Friday, July 08, 2005

London, Fox Pretends It's News, Pru, crotch rot and Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man

Good evening everybody. We're going to kick things off with some Democracy Now!

London Death Toll Climbs to 50
The confirmed death toll from yesterday's coordinated bomb attacks in London has risen to at least 50 - making it the deadliest attack in London since the Second World War. More than 700 people were injured in the attacks. A massive intelligence investigation is now under way and evidence is emerging that the attacks may have been carried out using timing devices, raising comparisons to the Madrid bombings. A previously unknown group calling itself the Secret Organization Group of al-Qaeda of Jihad Organisation in Europe claimed to be behind the attacks. In a statement posted on an Islamist website, the group said the attacks were "in revenge of the massacres that Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan."

We're staying with Democracy Now! for another piece, the Fox Pretends It's News reaction:

FOX News Hosts Celebrate London Attacks
During their coverage of the breaking news events yesterday, several FOX News hosts or reporters made comments that are raising some eyebrows. The network's Washington Managing Editor Brit Hume told host Shepard Smith, that when he heard about the London bombings, he saw it as an investment opportunity:
"I mean, my first thought when I heard -- just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, "Hmmm, time to buy." Others may have thought that as well."
Meanwhile, one of the network's anchors, Brian Kilmeade, said the attacks worked to the Western world's advantage and he blasted the international gathering at the G8 for focusing on global warming and African aid instead of terrorism. Here is some of what he said right after Tony Blair spoke yesterday. This is FOX anchor Brian Kilmeade talking to another FOX's Paul Varney:
KILMEADE: And that was the first time since 9-11 when they should know, and they do know now, that terrorism should be Number 1. But it's important for them all to be together. I think that works to our advantage, in the Western world's advantage, for people to experience something like this together, just 500 miles from where the attacks have happened."
VARNEY: It puts the Number 1 issue right back on the front burner right at the point where all these world leaders are meeting. It takes global warming off the front burner. It takes African aid off the front burner. It sticks terrorism and the fight on the war on terror, right up front all over again.
FOX News hosts Brian Kilmeade and Paul Varney, speaking yesterday on FOX. Thanks to Media Matters for those clips.

Now we're going to return to the real world and get Pru's reaction to the bombings. Pru is UK citizen and a member of The Common Ills community:

Pru: Maybe we're better informed by our media? Maybe our proximity and awareness of other nations prepared us? While yesterday's attacks were nothing like the attacks on the United States on September 11th in terms of scope or damage, they were attacks none the less. We, as a country, have suffered a great loss.

But as I looked around yesterday, I saw grief that was mature and reasoned. There was no need to question, "Why us?" It's perfectly obvious why us. We have engaged with and supported the policies of the United States not limited to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. This has been done despite the large objection coming from the people of our country and despite the fact that the objection has only grown as we have been confronted with the reality that there is no "win" in Iraq, not for us, not for the States.

"Why us" does not trip off our tongues because the answer is obvious and frightening.Equally obvious has been the answer which is that we must pull out of the illegal occupation. Thursday's events make that quite clear and, all around me, that was the sentiment most often shared.

Prime Minister Tony Blair did not shirk the way the Bully Boy did. He was present and accounted for. However, what he had to offer were empty words that, while more eloquent than anything that tumbles out of the Bully Boy's smirking mouth, said very little. Terrorist attacks. Check. Empty words supposed to warm us. Check. The reasons for the attack? Silence.

All around I heard people asking the hard questions and supplying the tough answers that the Prime Minister refused to address. We've grown to expect that from him and there is a sense among some that what is in the best interest of England is not the primary concern of our current Prime Minister.

There was also a sense that for all his posturing and playing poodle to the Bully Boy, Prime Minister Blair has done very little that has truly protected our country. Possibly there is no way to protect one from the events of today; however, Prime Minister Blair has asked for outlandish powers and even those granted him have been ineffective as was demonstrated before our own eyes.

We are a determined people and the determination we share now is not one of vengeance but one of addressing the events that led to the attacks. What Prime Minister Blair clearly wishes to avoid is not being ignored by the people of my country. Our determination to withdraw from the Bully Boy's illegal war of choice has only grown stronger.

Hearing reports that the insect known as Fox News in the United States was bragging that the attacks had taught us something caused me to recoil. Then I realized that they were correct about the teaching, just incorrect about the lesson itself. What it has taught us, the lesson, is what we already knew: an illegal war of choice leaves us all at risk, an illegal occupation that provides the window dressings of success but no real improvement is as meaningless as any words our Prime Minister could muster. The lesson confirmed what we already knew. The occupation must end and troops must withdraw. Until that happens safety is a myth that will destroy us all.

The Fox insect! If you know Pru from her comments at The Common Ills, you know she's way cool.

Ma was the first online this morning and while I was scarfing down breakfast, she goes Pru has written the most sensible thing on the bombings she's read. So I knew it would be good and it was.

Now let's dip into the e-mail. Roy e-mails to say he's 17, does trick riding on horses and this time of year really works up a sweat. He read Rebecca's thing on crotch rot awhile back and is wondering if he's got that.

Roy, I think crotch rot is a medical condition. As you explain it later in your e-mail, you're talking about odor and that's what Rebecca was talking about.

So let's talk about it. Last summer, it was time to paint the house and Dad decides the middle of August is the perfect time. We were out there for hours and two and a half days. Primer and three coats. Dad's convinced when I move out I'll be like my other brothers and never come back to help with the house lol. So he wanted to get a good paint job in while he still had me under the roof and able to help.

Dude, I stunk. I never sweat so much in my life. Never in practice, never during a game. The first day I noticed I was pretty rank all over. I showered and didn't worry about it. The second day, rank again but after the shower still rank. I sniff my pits, nothing there but soap smell. Then I figure it's my socks in the hamper or something so I start to head out but it hits me. I grab the towel around my waist, take it off and take a sniff. Wanted to die. It was my crotch.
I couldn't wash that smell out. The next day only made it worse.

Friday was coming up and I did have a date. I call my buds and they just laugh at me. I call my bros and they're all "That is so gross! Don't ever tell me that kind of story again!" So I didn't know what to do. I must have showered six times Friday trying to get rid of the smell.

I figured it was cancel the date or make the most of it. Cologne didn't help and it only made it burn. I'm putting on my Old Spice High Endurance deodorant under my arms when it hits me, what if I used it on my crotch?

I swipe it over my pubes and that part of the skin that's between your legs and crotch.

Dude it killed the smell completely. For good. I didn't have to reapply or anything.

So maybe that would help with you? But if you try it, make sure you're using your own deodorant cause nobody's gonna want to put it to their arm pits after it's been dancing around down below.

So now let's talk about Betty who's written yet another hilarious thing at her blog Thomas Friedman is a Great Man. Have you checked it out yet? If you haven't, you need to. Here's a part of her latest:

I have to live with it. Do I also have read it's writings?
We had a "roof picnic" Monday. It was a nightmare. Nicky K and Mrs. Kristof were there as well as this woman named Patti Limerick Nelson.
There was Thomas Friedman the not so great man up on our roof wearing a "Kiss the Chef" apron. Did I mention it was over his shorty robe?
I kept begging him to put on some clothes but he insisted on wearing the shorty robe because he wanted an "all body tan" to go with his highlights. He's had more done. Mrs. K again asked if he was getting more gray hairs and Thomas Friedman again pouted.
While he was pouting and on the ledge of the roof insisting that since no one understood him, appreciated him, valued him or even wanted him for their partner in charades (his fault, he can't keep his mouth shut even when he's acting out the clues) he might as well jump, Nicky K, probably because of the heat, launched into a version of Van Halen's "Jump."
Might as well jump
Go ahead and jump
Thomas Friedman stopped sobbing long enough to give Nicky K a good glaring.
Mrs. K tried to save the moment by launching into her own version of Third Eye Blind's "Jumper:"
I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend,
You could cut ties with all the lies,
That you've been living in,
And if you do not want to see me again,
I would understand,
I would understand.
Wiping his eyes on his the bottom of his apron, which unfortunately was caught on his shorty robe therefore leaving us all with a not so good look at his Thomases and Friedman, Thomas Friedman decided to rejoin the picnic.
But by that time the burgers had burned. And then some.

Read the whole thing, it's hilarious. I'm going to do at least one entry this weekend. It might be tomorrow or it might be Sunday. Hope everybody has a great weekend. Keep it cool and stay cool.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Expanding the JROTC, London, giving oral and Miller

Today we're going to start with CounterRecruiter's "Air Force Plans Large Expansion of JROTC Programs:"

The magazine PeaceWork is reporting that the Air Force plans to expand its high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program by 200 schools by 2007. There are currently 746 high school programs. The Air Force plans to add 46 schools this fall and 75 in both 2006 and 2007. PeaceWork has published a list of the 46 new schools. The magazine has also obtained a list of 207 schools on the Navy's target list for new JROTC programs.

That's a pretty important story. But it's not the only thing going on today. The G8 protests and pretty much everything else are being overshadowed by the bombing in London this morning.

From Democracy Now!

Series of Bomb Blasts Rip Through London in Rush Hour
A series of bomb blasts ripped through the London subway system during rush hour this morning. As many as 7 separate blasts have been reported. At least one double decker bus was also reportedly blown up, with witnesses describing it like a can of sardines being ripped open. Details remain very vague but officials are saying that many people have died and scores more have been injured. As people emerged from the underground, they described what had happened. Police officials say there was evidence of explosives in at least one of the six sites.

After that, the other big story is probably Judy Miller going to jail. C.I.'s got some strong stuff on that so check out NYT: "Reporter Jailed After Refusing to Name Source" (Adam Liptak) and
The Js: Jane (Mayer), Jude (Iddybud) and Judith (Miller) for more information and stuff.

Now we'll go the e-mails because I've got people mad. Some of you say I should have told Rochelle and Sid not to touch a hair on their body because they are beautiful just the way they are. Some of you say that I made a big deal talking about the irritation from the cut hairs rubbing against your skin. But Tiffany writes that it is a personal choice and it's like asking a stranger "Should I grow a mustache?" It all comes down to what you want and what you're willing to do. I'll stand by the answer that Rochelle and Sid each need to make up their own minds.

So here's the e-mail question today, John writes in wanting to know about what I'll call "it's dark in there." John's interested in sharing with his girlfriend but he's always been on the receiving end of oral. He'd like to pleasure her in that way by sampling down south but it's the dark south to John who's afraid of what he can't see. He wonders what it's like in there and thinks he'll freak out if he attempts to explore.

Now would Captain Kirk have ever piloted the Enterprise with that attitude? No. John, blind people deal with things that they can't see all the time. And you don't need a flash light, trust me. It's not total eclipse time down there. You say you're interested and you say you're scared. So I guess you need to figure which one will win out: interest or fear.

But the way you're bragging on your girlfriend John, it sounds to me like she's put in a full eight hours and it's time for the guy working the second shift (that would be you, John) to punch the clock and get to work.

Back to the news. Here's my editorial. I was asked whether I agree with C.I.'s position on Judith Miller or not? I could give a silly answer and make us all laugh but I'll go straight to reality, there's not a person in my home that doesn't agree with C.I.

This is not "Miller is a great reporter, this is about the rights of the press." That's what my dad said. My mother said she wouldn't stop on a rainy night to give Miller a lift if her car was stranded but the issue isn't Miller, it's whether or not a government can force a reporter to rat out a source. My sister said you don't drop your principles just because the person isn't someone you like.

That sums up where I stand. Miller's a bad reporter? Well if that's crime half the press should be in jail. I don't like Miller. I do like that the she stood up to a prosecutor. I wonder about the people drawing lines and saying "she led us into war." General Judy isn't the issue, a free press is. She isn't a reporter I'd read or trust. But what she did was the right thing.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

NYCLU says hand over recruiting info and you ask should you trim down below?

Today, we'll start off with CounterRecruiter's "NYCLU Demands Military Hand Over Info On Student Recruitment Tactics:"

From the New York Civil Liberties Union:
Concerned about student privacy and abusive practices by military recruiters, the New York Civil Liberties Union today demanded that high-level military officials produce information about recruiter policies and practices and about how students and parents can file complaints against recruiters. The demands came in the form of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to each of the military branches and in the form of letters requesting information from the head recruiters of each military branch...

I think that's important enough to start off with. Good for the New York Civil Liberties Union and let's hope they get support from others on this really important issue.

Now I want to talk about something from Democracy Now! today, " Newsweek Reporter Michael Isikoff Discusses His Coverage of Koran Desecration at Guantanamo:"

AMY GOODMAN: And your response to Lawrence DiRita, the Pentagon spokesperson who said people are dead because of what this son of a b—said; how could he be credible now, talking, of course, about you?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Actually, he was talking about the source. When we went back to him and said the source was uncertain whether he had read the item in a SouthCom report or some other document, that's what elicited that quote from DiRita. But I think the important point to make at this point is General Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has already said that the – had already said at the time of that comment that the riots in Afghanistan were not primarily related to the Newsweek story. President Karzai has since said the same thing. It is clear that, you know, there were Taliban elements that had -- had initiated the riots and were behind them for their own purposes, and the Newsweek role was much more marginal than was being presented at the time.

Most of you know that I started this site because I was getting really sick of finding out news at The Common Ills and then not seeing it somewhere else. And one of the stories The Common Ills had was about the "Night Letter" -- "Did the 'Night Letter' cause the riots in Afghanistan? Have you heard of it?"

If this has been all over the net, my apologies. I'm reading The New Yorker and, because I subscribe, my new issue is an old issue. There's an important story in this issue and I know most members who surf would have passed this along if they'd seen it. So if it's been discussed, it's not been discussed a great deal. We're going to note it here.
It's from the June 6, 2005 issue. Jon Lee Anderson's "The Man In the Palace." (For Doug, pages 60 to 72.) I'm not finding a link for it at the magazine's web site. You may have more luck.

No, C.I. there wasn't a link for it online. And no, C.I. it wasn't all over the net. I was writing e-mails that week and not one community member had heard of it until C.I. wrote about the "Night Letter." Okay, fine. C.I. says The Common Ills isn't a breaking news site, but fine. There will be people picking up on this, right. Like the people who do those "blog reports." (Like maybe the site that ripped off my line about blogging being like losing your cherry in front of everyone. Only they didn't make it as funny and The Third Estate Sunday Review pointed that out.) Did they write about it?

No because it was pretty damn important to them that they write about nonsense. And nonsense is what we got. This was an important story. My parents talked about, my friends talked about it. But blog reports aren't a lot different from the mainstream news the left loves to criticize. While the mainstream news wastes times on runaway blondes and shark attacks, blog reports waste time on water cooler talk. Or maybe they rave over some guy's entry that they quote a paragraph from and it turns out that "introductory paragraph" is all he wrote. (Thanks for the tip on that, Tiffany.)

So here was something that went beyond, "I know Newsweek didn't cause riots" and actually told you what did (the "Night Letter" -- read about it). It mattered. And it mattered about how we saw Afghanistan. But there were "fun" topics to talk about. Was it braclets that day?
This matters to me because we're getting a lot of fluff and a lot of dopes. And no, I'm not talking about CJR Daily here, I'm talking about two other places. I don't go to CJR Daily. I did go to these two places. I don't anymore.

Now let's dip into the e-mails. I've got one question from two people. Rochelle and Sid both e-mail asking about whether they should do some landscaping?

One's a female, one's a male. I got one answer for both of them. Do what you are comfortable with.

Unless you're living in a nudist colony, a lot of people shouldn't be checking you out down south.
So this should be what you want, not what anyone else does.

You want to look a new born only without the diapers, have at it. You want to get a high & tight like a grunt, go for it. You want to keep it real, go for it.

You make that decision based on what you want.

I did some "manscaping" two summers ago. ("Manscaping" is Rebecca's word for it.) The 17 year old woman I was seeing suggested it. So we did it together, or did me together, with a pair of shears. Got it about an inch to an inch and 1/2 all over. That's chest, pubes, and pits. She thought it would look 'hot.' It was hot. It was summer. And here's something to think about. When those hairs get cut, they are sharp. I was being poked in a t-shirt and boxers. I was red all over where I'd been trimmed. It was a pain and I'll just do the wild man look from now on.

You might not mind the poking, so go for it if it matters to you. And you might not mind ingrown hairs if you wax or use 1 of those pastes. That's a decision you have to make.

It's your hair and you need to make the decision for you. Don't be a dope like me and do it because you're talked into it. If I'd wanted it I probably wouldn't have minded the pain. So think about it and decide what you want to do.

Now Ma rarely asks anything so when she does, she gets it. She said the thing that C.I. and Ava did Sunday at The Common Ills was too funny not to share. So here it is:

In case you missed it, Maureen Dowd's in the midst of a long vaction (working on a book, if we remember the announcement correctly). We've seen the space go back and forth between genders in a truly Myra Breckinridge manner. That's really not cutting it. When you have only one female op-ed writer (out of six) and she's on vacation (extended, no less) a better effort needs to be made to represent women on the op-ed pages if only for symbolic reasons. A young female journalism wanna' be in high school or junior high picks up the paper today and what's she to think as she sees little Stevie Carter stamping his Keds-clad feet and hissing 'calm down,' next to Frank Rich, Nicky K, Byron Calame (new public editor, yes, they went with a man -- and are you surprised by that?), David Grinspoon, and William Easterly.

Did you count that? We'll do it for you. There are six op-ed columns (that's counting the public editor) today and of those six, not one is by a woman.What about yesterday, you ask? Surely yesterday they had woman yesterday? Yes, among the four op-eds yesterday, two were actually written by women. This was Saturday, the day after O'Connor's announcement. Dahlia Lithwick*, in a one-shot for the Times, wrote "Robed in Mystery." And what did the filling in for Dowd "regular," Patricia Nelson Limerick, write about "Make Way For Airheads" woops! "Make Way for Angels." [*Note: There are two op-eds by females. There's Patti as regular-fill-in and there's Dahlia Lithwick. See note at end.]

Gail Collins has noted that a woman for a woman alone is not a reasonable replacement when Dowd's on vacation. We quite agree. Reading through the nonsense of "Make Way For Angels," we quite agree. And here's a tip for Collins, when someone pens "Therefore on this holiday weekend . . ." demand a rewrite then and there. Or as Limerick might put it, "then and therefore."

A paragraph beginning with "Alas" should also catch your attention since the century is not the eighteenth. And we'll celebrate Limerick's proposed "Take a Deep Breath Day" when her gauzy haze leaves the op-ed pages and goes back to whatever "recovering secularist" hostel she biked in from. The woman makes Elisabeth Bumiller seem reality based. Ground control to Patty Nelson Limerick, that great WHISH you hear is the sound of all air leaving your empty head via the giant windmills of your mind.

If anyone missed it, Dowd, whether you love her or hate her, or maintain an indifference, has an opinion. And she can convey it in a straight forward manner with no need to come off sounding like a dithering fool at a Renaissance fair.

"Feeling pure, self-righteous, smug and nestled in the company of the like-minded is one of humanity's greatest natural highs." Is she attempting to be confessional? She's high on something, alright, self-love and self-delusion. Is their a rehab for those who fashion themselves as modern day Aimee Semple McPhersons?

"While you eat your solitary lunch, you are to make your best efforts to imagine a representative from posterity occupying the empty seat across the table."

Oh come on, Patti, no one named Patti should be allowed to write with such useless excess. "Representative from posterity?" We'd try to explain to her all that was wrong with that sentence, all the was wrong with the entire column, but she's off to be fitted for another white flowing robe with matching turban and her followers are getting antsy, or as antsy as dazed zombies can get at any rate.

We'd suggest she go off somewhere and start her own cult but, honestly, we fear she already has. Patti's a histographer. That's a nice way of saying "she sure ain't a historian."

She doesn't always go over well, take for instance, wait, let's let her tell it:

I had barely started my sentence when someone in the Boulder, Colo., audience let loose a loud hiss.
And I said the first thing that came to mind, which turned out to be, "Don't do that."

But Patti, they had to. You are, after all, you. And you were trying to rehabilitate the image of John Ehrlichman. We'd ask, "Have you no shame" were it not for the fact that we already know the answer to that -- as evidenced by this paragraph:

Five minutes in his company will convince anyone that John Whitaker is a fine human being. He does not try to conceal or dismiss the bad behavior that produced Watergate. But his testimony asks us to realize that if we devote ourselves to shuddering over Watergate, we will fail to attend to the achievements of the National Environmental Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws of that time. If we narrow Ehrlichman and Nixon's heritage to Watergate, we do a considerable disservice to history.
So I asked an audience to forgo the pleasure of simple condemnation of John Ehrlichman, a man who had surprised me -- and surely would have surprised himself -- by assuming the status of the friend of my friend.

Patti, Patti, Patti, we're "shuddering over" you. Five minutes in his company might convince you of something but that's only because you started off unmoored. For those of us who know the period, we're not rushing to give our props and shout outs to Ehrlichman. While Limerick's certainly allowed to work herself into what ever Dionysian revelry over which ever recovery fad she's on this week, it's probably a good idea not to attemp to channel Julie Nixon Eisenhower while she's still alive. Our opinion.

Normally we don't address the Times' op-ed pages. But there is so little in the main section of the paper. It was this or the Sunday Magazine (possibly we picked the tiger and not the lady with that choice). This falls into the issue of representation which we have addressed before. And note, we didn't address her opinion because a) we weren't sure we could find any actual thought in the piece and b) her column is, quite frankly, not intended for the enjoyment of anyone who's stopped doing endless pencil drawings of horses in spiral notebooks.

Ma says it made her laugh hard and she's not sure what her favorite part is but she's thinking it's the part about not trying to channel Julie Nixon Eisenhower before she's dead.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Two questions from the e-mails and Pataki's son wants a deferment while Karl Rove is silent

Good evening. I want to note something from Democracy Now! today:

Report: Karl Rove Linked to Outing of CIA Agent
In Washington, speculation is growing that President Bush's chief advisor Karl Rove may have played a role in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, has admitted that Rove personally spoke with Matthew Cooper from Time Magazine about Plame but Luskin insists that Rove did not disclose her identity. Disclosing an undercover agent is a federal crime. Cooper -- along with Judith Miller from the New York Times -- are both facing up to four months in jail for refusing to disclose their sources about the story. However Cooper's employer -- Time Magazine -- last week agreed to hand over a copy of Cooper's notes. in those notes it reportedly reveals that Cooper spoke with Rove. On Sunday New York Senator Charles Schumer called on Rove to personally deny leaking the name of a CIA official. Up until now the Bush administration has claimed Rove had no role in the case. On October 10, 2003 White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Rove was "not involved in this."

This is a big thing. Karl Rove's always 1 to wave the flag and talk about how other people aren't in the 'mainstream.' Like there's a story about how some Howard Dean supporters, during the primaries, were walking past him or something and he starts cheering 'Go Dean!' because he thought Bully Boy could beat Howard Dean real easy because Howard Dean's not as American or Godly as Bully Boy. In Karl's mind.

So how in Karl's mind is it okay to be part of this outing of Valerie Plame?

I got to help Third Estate Sunday Review with their editorial "Karl Got Fingered" this weekend.

Right now, the way I understand, Karl's old defense was "I didn't leak." But he did say Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was "fair game." Sounds like maybe he might have confirmed a leak. So wouldn't that make him a leaker?

If I'm reading Robert Novak's column outing Valerie Plame, I might just think, "Oh Mr. Bad Teeth is always getting something wrong." So if Karl confiermed it and only did that, I think it would still be just as bad.

But it's looking worse right now.

He was having contact with Matthew Cooper of Time and who knows who else?

Here's what Third Estate Sunday Review concluded with in their editorial:

Us, we think things are getting very interesting as they heat up. The body can't even scare the public anymore and the "brain" is somehow involved with the leaking of Valerie Plame's name.And as this story unfolds, don't you think that already on the record "fair game" comment is going to haunt you? "Fair game?" From the flag waving administration? How's that going to play, Karl? We're sure you've already polled on that.
We're wondering if the next announcement will be that you've left the administration to "spend more time with my family."
But it doesn't matter. You're a historical footnote now. This is how you'll be known: the "brain" forced to testify before the grand jury in an investigation to the leaking of the name of a CIA agent. Doesn't play very patriotic, does it, Karl?

I don't know how much help I was but I tossed out stuff during the writing of the editorial. I know I feel like I got some ideas about blogging from it.

Now we'll go to the e-mails to note Heather's e-mail.

Her boyfriend cheated on her for six months and she just found out. They've gone together for two years now. And she just found and wants to know what she should do?

They both start college this fall and it's the same college. Heather says she found out when she found some love letters. She confronted her boyfriend and he said it was true but it didn't matter because he ended it, after 6 months, in April. She's wondering what to do and says she'd talk to her mother but her mother already hates him.

Heather, you wanted my advice, so here it is. Dump him. This wasn't a one night stand that maybe you could talk about and figure out whether this was something you could live with.
You say you love him a lot. You probably do. But he cheated on you for 6 months with 1 person and you only found out when you found the love letters. Has he cheated on you other times?
You don't know. But you will wonder. And you'll also wonder if he'll cheat on you again.

So spare yourself the grief and teeth grinding and go ahead and move on. I also wonder about you not wanting to tell your mother. It seems like it's more than not wanting to hear "I told you so." If you two have a difficult relationship then that makes sense. But if it's because you know your mother would tell you the same thing I am then you need to think about talking to her.

Donnie's is the other e-mail will talk about. He writes that he's been dating a girl from his school. They are both 16 so I think it's okay to call her a girl because I would call Donnie a boy. He wants to see her when school starts but he's worried because she's told him that it would be at least 3 months of dating before she'd even consider having sex. Donnie says he thinks he's loving her but he can't wait three months.

Donnie, you love her or you don't. If you think you might, you probably don't. You say you've been together every day for two weeks now. That's enough time to figure out how you feel about her. If you read this and get mad, hey, maybe you do love her. If you read this and nod your head, then maybe I'm right. But regardless, you've written me so I'm assuming you got at least 1 hand. If you do love her, one hand should be able to tide you over for three months.

Now let's go to CounterRecruiter. This is from "Like Father, Like Son:"

From the NY Press:
"With supreme guts and righteousness, President Bush went into Iraq," Gov. Pataki told the Republican National Convention last August. The place erupted with applause. It was all very stirring.
Almost one year later, Pataki's son Teddy is, with supreme guts and righteousness, seeking a three-year law school deferment from the Marines, which last week commissioned the recent Yale grad as a second lieutenant.
The governor, who himself received a medical deferment during the Vietnam War because of poor eyesight, has said he hopes his son is granted the deferment. Of course he does. No doubt all the parents of New York's nearly 100 war dead also wish their children could have gotten deferments. But they couldn't. They got killed instead.

So it's important and it's okay to go as long as it's not your child? That's real interesting.

And it made me think of this thing at BuzzFlash that C.I. noted today. Cindy Sheehan lost her son in the occupation and she's written "Not Worth It: Larry King, Part 2:"

I sat through an entire hour in the CNN studio in DC hearing not one person say that the invasion was a mistake and if it was a mistake, then our troops should be brought home immediately. Even the "Democratic" Senators (Kerry and Bayh) that were on the program just gave their recipes for "success" in Iraq, which did not include any exit strategies. The guest host for that hour was Bob Costas and he asked one guest, Sen. John McCain, an intriguing question: "If you could push Button One and have an eventual wonderful outcome in Iraq, or if you could push Button Two and never have had it happen, which one would you pick?" Of course, Sen. McCain chose Button One. He hasn't had a loved one killed in this enormous tragedy of a war, nor does he have a loved one in harm's way. It has not affected him personally one bit. What skin is it off McCain's teeth if our troops remain for a highly unlikely rosy outcome at the cost of thousands of more lives? I would push the button that would bring back my son, Casey, and the tens of thousands of the other victims who have been killed for nothing but outright lies and bald-faced betrayals. I would push the button that would give Iraq back its power, water, and their infrastructure.

That's something to think about so think about it.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th of July

Happy Fourth of July to everyone.

I've got about thirty minutes because I'm going to help my dad clean up the mess in the backyard from the cookout. We're waiting til it cools down a bit.

I got a few e-mails asking me why I wasn't posting. I figured that everyone would be doing it up this weekend and I did work Saturday night and Sunday morning with The Third Estate Sunday Review. So I wasn't just sitting in a lawn chair holding a beer all weekend! :D

Serious, the weekend before was my dad's family reunion which was planned and had everyone coming from all over the country because they're so spread out. And with all the planning and all the talk of planning my mother's family was wondering why they didn't have a family reunion? It was 4th of July and most would be coming over anyway because most live around here so we've had family reunions now on both sides.

Since everyone's so close by, this place was packed.

I'll go ahead and post the interview that The Third Estate Sunday Review did with me. They're great and I hope to be able to help out in the future. It was a lot of fun working with them.

Everybody Likes Mike: the man behind Mikey Likes It!

It started in November with The Common Ills. Other sites by community members quickly followed. You're reading one. There's also Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Folding Star's A Winding Road, Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Kat's Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills) and now make way for Mikey Likes It!

At 19, Mike is the youngest member of the community thus far to start a site. He just finished his second week of blogging and we sat down with him to discuss how things are going and where he's headed.

You had a great line about blogging. You said it was like losing your cherry with the whole world watching. The following week, we felt someone attempted to steal that and did so badly. But your line was not only funny, it was very true.

Mike: Well thank you. I mean, I felt like I was fumbling around with no clue of what to do or how to do it and the comparison just seemed obvious to the first time I had sex.

Which is something, sex, you talk about a lot. You've said, "Ask me a question and I'll try to answer it" and readers have held you to do that.

Yeah, it's kind of weird. I don't mind and see it like I'm just talking with someone but every now and then, like when a friend says, "Hey, I read what you wrote" it will hit me that it's up there and anyone can read it.

And a lot of people are reading it. We got about forty e-mails this week asking us why were dissing you?

Dissing me?

We were working like crazy last weekend to get the edition up and done with and forgot, until we were doing our note to the readers about your site. We hadn't added it to our blog roll. And even with the note that gave the link to your site and noted that we would be interviewing you this week, we still got e-mails on how we were dissing you.

I was hoping to be able to help out last week but had a family reunion. We've got one this weekend too, on my mother's side this time, but it's not involving people having to fly in from all over so it's a little more low key.

The basics, as we understand them, are you're nineteen, you're Irish-American, you work part-time and are a full-time student, you're six feet and one inch, you played sports in high school, come from a large Catholic family. Did we get that right?

Yeah. That's me. Pretty boring.

And you're year of the ox, as Kat pointed out.

What's that?

You're Chinese Zodiac sign. It shows up on your profile.

Really? What's that mean?

We looked it up:
The Ox works hard, patiently, and methodically, with original intelligence and reflective thought. These people enjoy helping others. Behind this tenacious, laboring, and self- sacrificing exterior lies an active mind. While their balance and strength inspire confidence, Oxen can seem rigid, obstinate, and slow. They impress others as leaders, fearing neither responsibility nor risk. However, sometimes they must labor long hours to accomplish little. As a result, the Ox can find life's journey laborious and the rewards uncertain.

(Laughing) Now it starts off like a compliment and then it just slaps me upside the head.

There's more:
Oxen make solid, steady, reliable partners and good providers. It is better for them to be pursued than to be the hunter in selecting a mate. They can be tender, devoted, sensual even -- but they are never romantic. Very affectionate to those close to their hearts, they are cool and distant to anyone outside their emotional circle. Getting close to an Ox is a very difficult thing to do, for they hold all but their chosen few at arm's length. However, once they have committed themselves, they make loyal, steadfast lovers and are the least likely of all the signs to possess a roving eye. Casual love affairs are definitely not the Ox's style. Although they may not show it, their emotions are deep and passionate. If their love is spurned or if they should suffer a broken heart, they will retreat inside themselves and channel all their emotions into their work. Generally, they make no mistakes in their judgment of others, successfully merging their romantic and family lives. Happily settled in a contented relationship, an Ox will make a supportive and faithful partner, someone whose love grows stronger by the year and whose sterling qualities are worth his or her weight in gold.

I'm going to have to think about that. Chinese Zodiac?

Yes. You mention Fight Club as one of your favorite films on your profile and when we saw that, we thought "Ox."

(Laughing) In a good way, right? Not like, "You dumb ox!" I like movies that are about something. I mean, I might see the Vince Vaughn thing coming out --

Wedding Crashers.

Yeah because it looks funny but I really like something that makes me think. I really liked The Jacket. And films like that.

Coming Home?

Yeah. I'm not for sure that's my favorite film with Jane Fonda. It's one of my favorites and it's what came to mind. We have all her films on videotape, or I think all of them. My parents are big fans so I grew up laughing with Nine to Five and Fun With Dick & Jane and Cat Ballou and all. And I saw the serious stuff like Julia and Coming Home and Klute and The Morning After and The Dollmaker.

You've seen a lot of her films.

My parents have almost all of them if they don't have all of them. I didn't watch a lot of cartoons growing up because I was second from the youngest so usually my older brothers and sisters were controlling the TV and it was watch what they watched or don't watch. And I saw Monster-in-Law and thought she was most excellent in that. I want to note something here that I've been meaning to talk about at my site because I had three e-mails about it. There's this thing, this talk, being put out that Monster-in-Law is a bomb. It'll crack 80 million this weekend, watch and see on Monday. Now Jennifer Lopez has really only had one film that ever made more than that, Maid In Manhattan. She had Antz but she wasn't the lead and it was a cartoon. But both of those tapped out around ninety million. If you don't count Antz, Monster-in-Law is her second highest grossing film. So I'm not getting how anyone can call Monster-in-Law a bomb. It's a hit. It might not be a blockbuster hit, but it's a hit. But there are a lot of people on the right who really want Jane Fonda to fail at whatever she does because of what she's stood for so I think it's really important to point out that Fonda's film is a hit.

Agreed. And this summer has been a very bad summer for movies. No one has any money.

I hear that. I was at the video store last night because my sister didn't want to go alone and we were looking and looking. I told her I'd treat because she kept picking up stuff and putting it back down but she said there really wasn't anything that tempted her.

Did you end up getting anything?

Yeah. Finally, we decided on this documentary on the Mamas and the Papas because that's a group that it seems like you are always talking about here. It was pretty good. Ended up dreaming that night that I was in a sixties group!

You are a big fan of the White Stripes.

Yeah, I love them. Kat's review rocked. And let me clear something else up because Kat is short for Kaitlen. I mentioned that I had a sister named Kathleen and I got like 15 e-mails asking me if Kat was my sister. She's really cool and great but we aren't related.

Kat really is cool, agreed. On our campus, peole think you're pretty cool yourself.


Yeah. When you're writing about adjustments or wet spots, we hear about it. People will come up and say, "Who is that wild guy?"

Mikey the Ox.

You're still thinking about that.

Yeah. Some of it may be true but some of it bothers me.

Well, let's talk about it. Do you pursue or are you pursued?

I've pursued but that usually bombs after a few dates. Usually, a woman comes on to me. I always feel a little dense cause my buds are all "She's so into you, Mike" and I'm all, no she's not. Then it will turn out she is.

Well that's a happy ending, no complaint on that, right?


So what bothers you?

Like the part about not ever being able to be romantic.

But your sign is affectionate.

But if oxen aren't romantic, then that means your partner might end up straying.

It actually said that, we just didn't read that part.

No shit?

It said it. It said the childhood was normal and the troubles began in marriage, that because oxen weren't romantic often there parenters would end up going outside the marriage for romance.

See, now that bothers me. I guess I can work on it. If it's true!

When you answered the first e-mail question, did you have any idea what you were going to be getting into?

About sex? No. I mean I talk about sex, we all talk about sex. But I didn't realize it was going to be like my thing.

But you answered a question, on your profile, here's the question: "If you were a cannibal, what would you wear to dinner?" Here's your answer: "Just the bone, just the bone. Munch on that."

Yeah, but it doesn't even make sense, you know? I mean it would if I was having dinner with cannibals. I was just trying to think of something that would make people laugh. And C.I. was talking me through the whole thing and we'd been on the phone forever so I felt awful about that. I kept changing my template and I know C.I. probably wanted to yell, "It's fine! Stick with one choice!" I must have changed it eight or nine times. And when I was on my profile, same thing. I didn't like any of the questions. You guys got a cool question. So I was looking and looking and realized C.I. was waiting on my slow ass so I went with that question. But, yeah, you're right. That probably accounts for some of the sex questions. (Laughing) "Munch on that."

Your mother reads your site.

Yeah, she's really cool. I tease her and she teases back. She was worried, I think, that I was going to be really smutty when some of those questions popped up. But, and this is how my mother is, as long as I can make her laugh, she's cool with it. She loves to laugh and we all try to make her laugh. We always knew, when we were little, make her laugh and whatever the punishment is, it'll be that much easier. Like if you were going to be grounded for two weeks, make her laugh and it might just be a couple of days. And they've always been pretty cool about answering any question we had about sex. Not just with the "this is what sex is" talk but after that. They really wanted us to come to them when we had a question and we pretty much did.
Dad was saying that's probably why I was comfortable answering those kind of questions and he's probably right.

There are other issues you address besides sex and probably the biggest one is recruiters.

Yeah because I saw friends fall for that. And I saw friends fight it. And those guys would come to school or follow you around the mall parking lot or whatever and they really try to do a number on you and get you in this back and forth where you're challenged so you'll sign up to say "Oh yeah, what do you know!" It's a little game they play but the stakes are too high for it to be a game to somebody signing up. But I saw it and it bothers me and I know people do get tricked and think, "Well the recruiters telling me this so it must be true." They're like used car salesmen, they'll tell you anything to get you to sign up. So that's something that really bothers me.

And you're a fan of Democracy Now!

Right. That's a great show. I usually listen to it. It comes on WBZC at noon and if I know I'm going to miss it, I may tape it. But I can also catch it on TV because we have dish. They tell the truth on that show.

Agreed. Do you want to talk about why you started blogging?

Yeah, I will. I was pretty damn angry that a lot of stuff wasn't get out there. Like at The Common Ills, C.I. did this thing on the "Night Letter." We had to listen to the mainstream press wring their hands and the Bully Boy's people slam Newsweek for weeks saying they caused the rioting in Afghanistan. But they didn't. It was the "Night Letter" that called for the riots and it had to do with the people behind the letter not having any faith in their government. It's a lot easier to blame Newsweek then to be honest about the fact that our "success" in Afghanistan wasn't too damn successful. And I think we've seen that this week. And there may be people asking "What the hell?" but if they'd known about the Night Letter and all, they'd have been prepared to expect this news. And there were people trying to get the word out on that and all.
Trying to get this site or that site to note it but it didn't happen. And I'm reading all these people talking about that in the gina & krista round-robin and I was just getting sick of it. So I used the e-mails I had from the round-robin and said, "Boycott." And I got a lot of signatures on that petition.

Which C.I. didn't agree with. We should probably note that this interview is being conducted by Dona, Jim, Ty, Jess and Rebecca. Ava and C.I. are doing their TV review. And we should note that the author of the piece on the "Night Letter" in The New Yorker is someone Laura Flanders is trying to book on her show. So this is something that some people are paying attention to and haven't moved on from just because the Bully Boy's created some new spin.

Right, C.I. didn't agree and Rebecca had told me that would be the case and why. And I can respect that. C.I. feels the issues are always more important than the credit and that The Common Ills isn't a blog, it's a resource. So you don't boycott but there are a lot of sites that come along, and I'm not even talking about a blogger here, a week or two weeks later telling people "Oh this happened" and I'll read it and think, "No shit, it happened. C.I. told us about it when it was happening." And that's when Jim and Rebecca and C.I. and Kat and even Ruth contacted me and said basically, "Look, you can do something about it or you can ask for boycotts." And it's true. And I'm a lot calmer about it most of the time now, like Jim said I would be.

We understood exactly where you were coming from. We spent months asking that this be highlighted or that be highlighted and getting really frustrated when it wasn't. Like the "red" states thing. Everything C.I. was talking about last year has come to haunt us. When that "conventional wisdom" got accepted as fact suddenly it did mean, "Oh push the party to the right." And let's note that Bill Scher did link to it and that's why we should probably add him to our blog roll. He was one of the few, he was the only one, that we contacted who was receptive. And honestly, we should probably apoloize to him, or I should -- I is Jim -- because I wasn't very nice in my e-mail. I was pissed off and tired of stuff that was important not getting noticed. He even wrote back and he was really nice about it.

And you told me that story and told me that if I linked to one blog it should be Scher's because of that and that's why I linked to that.

We're going to link to it too. We need to go in and add your blog anyway and we should have linked to him a long time ago. He does good work and he was there when he didn't have to be. He's a stand up guy.

But not everyone is. And we aren't supposed to talk about that.

No, C.I.'s asked us to all avoid talking about, this is Rebecca, I got a laugh-fest note, I'm being sarcastic about it, that I would have ripped the person about for but C.I.'s said that the whole thing is really sickening and not helping and of course anytime one of us says something, it's C.I. that gets attacked online or in an e-mail. So we're leaving it alone.

And this is Ty, but Mike has never gone on record about this so if he has a thought he wants to express in general terms, he's welcome to. In general terms.

General terms, huh? I'd say it's disgusting that anyone thought it was okay to mock C.I. for having cancer. The lies told were bad enough but to mock the fact that C.I. has cancer is beyond disgusting and that has to come from a really sick and disgusting and perverted mind. And for anyone to think it is okay is saying a lot about them. I'll leave it at that because C.I.'s got enough to deal with without me making it worse. But it's disgusting and it's shameful.

This is Dona changing the topic really quick before we get into specifics. How has having your own site changed your feelings? Jim had offered that having on your own site would help. It helped us. We were so angry when we started and pretty much angry at everyone. And we had some who fed into that anger with a lot of false rumors. We'd do a piece and C.I. would say, "Are you sure you want to do that?" That's in several pieces. We'd note that. The anger was counter-productive and it was helped with this nonsense that someone was spreading.

Well I don't talk to anyone like the person you're talking about and I wouldn't. But I was pretty nervous the first day and after that, I was just relieved to have done it and I had e-mails and all because C.I. did a post just on "Michael's starting a site" and Rebecca and Kat and everyone just helped get the word out. So I was able to see that what C.I. was stressing about how "you have a voice and you can use it" made sense. It probably helps that I'm not trying to be famous or trying to make money off of it or sell some thing I wrote or set up a career at the Boston Globe or New York Times. And when I checked the e-mail the first morning after I blogged, I expected that C.I. would have written and there was an e-mail waiting. But there were other people who'd written to and I got that I could share and it wasn't raging in a tea cup or something because people would visit and weigh in. But to this day, when C.I. gets attacked or mocked for having cancer, it pisses me off and I'm respecting C.I.'s wishes but if I'm pushed on this, I will come out swinging. But, it's like everyone says, there's so much to write about that is worthy that this nonsense doesn't need to be rehashed over and over. The community gets it. They know what went down. And like I have e-mails coming in with questions and I see something I think I want to write about so there really is a lot of other things worth writing about.

What's something you want to write about that you haven't written about yet?

That would take an hour to list. I'm 19 years old, I don't know everything. I'm learning stuff all the time. I'll see something and think, "Cool." And want to share that. But it's like Jim was telling me, if I started blogging, I'd find there was so much to write about that I really didn't have time to get caught up in drama that others were trying to create. I can tell the same thing with you guys. The Third Estate Sunday Review has really kicked ass lately. I wish I could have helped with the short stories last week but I was reading them and just really blown away. That took a lot of imagination and work.

Well, some editions are better than others. That's a given and we have no idea how this will go because honestly, all our plans went into the toilet when Sandra Day O'Connor made her announcement.

Ava and C.I. are writing about the Bully Boy's speech, right?

Yeah, we begged and begged them to do that. They say it won't be very funny and they're not really into it but however it turns out, it's there, it's on the record.

I love the TV reviews.

Everybody does. Ava and C.I. really cut loose on those things and that's part of what's helped us get to where we are. They've gone off into various things, experimenting, with those and that's given us the encouragement to push and try to be more than we might be otherwise. But for anyone reading this edition, Sandra Day O'Connor's announcement was a bombshell and we're not really sure how this edition will turn out.

I thought the roundtable went pretty good. It went pretty fast too.

It did. So let's close this out and get to work on the editorial because Betty and Kat are about ten minutes from rejoining us. Here's the question: "We don't know you, we've never read you. We bump into you at a party and someone says, 'This is Mike, he blogs.' How do you explain your site to us?"

Hmm. I guess . . . Hmm. Well it's against the war. And it's about what people who write in are asking. I'll make goofs and mistakes. Hang in there and maybe you'll see something you like or maybe you'll get an idea of what young people are thinking. You know, like Jim told me to, I'm just trying to tell my truth. If you can hang with that, cool. Check it out.