tear down the gates, don't appoint new gatekeepers

there have been so many great e-mails coming in lately.

i want to give shout outs to sherry, maria, martha, carl and edmund especially but they've all been so great. and i want to note that wally writes his class has been focusing this week on defining what they stand for. this is the list that wally's group came up with for his class:

1) a fair and decent living wage
2) equality & dignity for all
3) going beyond the obvious media sources
4) media regulation
5) energy regulation
6) addressing the issue of the homeless
7) universal health care
8) finding non-violent ways to resolve conflict
9) social security
10) progressive income tax where corporations pay their share

are wally and his friends not the smartest? these are high school students, our future, and we're damn lucky to have people like wally and his friends.

as i noted last night, blog betty is live now. if you haven't yet checked out thomas friedman is
a great man, please do so. it's hilarious. and it's hard to talk about because i've seen betty's outline so i know some of the details and events coming. no spoiler alerts because i'm not going to spoil anything. hop on the ride and prepare to be amused.

i hope you're proud of betty because i am.

and isn't she organized? an outline for future posts? i just wing these posts!

as c.i. noted last night, betty becomes the fourth common ills community member to start their own blog. bill keller and the new york times may be trembling! lol.

seriously, the common ills is a pretty important site to me. i've blogged before about how i wasn't much of an internet person. i'd checked out sites when people passed them on and most of them couldn't hold my interest. there's often a good posted reply in a thread after you read through about 40 or so entries. but who has the kind of patience?

so mainly, i went to news papers or to buzzflash and that was pretty much all i did online.

then my very best friend in the world elaine kept after me to check out the common ills and i was hooked. i've learned about the brilliant ron and his blog why are we back in iraq? i've learned about the incredible jude and her blog iddybud. (both sites can be found in my links on the side.) i've been exposed to writers like katrina vanden heuvel (the nation) and matthew rothschild (the progressive).

and most of all i got to be part of a community and see people weigh in. i wouldn't be blogging now if it weren't for the common ills (or for c.i. who helped so much from the start and still will drop everything when i'm having a problem - thank you, c.i.).

and certainly i owe a debt to folding star of a winding road who was the 1st community member to start blogging. there were days when i couldn't get a post together and felt like i was a complete failure but folding star might miss a day and just go back to it. so i've followed fs's lead.

and i certainly owe a debt to jess, jim, ty, dona and ava of the 3rd estate sunday review who have helped me, promoted my blog and allowed me to assist them which is both fun and a learning experience. i was the 2nd common ills community member to start blogging, 3rd estate sunday review was right behind me.

and now betty becomes the fourth. and the newbie. i get to feel like an old pro now!

i think it's great that the common ills has inspired so many of us to start blogging. if you go by web sites, we've got 4, if you go people inspired we've got 8. bill keller's concerns of a circle jerk may yet come true! though, let me restate, as a woman i've never been involved in a circle jerk. no doubt it's a happy memory for the executive editor of the new york times, but keller, how dare you presume that all bloggers are male.

and that brings me to something i stand firmly for: more voices. more voices, not less. when i write something here and i get an e-mail saying 'i feel just the same, why aren't people like us heard in the mainstream media?' i respond that we are making our own media.

and we are. and we need to think about what we stand for as we remake the media. we need to remember common ills community member keshawn's comments and make sure that as we remake the media we are not just becoming new voices doing the exact same thing, new players in the same system. we need to be remaking the system so that it is inclusive and reflective.

i was reading a book of essays by gore vidal that c.i. and elaine had both been recommending and was surprised to learn that gore vidal used to be on network tv. i know of gore vidal only through his writing and his appearences on democracy now! and the majority report. but a voice like gore vidal could once be heard in the mainstream media. and we need to think about and be sure that we are encouraging voices and not silencing them.

like the common ills, this site is a site for the left. and because of that, i will highlight the left. the right can start their own sites. but those of us on the left need to be sure that we allow other voices on the left to be heard. when some 1 writes me about how going after the new republic or cjr daily might mean i'm not linked or noted by them, i just bash on through. and reading gore vidal's essays, i get the feeling he just told it like he saw it too.

and at some point, that meant gore vidal lost many platforms he had. so we need to be sure as we go about remaking the media that we don't back off from important voices because it's 'prudent' or because it might cost us 'respectability.'

the point of remaking the media is not to create a new cokie roberts or a new sam donaldson.
we've had them. we've suffered from them. for instance, i want jude to get the recognition she more than deserves, for instance, but i never want to turn on my tv and see her practicing clutch-the-pearls 'journalims' (which i don't see her ever doing, she's too smart). but i do think that there is a danger that as certain voices get recognition from the mainstream, they may be tempted to back off from certain positions. i think we already saw that happen after the election when 2 bloggers attempted to dismiss the ohio voting issue right after the election. grassroots had to drive that (with the help of people like laura flanders and randi rhodes).

listening to 2 bloggers on the radio tell the nation that there was nothing to see and to move on really offended me. remaking the media should not be about installing new gatekeepers.

so let's work together on tearing down the gates to create a more inclusive media, not to annoint new gatekeepers.

blog betty goes live

just a quick note to make sure you've heard, betty's blog went live at midnight, friday.

the blog is called thomas friedman is a great man and it's a humorous site. remember what betty said in the interview that there's a back story to "bettina." i really think you will love this site. it will be funny and will allow betty to comment on thomas friedman and other op-ed writers for the new york times.

so please visit the site and enjoy it as betty takes on the pompous thomas friedman.


blog betty

i met common ills community member betty online a month ago. she was thinking of do a blog and was asking for input and sounding borads. c.i., the gang at 3rd estate sunday review and myself have spent time reading over test entries as she worked to develop a character for her upcoming blog which will be a humorous look at a number of issues.

if i sound vague, it's because the blog goes live friday and until then we're all supposed to keep it under wraps. however, i did ask betty if she'd agree to answer a few questions. during all night sessions with the 3rd estate sunday review we've all gotten to know each other and i consider betty not just a some 1 who's blog i'm looking forward to but also a friend.

she graciously agreed to talk to me before the blog goes live. you can see this as a circle jerk, the way bill keller of the new york times would, or you can see as 1 common ills community member helping out another.

me: so here's what we know: you'll blog at least twice a week.

betty: yes, hopefully more often, but at least twice a week.

and i know which 2 days.

yes, you do.

but going into that might spoil the fun of the 1st visit. at my site, i've written about how i had to figure out what my voice was and i thought you might want to discuss your own process.

well i was wanting to blog because i do agree that more voices are needed.

you turn on the sunday chat & chews and it's the same people week after week.

exactly. and i can complain that people with my views aren't heard enough and that's important to make the point but what else am i doing, you know? so i wanted to blog and get another voice out there. and then i had problems with how did i want to write?

because you feel like you are already up to your neck in reality.

right. i've got kids, i work, and doing this blog will require some real juggling. the last thing i wanted to do was sit in front of a computer screen, exhausted, trying to figure out what to say and how to say it. i like to laugh so i was looking for something that would amuse me enough that if i missed a day or 2 of blogging, i would want to come back to it because it interested me.
so i created what i think is an interesting way into looking at things and i hope it's funny as well.
so it will be a parody and kind of like writing a novel.

did you ever try to write a novel?

oh yeah. after waiting to exhale and other books, i'd look at my friends and think, "we have interesting stories too. we could fill out a book."


i got two chapters and then things just got out of control. maybe i'll go back to it someday but most likely i won't. but i did want something creative that would hopefully be humorous .

without revealing too many secrets, in your 1st entry, you are 'bettina.'

right. there's a backstory that the reader won't know at 1st, so you'll have to be patient for it to unfold. bettina is basically some 1 who is not herself and as the blog unfolds, you discover more and more about bettina. and about what happened before you met her and why you're meeting her now.

i hope that it's involving and that it hooks you. but i bet every 1 hopes that.

with me, i was worried a lot about day 2. i knew what i wanted to write on day 1 but was worried what i would write about after that 1st day. and when you were talking about having similar fears, i really identified with that.

well, i talked to a lot of people because i was worried. and what jim of 3rd estate sundy review told me was the common ills has the community thing down pat. c.i. starts out each moring with what's in the new york times. on thursdays, it's time to spotlight on independent media. on sunday's it's time to go around the globe. the 1st post after mid-day is democracy now and a look at what people are writing about around the net.

and since the common ills is a resource/review, c.i. has a pretty firm grip on what the common ills is. but jim said that there are saturdays when they're pulling together like crazy and have no idea what their final sunday edition will be like when it posts. and you laid out your topics in your title so you've got a framework. ava of the 3rd estate sunday review talked to me openly about the struggle with each sunday's edition. and she really advised me to figure out what i wanted to say and how to approach the topics ahead of time because it would cut down on a lot of problems that might arise early on.

and that's really feedback that i got back from a lot of people and from what you said and what you blogged about finding your voice. and i hope that i've created a persona that will allow me to have something to say and be interested enough to keep writing.

do you worry you might stop?

yeah, with young children and a job i do worry about finding the time. which is why i've set 2 posts a week as what i will be doing and anything additional will just be an extra. but i don't want to set the bar so high that i get sick of it and it becomes a chore.

it was really interesting to watch you through various drafts and try outs go through this phase where originally you were basically writing op-eds that were very head on and then slowly you started creating the character for yourself and using it to say things.

well thank you. i hope we aren't overhyping it. it's a milder kind of humor.

i think it's very funny and you're coming at it in a very interesting time.

when the issue of where are the female bloggers? yeah, that probably prodded me at times of doubt. and there's also the fact that i'm african-american. but i liked your point that women are out there and that if you're not seeing them it may say more about you that it does about women.

exactly. because if you're just going to the same voices, it's really not all that different from what corporate media does.

and if corpoarte media were doing their job and being less naive and also working to highlight all view points, i doubt i would be blogging.

well betty i'm glad to have you on board blogging and when your blog goes live, i will be providing a permanent link to i and hopefully a post on it.

thank you.

so that's an interview with betty and hopefully it cause you to wonder about her blog and to visit. i think betty's going to be a powerful voice for the community.


johnnie cochran, unfiltered, 3rd estate sunday review, c.i.'s being ripped off and the new republican

in yesterday's daily howler bob somerby examined the 'liberal' statements of michelle cotts, senior editor of the new republic - aka the new republican.

ms. cotts is distressed to find that people who believe ancient man and woman rode dinasours - with saddles no less - just aren't taking seriously by the mainstream media.

i'm distressed that ms. cotts thinks that such people deserve to be taken seriously.

but honestly not surprised when i realize how there's no rational basis to the new republican. it just flutters in the wind trying to latch onto any thing that will sell a few more issues. for much of the 90s, they positioned themselves as the mag that even republicans read. now days, they trot out stephanie on the air america commercials to claim that the rag is proudly liberal. it's all about whatever will sell 1 more issue. (sales are flat for the new republican.)

in its wet dreams, the new republican likes to pretend that it has the power of the editorial board of the new york times (a power the paper rarely uses). but the reality is no 1 really listens to the rag anymore. it's a joke among liberals and as for the right, they have their in house publications that are loudly and proudly conservative. they don't need to get behind a rag that is conservative but boasts of being liberal in radio advertisements.

there was a lot of feedback on yesterday's post and even those who said they weren't into hip-hop music were able to explore what adisa banjoko was saying and apply it to some area of their own life. wally e-mailed that the whole post was part of a lively discussion in his class that included two themes "what does it take to be newsworthy" and "what should it take to be newsworthy."

obviously, adisa banjoko and keshawn provided starting points. building blocks if we want to build a better society. but as sherry wrote 'a lot of people won't want to question themselves.'
she's right about that but fortunately, she was willing to question herself.

and that's how we get started. i'm keeping it short today due to problems yesterday. i'm nervous as to whether or not this will post, honestly. i want to thank c.i. for the help yesterday.

and i want to highlight the third estate sunday review each day so let me close this out by steering you to "It's March, which means May graduations are just around the corner, so we speak with Cinamon:"

What do you think the biggest problem with arts programs are?
Well the fact, it's a very old tradition, of having the professor's think they are creating a legacy. We'll use David as an example. He was typical of his time. You trained under him and you learned his style. So he could claim credit. He didn't do all the work but he gets the credit. The professors are often tyrannical and they act as though this system still exists and it doesn't.
They don't seem to be very well infomred in current art and as a result the students don't get information on that. The BFA people do a lot of studio time but not enough art history but you have to have the background in both past and present art forms. That's the only way you can stand up to criticism once you're out of school and someone's saying "It's crap."
What sorts of current art form weren't covered in your program?
You never hear what's on the outskirts. They want you to push the boundaries, they say they want you to, but only so much as they can handle.
I'm sick of lower forms of art versus high form. Animated cells, tatooing, those can be areas in art but they're not being treated as such. Even some of the murals, but murals are traditionally better accepted, aren't getting the credit and attention they deserve.
And regardless of what accepted area they do inform you of, you never hear about female artists unless it's "Now we're going to hear about female artists." It's never integrated into the program. You don't learn much about women past or present except in a "Look, there's a woman!" kind of way and you don't learn about current artists. For instance, all those people have no idea, unless they studied themselves, who Damien Hirst is.
Here these people are famous in their local areas and in the art world but you don't hear about them. Kids need to hear about them and be prepared for the real art world.
And I won't even go into how graphics is seen as a tech class, not an arts class and I think that's crazy.

if you're thinking, 'well i'm not an art student' i'd point out that you can apply this to more than art. there's a lot of humor in the article as well. but read it and think.

and while you're thinking, remember that common ills community member betty goes 'live' to the blog world this friday, april 1st. (barring any blog problems.) i'll be giving you more information as we get closer and on friday i will provide the address for her site.

if you like humor, i think you'll enjoy it. i've just read her post for friday if she doesn't change it. she's worked with several sample start pages. and she's taken part in the third estate sunday review all night sessions along with the 3rd gang, ci and me. i think she'll provide a new voice and i'm thrilled to know that another common ills community member is blogging. that's folding star over at a winding road, the gang at 3rd estate sunday review, me and now betty. as c.i. always says, the answer is more voices, not less. and i think you'll enjoy the way betty uses her voice.

for those who've e-mailed asking if i've backed off sex talk (i haven't) because jeff left monday, the answer is no. jeff was a lot of fun. i'm not searching for 'the 1' so don't mistake me for some carrie ann moss in the matrix!

i love my sex talk. but i don't tease about it. i'm not making a joke that leaves you hanging. if you read me talking about sex or men's bodies, you know that i've gone all the way - and then some!

from democracy now i'll steer you to this note on johnnie cochran's passing:

One of the best known lawyers in the United States has passed away. Johnnie Cochran died of a brain tumor at his home in Los Angeles.
He was 67. He is perhaps best-known for his work on the defense of O.J. Simpson during a murder trial in which Cochran uttered the famous quote "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." His family released a statement that said "Certainly, Johnnie's career will be noted as one marked by "celebrity" cases and clientele. But he and his family were most proud of the work he did on behalf of those in the community. As Johnnie always said, "an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." It was his rallying cry as he worked to right many wrongs, and as he provided a voice to those who needed to be heard. He was deeply committed to helping and inspiring others- especially young people. His extraordinary law career will undoubtedly stand the test of time. But it was his devotion to his fellow human beings that will remain as his true legacy."

for more on him, go to democracy now and as c.i. sometimes notes it's listen, read or watch.

speaking of c.i. i wonder if he heard the start of the majority report tonight when sam seder spoke of a blog as a community. i really think the common ills holds the lock on that term. c.i. won't even refer to the people who visit regularly as 'readers' but instead always calls them 'members.' it sure is something to see an old school blog try to rip of the common ills.

and for those who don't know, tomorrow is unfiltered last's day. if you want to check out the cool chuck d or big brain rachel maddow 1 last time, this is it. in my heart of hearts, i like to think they'd throw something to the listeners and bring lizz winstead back for the final episode but i don't see that happening. they lied to their listeners about why lizz suddenly disappeared. they waited until last week to tell the loyal listeners that unfiltered was being cancelled. so i'm not seeing that they're suddenly going to do anything for the listeners at this late date.

friday is supposed to bring the start of jerry springer's show in the place of unfiltered and i believe the hounds of hell are released on the same day.


examining ourselves

what a strange day this is. i've tried to blog forever and nothing posts. i thought it was just me but i checked with c.i. and found out the problem is blogger. something about the servers needing to be reset or something.

let me start by highlighting the third estate sunday review because i told myself i'd do that each day this week. so from 3rd estate, i'll highlight their blog spotlight ... joking! i'm the blog spotlight (my post on air america). but i will highlight their editorial:

That was the game plan. And on the left, people did tremendous work in exposing the hypocrisy of the Republican leadership, no question. But as the media continued to focus on it (all forms of media), the Republicans got what they wanted: one story dominating and drowning out all else.
You had a school shooting that was largely ignored which offended some people (including Native Americans). And while the story was spared the feeding frenzy and false reportingof Columbine, it also left many feeling that media interest depended on skin color.
When the efforts of Stephanie Tubbs-Jones were ignored, that also led some to raise the issue ofskin color.
Make no mistake, a lot of issues and stories got ignored. But also be aware that when you've covered, for instance, Ohio in relation to Barbara Boxer and you then ignore Stephanie Tubbs-Jones' continued fight on this important issue, people start to question why. And coming in the same week as the tragedy on the reservation, you begin to create even more questions in the minds of many.
Add in the voices of the disabled, voices that were not heard, and it often appeared the whole thing was intended to play to certain segment of the population, for a certain segment of the population and by a certain segment of the population.
The alternative media especially should be concerned because they are supposed to shed light to the stories that the mainstream doesn't touch. They are supposed to give voice to the subjects that otherwise would not be heard from. At a time when inclusion should be strived for, we went through a week of exclusion.

that's from "Editorial: There Must Have Been Nothing Else Going On In The World."

if you caught common ills community member keshawn's post this morning, you know that a lot of people did feel the focus on 1 story sidelined people of color:

I'm pissed off and so angry that when an African-American fights and keeps fighting, she gets ignored so the blog world can dog pile on one story.
She was fighting for you, she was fighting for me. She didn't have to be there. She had better things to do. If you think the damn hearing was going to be a white wash, don't you think she probably felt that too? Don't you think she might be a little more in the know since she's sitting in the Congress?
But she got her righteous self on down to the hearing. She kept fighting.
She didn't abandon us, we abandoned her. Kicked her to the side of the road without so much as a "good game."
Don't tell me this wasn't about skin color because I won't believe your words when your actions running up and down the court were all about passing to the teammates who looked just like you and ignoring the ones who didn't.
It's a white-white world and I'm starting to wonder if the blog world ain't the exact same as the mainstream and if the only people who matter enough for a dog pile story are the ones with white skins.

i'm not surprised by keshawn's feelings because i know a number of people who felt that way. a school shooting and a congress woman standing up for voting rights get no attention at all but
every 1 can go after the same story over and over.

did columbine get attention because it was a school shooting or because it involved a lot of white kids? that's a question a lot of people are wondering now.

i don't have a lot of hope for keshawn's post frankly. i think most in the blog world will ignore it. the people who covered the school shooting or stephanie tubbs-jones or both may think about it but they were already trying to be inclusive. the people who should be thinking about it are the 1s who will ignore it.

but i think every 1 should think about what keshawn is saying because he makes so many strong points. the web is supposed to be the alternative media. so why are they following what the corporate media follows?

if you're doing that and you're blogging, it's very easy to say 'i report on everything i hear or see or read.' you probably do. but the under-representation of people of color in the corporate media is nothing new. that's why, when you're looking for things to blog on, you need to go beyond just the obvious.

that includes me, by the way. don't think i exclude myself. i need to do a better job. i've highlighted democracy now but i could be doing a lot more.

so now's the time that we can take inventory of what stories we haven't noted and why that is?
it can be real easy to pat ourselves on the back or to ignore the points keshawn is making but i think we'd all benefit from an honest examination of ourselves.

i'm going to try to work towards being more inclusive here. that doesn't mean running or citing faux liberals like cynthia tucker who was 1 of the 1st to dog pile on cynthia mckinney. you'll see that keshawn's post had a large number running to cynthia mckinney. 'get me a black, pronto!'
but cynthia tucker is as mainstream as you can be. she knows she gets brownie points and pats on the back for turning her cannons on cynthia mckinney.

but i'm sure a number of people who linked to her today felt they were helping out. i hope leonard pitts didn't go after cynthia mckinney. he's a more centrist liberal but he's also a lot smarter than tucker. but it's about more than just linking to the same type of people that every 1 else links to.

so instead of being part of the crowd rushing to tucker, i went to davey d. over at davey's site i found this by adisa banjoko:

I’m tired of all these s-curl wearing, half baked Civil Rights leaders constantly blasting Hip Hop. They are like Black faced Bill Oreilly’s on Prozac spewing wackness constantly.
They spit venom at today’s youth and their reaction to being poor, uneducated and socially outcast. They don’t go after the BushAdministration. That is the COWARDS way out.
That has no trace of the courage, compassion or leadership ofthose before you. The Black Christian church, for whatever reason has always had it in for Hip Hop. Were it not for Michael Eric Dyson and Cornell West, REDEEMING the notions of the Black church and their approach to Hip Hop, virtually all would be lost.
Don’t tell me you don’t like 50, Dre, Em, Game, Lil John or whoever. Tell me who you do support?!? Whydon’t you champion Common, or Mos Def? I never hear you telling people to go get De La Soul or Zion I!! Don’t tell me the Hip Hop you hate, tell us the HipHop you are for!!!

maybe you agree, maybe you don't. maybe just the subject of hip-hop causes you to shut down.
but there's a point that's being made that we should all be able to relate to: don't just tell me who you don't like, tell me who you do like.

right or wrong, a lot of people felt that way about john kerry's campaign. they felt they knew what he stood against but not what he stood for. a lot of that has to do with the press but it also has to do with a cautious campaign. where was the message that we could all happily embrace?

that's a question we need to be asking.

i do sex & politics here as 'screeds' with 'attitude.' so looking at what adisa banjoko is saying and applying it just to what i write about, i can ask myself have i done enough to highlight what i like? (yes, i've raved over sexual partners but let's leave the sex aspect for now.)

i've noted and applauded janeane garofalo and randi rhodes and, more recently, laura flanders. i've attempted to warn everyone why the new republic is not a liberal magazine. but have i noted enough magazines that were liberal? i'm not sure that i have.

i will continue to address the issue of the new republic (and plan to do so tomorrow) but am i pointing people to magazines that might be speaking for them? i don't think i've honestly done a good job of that.

i'll pass on that the common ills has a post on the progressive today that outlines why it is a good magazine. i'll note that i enjoy the progressive too. but i don't know that i do enough about what i stand for as opposed to what i stand against? so that's something we all need to think about. i'll do it on this end and hopefully you will do it on your end.

but i'll close by saying i stand for peace and equality and that those used to be not just enlightened positions but also popular 1s. a great deal has been lost under the bully boy and maybe if we put our thinking caps on and work together we can find a way to turn back towards
a belief in community and public good. what do you think? let me know at sexandpoliticsandscreeds@yahoo.com.


the media is blind to the realities on the ground in iraq

today, i want to direct you to the third estate sunday review's "Under-reported stores from last week: feat: Ron (Why Are We Back in Iraq?), Pam (Big Brass Blog) and Folding Star (A Winding Road)." that's a great story/conference on stories the mainstream media missed last week while they obsessed over only 1 story.

besides the people mentioned in the title, you'll hear 3rd estate's picks, common ills community member betty's picks, c.i.'s picks and my picks.

i want to note a pick from the 3rd estate because i think it's pretty important. it's chris anderson's 'The Media: Blind In Iraq' from nyc indymedia. kara brought this story up this morning over at the common ills and that made me think about how i think the story is important but i don't believe i've done much to help get it out.

so here's a section of 'the media: blind in iraq' and the entire thing is worth reading:

All in all, a dramatic attack that underscored the growing competence of US-trained Iraqi security forces, the increasing isolation of the insurgency, and the presence of foregin fighters in Iraq. In short, an attack that reinforced everything the United States wanted to say about the current situation in Iraq.
Which is probably why it never happened. Or at least, why it didn't happen the way we were told it happened.
Burdened by the dangers of reporting in Iraq, unofficial military censorship, and the conventions of foreign correspondence early reports about the "Battle at Lake Thanthar" were compiled almost entirely from briefings given by Iraqi and US government officials. The reports, in the NY Times, the AP, and elsewhere emphasized the high insurgent death toll, the importance of Iraqi civilian tips, the presence of foreign fighters, the large ammount of equipment at the camp, and the fact that insurgents that tried to escape in boats across the lake were killed.
So what's actually going on in Iraq? As we've noted on this page a number of times already, no one has any idea. Certainly not the journalists assigned to report there. As Juan Cole puts it:"American news organizations such as CNN refuse to report news that is only carried by AFP, because they consider it to have inadequate journalistic quality-control. But reports like this one are not being done by US wire services in Iraq, and if we don't take AFP seriously, we essentially may as well just believe whatever Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib and the Pentagon claim.

i really recommend that you read that article because we are not getting the truth about iraq. we didn't before the war and we still aren't.

this is a short entry and there may be more later tonight or not. i've going out to eat and after i have to drop jeff off at the airport.


spotlighting the good: laura flanders, steve rosenfeld, stephanie tubbs-jones, juanita millender-mcdonald, ava & c.i. and janeane garofalo

thank god for c.i. over at the common ills. there are days when i can't even stomach the main section of the new york times and go to the common ills for a summary. this was 1 of those days.

i hope people are also listening to the laura flanders show on air america because that's a strong show. tonight they covered the ohio congressional committee taking testimony in ohio and c.i.'s already got a post on that full of quotes so go there.

but my favorite part was the same as laura flanders' favorite part. when stephanie tubbs-jones told kenneth blackwell that if he didn't like her questions he could 'haul butt' and 'go on, see you.'

people said things like 'oh nothing will happen.' that wasn't the point of needing ohio coverage. the point was it was news and we needed to be informed. the point was that stephanie tubbs-jones (who's not even on the committee) was taking a brave stand and unless we're spineless cowards, we should be paying attention and supporting her.

i'll also say 'way to go' to juanita millender-mcdonald. and if i can be crude, and any 1 coming to this site knows that i can and usually am, why is it that all the democrats in congress that have balls seem to be women? barbara boxer, maxine waters, stephanie tubbs-jones, cynthia mckinney, juanita millender-mcdonald . . . now there are a few brave men in congress but they're mainly in the house and if you want to be really honest about it, male or female, take away barbara boxer, russ feingold, ted kennedy and robert byrd and all the bravery is coming mainly from the black caucus out of the house.

i'll also take a moment to note 1 story from the third estate sunday review's latest edition and i'll try to do that at least once a week. since every 1's e-mailing about the tv review that ava and c.i. did of smallville, i'll note that they review john stamos's jake in progress.

From the hype, we were cued to expect a male version of Sex in the City, full of snappy remarks and sex driven plots. But then . . . we watched.
The show is all tease. We're not just saying that they cut away from the sex scenes because we weren't expecting to see Stamos and assorted others flashing the rears at the camera. (And outside of Wendie Malick, no one in the cast should even consider doing that -- see notes at the end on Stamos' body.) But we were expecting that the show would be about sex.
And it really wasn't. Jake is supposed to be a sex machine. And we get a lot of sex talk. A lot of openings. But no closure. No sealing the deal. Talk, talk, talk. And it's not locker room talk. This is like eavesdropping on the high school chess club: they'd really, really like to have sex, but they never really, really get to.

color me disappointed, i had so many hopes for that show.

they mention me in the review so of course i'll quote that. i have no problems with being self-referential!

Rebecca has written about how to make Jake in Progress a hit (before the show aired) and she wanted us to answer this important question: How much flesh does Stamos show?
Rebecca, not much. In one scene (when he wakes up by the hot tub the next morning and the woman is gone), you get to see his chest. Otherwise, if he's in bed with a woman (talking!) you see his shoulders and her shoulders. (It's like sex between those big doll heads you could style the hair on.) His sleepware is a t-shirt and what appears to be silk pants or possibly shiny sweat pants. So your hopes that he'd be running around in a pair of BVDs, consider those dashed.
The body itself isn't much to note. That might be why you get so many shoulder shots. His pecs are like late 80s Richard Gere pecs -- on the verge of losing all tone and emerging with the fold lines that dominated so much of Gere's bare chest acting in the 90s. We like to call that When Pillow Pecs Turn Into Fold Out Sofas. (You're welcome to come up with your own classification.)

i love that, pillow pecs turn into fold out sofas. richard gere is so hot and then he takes off his shirt and those former pillow pecs just sort of slide down his chest now. if the show's not doing shots of john stamos in bvds, believe me, it's not worth watching and will soon be cancelled.

ava and c.i. are astute, delightful and so damn funny. it's like printed stand up.

and speaking of stand up, since i didn't have to trudge through the main section of the paper, i was able to enjoy other parts. let me put you wise to the fact that the incredible janeane garofalo has a profile in the arts section. janeane's a stand up woman both in the sense that she does stand up and in the sense that she stands up for what she believes in. she's funny and smart and, no matter what she says, she's gorgeous. but i do wonder why the paper ran two photos of her that were so old. she stopped bleaching her hair blonde forever ago. i didn't care for the blonde hair but even with it, she was gorgeous. if you haven't checked out the majority report yet, do so for janeane because she's the real deal.

working with the third estate sunday review

we're all on a break from the third estate sunday review and i wanted to take a moment to write a quick note so i don't wake up tomorrow to 'are you alive' e-mails.

ava and c.i. have a very funny review of john stamos's new show jake in progress. i am mentioned in it and since i blogged on that show back at the first of march, i'll go ahead and tell you, mr. stamos is keeping the skin covered. which is sad because i think a lot of people would watch if he was flaunting the bod. the review isn't posted yet and i finished reading it right before we all went on break.

in addition, there's a feature we're working on where people will be weighing in on stories that did not get traction or enough traction last week. hopefully that will be of interest to a few people who read at this site. if you're not familiar with the third estate sunday review, you should really check them out. they publish once a week on sundays.

i'm not sure i highlighted the piece that we all worked on last week. in case i didn't, background, the five who make up the third estate (jim, jess, ava, ty and dona) along with c.i., common ills community member betty and myself all went to our various rallies and interviewed people asking them 1 question: why are you here?

from all those voices, we published 81 explaining why the rallies were important to them. we thought that would be a strong feature and it is. but i think we're all a little surprised by how the rallies were so ignored by the mainstream press.

here's one voice of the eighty-one:

Ira, 62: "I'm here to say no to the occupation. And I'm really impressed with the turnout and with all the young faces I'm seeing because I wasn't expecting them. You got the prison scandal, you got the torture, you got the rapes, you got a scandal every other week and nothing seems to lead to any outrage. Why do I think that is? Because Bushy got some Madison avenue wiz to come up with a market slogan: 'support the troops.' And everyone keeps repeating that bullshit slogan. And it just shuts down debate, discussion and awareness. When I was a kid, you'd have seen a group of us screaming back, 'Fuck no!' but you don't get that today. And we're all managed and manipulated. And the extreme becomes 'Oh that's awful . . . but I support the troops.' And that shuts down any thought a person might have. In the 60s, you had a range of opinion and a range of people speaking out and being heard. But the range now is basically two voices: 'I support the troops and the president is right!' and 'I'm shocked that whatever happened happened but I support the troops.' That's it. No one can talk about anything for more than three minutes without piping off, 'I support the troops.' It's disgusting to see how well this war has been marketed from the lead up to the occupation."