Friday, January 02, 2009
The backstory. I got the threateing e-mails that all women get back in 2005. I got tired of it and I usually check my e-mails only once a month. When I do, if I know the sender, I read it. If I don't know the sender, I look at the title and decide whether or not to read it based on that.
I make no apologies to anyone who doesn't get read. As I've explained before, it's not worth it to me to be scared in the home alone. I've got three kids and I'm the only adult in this house. I don't have time for the threatening e-mails.
So I went into my inbox for this account and it was wonderful to read all of the e-mails. Thank you. If I read you, you got a note of reply. If you didn't get one, I didn't read you. Which means I either didn't know you as a sender or I didn't know you as a sender and your e-mail title made me wonder whether it was worth it to read it. Again, I don't apologize for that.
As much as so many of you kindly said you enjoyed my year in review, I loved C.I.'s. This is from her "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally (Year in Review):"
There was Katha Pollitt. Of course, moments after calling out the sexism against Hillary, she joined Minnie Mouse and other 'noted' "'Feminists' for Barack" and endorsed him. That list was a regular Who's Who of the Politically Closeted, by the way. Again, if Barack had to depend on Democrats for support . . .
So feminist Katha hopped on board. And?
That was it for Katha. She would never again call out the sexism in the media. Why? She explained it when she surfaced to snarl at Tom Hayden for his own sexism posted at The Nation. April 24th, Katha posted "Why Tom Hayden Makes Me Scream" and, apparently so outraged, she didn't truly grasp what she was confessing to: "I want to do my bit for Obama, so I vowed I would give up attacking Obama-supporting progressives for the duration of the presidential campaign."
Feminism, according to Katha, is something you can dabble in. Feminism is, apparently, like a faucet and you can turn it on or you can turn it off. Katha went back to turning it off. While "doing my part" for Barack mattered to her, apparently feminism could wait.
Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan did speak out . . . for Hillary.
Both women were falsely labeled racist as a result. Labeling people "racist" was, in fact, the political game of 2008. Of course, no one was ever supposed to note that, in an educated society, calling Barack "Black" was racism. He's bi-racial.
But attacked, the two women quickly fell in line. Which is why they both embarrassed in the fall of this year when GOP presidential candidate John McCain picked Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate.
Gloria went on KPFK and played dumb when asked if the criticism that Palin should be home with her children wasn't sexist? Gloria LIED and stated she'd never heard any women making that claim. It was embarrassing and, to her credit, Gloria grasped that and more or less excused herself after the incident.
Not Robin Morgan. Queen of the Sour Grape Girls.
Robin -- like Gloria, not a Democrat but a "Democratic-Socialist" -- can and will stand up to any man in defense of women with one exception -- due to her fringe radical roots (well, she had child-non-star acting roots, then she gets her fringe radical base), she cannot abide being called a racist. It's the equivalent of "I double-dog dare you." You can call her any name in the book and it won't get a rise out of her. But even though she knew she was being baited with the false-charge of racism, it was all too much for her and, despite the fact that Barack was a supremely unqualified candidate, she spent the fall repeatedly attacking Sarah Palin -- whom Ralph Nader rightly pointed out to NBC was the only candidate with executive branch experience.
That was my favorite section. We're all picking favorite sections. I loved it because it dealt with so many disappointments. Including Robin Morgan and how some Whites allowed themselves to be manipulated.
I'd include Erica Jong in that as well, by the way. When she was for Hillary, she was called a racist over and over again. And then what happened? She goes for Barack and starts talking about how there will be race wars and a civil war if Barack doesn't win the November election and how she's had to start taking drugs just to cope, just like her friend Jane Fonda.
C.I. tells a very funny story about Jong in the late seventies, attempting to make a good impression, but forgetting how important bathing can be.
Well that's it. I'm just blogging tonight to get in more practice. Have a good weekend.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, January 2, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, slapping up against the latest wave of Operation Happy Talk, some US veterans of war have difficulties re-adjusting to civilian life, and more.
It's the new year so the press would traditionally contribute their 'looking back' pieces. But why do that and be bound by the facts when it's so much more 'creative' to look to the future and pen fantasies? In today's Washington Post, Anthony Shadid decided to inform that, "The war in Iraq is indeed over"; however, events on the ground begged to differ. Even ten years ago, a reporter trying to do what Shadid has done (war over by press fiat!) would have been the laughingstock of the press corps. Such are the times that Shadid is actually 'outshined' by the actions at another outlet. Leila Fadel. Yeah, she's back in Iraq. And offering all the 'value' and 'pertinence' as Yvette Mimieux did when she decided to team up with Ali Akbar Khan because what the world needed then (1968) was more bad music with poetry (Baudelaire) read over it badly. Flowers of Evil was what those 'geniuses' ended up with and it might as well be the title of Fadel's latest which contains this hidden 'gem': "It's difficult, however, for hope to return so quickly after so much bloodshed." Fadel is, no doubt, very proud of that line just as Yvette knew Flowers of Evil would set the world on fire. But, for the record, bad poetry doesn't have a damn thing to do with journalism. Fadel might try to squeeze that sentence into some sort of crack-pot, Chicken Sop for the whatever but it doesn't belong in reporting.
But we're not getting reporting, we're hearing the sounds of the Up With People singers warming up as they prepare for the ultimate wave of Operation Happy Talk. "There's no doubt," insists Fadel straining to hit notes beyond her range -- but, in fact, reporting is all about doubts. Reporting is all about questioning. Save this garbage for your EST seminar (Erhard Seminars Training) because it's quackery, it's not reporting.
Doubt it? Here's Fadel seeing 'change,' "U.S. officials already have moved out of Saddam Hussein's Republican Palace, which they'd used as their headquarters since U.S. troops took control of Baghdad, and are occupying a brand new, sprawling 104-acre U.S. embassy complex that's America's largest in the world." And this tells us what, Fadel?
It appears to tell us that the largest Embassy in the world is preferred to Hussein's musty, old castle. It appears to tell us that, as was stated long before construction on the Embassy began, the US would move into the Embassy as soon as it was possible. Delays came about because shoddy work was done. And, no, not all of it has been fixed. But those are details that escape Fadel who writes as if she's willing McClatchy's Baghdad operation to shut down. Leila, thinking "happy thoughts" might have allowed Peter Pan to fly, but there's no evidence to suggest it will do the same for a news outlet.
Once upon a time, reporters were expected to deal in facts. Today, it's all word games. Could someone give 'em all Scrabble for their down time and instruct that they practice their trade at all other times? Chief among the foreign outlets needing to unwrap a Scrabble board: AFP. The agency's Benjamin Morgan offers a lede about how Iraq's airspace ("a swathe" of it) is being handed back to it by the US. A swathe? Over 29,000 feet and higher was already controlled by Iraq. Thereby explaining that amazing space program al-Maliki launched. What? He didn't launch one? No, of course not. And it doesn't mean a damn thing that 29,000 to 24,000 feet were returned to Iraq as the new year began. Why is that? AFP quotes Amer Abduljabbar Ismail (Minster of Transportation) stating that "the complete control of our airspeace will not be finished until 2011, when the US military leaves." Poor, deluded, sick liar. The US isn't leaving in 2011 and, if they did, Iraq having control of it's air space wouldn't mean a damn thing because, as was repeatedly revealed in Baghdad press conference after conference this fall, Iraq air force will not be ready in 2011. They freely admitted -- American and Iraqi spokespeople -- that Iraq would require the US well past 2012.
So many novelists, so damn few reporters. It's as though the 90s trend which found the 80s literary set -- Jay McInerney, Tama Janawitz, Bret Easton Ellis, Jill Eisenstadt, et al -- invading the feature profile resulted in a serious case of creative envy among the press corps. (I know and like Jay and will note that he had showed true talent in non-fiction writing. I know others who attempted that feat and will pointedly not bother to make a similar regarding the 'merits' of their contributions.)
The Green Zone and Basra airport 'handovers' are worth one sentence outside the real estate listings. If that. Timothy Williams (New York Times) wisely does not attempt to make it the thrust of his report and includes some details on the area that is thought to be the one to watch (including thought to be the one to watch by Barack's transition team):
Mosul, located about 250 miles north of Baghdad, is in a region contested by Sunni arabs and Kurds, and where Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a homegrown Sunni extremist group that American intelligence agencies say is led by foreigners, has been active.
The city's Christian minority was the focus of repeated attacks last year, forcing thousands to flee, although many have returned.
Nineveh Province is also the buffer zone between the central government in Baghdad and the semiautonomous Kurdistan region in Iraq's far north. About 5,000 American soldiers are stationed there.
Reuters reported this morning that tribal Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Salih was entertaining a group of "Sunni Arab tribal leaders" for lunch when a bomber arrived and detonated his or her bomb -- killing his/herself and wounding somewhere between 42 and 100 people (depending on the source). And the death toll? BBC reports at least 30 dead. Anthony Shadid and Saad Sarhan (Washington Post) report, "Iraqi officials said the assailant, a relative of the sheik, was a familiar presence around the house, making it easier for him to pass unsearched through an entrance usually reserved for women in the conservative town of Yusufiya, about 12 miles south of Baghdad." And, yes, it does have to do with upcoming elections (scheduled for January 31st). Sami al-Jumaily (Reuters) explains the get-togehter was "a feast for Sunni Arab electoral candidates and tribal leaders". When you read the garbage about war over and the latest waves of Operation Happy Talk get up to the neck, remember what the 'reporters' forget: The UN has warned repeatedly that violence will increase as the provincial elections approach. Even the US State Dept has echoed those warnings.
In other reported violence . . .
Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that left four people wounded, a Mosul roadside bombing that left two people wounded. Reuters notes a Mosul bombing the injured a police officers.
Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 person shot dead in Mosul. Reuters notes an armed attack on Mussayab checkpoint where 3 guards were killed and six more were left wounded.
Richard Sisk (New York Daily News) reported Wednesday night, "Two U.S. troops died of combat wounds in Iraq Wednesday and a British Royal Marine was killed in Afghanistan to end a year that put the two wars on different trajectories. The latest casualties brought the U.S. death toll in Iraq for 2008 to 314, the lowest total since the 2003 invasion, when 486 were killed. A total of 4,221 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq. " The Iraq deaths were noted in Wednesday's snapshot. We're noting Sisk here because he's the only one who treated the deaths as worthy of a report -- as opposed to an aside in the midst of a report on something else.
The transition to Iraqi control is . . . stuck in the mud. Ned Parker and Ali Hameed (Los Angles Times) report that January 1st came and went with little change, "On the first day of the new era, the Iraqi soldiers were still following U.S. soldiers' instructions on what route to take and whom to talk to. The Americans motioned when to ask residents for information about recent Sunni militant attacks or to tell residents that Iraqi forces, not the Americans, were now in charge here.The early-morning patrol underscored the delicate nature of what everyone calls a transition, where the American officers refer to their job as partnering with Iraqi combat units, now that a U.S.-Iraq security pact has gone into effect." The 'transition' is not unlike the November 'handover' of the "Awakening" Council from US to Baghdad control. All this time later, over a 1/3 are still under US control and the word is it will be "months" before that 'transition' is complete.
In the US, Lizette Alvarez (New York Times) teams with Dan Frosch for the beat she's long covered. The latest installment is "A Focus on Violence by G.I.'s Back From War." From the article, and focusing on Colorado:
Nine current or former members of Fort Carson's Fourth Brigade Combat Team have killed someone or were charged with killings in the last three years after returning from Iraq. Five of the slayings took place last year alone. In addition, charges of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault have risen sharply.Prodded by Senator Ken Salazar, Democrat of Colorado, the base commander began an investigation of the soldiers accused of homicide. An Army task force is reviewing their recruitment, medical and service records, as well as their personal histories, to determine if the military could have done something to prevent the violence. The inquiry was recently expanded to include other serious violent crimes.
Now the secretary of the Army, Pete Geren, says he is considering conducting an Army-wide review of all soldiers "involved in violent crimes since returning" from Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a letter sent to Mr. Salazar in December. Mr. Geren wrote that the Fort Carson task force had yet to find a specific factor underlying the killings, but that the inquiry was continuing.
Focusing attention on soldiers charged with killings is a shift for the military, which since the start of the war in Iraq has largely deflected any suggestion that combat could be a factor in violent behavior among some returning service members.
Past work by Alvarez on this issue includes the February piece she and Deborah Sontag did entitled "When Strains on Military Families Turn Deadly," her July piece "After the Battle, Fighting the Bottle at Home," her January article with Sontag "Combat Trauma Takes the Witness Stand" and her August "War Veterans’ Concussions Are Often Overlooked."
While the assault on Gaza continues and US president-elect Barack Obama continues to remain silent, 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney writes (at Dissident Voice) of the assault on the vessel Dignity -- which carried her, medical personnel and medical supplies -- by the Israeli navy:
It's official now. We've been told that the sturdy, wood construction of our boat, Dignity, is the reason we are still alive. Fiberglass would probably not have withstood the impact of the Israeli attack and under different circumstances, we might not be here to tell the story. Even at that, the report that came to us yesterday after the Captain and First Mate went back to Sour (Tyre) to inspect the boat was that it was sinking, the damage is extensive, and the boat will take, in their estimation, at least one month to repair. Tomorrow, we will bring the Dignity from Sour to Beirut. And now, we must decide what to do and from where we will do it and how we are to get back to wherever that might be.
My personal, and I know the group's, thanks must go to Al Jazeera, that allowed three of their reporters to be onboard with us on our voyage. As a result, Al Jazeera carried the story of the Dignity live, from castoff in Cyprus when our spirits were high, right up through the menacing maneuvers of the huge, super fast Israeli ships before they rammed us, the Israeli calls on the ship phone after the ramming calling us terrorists and subversives and telling us to return to Cyprus (even though the Israelis later claimed that they didn't know who we were, they knew enough about us to tell us where we had come from), and the fact that we didn't have enough fuel to follow their instructions, right up to their threat to fire at us if we didn't turn around, ending with our beaten-up boat limping into Sour harbor in Lebanon. Al Jazeera carried our story as "breaking news" and performed a real service to its audience and to us. Al Jazeera called the Israelis to inquire about the incident right as it was happening and I am sure the Israelis were prepared to leave none to tell the story. Al Jazeera told the story and documented it as it was happening.
One of those Al Jazeera reporters with us was Sami El-Haj, who was detained in Guantanamo by the United States for six incredibly long years. What an honor to even exchange glances with such a humble man who had endured so much pain at the hands of the U.S. government. I apologized to him that my tax dollars were being used in such a despicable way. And Sami's crime according to the U.S.? Born in Sudan, and reporting for Al Jazeera in Afghanistan, Sami was the wrong color, the wrong nationality, the wrong religion, reporting for the wrong news outfit, telling us the truth about a wrong war. And for that he survived incarceration for six long years. Sami El-Haj, Guantanamo prisoner number 345.Another incredibly committed journalist who was with us was CNN's Karl Penhaul. Karl reported the truth even when his own station was repeating Israeli disinformation. The fact that we were traveling with these alert journalists added to the flat-footedness and obvious crudeness of the Israeli response. Sadly, Israel has changed its story too many times to count, and that's because they are not telling the truth.
We lived to tell the story. Karl's incredible reporting, just a portion of our story, can be seen on CNN where there's also video and a photo of our damaged boat. A little more of the story and film of the extensive damage can be seen.
Those 'left' voices claiming to give a damn about the Palestinians -- you can find them at any outlet, this is the only story they can cover these days -- how many of them voted for Cynthia McKinney? Or Ralph Nader? Not too damn many. Most deluded themselves that Corporatist War Hawk Barack Obama would bring 'change' and he did! While George HW Bush golfed in Kennebunkport as a MidEast slaughter was ongoing, Barack took his game to Hawaii. 'Change' you can choke on. While Barack plays mute, Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued this statement Wednesday:
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari "We Support any Effort Agreed by Arab States Concerning the Israeli Bombing" Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari stated that Iraq supports any effort by Arab states on the Israeli shelling of areas in the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas in a statement to Al-Jazeera on Saturday and that the Iraqi stance is with Arab solidarity and what the Arab countries agreed upon. Minister Zebari added that Iraq would be in favor of any decision in this regard. Israel launched air raids on positions in the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas and killed two hundred people.
Public TV notes. Washington Week begins airing on many PBS stations tonight (check local listings) and sitting down with Gwen will be Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times), Dan Balz (Washington Post), David Wessel (Wall St. Journal) and Alexi Simendinger (National Journal). Topics will include Barack, Blagojevich and, possibly, who Gwen will cook home meals for if Condi returns to the West Coast? To Condi on the West Coast waiting . . .
Meanwhile NOW on PBS (check local listings, begins airing tonight in most markets) offers:
With the economy in a downward spiral, more and more people are taking advantage of credit card offers to make ends meet, but are the credit card companies actually taking advantage of their customers?
In the week in which federal regulators adopted sweeping new rules for the credit card industry, NOW meets families struggling to pay off their credit card debt. Such debt has become significantly larger thanks to questionable industry practices like doubling and tripling interest rates, increasing fees and penalties, and shrinking credit limits.
We meet people like Andrew Spurlock and his wife Michelle, who are raising three children while watching the interest rates and fees on their credit cards skyrocket. Michelle was horrified when her interest rate jumped from seven percent to 30 percent from one day to the next, despite claiming she always paid her monthly minimum. Michelle and her husband are fighting off financial ruin as they struggle to pay off their debt.
Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren, an expert on debt and the middle class, says credit card companies are deceiving customers in order to maximize profits. "You would think that if you upheld your end of the contract that the contract would be binding. But in the case of credit cards, you would be wrong," Warren, tells NOW.This week, NOW takes a hard look at the small print in credit card offers, and at Congressional legislation aimed at regulating the industry.
Meanwhile on broadcast TV (CBS) Sunday, 60 Minutes:
Is It Murder? With drunken driving fatalities staying constant despite all the campaigns against the crime, some prosecutors are pursuing harsher penalties against perpetrators, including long prison terms for those who caused deaths. Bob Simon reports. Watch Video Mind Reading Neuroscience has learned so much about how we think and the brain activity linked to certain thoughts that it is now possible – on a very basic scale - to read a person’s mind. Lesley Stahl reports. Watch Video The Mad Scientist Of Football Texas Tech coach Mike Leach made up for a lack of money and top talent by creating an innovative offense that’s changing the game of college football and beating bigger schools which regularly attract the best talent in the nation. Scott Pelley reports. Watch Video 60 Minutes, this Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Kennedy Center Honors: Streisand and Freeman
Barbra Streisand and Morgan Freeman are among this year’s honorees by the Kennedy Center. Mike Wallace interviewed Barbra Streisand in 1991 and Morgan Freeman in 2005. Streisand Video Freeman Watch
Public radio notes. The following programs will air on WBAI, the first on Monday:
Cat Radio Cafe
Author Edmund White on his play "Terre Haute," based on imagined conversations between literary lion Gore Vidal and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy Mc Veigh; playwright Andrea James and actors from "Yanagai! Yanagai!" a protest play from aboriginal Australia; and actor/director Roger Hendricks Simon on his award-winning independent film "The Sublet." Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer
Broadcasting at WBAI/NY 99.5 FM
Streaming live at WBAI
Archived at Cat Radio Cafe
A CELEBRATION OF JAMES JOYCE Monday June 16th 7 PM-4 AM • Listen to part 1 • Our yearly commemoration of Leopold Bloom's walk through Dublin includes readings from "Ulysses" and other works in the Joyce canon, as well as excerpts from Beckett and Irish song. With Alec Baldwin, Anne Meara, Alvin Epstein, Bob Dishy, Kate Valk, Jim Fletcher, Aaron Beall, Brian O'Doherty, Emily Mitchell, John O'Callahan, David Pincus, Zeroboy, Judy Graubart, Janet Coleman, David Dozer, Kate O'Brien, playwright Richard Maxwell and director Caraid O'Brien as Molly Bloom. Produced by Peabody Award winner Larry Josephson for WBAI.
2008 is over. Today the Los Angeles Times offers "2008 year in review." In this community, 2008 has been covered by the following: Betty's "Thinning out the herd (2008)" went up Thursday as did Kat's "2008 in music" and the "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally (Year in Review)." "2008 in books (Martha & Shirley)" -- Martha and Shirley's book commentary which went up Tuesday and Ruth's "Ruth's 2008 Public Radio Report" went up Wednesday. And Sunday, Third offered the following "Editorial: Democracy or fan club?," "TV: 2008, the lows and really lows," "The 2008 Bronze Boobies," "Best and worst in hardcover music journalism," "Music 2009" and "2009 in DVDs."
iraq the washington post anthony shadidthe los angeles timesned parkerali hameedtimothy williamsthe new york timeslizette alvarezdeborah sontagdan froschhoward mustoefiona macdonaldmcclatchy newspapersleila fadel60 minutescbs newsnow on pbspbswbaicat radio cafejanet colemandavid dozerwashington weekrichard siskthe third estate sunday reviewruths reportkats kornerthomas friedman is a great man
Thursday, January 01, 2009
And then came 2008.
Thinning out the herd.
2008 reminds me of each spring when I go through my bedroom closet deciding which items to keep and which to get rid of? Am I ever really going to wear that dress again? Those pants don't fit today and didn't fit in the store but I bought them hoping that one of us would change. (Since the material wasn't 'stretchy,' apparently I was the one who was supposed to change.) Those shoes always had heels that were too high for all but those who work with a pole.
A lot of things get tossed into the Goodwill box and my thoughts can usually be boiled down to: What was I thinking??????????
2008 found me wondering that repeatedly.
I'd once considered Laura Flanders to be one of the bravest voices 'independent' media had. 2008 found her stating that she was supporting Barack -- and you should too! -- because the kids love him!
Grace Lee Boggs would go on to disgrace herself with similar remarks. It's difficult to tell which was more upsetting. Flanders could have a second act. At some point, she could wise up and pull something out of thisall frightmare. But Grace? Grace doesn't have many more years left.
So there was Grace Lee Boggs, an elder, a voice. Telling the Democracy Now! audience that she was supporting Barack -- and they should be as well -- because the kids love him!
Part of the reason we have elders and value them is because age is supposed to bring wisdom. Experiences are supposed to add up. So when an elder says "Vote for ___," they should be able to provide valid reasons that call on their years of living and experiences. Instead of bringing wisdom, Grace brought abdication.
She abdicated her responsibility and, in doing so, abdicated and right to be taken seriously as a voice.
She was far from alone.
There were men who were hideous. Chief among the ones I will never again read are Robert Scheer, Robert Parry, stinky BuzzFlash Mark, Norman Solomon, Jeff Cohen and John Nichols.
But the saddest thing for me, a Black woman, about 2008 was the thinning of the sisterhood.
Gloria Steinem is someone I've long admired and, check the Third archives and elsewhere, I defended her when she was falsely accused of racism. I pointed out that when Gloria was writing of all women, it was racist on the part of her accusers for them to insist she was focused on White women. It was racist and it was sexist. It said that "Black" only matters when it's a man. As a woman and a mother of a young girl, no way in the world do I buy that garbage.
So I defended Gloria and was glad to do so.
Until she turned around and stabbed Sarah Palin in the back. There were many ways to disagree with Palin if you had to disagree with her.
I didn't vote for Sarah Palin. (Or John McCain. I voted Nader-Gonzalez.)
But I never felt the need to attack her.
As I saw her be attacked repeatedly with lies and distortions, I did feel the need to defend her. Grasping that a number of those attackers were women was one of the saddest things about the year.
I filled in for Rebecca a few times in 2008 when I absolutely had to say something. [My blog, until November, was an online novel about Betinna -- a victim of globalization, tricked into believing she was married to Thomas Friedman so he could get some free domestic help and a little sex on the side. If I had to say something out of character for Betinna, I took it to Rebecca's site and guest blogged.] If you go read those pieces, you'll note I was hitting the roof frequently. Like when the Black man wrote of how Black women were 'suspect' and not to be trusted because they might not support 'Black' Barack (Barack Obama is bi-racial -- my three children grasped that the first time they saw him on TV, why it's so 'difficult' for some grown ups to grasp is beyond me).
I never felt the need to blog to attack Hillary, Cynthia McKinney or Sarah. I don't know that I agreed with Cynthia or Hillary 100%. But I never felt the need to blog to rip them apart or spread lies about them. And while I didn't agree with Sarah on much politically (I did agree with her strong advocacy for special-needs children and think that, of all her speeches, my favorite was the one she gave on that subject), I never felt the need to rip her apart.
It was heart-ripping to watch the women like Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan repeatedly attempt to destroy Sarah Palin.
Now I understand why they did that: There was no way to make a case to vote for Barack.
When you have a candidate with nothing to brag about, you have to rip apart the competition to 'support' him.
I understand why they did it, it doesn't make it right.
And it's not something I will soon forget.
What Gloria, Robin and the gals of (Democratic) Women's Media Center didn't grasp was that what played with predominately male establishment that they were attempting to please appalled women.
It appalled and disgusted us.
And women in 'leadership' never looked so out of touch as they won praise from men for ripping apart a woman.
And you can toss in the sorry excuses for womanhood at Women's eNews.
It was so awful to read that site throughout 2008. You had the women attacking Hillary repeatedly and then you saw them -- especially the one who dresses like a washer woman and then wants to whine no one sees her as a professional -- show up and try to trick readers. They thought they could pretend like they hadn't spent months attacking Hillary. As if their past work just vanished because they decided to pretend it didn't exist.
Then came Sarah.
And Women's eNews went crazy. They went disgusting. They even started playing blue. It didn't play well and that's why, this month, you've seen begrudging statements on Sarah. Not real praise but sort-of backhanded compliments. With a little bitchy snark undertaste tossed in.
Guess what, Women's eNews, Robin Morgan, Gloria Steinem and all the rest? I am Sarah Palin.
I am a woman with children. I am a woman who has to get up every day and face work and sometimes that's a good thing and some days I feel like a large number of people are ripping me apart and trying to tear me down just because I'm a woman.
I am Sarah Palin.
I go to church. I believe in God.
I never grasped until crazy Barbara Ehrenreich and others started turning that into a fatal character flaw that there was anything wrong with my being a church goer.
I knew not everyone attended or believed. I was okay with that. I have enough trouble in my own life -- being a single parent, a working outside the home parent, with three children -- taking care of what I need to without butting my nose into other people's spirituality or belief systems.
Thank you, Babsie Ehrenrecih and all the other gals (yeah, Robin, that's you) who made it so very clear that, in their minds, I'm stupid, f**king idiot because I happen to believe in a higher power, in the Lord.
I tend to think Babsie's a stupid, f**king idiot but that's due to her snotty little attitude to working class women in Nickle & Dimed. I have to wonder if she'd been writing of male workers if that snotty attitude, that smugness, would have still not been called out? I doubt it. I think male reviewers would have been offended for fellow males regardless of socio-class. But women? Who the hell cares about women? Wasn't that the lesson of 2008?
I am Sarah Palin.
Sarah Palin went to several colleges! Sarah Palin went to community college!
Yeah and your point is?
That she's not some pampered spoiled rich kid? Got it. I'm not either. I started having my children very early on and you're kidding yourself if you think I had time for college before their father did his vanishing act.
My personal time actually increased when that happened because I no longer had to spend hours worrying why he was mad or how I could make him happy or was he so unhappy he would leave or . . .
Thank you to Egg Head Left for explaining to me how much you look down on me because finishing colleges required more than one school and required non-Ivy-league schools. I'm so sorry I couldn't attend Rad-Wels-Lawrence-cliffe and 'experiment' with all the other Egg Head gals but father made me choose between that and having my tiara cleaned.
I am 100% serious about identifying with Sarah Palin.
And the mocking of the way she spoke?
Outside of Egg Head land, that didn't play. It wasn't cute and it wsn't funny. It especially wasn't ha-ha time in the Black community where we have many wise elders who have seen so much that they can share and teach us about but whose lives meant that they dropped out in high school, in junior high or in elementary. If we can understand a person, we don't generally make fun of the way they talk.
But Sarah Palin -- pronoucing her words accurately -- had a tendency to string together a series of half-sentences. The meaning was perfectly clear. But it was time to imply she was a stupid idiot for that reason.
This was just mean spirited bitchiness and because Tina Fey was leading it on, it was supposed to be funny. It was cruel. And, as Ava and C.I. have repeatedly demonstrated at Third, Tina Fey didn't 'play' Sarah Palin, she sexualized her. She did that by giving Palin a higher voice than either she or Tina spoke in, she did that by little 'touches' like having her 'Palin' lift her skirt in a skit to flash leg.
It wasn't funny. It certainly wasn't equal because no one ever made fun of Barack.
It was disgusting.
Ava and C.I.'s "TV: 2008, the lows and really lows" went up Sunday and they talk about how they'd planned to address other issues from that infamous episode of SNL. Like what?
They don't say in the piece but I know because they were outraged at the time. There was a skit about a White racist giving a toast where he goes nuts about Barack being the president-elect. As they pointed out in a draft they were struggling with that week, it sure is easy for the White SNL to feel better about itself while calling others racist but, check the cast, the show's the one keeping African-Americans down. They were noting how some White people who scream racism do it without ever grasping what their own body of work adds up to.
It was a difficult point to make as an aside -- they were trying to fit it into their goobye to Amy P. -- and it just wasn't working. I heard about it and asked for a copy because I knew my dad would love it.
Which he did. And I really need to tell C.I. thank you. I've noted it before but I'll note it now and note that my father now wants the thank you in as well.
Throughout 2007 and 2008, Dad thought nothing of calling C.I. Generally C.I. would be speaking and have to call Dad back as soon as she got a second. Once Dad had C.I. on the phone, he would talk her ear off about how White media was setting up traps for the Black community with the Jena coverage. How that was going to explode (and didn't it -- my dad is a very smart man) and if it wasn't called out right now, if White media wasn't called out for 'improving' the story, the Black community would be the one left holding the bag. Throughout the primaries, he would call C.I. and insist she write about how they were wrongly calling Bill Clinton a racist or how they were doing this or how Barack wasn't Black, he was bi-racial.
Now most of that is stuff C.I. would have covered all on her own. But not to the extent that my father wanted. And I would always hear about it after the fact. Sometimes day after. I'd take the kids over to my parents and Dad would say, "Let me tell you about my conversation with C.I." I would groan and say, "Dad, every time C.I. steps up to the plate and covers this, TCI loses links."
And it happened. Over and over. For Jena comments, C.I. lost 30 links. For my dad's last requested comments on race, even more Whites fled.
Dad realizes now what happened there and wishes C.I. would have said something. But C.I. doesn't care about that. C.I. does care that people who are being shut out by the media have a voice and she was always happy to include my father's voice. Sometimes she immediately got his point, sometimes she would have to say, "I kind of get it but I'm missing some details. Walk me through and I'll find a way to comment on it in the snapshot."
And I love C.I. for that and for always making time for my dad. Mom jokes our local paper (which we ignore because they have attacked Cynthia McKinney non-stop over the years) is so lucky Dad never got any of their private numbers.
But when he read the scrap that Ava and C.I. had to set aside, he pointed out that what they were saying was so true. Saturday Night Live will never, ever try to present a Black perspective but the Whites with the show want to be able to pat themselves on the back by calling others racists.
And as Dad pointed out, by contrast, C.I. will drive herself crazy attempting to include as many points of views and arguments into everything she writes. The bi- and multi-racial community? Ava and C.I. were standing with it in January as Barack and others spat on them. The Asian-American community, the special-needs community . . .
If you are shut out of the narrative, C.I. will first ask you to write something in your own voice. If that's not possible or if you think that's not possible, C.I. will then ask you to give her the basic facts and she will run with your argument. She will make your case for you.
And that's one of the biggest things people never get about The Common Ills. At Third, Ava and C.I. have the ability to write what they want as they want it. At TCI, unless C.I.'s saying, "My opinion," she's writing for the community and on behalf of the community.
And I think we saw how powerful that was in 2008. We never fell onto the HopeyChangey train. We didn't get fooled, we didn't get tricked.
We also didn't know C.I. didn't care for Dennis Kucinich (because he always caves) and actively loathes John Edwards. If SNL hadn't done their election special the day before the election, we might never know that. We did pieces on Edwards at Third after the scandal was confirmed (his affair) and C.I. excused herself from those pieces (as Jim would note in his note to the readers). I had no idea that C.I. loathed Edwards and that it went back as far as it did. (It goes back very far, I now know the whole story there.)
But when the community supported Dennis, C.I. included Dennis pretty much every day in the snapshots. C.I. covered Dennis campaign non-stop. And would never vote for Dennis. And the same with John Edwards who had some support in the community up until he dropped out. C.I. defended John Edwards when the media distorted him or attacked him and, let me repeat, C.I. HATES John Edwards. Hates him. Not dislikes him, HATES him.
And we never knew. We read the snapshots and you can go back and read them now. John gets appladued or called out based on what he's doing. John gets defended when he's distorted.
If Panhandle Media felt they weren't bound by any journalism ethics in 2008 -- and they certainly behaved as if they felt they weren't bound by any -- you think out of respect for their audience they could have tried to have treated everyone fairly.
But 2008 proved they weren't in it for us. They were, as Joni Mitchell sings, only in it for themselves ("Free Man In Paris"). And that's why 2008 resulted in a thinning of the herd.
For more year-in-review commentaries, Kat's "2008 in music" and C.I.'s "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally (Year in Review)" went up this morning, "2008 in books (Martha & Shirley)" -- Martha and Shirley's book commentary which went up Tuesday and Ruth's "Ruth's 2008 Public Radio Report" went up yesterday while Third's "TV: 2008, the lows and really lows," "The 2008 Bronze Boobies," "Best and worst in hardcover music journalism," "Music 2009" and "2009 in DVDs" went up Sunday.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
In an interview with the The Wall Street Journal, Burris said he would challenge an effort by Senate Democrats to block his appointment, although he thinks they will back down eventually.
That's from Michael Winter's "R.I.P.: Burris's tomb will need an update if he becomes senator" (USA Today). Earlier today, I reposted C.I.'s "Congratulations, Senator Burris" (after my father called me and all but stamped his feet). C.I. wrote that beautifully. It just sketches out so clearly and people were copy and pasting it into e-mails (we use Outlook at work) and sending it all over the office and then all over the building (and, no doubt, beyond). Everyone was talking about it.
C.I. is so correct that Barack is on a day-pass. People forget that before he used homophobia in South Carolina and before his campaign started falsely crying racism, Hillary had the Black support. Barack's not Black. He's bi-racial. He is the child of a White woman and a Black man.
Add in that he didn't grow up in the US, he grew up overseas. Then he came to Hawaii at age ten. Where he was a spoiled little prince. Barack does not know the first thing about being Black because he's never been Black and never could be. He's bi-racial. Now 100 years ago, in the same situation, he would have been Black. But times changed.
He has no connection to the Civil Rights movement and he does not share Black America's history where our ancestors were brought to this country as slaves. (Most of our ancestors were.)
So when you have Senator Burris, a legitimate Black hero, being denied a Senate seat and you have bi-racial Barack issuing statements attempting to deny Burris his seat, you have a pissed off Black community. And I saw it in action today.
Even the big Kool-Aid drinker in the office, Edna, she's probably 64-years-old and I could hear her across the office (she has a voice that really carries) declare, "As Betty keeps pointing out, that Baracka is bi-racial, he's not Black. I'm not surprised he'd do this. He has no respect for Black elders." She was furious. And she had been Barack's biggest supporter that I knew -- through the primaries, through the general election, you name it. She's justified everything. Until today with Burris.
Barack's on a day-pass. He has not lived our lives, he is not part of Black America. Michelle is. Michelle's as Black as I am. It's not about 'authenticity' or 'cred,' it's about shared experiences. Barack didn't go through that, he wasn't part of it.
So he never looks more White than when he attempts to deny a Black man a shot at the US Senate.
In other news, Ruth's "Ruth's 2008 Public Radio Report" went up today and it's so great. Please read it. I'm eager to read C.I. and Kat's upcoming pieces and hope to post my own either tomorrow or Friday. Did I link to "2008 in books (Martha & Shirley)" yesterday? If not, also amazing. Martha and Shirley carved out the book beat as their thing and I've enjoyed all four of their yearly reports. I think this year's is my favorite.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, December 31, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces deaths, hype passes for hope and neither are realistic, and more.
Today the US military announced: "A U.S. Soldier died, Dec. 31, in Balad, Iraq from injuries sustained during combat operations, Dec. 30." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier died from wounds sustained during a mortar attack in Baghdad Dec. 31." The announcements bring the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4221. The toll for the month thus far is 14. You could say, "The death toll so far is the same as the media reported for October" but . . . 14 was the October death toll; however, the media rushed to insist it was 13. So it'll be cute to see if anyone references the October death toll in their reporting and, if so, how they do it. If your outlet reported 13 and never corrected it, you're really pushing it to just say, "The same number as in October." 13 was the death toll for July -- the lowest monthly death toll for 2008.
Speaking of bad reporting . . . The Philadelphia Inquirer's Trudy Rubin wrote a laughable column (another one) that was published in the US on Christmas Eve and was published Monday in Taiwan. Trudy sees "signs of change on the streets of Baghdad" but, silly fool, she also believes that the US treaty with the puppet government in Baghdad will be followed. There are puppets in Baghdad smarter than Trudes. Where to start?
The "US Troops Withdrawal Agreement" is what the treaty was called by al-Maliki and what foolish idiots believed it was. It was no such thing. The treaty was needed to grant another one-year extension. The United Nations' Security Council could have extended the mandate for a year but the White House didn't want that. (Nor did al-Maliki who had -- two years in a row -- already gone around Parliament to get the mandate extended twice.) The treaty needed to cover a year. When the US began addressing it (in 2007), they frequently spoke of that reality. Trudy (and Patrick Cockburn) must have been sleeping. 2009 is the only year that both sides have to follow. 2010 can find the contract altered or cancelled. The same with 2011. In 2010, both parties may choose to replace it with a new treaty. It is a one-year contract with two options for renewal.
In mid-November, al-Maliki took to Iraq TV (state TV) to declare, "The pact stipulates that U.S. troops are to withdraw from cities and towns by June 30, 2009. And it is a deadline that will not be extended. It also says that [the US] should withdraw from Iraqi land, water and air space by January 1, 2011 -- which is a deadline that will not be extended." That was back when he was calling it the "US Withdrawal Agreement."
Nouri and Bully Boy were shoulder-to-shoulder recently. Remember that? At al-Maliki's palace? Maybe people forget because the one-shoe, two-shoe incident attracted so much attention? But check the transcript at the White House and see what al-Maliki's calling it? Is he calling it the "US Withdrawal Agreement"? No. He's using the same term the White House did "SOFA" -- Status Of Forces Agreement. It's not a withdrawal agreement. And at the December 20th Green Zone press conference, Iraqi Maj Gen Qassim Atta called the treaty the "US Withdrawal Agreement"? No. He referred to the June 2009 'withdrawal' as being "according to what's been said during -- the agreements, an agreement, the security agreement".
The US Withdrawal Agreement was just a brand al-Maliki slapped on it in November when he was attempting to pressure Parliament to vote for it. Since then, that 'term' is no longer used, not even by al-Maliki. Now let's deal with the June claim Trudy's pimping. From the December 22nd snapshot:
Today Elisabeth Bumiller (New York Times) examines the realities of the so-called US withdrawal from Iraq and it's not a pretty sight. Bumiller and Thom Shanker reported last week on how the 'plan' presented to president-elect Barack Obama -- the Petraeus-Odierno plan -- wouldn't allow for that campaign 'promise' of a US withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq. Friday Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reported that word games could allow for the impression that promises were being kept -- including what the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement allegedly promised. For context, Sudarsan Raghavan and Qais Mizher (Washington Post) explained last week, "American combat troops will remain inside Iraqi cities to train and mentor Iraqi forces after next summer, despite a security agreement that calls for their withdrawal from urban areas by June 30, the top U.S. military commander said Saturday." With all that as the backdrop, Bumiller explains today that "a semantic dance" has begun at the Pentagon over what qualifies as a combat soldier and, with regards to the treaty, "Even though the agreement with the Iraqi government calls for all American combat troops to be out of the cities by the end of June, military planners are now quietly acknowledging that many will stay behind as renamed "trainers" and "advisers" in what are effectively combat roles. In other words, they will still be engaged in combat, just called something else." Bumiller notes that "trainers" and "advisers" will be the renaming terms for "combat troops" in order to keep them in Iraq: "In other words, they will still be engaged in combat, just called something else." Of Barack, she notes, "it has become clear that his definition of ending the war means leaving behind many thousands of American troops."
So that means we've taken care of The Trudys and their "withdraw from major cities in June!" nonsense. (And it's already been learned that even the private contractors/mercenaries clause may not stand.) With the well known history of US treaties, you really had to be naive to think it would work out any differently. Naive or a liar.
So let's back up to this 'safer' claim. The same December 20th Green Zone press conference found Maj Gen Atta expounding on what's in store for the coming year: "The year of 2009 is going to witness a lot more coordination between Baghdad Amanat and the BOC and also the traffic police to reopen all the closed roads and streets and to also lift or remove all the concrete barries or security barriers, and [. . . .]" Really? And the security's going to hold? Hmmm. It's very likely that some of the news outlets pulling reporters from Iraq and sending them to Afghanistan may have to alter those plans at some point in the new year.
Meanwhile Campbell Robertson (New York Times) reports on some things that actually are planned to happen. On January 1st, warrants will be needed. Arrest warrants and detention warrants. The former must be received before arrests, the latter can be granted as late as 24 hours after a detention. So, Robertson explains, the US military is doing the house-to-house searches and other activities they can still do before the January 1st date when they will (may)be required to consult the Iraqi judiciary.Robertson notes that Company C of the "First Battalion [,35th Armor Regiment] has been trying to complete missions, like general house-to-house searches, that will soon become far more complicated, if not impossible" but, this month, as they were attempting to gather the backing that they hoped would result in a warrant being issued in January on one suspect, they came across him and "did what they had been doing freely for nearly six years: they detained him on the spot."
"(may)be"? As Capt Lloyd B. Osafo points out in the article, "Who knows if the Iraqis are going to follow all of this to a T? That's my personal opinion about all of this: who knows?" And the doubt is only increased by Iraqi Maj Hasson S. Hussein al-Zoubadi whining about how the Iraqi military will now have to follow these new rules. Robertson points out, "Actually, the agreement changes almost nothing for the Iraqi security forces: they are supposed to have been operating under the warrant-based system since 2007." When they haven't been it backs up Osafo's opinion.
Also expected in the new year is the holding of provincial elections. They are scheduled for January 31st and Maj Gen Atta was talking them up in the December 20th press conference as well. Missy Ryan and Andrew Dobbie (Reuters) report Mowaffaq al-Hamdani was shot dead in a Mosul cafe today and that al-Hamdani was "a candidate for the Sunni Arab party Iraq for Us". Following the shooting, police pursued the killers and 1 police officer was shot dead while another was injured. The reporters note, "The results of the vote, which will choose provincial council leaders in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces, will set the tone for parliamentary elections due at the end of 2009. The government of Nineveh province, where Mosul is located, has been in the hands of minority Kurds since many of the Sunni Arab majority boycotted the last provincial elections in 2005."
Turning to some of today's other reported violence . . .
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul bombing that followed another bombing (apparently the first was to draw people in for the second bombing) that left 4 dead and seven people wounded while a Sinjar car bombing claimed 5 lives and left forty-five wounded.
Reuters drops back to Tuesday to note 1 corpse discovered in Mosul and another just outside of Mosul.
CBS and AP note that New Year's Eve is being celebrated around the world. But not in the allegedly 90% democracy Iraq, Sam Dagher (New York Times) reports that Baghdad residents will not be allowed to celebrate the New Year tonight. It's been outlawed.Dagher explains that hotels and clubs have been ordered to close down (and cancel reservations). Why? Shi'ites have a holiday. Remember the back-patting al-Maliki just received last week? "Christmas is a legal holiday in Iraq for the first time ever!" was what the headlines screamed at many outlets. Murharram is going on! All must be placed on hold for this Shi'ite religious period (Shi'ite but not Sunni).
Turning to US politics. Roland Burris has been appointed to the US Senate by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich is governor and the state constitution gives him the right to appoint the replacement for Barack Obama who has left the Senate for the White House.The Illinois legislature has already taken the issue of Blagojevich to the state court and the court took a pass. The legislature had it in their power to impeach Rod Blagojevich and still might. However, they have yet to impeach him.He has appointed Burris. That appointment can't legally be overturned. And though the Illinois Secretary of State insists he will not confirm Burris, that's not really allowed in the state constitution. The Secretary is not allowed to override a governor's choice. Those egging the SoS on should be ashamed because they're applauding the subversion of the law. On the front page of today's New York Times, Monica Davey offers up "Defiant Illinois Governor Names Pick for Obama Seat" which includes an offensive statement:The choice of Mr. Burris immediately injected the issue of race into the appointment process, which may very well have been party of the governor's calculation. Representative Bobby L. Rush, Democrat of Illinois, who was called to the lectern at the news conference by Mr. Burris said he did not believe any senator "wants to go on record to deny one African-American from being seated in the U.S. Senate." The offensive statement is Davey's first one and we'll be using "Black" and not African-American in this entry, just FYI.Barack Obama is a person of color, he is bi-racial. He was the person holding the seat. Of course a person of color should have been considered to replace Barack. More importantly, appointments have often been a traditional road to address disenfranchisement. What's especially offensive about Davey's sentence is that she writes for the New York Times. New York which has their first Black governor, David Paterson. And they may have Hillary's Senate seat up for grabs but no one at Davey's paper has advocated for the governor to appoint a person of color to the Senate seat should Hillary become the next Secretary of State. Not only has the paper refused to advocate for it, they haven't even suggested it. (Marcia has raised the issue here and she's noted a qualified woman of color here.)Blagojevich may or may not be innocent. The courts will decide that. But the state legislature could have removed him if they had the votes and the will to do so. They did not. His powers include naming a replacement senator. If they didn't want him to do so, they should have impeached him (or at least tried).Blagojevich has exercised his powers and named the new US Senator from Illinois: Roland Burris. It is too late now and no loophole should give the legislature a second chance. They have had weeks and weeks to take action and they haven't done so. Too bad if they don't like the results.Shouldn't have dragged their feet.Talk of not seating Burris is offensive. The Times offers Carl Hulse's "Democrats Seek to Black Appointee to Obama's Seat, but Authority Is in Question" which addresses the disgraceful efforts now with Burris and in 1969 with Adam Clayton Powell. It really doesn't matter what Harry Reid thinks he wants, he is not the governor of the Illinois. Rod Blagojevich is and he acted within his (state) constitutional duties in appointing Burris who is qualified. The US Senate is being offensive with their threats and their claims now that they'd do this with anyone appointed by Blagojevich. No they wouldn't. And they probably won't be able to do it with Burris. The only thing that could have stopped the appointment was for the governor to be impeached. The legislature didn't do that.Roland Burris is Black. And if they're going to try to deny him his Senate seat -- which he was legally appointed to -- they are going to look very offensive and very racist. Barack Obama -- bi-racial -- has already issued a statement saying Burris shouldn't be seated. A bi-racial man with all the breaks, spoiled from youth and barely out of his youth, wants to deny a Black man who took part in the Civil Rights struggle of the sixties? He wants to deny a Howard University graduate? He better check himself real quick because this will not play well and someone better remind Barack that racism allows him to be considered "Black" but that's a day pass, a temporary one, and it can be pulled at any point. Attempting to deny Roland Burris a seat in the US Senate could result in some of the most pointed criticism Barack's yet to receive.Roland Burris will be only the fifth Black person to become a US Senator. Hiram Revels was the first (1870, from Mississippi), Blanche K. Bruce (1874, Mississippi),Edward Brooke (1967 - 1979, Massachusetts) and Carol Moseley Braun, the first Black woman elected to the US Senate (1993-1999).Barack is bi-racial, he is not Black. (That's why we're using "Black" and not "African-American" for this entry.) Burris would be the fifth Black US Senator. And someone thinks he can be denied just because they're all huffy over Rod Blagojevich?What Blagojevich did was legal and within his rights. Efforts to deny Roland W. Burris his Senate seat will be seen as racism due to the historical pattern.Trivia note, like Burris, Edward Brooke was a Howard University alumni.Andrew Malcom's blog post "Inside Blagojevich's bold, brash &*%$^# pick to replace Obama" (Los Angeles Times' Top of the Ticket) does a better job than Davey's overly long article in addressing some of the realities involved. As Mike wrote last night, "I hope he does well by his state and its citizens and I say, 'Congratulations, Senator Burris'."Disclosure: I've known Bobby Rush for years (and years). The only participant in this (that I'm aware of) whom I know. (I don't know Burris, I don't know Blagojevich.)
Barack remains in the news despite his tropical vacation. While he vacations, Gaza is under assault. Rebecca has been following that and noted last night Cynthia McKinney joined doctors and human rights activits on the Dignity to take medical supplies and help to the Palestinians however the ship was attacked by the Israeli navy. Black Agenda Report points out:
President-Elect Obama has been silent on the Israeli attacks, while President George Bush has supported Israel's actions.
"I would like to ask my former colleagues in the United States Congress to stop sending weapons of mass destruction around the world," said McKinney, who was the Green Party's presidential candidate in November. "As we are about to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, let us remember what he said. He said that the United States is the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet. And guess what: we experienced a little bit of that violence, because the weapons that are being used by Israel are weapons that were supplied by the United States government."
Vacationing Barack also remains dogged by the controversy he created when he invited homophobe Rick Warren to preside as some sort of anti-gay activist at the inauguration. Margaret Kimberly (Black Agenda Report) observes:
Obama has been courting Warren and other conservative evangelicals for some time. In June of 2006 Obama gave a speech that purported to show Democrats how to reach out to religious voters. At that time he had not yet officially declared himself a presidential candidate, but he very clearly showed his strategic hand and his political plans. He smeared religious progressives by saying that they didn't even exist and he smeared all progressives by claiming that they were hostile to religion. The much talked about speech consisted of one right wing talking point after another.
The Warren invitation is vintage Obama. Like Bush, Obama believes that he is the decider and that opinions differing from his own are to be ignored. Unlike Bush, he is savvy enough to pretend otherwise, and his smooth talking feel goodism fools many into maintaining a vow of silence about anything he does. The Warren invitation is yet another instance of the patronizing Obama telling the left that they shouldn't worry their pretty little
And Dr. Violet Socks (Reclusive Leftist) observes:
I wrote about the Warren thing when it broke, and noted at the time that -- ahem -- there's a hell of a lot more wrong with the guy than just the gay marriage thing. But who am I kidding? Women's rights don't matter. My Google news feed is full of articles and editorials on how Warren's presence at the Inauguration is an insult to right-thinking liberals everywhere -- but only because of his homophobia. There is no mention of the sexism. Thinking that women are born-to-obey is fine, apparently, but the anti-gay thing is just beyond the pale. Golly, Richard Cohen's sister even canceled her Inauguration party.
And you know what? Homophobia is awful. It's ugly primitive bigotry. Kind of like racism, which is also awful. Ridiculous to think that skin color or sexual orientation makes some humans inferior to other humans.
But sexism? Thinking women are inferior? Even preaching that women were put on earth to serve men? Eh. Whatever. Different strokes.
Forty years after the Second Wave started, and we're still at the back of the bus.
Socks' point is valid but it also needs to be noted that homophobia effects women. It effects women who are lesbians, it effects women targeted for being or suspected of being lesbians. It effects women with LGBT friends and family members and Richard Cohen's sister is a lesbian which is why he emphasized the homophobia when writing of his sister's decision to cancel a planned party to celebrate president-elect Barack's inauguration.
"2008 in books (Martha & Shirley)" -- Martha and Shirley's book commentary -- went up yesterday and Ruth's "Ruth's 2008 Public Radio Report" went up today.
the new york timeselisabeth bumiller
the washington postsudarsan raghavan
the los angeles timesjulian e. barnes
campbell robertsonsam dagher
andrew malcolmthe los angeles times
laith hammoudimcclatchy newspapers
sex and politics and screeds and attitudemikey likes itruths reportsickofitradlz
I'll do better than that, I'll repost the thing in full.
Roland Burris is an elder. He has held multiple statewide offices. He has a law degree. He has done his part in the Civil Rights movement.
He is more than qualified to be a US Senator. The Illinois governor appointed him to be that yesterday and there's all this talk of how he won't be seated. Bulls**t!
We're not taking the back seat for bi-racial Barack.
Seat the qualified Senator Burris or accept the fact that you are racist and voting for Barack didn't change that about the bulk of America.
Senator Burris is qualified and he is a man who has given his life to public and community service.
How dare Harry Reid and Barack think they can refuse to seat him. How dare they.
Do we need to have a sit-in in the Senate?
Burris is only the fifth Black person to be a US Senator. We will not take efforts to deny him his seat lightly.
"Congratulations, Senator Burris" (The Common Ills):
The above is the announcement released yesterday from the Illinois Governor's office.
Roland Burris has been appointed to the US Senate by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich is governor and the state constitution gives him the right to appoint the replacement for Barack Obama who has left the Senate for the White House.
The Illinois legislature has already taken the issue of Blagojevich to the state court and the court took a pass. The legislature had it in their power to impeach Rod Blagojevich and still might. However, they have yet to impeach him.
He has appointed Burris. That appointment can't legally be overturned.
On the front page of today's New York Times, Monica Davey offers up "Defiant Illinois Governor Names Pick for Obama Seat" includes an offensive statement:
The choice of Mr. Burris immediately injected the issue of race into the appointment process, which may very well have been party of the governor's calculation. Representative Bobby L. Rush, Democrat of Illinois, who was called to the lectern at the news conference by Mr. Burris said he did not believe any senator "wants to go on record to deny one African-American from being seated in the U.S. Senate."
The offensive statement is Davey's first one and we'll be using "Black" and not African-American in this entry, just FYI.
Barack Obama is a person of color, he is bi-racial. He was the person holding the seat. Of course a person of color should have been considered to replace Barack. More importantly, appointments have often been a traditional road to address disenfranchisement. What's especially offensive about Davey's sentence is that she writes for the New York Times. New York which has their first Black governor, David Paterson. And they may have Hillary's Senate seat up for grabs but no one at Davey's paper has advocated for the governor to appoint a person of color to the Senate seat should Hillary become the next Secretary of State. Not only has the paper refused to advocate for it, they haven't even suggested it. (Marcia has raised the issue here and she's noted a qualified woman of color here.)
Blagojevich may or may not be innocent. The courts will decide that. But the state legislature could have removed him if they had the votes and the will to do so. They did not. His powers include naming a replacement senator. If they didn't want him to do so, they should have impeached him (or at least tried).
Blagojevich has exercised his powers and named the new US Senator from Illinois: Roland Burris. It is too late now and no loophole should give the legislature a second chance. They have had weeks and weeks to take action and they haven't done so. Too bad if they don't like the results.
Shouldn't have dragged their feet.
Talk of not seating Burris is offensive. The Times offers Carl Hulse's "Democrats Seek to Black Appointee to Obama's Seat, but Authority Is in Question" which addresses the disgraceful efforts now with Burris and in 1969 with Adam Clayton Powell. It really doesn't matter what Harry Reid thinks he wants, he is not the governor of the Illinois. Rod Blagojevich is and he acted within his (state) constitutional duties in appointing Burris who is qualified. The US Senate is being offensive with their threats and their claims now that they'd do this with anyone appointed by Blagojevich. No they wouldn't. And they probably won't be able to do it with Burris. The only thing that could have stopped the appointment was for the governor to be impeached. The legislature didn't do that.
Roland Burris is Black. And if they're going to try to deny him his Senate seat -- which he was legally appointed to -- they are going to look very offensive and very racist. Barack Obama -- bi-racial -- has already issued a statement saying Burris shouldn't be seated. A bi-racial man with all the breaks, spoiled from youth and barely out of his youth, wants to deny a Black man who took part in the Civil Rights struggle of the sixties? He wants to deny a Howard University graduate? He better check himself real quick because this will not play well and someone better remind Barack that racism allows him to be considered "Black" but that's a day pass, a temporary one, and it can be pulled at any point. Attempting to deny Roland Burris a seat in the US Senate could result in some of the most pointed criticism Barack's yet to receive.
Roland Burris will be only the fifth Black person to become a US Senator. Hiram Revels was the first (1870, from Mississippi), Blanche K. Bruce (1874, Mississippi),
Edward Brooke (1967 - 1979, Massachusetts) and Carol Moseley Braun, the first Black woman elected to the US Senate (1993-1999).
Barack is bi-racial, he is not Black. (That's why we're using "Black" and not "African-American" for this entry.) Burris would be the fifth Black US Senator. And someone thinks he can be denied just because they're all huffy over Rod Blagojevich?
What Blagojevich did was legal and within his rights. Efforts to deny Roland W. Burris his Senate seat will be seen as racism due to the historical pattern.
Trivia note, like Burris, Edward Brooke was a Howard University alumni.
Andrew Malcom's blog post "Inside Blagojevich's bold, brash &*%$^# pick to replace Obama" (Los Angeles Times' Top of the Ticket) does a better job than Davey's overly long article in addressing some of the realities involved. As Mike wrote last night, "I hope he does well by his state and its citizens and I say, 'Congratulations, Senator Burris'."
Disclosure: I've known Bobby Rush for years (and years). The only participant in this (that I'm aware of) whom I know. (I don't know Burris, I don't know Blagojevich.)
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