his broadcasts being kid friendly, we have a problem. In the first example, a person with a huge say in what will make the evening news is implying that he'll present what's approved by the White House. In the second example, that mythical large number of children tuning into the evening news are used as an excuse for watering down content. The result of both statements is not an endorsement of journalism (or even an appreciation of it). Nor are they new attitudes. However, in the past, when they've been expressed in similar terms, they were usually expressed following an actual event. For instance, apparently looking over the crayola scrawled notes of seven-year-olds, Peter Jennings once expressed concern over his decision to show a Lebenese child on a stretcher. In the talk show remarks noted at the start of this paragraph, there was no specific incident that either anchor was responding to. These were pre-emptive statements volunteered by the two men.The fact that the statements weren't greeted with loud criticism from the mainstream is troubling. If you watch the news with your child (if), you're agreeing to see the news. Not just the pretty things. We heard, during the impeachment, people moaning that now their kids were talking about blow jobs. Taking them at their word (for some reason Nielsen hasn't registered any significant number of children watching the evening news broadcasts, but whatever), you tell your child to leave the room or you turn off the TV. If the child is saying "blow job," you tell the child to stop. If the child's at an age where s/he repeats everything heard then they probably shouldn't have been watching a news program to begin with because they're probably not at a level where they can handle it.
But we were all infantilized by the mainstream media. Whether it was hidden coffins (the administration's policy could have been gotten around, as was demonstrated when the photos finally did break) or not showing pictures of the graphic violence. Note, that's pictures of the graphic violence. Photo journalists capture what they see. They don't create it (if they do, they aren't photo journalists).
Yes, you had a few pieces here and there. We can note, for instance, R.C. Longworth's "War from 30,000 feet: Whipping Up a Crisis" which ran in the Chicago Tribune March 23, 2003. After noting FDR's "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," Longworth wrote:
. . . Bush is using fear as a weapon, not to build courage among Americans but to stampede them into endorsing a case for a war that has been built literally on a grab bag of possibilities, contingencies, ifs and maybes, of things that haven't happened but could happen, of bad guys who might hit us if we don't hit them first.This is a created crisis. Now that the crisis is upon us, we can only hope that it passes quickly, with minimum loss of life on either side, and that our native skepticism prevents it from happening again.
"National hysteria" is a term Longworth uses and you need that hysteria before you can bring out the nails and the wood or the bonfires necessary to conclude the witch hunts with.
National hysteria is what whips us up and silences us. An independent press is needed in any time period to combat that.
The mainstream press' consolidation is a concern today but it's a mistake, my opinion, to assume the mainstream media was ever that independent to begin with.
In terms of today, it will be interesting to watch the coverage play out in the next few years. There will, if history holds, be the usual "We were all wrong." Some will point to a Longworth at their paper as an example that they did "cover" the issues with little accountability for the fact that a Longworth was the exception and not reflective of the overall tone.
It'll also be interesting to see how some cheerleaders (water carriers) for the current administration (I'm not speaking of columnists, I'm speaking of reporters) minimize their own part in the hysteria, the witch hunts and pressing (not reporting) the administration's agenda.
Will Judith Miller (who, from her actions in Iraq, appears to have foolishly believed some of the claims she reported on) be the scape goat that allows everyone else to emerge with a pass?
Martha e-mailed about an online transcript (at the Washington Post) with James VandeHei entitled "White House Insider" and wondered what world he lives in? Here's one section:
San Francisco, Calif.: Why doesn't the press refuse to take briefings from Scott McClellan, who either lied to them about the Plame incident, or was lied to by the administration? Isn't his credibility shot?
Jim VandeHei: Scott took a good beating when it was learned that the White House knew much more about the Plame leak than he and others let on last year. It's not entirely clear how much he knew about the involvement of other officials. But Scott has a lot of credibility with reporters. He is seen as someone who might not tell you a lot, but is not going to tell you a lie. more broadly, we go to the briefings if for no other reason to hear the White House spin on world events. they rarely figure into our daily reports because we will talk to Scott and others one on one and not in front of a crowd.
He's not going to lie, according to VandeHei, and yet "we will talk to Scott and others one on one and not in front of a crowd." The daily briefings "rarely figure into our daily reports." But he's not "not going to tell you a lie." Even overlooking the apparent contradiction in VandeHei's statements (if he's not going to lie, why are the daily briefings of no value to the Post?), what exactly is VandeHei doing making these remarks? Why is he vouching for "Scott" in such a personal manner?
I wonder how the remarks made in the transcript will play out (that's not the only section that should raise eyebrows)? It's as though there's not an even an effort made any longer to appear impartial as reporters name drop "Scott" and leave their role as reporter to peer inside "Scott" and vouch for him. It's doubtful VandeHei will get any flack for the remarks or be reassigned but the remarks do raise questions. Or would if anyone wanted to ask serious questions about the role of journalists today.
Here's VandeHei quoting "Scott" on the expulsion of the Denver Three in "Three Were Told to Leave Bush Town Meeting" (March 30, 2005):
Scott McClellan, Bush's press secretary, said it was a volunteer who asked them to leave "out of concern they might try to disrupt the event." He said the White House welcomes a variety of voices into events but discourages people from coming to heckle the president or disrupt town hall forums. "If someone is coming to try to disrupt it, then obviously that person would be asked to leave," he said. "There is plenty of opportunity outside of the event to express their views."
Does VandeHei really believe that "the White House welcomes a variety of voices into events"? Is that a sign of "Scott"'s credibility?
We'll hopefully continue this but I know I missed posting Tuesday night because of wanting to say more so this will go up as is.


News from Democracy Now and Stop The Next War Now

Elaine here with you until Labor Day as Rebecca finishes her vacation. Mike and I are doing the same three items from Democracy Now! again tonight so be sure to get his take on it by visiting his site Mikey Likes It!

And thanks to C.I. for mentioning that we'd been doing that the last two nights at The Common Ills. Mike warned me on the phone that he was wiped out from the heat and not to expect much. I think we can all relate to that. That's usually how each session started today, with a patient commenting on the heat before anything else.

Amb. Joe Wilson Defends Sheehan (Democracy Now!)
With the stage set for a possible show down in Crawford this weekend, more prominent figures are lending their support to Sheehan. In recent days, musicians Joan Baez and Steve Earle have performed at Camp Casey. Veteran civil rights activists and many veterans of the Iraq war are camped out there. On Wednesday, former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson issued a statement saying "The Bush White House and its right-wing allies are responding to Cindy Sheehan and the military families' vigil in central Texas in the same way that they always respond to bad news -- by unleashing personal attacks and smears against her."

Bully Boy is a bully. C.I. thought of a very apt nickname for Bully Boy Bush. These attacks are a pattern of abuse. It abuses our democracy and it abuses our intelligence. We've seen it over and over to the point that we now realize what's going on. This administration has played the country once too often on that and is about as trust worthy as a spouse abuser.

On Democracy Now! today (as Jess noted), they had a live clip of Joan Baez performing at Camp Casey. Mike was so excited he got a CD of Joan Baez's today. (And, I believe, he also purchased a Steve Earle CD as well.) He really wanted me to listen to some Joan while composing tonight's post. I took a pass because my right ear has been popping most of the day. (As soon as I finish this post, I'll be flushing it with peroxide. I must have had water in my ear from this morning's shower because I haven't been in a pool since June and yet I have swimmer's ear tonight.) But you should listen or watch Democracy Now! for the information in each show which is always news that actually matters; however, if you've never checked it out before (and are able to -- you might only be able to read the text, which is fine) the performance from Joan Baez is pretty incredible so consider checking out today's show for that if you need an additional reason. (And remember, as Kat noted: "If you missed it this afternoon at The Common Ills, Joan Baez has a live album due out. It's called Bowery Songs and it comes out on September 6th.")

White House Denies Bush on Vacation (Democracy Now!)
Meanwhile, the White House is denying that President Bush is on vacation. Administration spokesperson David Almacy said the reason that Bush is in Crawford, Texas, is due to the renovation of the West Wing of the White House. Almacy said "He's operating on a full schedule; he's just doing it from the ranch instead of from the White House." He continued, "The only week he had officially off was this last week.'

The lies, after this long, stop making your mouth drop open and just leave you laughing at them.
"It's a vacation," we are told and then we are told, "It isn't a vacation." It is a vacation. He's described it as such and spoken of his "need" for him to take care of himself. While the nation's waging two wars, it doesn't look good for him to be on yet another five week vacation -- hence the lie. Will anyone fall for it? Probably that small group that believes every word he says. The bulk of the nation, however, has already caught on.

MSNBC Journalist Calls Crawford Protesters 'Anti-war Extremists' (Democracy Now!)
As the American Legion declares war on peace activists, President Bush and his allies continue to find support among some in the media for what many see as a smear campaign against Cindy Sheehan and other antiwar military families. On Monday's edition of MSNBC's Hardball, White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell labeled anti-war demonstrators at Bush's property in Crawford "anti-war extremists." The comments came in an exchange with FBI whistleblower turned Congressional candidate Colleen Rowley:
MSNBC's Hardball:
O'DONNELL: You're a Democrat running for Congress. It was reported that Republican leaders in your state were just thrilled that you had decided to align yourself with anti-war extremists. Do you think that this could affect your race for Congress?
ROWLEY: Well, I will quickly correct the record that they are not anti-war extremists. The majority of the people I saw down in Crawford were actually veterans groups. There were military families and --
O'DONNELL: But, Colleen, they do oppose the war in Iraq, do they not?
ROWLEY: Yes, they do. But that does not make, I guess the term extremists. They're really, I think, reflective of mainstream America in many ways."
FBI whistleblower Colleen Rowley responding to MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell. Thanks to MediaMatters.org for posting that clip.

What a nasty thing that Norah O'Donnell is. C.I. and I have a mutual friend at NBC news so we've both heard a number of horror stories about O'Donnell. As a result, the item above comes as no surprise. What does surprise me (and it surprised C.I. as well) was that media critics are just now catching on. Having heard about what happens before, after and during her live feeds, we may have noticed reality in 2002 as a result. But I honestly don't think I wouldn't have noticed her tone and how she uses it even if we hadn't been tipped off.

Did they miss that Cheney's former assistant threw Norah a welcome to D.C. party when NBC made her beat D.C.? Did they think that was just a random act with no explanation behind it, the party?

Back then, we both used to wonder why Media Whores Online never took on Norah O'Donnell?
For whatever reason, everyone's been ignorant of what's she's been up to for some time. Hopefully, they will now pay attention because she is a lousy reporter who slants her stories.

The smear tactics on the peace activists needs to stop and I have no patience for anyone on the left who can't stand up for them. This is America and we need to stop letting cowards turn on us the way they regularly do. "Look at me!" the scream. "I'm reasonable! I'm not one of those peace extremists!"

Extremists? Well if you want to define the choices that way, then the other side of the coin is a war extremists. Therefore, mark me down as a peace extremist.

The attacks are an effort to make people turn away from supporting the peace activists and you can see who's smart enough to refuse to play along and who's cowardly enough to play, yet again, save-my-own-ass. If you hear or read anyone saying or writing, "They are off message!" then you need to stop listening to or reading that person because they're not going to be able to inform you. If they honestly think they can play it "reasonable" and that they can fight a tidal wave, they have serious issues with judgement.

The country is against the war. People who chose cowardice over bravery at this point and time or sealing their own fate and begging people to see them as lacking in trust.

Rebecca will soon be back from vacation. Before that happens, I hope to note a chapter from a book that I've found inspirational. Some of you will probably guess right away what book I'm talking about and, yes, C.I. has noted it often at The Common Ills. Until then, I'll just the most recent entry C.I.'s done on the book.

"CODEPINK's Stop The Next War Now (excerpt from Kit Gage's "Protect Your Right To Dissent")" (The Common Ills)
We'll never be able to stop war if we don't have the right to speak freely, organize demonstrations, and meet without government interference. Since 9/11, with the passage of the USA Patriot Act and other regulatory changes, we have lost many of our basic freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

Remember, we will retain our rights only if we demand them.
The above is from Kit Gage's "Protect Your Right To Dissent" from CODEPINK'S Stop The Next War Now. Continue reading by purchasing the book or checking it out of your library (if you're library doesn't have it, they can use interlibrary loan to obtain it) to find Gage's recommendations for retaining your rights.
Gage "is the president and founder of that National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom." August is almost over and we haven't done an entry on Stop The Next War Now since the first week of July. My apologies. (What happened? O'Connor retired and free time went out the window as I joined others in putting in -- and continue to -- time to help make sure Roe v. Wade remains protected.)
We will continue to note this book. Various voices speak their own truth and the book remains important.
Gage's excerpt above speaks to the need for us to participate in democracy and we've seen that really take root this summer. Hopefully, the September 24-26th events will see a huge turnout. Elaine posted the info on that yesterday at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude:"
September Mobilization" (United for Peace & Justice)
Saturday, September 24
Massive March, Rally & Anti-war Festival
Gather 11 AM at the Washington Monument
March steps off at 12:30 PM
Sat., Sept. 24 - Operation Ceasefire Concert
Sun., Sept. 25 - Interfaith Service, Grassroots Training
Mon., Sept. 26 - Congressional Education Day and Mass Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Disobedience Linking Anti-war and Global Justice Protests
Leave no military bases behind
End the looting of Iraq
Stop the torture
Stop bankrupting our communities
No military recruitment in our schools
But we are seeing renewed activism. Laura Flanders, on her show The Laura Flander Show, has spoken of the need to do more than e-mails to representatives. That's "more than." That's not stop doing that. That's not stop contacting your reps or stop visiting their offices. But in the last few years, we've rediscovered our voices. I have a friend who lives in an "artists area" and she tells the story of how at the end of June, 2002, she was walking through her neighborhood, past her independent bookstore where a young woman had set up a table and was drawing a poster for peace. My friend did stop and talk to her but resisted adding to the drawing, the woman set up the table where she did because she was attempting to get people to add to her drawing with their own drawings and messages. My friend wanted to add to it but with various things (the climate in the country, the Patriot Act, et al), she decided against it.I don't think that story is all that unusual. And though not the most outspoken activist, my friend does get involved. But the climate was intimidating for a lot of people. Online petitions and e-mails are great. But they're one step down the road, they aren't the road itself.
We're seeing people speak out and start participating. As Gage notes in the excerpt above, if we don't use our voices and our rights, we're allowing our government to do whatever it wants to in our name and we're abdicating our responsibilities.
Stop The Next War Now is about owning your responsibilities. It's about not taking marching orders from D.C. and about thinking outside the tiny box we've allowed the Bully Boy to put us in. With the numerous voices contained in this book, I'm guessing community members will find someone who can speak to them. Barbara e-mailed asking what is "interlibrary loan." Interlibrary loan (and intra from within a library's own system) is a service most public libraries provide. (I would assume all but I'll say "most.") If you go to your local library and on the shelves you don't find a book (any book) and it's not in the library catalogue (card or online), you can speak to a librarian to request that they borrow the book from a library that does have it. (In some areas, there is a charge for this service.) So if you hear about a book on the radio, on TV, online, where ever, and you're local library doesn't have a copy of it, that doesn't mean you can't obtain a copy. (For members who are college students, your colleges -- junior colleges and universities -- also provide this service. And if there's a college in your area, "most" offer a program where, for an annual fee, you can check out books from the college library, so you can also check into that.) So there's not a lot of excuses for anyone not to pick up this book and check it out if you're interested in it. But if you have an excuse, hopefully the excerpts we're providing here give you some sense of the book.
For those keeping track, we've now excerpted from Mary Ann Wright's "Essential Dissent," Cindy Sheehan's "From Cindy to George," Nancy Lessin's "Breaking The Code Of Silence," Camilo Mejia's "Regaining My Humanity," Arundhati Roy's "Introduction," Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans preface, and Alice Walker's foreword. Mike (Mikey Likes It!) covered one section of the book and the link for that is: "Mike on Marti Hiken's 'Understanding The U.S. Military' from CODEPINK'S Stop The Next War Now." In addition, Dallas has provided a list of all the contributors to CODEPINK's Stop The Next War Now.
On May 4th we noted this:
Code Pink has a book out entitled Stop the Next War Now. For more information, see Code Pink or BuzzFlash. The book contains contributions from a number of women this community has noted and highlighted. Among the contributors: Medea Benjamin, Amy Goodman, Barbara Lee, Naomi Klein, Eve Ensler, and Arianna Huffington.

If you haven't already, please, pick up the book and see if it has something to say you.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.
Jane Addams


3 items from Democracy Now! and Kat's review of The Complete Cass Elliot Solo Collection 1968-1971

Elaine here with you for the rest of August while Rebecca is on vacation.

Mike (Mikey Likes It!) and I are going to hit the same three headlines from Democracy Now! again today. This time, we planned to because we were wondering how we might look it the same and might look at it differently.

The first item reminds me of a song from the sixties.

200 Protest Bush in Tiny Idaho Town of 130 (Democracy Now!)
In Idaho Bush is staying at Tamarack Resort, known for its world-class ski mountain, its professional golf course and the beautiful Lake Cascade. Meanwhile anti-war protesters met Bush in Idaho. Even though the tiny town of Donnelly only has a population of 130, some 200 protesters took to the streets Monday night. Protests were also held in Boise. There were reports protesters planned to issue a citizen's arrest warrant for the president. Laura McCarthy, whose son is in Iraq, said at a rally "President Bush probably breathed a sigh of relief when he landed in Idaho last night. But no matter where he goes, he's going to find a Cindy Sheehan in every community across the United States. The name is going to be different, but the message is going to be the same."

Calling out around the world
Are you ready for a brand new beat?
Summer's here and the time is right
For Dancing in the Street

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas had the hit with that song and the Mamas and the Papas also do a strong version of it. But Martha Reeves and the Vandellas also have "Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide" and doesn't that seem like the theme of Bully Boy's summer vacation?

When he gets back to the White House and Dick Cheney makes him write up a "What I Did This Summer" paper, that should be the theme: I ran from the people, Dick, because they don't trust me.

He's hiding out with hand picked audiences again. Kelley O'Donnell (or Kelly - I honestly don't care whether I get an inept reporter's name correct) was beaming broader than Norah O'Donnell as she went into the Bully Boy's performance. The footage and KD's smile were supposed to uplift us. If a real reporter had been doing that report (for NBC's Nightly News), don't you think serious issues about the crowd, how they were selected and shots of the protestors at the end would have been utilized? Instead KD wants to launch Operation Happy Talk all by herself. "Stooge" is the nicest word that comes to mind.

Bush: Sheehan Is Advocating a Policy to "Weaken" The Country (Democracy Now!)
President Bush has dismissed the ongoing anti-war vigil in Crawford Texas initiated by Cindy Sheehan. He claimed she was advocating a policy that would weaken the country. "I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq but the Middle East would be -- are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States," Bush said. "So I appreciate her right to protest. I understand her anguish. I met with a lot of families. She doesn't represent the view of a lot of the families I have met with. And I'll continue to meet with families." Bush's comments came during a last-minute trip to the Idaho resort town of Donnelly. The trip was scheduled after hundreds of military families, veterans and anti-war protesters began camping outside his 1,600 acre estate in Crawford Texas.

Cindy Sheehan is weaking the country? She was in charge of national security when 9/11 happened? No that job was Condi Rice's and Bully Boy appointed her. And Bully Boy wants to lecture about weakening the country while he's in the midst of a five week vacation while we're "at war?" The only thing that Cindy Sheehan is weakening is the media created myth of "Bush at War." People are catching on the lies they've been told and that they were sold a war based on lies.

Bush's Approval Rating Plummets to New Low of 36% (Democracy Now!)
Meanwhile opinion polls show President Bush's approval rating has dropped to a new low of just 36 percent -- according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Bush's approval rating is now lower than Richard Nixon's was at the height of the Watergate scandal.

It it any wonder? He's hiding out on resorts, after leaving his estate, and the "common man" act just doesn't play anymore. After five years, the pass would probably be pulled anyway -- the "isn't it cute how he stumbles and bumbles." He's never grown into the office or found a way to seem presidential. Now people catch on to reality, the body counts, the lies, and there's nothing to back up his empty words.

Now I need to note Kat's latest review at The Common Ills.

"Kat's Korner: The Complete Cass Elliot Solo Collection 1968-71" (The Common Ills)
Gather round, kiddes, we got a history lesson.
Oh quit moaning! History can be fun sometimes. And this is musical history so even better.
Quick, long before Joan Rivers sat behind Johnny Carson's desk on The Tonight Show what female singer performed the same duties? Not sure. Okay, try this one: who was the first woman to sit down for The Rolling Stone Interview?
Are you guessing Janis Joplin? Wipe off your self-satisfied smirk because you're wrong. You in the back, the guy shouting "Grace Slick! Grace Slick!" You're wrong too.

Why don't you get right
Try and get right baby
You haven't been right with me
Why don't you get right
Try and get right baby . . .

Boys and girls, that's called a hint. But so that we can move this lesson along, let me give you the answer: Cass Elliot.
That's right, the former Mama Cass of the Mamas and the Papas.
Yes, I could have just hummed "Dream A Little Dream Of Me" and everyone would have gotten it, but that would have been a little too easy, wouldn't it?
The Complete Cass Elliot Solo Collection 1968-71 is a double disc set, packed with thirty-eight tracks. If "Dream A Little Dream Of Me" is where Cass begins and ends for you, do yourself a favor and get this album. There's a wonderful 28 page booklet with an amazing essay by Richard Barton Campbell, a two page note by Owen Elliot-Kugell (Owen is Cass' daughter), four pages of information on the tracks included and thirteen photographs (I think my favorite is the one on page twelve). And, let me repeat, there are thirty-eight tracks of music.
Did you grow up watching Pufnstuf (the film)? For the first time on compact disc, you get Cass' "Different." It's more than a song, it's a statement of purpose and Cass sings like no one else could. Cass was different.
The obvious giggle to that is, "No one's getting fat but Mama Cass" (John & Michelle Phillips "Creeque Alley"). Cass was a large woman, no question. She was also a large talent. I got an e-mail last week from a community member who'd taken a recent Zogby poll and they were asked to name the rock death of the seventies (it was worded a little better than that, the question was). The obvious choices were there (Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin . . .) The e-mailer wondered where was Cass?
Listening to this collection, I have to wonder that as well. There really wasn't anyone like her. And no one's come along to replace her. You don't cringe at any vocals here. Cass always sang the song. She didn't oversing it. There were no Olympic leaps to show off. She could have strutted through every song if she'd wanted to. She can hold a note as long as your average diva. Listening to all thirty-eight tracks, you'll realize how many notes she could hit and how a decision was made not to show boat on a song.
I think the biggest shock for me was her vocals on the verses of "Long Time Loving You." Those were notes I wasn't used to from Cass. After that song, track eight on the first disc, I started paying attention especially to the vocals and grasping how many notes were in her range and how she used them wisely to convey the song.
"What am I getting that I don't already have, Kat?"
Okay, good question. You're getting "Different," you're getting the album version and single version of "A Song That Never Comes," the B-side "All For Me," and you're getting to hear the songs. The ones you already know if you've got some Cass lps, you really don't know. My aunt was getting rid of her vinyl collection in 1987 and she passed it all on to me. I've got the albums, I know the songs. And maybe a vintage, never played, pristine vinyl would sound just as well but I doubt it. The transfer on these songs should be noted. Hip-O Select is an independent label and they've put a lot of time and care into this project.
They've also rescued two songs recorded for Cass' first album (Dream A Little Dream) that didn't make the cut. John Sebastian's "Darling Be Home Soon" and Joni Mitchell's "Sistowbell Lane" alone make this a must have. Another previously unreleased treasure is Terry Cashman, Gene Pistill and Tommy West's "For As Long As You Need Me."
The Mamas and the Papas recorded together for a very brief time (1965-1968; plus an album recorded to avoid being sued by the label) and Cass passed in 1974. Nine years of being publicly known and she's got a legacy. If you're unsure why, you need to get this collection. The simplicity and the sincerity in every song goes a long way towards explaining how she touched people and left a lasting impression. (One that continues to this day.)
As the divas of today overwhelm us with each song (to the point of tiring us and boring us -- we get it, you can leap from one octave to another), it's revolutionary to find Cass serving the song, track after track. Using her voice not to stun you, but to move you, Cass defines "singer." Olympian divas of today should pick the collection up to learn that chest beating gymansitcs aren't the same as singing. (Are you listening, American Idol kids?)
You should listen to the collection because the truth and beauty of Cass' talents are prominently displayed and no one's come close to matching what she did. You'll also appreciate, in an age where makeovers happen every ten seconds, that an artist can be true and moving. Like the great singers, the really great ones (Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, etc.), Cass' catalogue doesn't veer all over the map. There is a unifying vision to her body of work (as opposed to a lot of posing and play-acting).
But most of all, there is the voice. It's like nothing you've heard elsewhere. More than just knowing how to hit the notes (and chosing the notes wisely and sparingly), Cass knew how to shade and capture the meaning of a song.
In Richard Barton Campbell's essay, he notes Cass once said, "To my mind, it's the artist who makes a song a hit, not the song." My immediate comeback is "Vicky Lawrence, anyone?" But although songs often do reach the charts despite lukewarm (or even bad) singing, maybe Cass was talking about knocking it out of the ballpark, sending it out to the person in the last row?
If so, the artist, at least with Cass Elliot, does make the song a hit. She certainly stamps her identity and vision on everyone of the thirty-tracks in this collection.
The bad news is that The Complete Cass Elliot Solo Collection 1968-71 isn't available in stores. The even worse news is that only 5,000 copies exist. I'm attaching Ava & Jess' entry to this review both because it provides you with the information you need to check the album out (you can listen to samples from each track) and because Ava and Jess are college students. My point? Cass Elliot's legacy continues. The honesty of her singing attracts new listeners all the time. If you're not familiar with her, use the links provided by Ava and Jess -- Cass' voice is one you should know, she's an essential for anyone who values artistry in popular music.
Cass Elliot The Solo Collection 1968-1971 (heads up to new double CD collection)
Ava and Jess here and we're doing this entry together. Last week, we received an e-mail about an upcoming Cass Elliot collection and would have been happy to link to it but it's only come out this week.
It's entitled
The Solo Collection 1968-1971 and it's a double disc set ($39.98) offered by Hip-O Select. There are 5,000 copies so if you're interested, you should consider checking it out."Different" is one of the songs on the collection and that's the song that C.I. noted in a "Five CDs, Five Minutes." That's not been on a CD before. In addition the collection contains "three tracks that had never been released in any form: Cass' cover of Joni Mitchell's 'Sisotowbell Lane,' a version of John Sebastian's 'Darling Be Home Soon,' and the Cashman, Pistilli & West tune 'For As Long As You Need Me.' They are revolutionary, and stand proudly with anything Cass released."The first disc contains twenty-three tracks and the second disc contains fifteen. If you've bought a Cass collection (and Jess has many), you don't have a collection like this. You get "Dream A Little Dream Of Me," "California Earthquake," "Make Your Own Kind of Music," "I Can Dream, Can't I," "The Good Times Are Coming," and all the rest you know from other collections. But you also get tracks that aren't available in the CD format elsewhere.
There are no live tracks. The
set focuses on Cass' singles from 1968 to 1971.
The Mamas and the Papas and Cass, herself, are very popular with community members so we wanted to do a heads up. And if there's a visitor who stumbles upon this entry and wonders, "What does music have to do with anything?" you're at the wrong site. Music is very important to the community. (And here's but one example of Cass and the Mamas & Papas popping up in an earlier entry.)
We'd asked C.I. if it was okay to note
the set here when it came out because The Third Estate Sunday Review only publishes on Sunday and were given permission (actually, what we got was, "Why are you even asking? Of course."). So that's your heads up.
If you're interested and can afford it, great. If you're interested but might need to save up (understandable), hopefully this gives you some time to do that. If you're a Cass fan or a Mamas and Papas fan you'll probably get a kick out of checking out the album online even if you're not planning to purchase it.

Cass is a treasure, not "was." I think Kat writes about music like no one else and that The Common Ills community has been lucky to have her as the in-house music critic since December. She always manages to find something that might be overlooked and to say it in a way that no one else can. If Kat's reviews were gathered together and printed in a book, I'd not only buy it, I'd ask her to autograph a copy for me.

She perfectly captures what Cass offers, real artistry and compassion.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace.
Andre Gide


Important news from Democracy Now! and a message from Rebecca

Elaine here, still with you. I spoke to Rebecca today and there will be a message to everyone from her at the bottom before we do the "Peace Quotes."

Democracy Now! was pretty interesting today and you should try to make time to listen to it or watch it or read the transcripts. Mike called today and asked if I was going to spotlight tonight and I said there were three I was thinking of noting here. Mike was thinking of the same three. I told him that he could have them and I'd find something else but he said no and thinks that both of us spotlighting the same three will hopefully draw attention to them.

2,000 Protest Bush in Salt Lake City (Democracy Now!)
While President Bush was speaking, anti-war demonstrators gathered outside calling for the troops to be brought home from Iraq. Protest organizers in Salt Lake City had taken out a permit for a one-thousand person protest - but more than twice that many took to the streets. Celeste Zappala - who co-founded Gold Star Mothers for Peace with Cindy Sheehan - addressed the crowd. Her 30-year-old son Sherwood Baker died in Baghdad last year.

The tipping point? (I always think of the sixties edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review and especially their essay "Essay dedicated to the mainstream press: 'Don't it leave you on the empty side?'") We're there. It's taken us a long time to get there (or it's felt that way) but we're there. What that means to me is that we really need to commit to speaking truth to power and we need to protest and be more active. That's the only way to stop the war, for us to to participate in our country and to ensure democracy here.

We can't let this moment be hijacked by the ones who would tell us to wait a few years or that we need to fine tune the war. We've got a lot of elected officials (and a lot out of office that want to get in) who try to tell us the problem is that we didn't do this or that correctly.

Wrong. The problem is that we waged an illegal war and are now occupiers but refuse to abide by any terms for occupation. Why have the attacks increased? It's not because we need to "fine tune." It's because we are the problem. No one wants their country occupied. If that's difficult for some middle of the roaders to grasp, pretend it's the United States that was being occupied and think about the feelings that would result in for you.

You can't fine tune it. It's like looking at a murder in progress and arguing that if a gun was used instead of knife, things would be better. We are the problem and we need to get over our selves and realize that.

Joan Baez & Others Rally At Camp Casey in Crawford, TX (Democracy Now!)
Meanwhile in Crawford Texas, military families, veterans and anti-war activists are continuing their vigil at Camp Casey outside President Bush's 1,600-acre estate. Folk singer Joan Baez spoke to reporters on Monday. "I think the question that nobody wanted to deal with is the question that they're posing - why did my kid die in vain," Baez said. "Because the answer is too awful." Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and actress Margot Kidder have also stopped by the Crawford protest site. Kidder - who is best known for playing Lois Lane in Superman - said she became a U.S. citizen last week in order to be able to protest the war in Iraq without facing the possibility of deportation.

Mike's grabbing Kat's entry on Joan Baez tonight (or was planning to) so I'll note that some other time this week. Instead, I'll tell you that one of my favorite Joan Baez albums is Where Are You Now, My Son? Like Liang and C.I., that album has a lot of meaning for me. I heard a lot of talk about how brave Joan Baez was to go to Camp Casey and she is brave. But she's lived her life taking brave stands. Where Are You Now, My Son? includes the title track which has audio recordings from Vietnam. Joan Baez was there when we were dropping bombs. It's a wonderful commentary and a great introduction if you're trying to visualize Vietnam.

A lot of people have grown up with Vietnam being a blur and what has seeped in has often come via jingoistic films like Rambo so if you're confused, you should seek out the album. One of the things I enjoy most about the album is that the Vietnamese are people. Listening to the album, you're not over here safely looking down at the "other," you're aware that we're talking about people. That may seem a small point but if you look at, for instance, the coverage of Iraq today, you'll note how little we hear from them in our mainstream press. We highlight the Iraqi's we've appointed (and funded) but the non-Westernized Iraqis are treated like something less than human. It's a really great album but that's what stands out for me. The first side (I have it on vinyl) is "Where Are You Now, My Son?" -- the title track. It's a long track (over twenty minutes) that mixes song and reporting. She wrote the song and she ties together all these elements. I know C.I. has it on CD (as well as on vinyl) so I'll try to ask C.I. what it's on. (I think it's on Joan Baez's A&M boxed set.) And you can read the entry C.I. wrote at Liang's request entitled "Where Are You Now, My Son?" to get more of a feel about the album and that period of time.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey to Hold Hearings on Iraq Exit Strategy (Democracy Now!)
In Washington, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey of California has announced she will hold hearings on Sept. 15 on how the U.S. can leave Iraq. She said the hearings will be modeled on the one organized by Congressman John Conyers about the Downing Street Memos. Woolsey said, "We'll hear from academics, military personnel and other experts about strategies to achieve military disengagement while still playing a constructive role in the rebuilding of Iraqi society." The hearings will come a week before the major Sept. 24 anti-war rally in Washington.

Mike and I talked about that on the phone. We really think Lynn Woolsey has shown real determination and vision. Congress won't deal with the invasion/occupation. Not just the Republicans, but the Democrats like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton as well. So it takes someone like Lynn Woolsey to say, "I'm not going to wait anymore for you to figure out where you stand on this." We need to start dealing with reality ("not jerking off over strategy," Rebecca said on the phone today).

Now I want to highlight Betty's recent post at her site Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man. I think Betty's smart and funny. Her humor has a point and, if you miss it, you can still laugh at the jokes. But there's a deeper layer to what she's doing.

"The World May Not Be Flat But Thomas Friedman Has A Bearded Butt"
"Bettina," Thomas Friedman said in his usual pompous manner, "how do you feel about a seaside get away?"

I was up to my elbows in dirty dish water as I worked my way through Thomas Friedman's dirty silk shorts. A seaside get away? You think I was about to turn that down?
I'm picturing rest & relaxation, a summer resort but "a seaside get away" to Thomas Friedman means . . . Coney Island. Possibly this inability to conceptualize in real life is reflected in the limited thought that goes into his columns?
The only thing worse than learning that a vacation billed as "a seaside get away" is actually a day trip to Coney Island was seeing Thomas Friedman's outfit.
Huge, round, black sun glasses, light blue (he called it "sky blue") plastic flip-flops, the infamous shorty robe ("Bettina, it's a vacation!") and a tan, tiny thong.
"You are not going out in public dressed like that!" I insisted.
"It's a vacation!" he screamed again. "Geez Bettina, you're so square, this is what all the kids wear today!"
"Thomas Friedman, were that true, you are not a kid."
"I look like one with my new highlights," Thomas Friedman said sticking his tongue out at me.
The blonder he gets, the dumber he gets. I know, I know. I immediately thought, "How can he get any dumber?"
I don't know how it's possible but it has happened.
And there was no way to persuade him to change into a more suitable, and less nausea inducing outfit.
We arrived at 9:40 a.m. and had 20 minutes until the pool opened. As we waited, he bounced up and down causing his shorty robe to fly up and attracting even more stares.
Again, I know, I know, how could anything attract more stares than the outfit itself? It's hard to believe, but it is true.
When the pool opened, he flung his robe off, tossed it to me and ran to the pool.
All around him, people pointed to his hairy butt cheeks and laughed.
When he emerged from the pool, finally, he asked me if I'd noticed how much joy his "mere presence brings to the local yokels?"
Telling him I did notice, I attempted to get him into his shorty robe as quickly as possible.
"It's the excitement of seeing a celebrity," Thomas Friedman confided as I pulled a sleeve up his arm.
"Bettina!" Thomas Friedman snapped. "I can put it on myself."
"Sorry," I said trying to think of a way to get him back into the robe, "it's just that you . . . look so good in it."
His eyebrows shot up, his lips pursed, and he tilted his head sideways for a moment before breaking out into a wide grin, pulling on the robe and strutting back and forth in front of me.
"See, Bettina, there is hope for you. You're finally starting to appreciate high fashion. Must be the fitted sheet you're wearing."
Rolling my eyes, I followed him as he headed for the rides attracting stares from every angle.
The Scream Machine. He just had to try it. As difficult as the day had already been, I didn't grasp that with Thomas Friedman even crap can turn to something worse.
Going up fifty feet in the air was easy enough. But Thomas Friedman was feeling impatient and decided, against my advice and everyone else's yelling, to stand up. Just as he did, the ride dropped fifty feet with Thomas Friedman screeching the entire way and struggling to hang onto the ride. In the process, first his sunglasses went flying, then his shorty robe flew up, then snagged on something, and finally was ripped right from his body.
On the ground, I tried to comfort him by telling him what a miracle it was that he had even survived but Thomas Friedman was having none of that as he stomped his feet and sobbed.
"My shorty robe! My beautiful shorty robe!"
Some kids had gathered around to watch the sight of a grown man sobbing and throwing a hissy fit.
"Look at the titty baby!" one kid hollered, attracting even more stares.
Thomas Friedman spun around to see who had said that.
"Oh my God, Mama, the man with the mustache has a bearded butt!"
Well, his butt cheeks are hairy. I mean, there's nothing I can add to that.
"Bearded butt! Bearded butt! Bearded butt!" everyone began chanting.
The world may not be flat but Thomas Friedman has a bearded butt and there it was, both cheeks, hanging out from the thong like some freakshow attraction.

You hear talk about a rally in D.C. in September but if you haven't heard the particulars, I'll share the following.

"September Mobilization" (United for Peace & Justice)
Saturday, September 24
Massive March, Rally & Anti-war Festival

Gather 11 AM at the Washington Monument
March steps off at 12:30 PM

Sat., Sept. 24 -
Operation Ceasefire Concert Sun., Sept. 25 - Interfaith Service, Grassroots TrainingMon., Sept. 26 - Congressional Education Day and Mass Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil DisobedienceLinking Anti-war and Global Justice Protests
Leave no military bases behind
End the looting of Iraq
Stop the torture
Stop bankrupting our communities
No military recruitment in our schools

Reminder before I go further, Mike's got an interview with Ty of The Third Estate Sunday Review scheduled for tomorrow so check out his site Mikey Likes It!

Rebecca wanted two things highlighted.

First, from Mike's "News and explaining the process for The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review," Rebecca wanted his explanation of how the news review happens put up here:

That's one of the things we covered in "The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review." Bobbie e-mailed asking why I didn't deliver a report in that Sunday feature? Last week, Elaine lost out on her story and Cedric's got slashed to an announcement. So Betty, Jim and me decided to focus on helping with the behind the scenes stuff.
Dona is like the producer. She's making sure that it doesn't run long and telling C.I. to extend or hurry based on the time and whether or not someone going next has their report ready. And based on the time, she and Jim are looking at what people have ready for their report and helping them cut it if time is short or helping them extend it if there's more time. But there's usually not more time. When you read it and C.I.'s talking about something and asking questions, Dona's telling C.I. to extend because the next report isn't ready. C.I. hates being the anchor but everyone thinks C.I. does a great job, except C.I.
Like Dona said here last week, you need someone who can think on their feet and who knows stuff because if she's saying, "Stretch this out" then the anchor's got to be able to say something more than, "So how's your day?"
How does it start? We're usually finishing something and Dona will say, "News Review in 15 minutes." Which means we're all tossing out ideas for topic for like 5 minutes and if someone hears a topic they like, they grab it and leave before that 5 minutes so that they can get their thing started. People will toss out sources and stuff to use like, "We haven't used ___" or "We should use ___." And 5 minutes before it's time to start, Dona will ask who's got something ready and is ready to go?
C.I.'s usually helping someone with their report at that point. Then it's right before it's time to go and Dona will tell C.I. who the first person up is and the topic of their report. Then we're transcribing it in real time.
Elaine went first and we were glad because she didn't get to go last time but there was time needed to stretch because Ava's thing on Pittsburgh needed a little more time and Dona had her planned for next. So C.I. tossed out a topic to Elaine that she had written about and it reads like it was planned but it wasn't. It's time for the next segment and Jess goes next to give Ava more time and Cedric's not ready cause he is trying to find more sources for his story. Jess was way cool and had more stuff than he planned to use which was good because Dona was going stretch and I was helping Cedric and Jim and Betty were helping Ava. We couldn't find an additional report so Cedric worked that into his report. And that's how it moved along.
Then I went to help Dona because Kat had a huge report and was asking for help on cutting it. She was going to include the news about Barbra Streisand's new song but we had time to watch the first 40 seconds of the video while Cedric and C.I. were stretching. It's not a pro-war song but it's not an anti-war song. Kat cut out this long thing she had on that. And there was other stuff that got dropped too but we were all the most depressed about Streisand's song because the stuff Kat found made it sound like it was this really deep song about peace and that's not what it is. It's a nice song, don't get me wrong, but it's not this amazing peace statement like we were all thinking.
And while all that's going on, Ava, Jim, and Betty have gone ahead and included London in her report which made it even stronger and a strong way to go out.
That actually answers Tony's questions as well and just leave Damica's question which was what is C.I. told about the reports ahead of time? Dona gives a brief sentence like "Kat's going to go over music, she's got a Garth joke in there." Or Dona will tell C.I. "You're going to Jess next and he'll be talking about Cindy Sheehan and he has material to extend with if it's needed." That's it.
When she's saying that C.I. is either listening to someone give a report or speaking to them and she really couldn't give much more detail without it being confusing probably. Damica wondered if C.I. and Ava had worked out their exchange during Ava's report because it flowed so well and, no, they didn't. But Ava and C.I. work well together. They do the TV review together and all and they think a lot alike so that's probably what you're seeing when you read it. I also think C.I. doesn't worry about tossing what could be a curve ball to Ava because they know each pretty well and know what each other can handle.

Next, Rebecca wanted this entry by C.I. highlighted in full.

"Baby Cries a Lot Sits Down and Poops on his co-workers" (The Common Ills):
Baby Cries a Lot sits down with The Progressive magazine for an interview entitled "Al Franken Interview" (by Stephen Thompson) and it's not pretty. Stephen Thompson tries hard throughout the interview. He even stretches the truth but it's of no help.
For instance, after running down Franken's two sitcoms (both quickly cancelled), Thompson offers, "He has also worked in film--most notably as co-writer and star of 1995's Stuart Saves His Family, a spin-off of the Stuart Smalley character he'd created for SNL."
Most notably? Thompson's far too kind. What was Stuart Saves His Family's opening domestic box office?
It's final box office total?
Most notably? It didn't even make a million at the box office. Thompson tries so hard, but it's Baby Cries a Lot's nappy and he's determined to poop if he wants to, poop if he wants to.
Franken: Yeah, I’m not that leftwing, which is the odd thing about this: My views on most things would jibe with most Americans'. On most issues, most Americans are certainly left of this Administration. Not necessarily left, but more common-sensical. Given a chance, they’d spend less on the military, they wouldn’t make more nuclear weapons, they would want to increase environmental regulation rather than reduce it, they would want to spend more on education and health care, they would enforce corporate-responsibility laws and make corporations pay their taxes, all those kinds of things. Crazy talk. [Laughs.]
Common-sensical? He did graduate college, didn't he?
No, he's not "that leftwing." He's jingoistic and he's Baby Cries a Lot, but he's not leftwing. Which is why the original title for his program was nixed (it included the apparently dreaded word "liberal").
He explains, a nonshocker, how much he enjoys socializing with Republican senators. We kind of got that idea when he brought on AEI refugees and assorted others. One so offensive that Randi Rhodes, whose show aired immediately after, expressed her dismay that Baby Cries a Lot had the man on as a guest.
But, and maybe this somewhat explains The Nation cover story that was so dominated with news of Baby Cries a Lot, note how he fails to bring up any of the other shows. As Randi Rhodes noted (I believe it was in the lengthy profile the Washington Post did on her) that it wouldn't hurt him to plug some of the other shows when he goes on TV. Apparently it would hurt his pride to do that interviews so, instead, he resorts to insults and dismissing reality.
Q: Did you have a difficult time attracting talent in the beginning?
Franken: Well, we didn't really have a problem attracting talent, because there is no talent to some degree. [Laughs.] The right wing has had a radio apparatus for years and years, so they’ve had minor leagues--they've had local rightwing guys who've become national rightwing guys, and who build slowly, and that's how it goes. We haven't had that. It isn’t like we have a farm team.
Possibly Thompson meant, by "talent," guests or writers. Baby Cries a Lot instead goes to the other on air personalities. They don't even qualify for a "farm team."
Next, Thompson appears to attempt to correct the impression (huge ego) that Baby Cries a Lot has just left with readers.
Q: You do have some experienced radio veterans.
Franken: Yeah, but you need an experienced radio veteran who is a liberal advocate. And there just hadn't been any radio that did that. And so they weren't trained--they had developed all these bad habits of being objective and balanced and stuff like that. [Laughs.] It's hard to get that out of a person. I mean, obviously, I value objectivity and actually caring about facts, and we do that on the show. I'm not saying we're objective, but we're advocates. Katherine [Lanpher, co-host of The Al Franken Show] is certainly much more objective than I am, and tries to rein me in and keep me in check, which is good.
Kathaerine's "experienced." (Presumably Rachel Maddow would qualify as well, WRSI & WRNX, but he doesn't mention her.) But it's in that "objective and balanced" radio (read public radio). That's the only kind of "radio veteran" at Air America Radio, according to Baby Cries a Lot, because there was no one who'd been "a liberal advocate" and there "just hadn't been any radio that did that."
You know, outside of his inflated ego there's a thing called facts. He might want to visit the Land of Facts someday. (An appearance by Bob Somerby was a disaster as Franken refused to let the fact checker surpreme -- intended as a compliment -- get a word in.) Laura Flanders had extensive training in radio and is a liberal. She was doing a daily show while Baby Cries a Lot was still trying to figure out why Stuart flopped (and flopped so big). In addition, before Air America Radio existed, Mike Malloy and Randi Rhodes were popular radio hosts. They were established names, dealing with the news from a liberal perspective for many, many years. They were not unknowns. Randi Rhodes was successful in her markets and known via internet streaming outside of her markets. Mike Malloy, too, was a trusted voice. But somehow the three of them don't even qualify for a "farm team?" Besty Rosenberg's EcoTalk existed (like The Randi Rhodes Show) prior to Air America. But Besty Rosenberg doesn't cut it a farm team either apparently.
Most people grasped that the "family" wasn't a family when Lizz Winstead was disappeared. Considering that Baby Cries a Lot rushed Greg Palast off the air for daring to question the hagiography surrounding Ronald Reagan, that he played an insulting and demeaning theme song before David Brock's every appearence ("We Will Brock You") and that he, like O'Reilly, wouldn't let Jeremy Glick make his points (boiled down as chickens coming home to roost), we've been pretty easy on the man who delighted in mocking the death of Arafat with a zeal that one doesn't expect from such a fluffy man. His sexual remarks to a guest (an elderly, African-American woman) were in bad taste. His comments about activism by entertainers (while praising Meg Ryan) were insulting (and ticked a number of people off). But the worst we've done prior to this entry is to dub him, rightly, Baby Cries a Lot (he turns on the tears when he can't win an argument -- watch the CSPAN video closely if you've missed this trait on his radio program).
Yet once again, his ego leads him to insult others at Air America Radio. For the record, Laura Flanders, Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy and Betsy Rosenberg came to Air America Radio with radio experience, as liberal voices on the air. They do now, what they did then and do it amazing well. They are not a "farm team," they are on the first string. They know their facts, they know how to shape their points and make their points in a manner which is both entertaining and educational. They are radio professionals and they deserve something more from Baby Cries a Lot then to be slammed and/or overlooked.
In addition to them, Matthew Rothschild has been doing The Progressive Radio Show for many years and Baby Cries a Lot has just slighted Rothschild (and I'm sure others, I don't claim to be an expert on radio) as well. There's also FAIR's CounterSpin program, which, Laura Flanders hosted for years.
No, he's not "that leftwing." And as he bends and twists in the wind, most listeners can grasp that. (Or at least community members can. He's loathed by community members. And he has only himself to blame for that and his tendencies that include raving over Ronald Reagan go to the reason why.)
Not surprisingly, when Thompson asks Baby Cries a Lot about his "dream contributors," Baby gurgles three names, all men. Note, this isn't three hosts, this is three contributors. To put it into TV terms, Baby Cries a Lot wasn't asked to pick an anchor for the evening news. If he had been and had still chosen three males, that would be bad enough. But what's worse is that Baby doesn't even think of a woman who can contribute a report. That's what he's listing, people who could do reports. And no woman springs to mind.
Baby Cries a Lot prefers women to play mommy (as happens on his show) or sex object (as happens during his USO tour -- which resuled in angry responses to Mother Jones when they ran his USO piece).
Baby Cries a Lot needs to start recognizing the contributions of others at Air America Radio and he also needs to grasp that people like Laura Flanders, Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy and Betsy Rosenberg have been fighting the good fight while he's been yucking it up. They aren't the "farm team," they are varsity players, first string. Were his talent as large as his ego, he'd be a radio giant. It's not and he's not. It's time he stopped minimizing (or ignoring) the work of others.
The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.
(Note: As mentioned earlier today, the interview was e-mailed by Brad who also made a strong case for addressing it here.)

Here's Rebecca's comments she wanted shared: "Al Franken gets more disgusting with each day and thank God C.I. told it like it was because you aren't going to get that elsewhere. Norm Ornstein is on the show because he's Al's friend. He has nothing to offer. Which probably explains the friendship, such as it is. And in a brave blog world, you'd hear about this but you won't because we don't have a brave blog world. We've got too many people trying to set up their own ticket and not addressing the tough issues. So when C.I. does, you note it and you appreciate it. A lot of people are taking swipes at anti-war activists and people like Al Frankin make that possible as he blubbers senselessly about nothing and then thinks he's made a reasoned argument. As Franken and the other gatekeepers try to define what we can and cannot talk about, we need to reject them. There are enough real voices, true voices out there that we don't need Baby Craps a Lot. On Air America alone, you've got Laura Flanders, Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy and Janeane Garofalo speaking bravely. Reward those voices by telling your friends about them. There's so much fake and phoney in this country that gets attention, make sure you're friends know that Rhodes, Flanders, Malloy and Garofalo are out there. We need those voices. And we need Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez so you better be following Democracy Now! I'm on vacation but I'm following it. We need more reality so use your time wisely."

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.
Anita Koddick