Friday, September 09, 2005

Democracy Now, my itchy nuts, Dahr Jamail

Good evening. There's a delay in starting because Blogger was down for an hour. Hope everyone's ready for the weekend. As always, we'll kick things off with Democracy Now! the best program on radio, TV or the internet.

"First Lady: Remarks Critical of President Are 'Disgusting'"
First Lady Laura Bush has lashed out at hip hop artist Kanye West, Howard Dean and others for criticizing her husband's handling of Hurricane Katrina. Last week West said during a nationally televised telethon "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People." On Wednesday, Dean said "We must ... come to terms with the ugly truth that skin color, age and economics played a deadly role in who survived and who did not." Laura Bush said "I think all of those remarks are disgusting, to be perfectly frank, because of course President Bush cares about everyone in our country."

That is just creepy. "President Bush?" He's her husband. I was talking to Elaine about this today and we agreed to do the same items. (I checked to make sure she planned to blog tonight. If she hadn't planned to, I wouldn't have suggested it. I know she doesn't have time to do it every day.) So look at Elaine's reaction. But like I was all, "President Bush? Does she call him Mr. President too? Does she think she's Marilyn Monroe?" It's just creepy.

"Cheney Told "Go F**K Yourself" in Gulfport, MS"
Meanwhile Vice President Dick Cheney visited the Gulf Coast region for the first time since the hurricane struck. He was on vacation most of last week in Wyoming. On Thursday he held a brief televised press conference in Gulfport Mississippi. He hailed the relief effort as "very impressive." During the press conference, one man screamed Go F Yourself Mr. Cheney. Last year Cheney made headlines himself when he approached Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy on the Senate floor and said "F Yourself."

This was my favorite story. When Blogger wouldn't let me in because it was down, I went and watched it twice. It cracks me up. I love how C.I. flipped him off in 2002 but I love this even more. There's Cheney trying to act all important and you keep hearing a guy shouting out for him to go F himself. It's funny. He tries to act like it's no big deal but he stiffens up when he hears it. I love it. If I ran The Daily Show, this would be "the minute of nirvana" for the show for like a whole week lol.

Today's e-mail question comes from Melinda who wonders, since we're at the hottest part of summer, "are your balls itching?" Why? Are you talking about them? :D

Couldn't resist that. Yeah, they are itching like crazy all week. Last night, I was out of the shower in a towel like I usually am when I'm blogging on a hot day and they were itching even after the shower so I give 'em a scratch. Felt good. Then they itch a little while later, so I scratch 'em agin. Pretty soon, one scratch ain't taking away the itch. So I'm up to two scratches.
Then more.

I don't know if it's because they're rubbery (or mine feel that way to me anyway, don't know about other guys' nuts) but I don't think I realized how sensitive the skin can be. Near the end, I was scratching like crazy. And ended up scratching too hard. Ouch. Double ouch.

Started thinking I had to get me something like those cones they put around dog's necks or something just to make me keep my hands off my nuts.

Maybe it wasn't as hot today or maybe I had some will power but I haven't been scratching them tonight.

Melinda also worries if it's weird having them "hanging around down there all the time?" I was born with them so I don't think it would feel weird, you know? But they only swing when I'm not wearing some pants or underwear. When I'm dressed, they're pressed against my body. Melinda wondered what they felt like "swaying or swing around?"

I never thought about that either so I swiveled the hips a couple of times after getting out of the shower. I didn't really feel them moving. I could feel my cock moving. Got a half-stiffy from it in fact. So obviously, that felt good. :D

Melinda said she'd seen all the jokes in movies where a guy gets hit in the nuts and is just laid out from it and wondered if that was true. Yeah. When you get racked in the nuts, it really does hurt. Your balls hurt but like there's this thing going on in your stomach too. Like you might throw up kind of feeling. It really hurts bad. You really do collapse like in the movies if someone racks you real hard. You know that saying "the pit of my stomach"? Like that's where you feel it.

Hope that helps answer your questions.

Let's note something at The Common Ills. C.I.'s posted a thing Dahr Jamail's sent out and I think it's pretty important and hope you do too. It's easy to forget about Iraq with the tragedies around Hurricane Katrina. Dahr Jamail, Iraq Dispatches, was an unembedded reporter in Iraq and he saw reality and not the nonsense that Dexter Filkins pretended to see over at the NYT.

The following is the latest press release from the 'Doctors for Iraq Society' regarding the most recent US offensive near the Syrian border.
For those of you in the US reading this, please keep this in mind when viewing the catastrophe in New Orleans. -DJ
Doctors for Iraq is deeply concerned at the fate of hundreds of civilians trying to flee the sieged town of Tallafa, 80 km from Mousel City. Thousands of residents from the town have been told to leave the area by US/Iraqi forces who have been attacking the area for the past three- four days.
Eyewitnesses report that heavy bombs were dropped on targets in the town a few days ago and on Monday 5th September the US army has been firing missiles onto the town from aircraft. The entire town in under siege and is in preparation for a new military attack. .
Doctors for Iraq has received reports that at least twenty civilian have been killed in the attack. It is impossible to check these reportsfor accuracy.
US /IRAQI forces have forced frightened civilians to leave the sieged town and and women and children are making their way to a refugee camp set up outside the Tallafa.
Civilians have told Doctors for Iraq that many young men aged between 20- 35 are being stopped and detained at checkpoints and are being taken to a US military building near an airport.
It is not known how many men have been detained and why they are being held. It is impossible for Doctors For Iraq to check this reports as media and health workers are being prevented form entering the area.
What is know is that during the military siege of Falluja in 2004 young men were also prevented from leaving the city and were detained by US/Iraqi military.Doctors inside the town are concerned about the lack of medicine and health care facilities for people who are being forced to flee their homes.
Tallafa's medical infrastructure has been badly damaged by the ongoing military attacks on the area over the past few weeks. Doctors and medical convoys are unable to enter the sieged town and assist the desperate civilians.
Doctors for Iraq is particularly concerned about the fate of the refugees. There is concern about the lack of clean drinking water for displaced civilians and the threat of disease is very real as hygiene conditions in the area are very poor.
Doctors for Iraq is calling for :
*A complete and immediate
*END *
to the military attack on the town so all civilians can be evacuated safely
For the US/IRAQI military to uphold the Geneva Convention and allow doctors and medical supplies into the town.
For international human rights organisations to carry out an immediate investigation into allegations that young men are being detained by the military and reports of civilian deaths during the attack.
For more information contact:
Dr. Salam Ismael
Aisha Ismael
< >

Make sure you read Kat's review of Joan Baez's Bowery Songs CD and let me tell you it's a great CD and one you should try to get. Buy it cause it's a great album and buy it to support the people who stand up and are counted. I'll try to post it here this weekend.

And be sure to check out Betty's "It's always about Thomas Friedman" which will make you laugh and laugh.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Democracy Now! and Dave Zirin

Good evening. I'll start off with Democracy Now!

Federal Government Attempts to Block Press Access To New Orleans
In New Orleans the federal government is being accused of trying to censor the images coming out of the devastated city. The Reuters news agency is reporting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is now rejecting requests by journalists to accompany rescue boats searching for storm victims. In addition journalists are being asked not to photograph any dead bodies in the region. Critics of FEMA's request compared the policy to the Pentagon's policy that bars reporters from taking photographs of the caskets of soldiers killed in Iraq. NBC News Anchor Brian Williams is reporting that police officers have been seen aiming their weapons at members of the media. And a blogger named Bob Brigham has written a widely read dispatch that the National Guard in Jefferson County are under orders to turn all journalists away. Brigham writes QUIOTE "Bush is now censoring all reporting from New Orleans Louisiana. The First Amendment sank with the city."

It's happening all over again but this time it's happening here. Elaine wrote about this yesterday, how the press has themselves to blame because they have cowtowed to the Bully Boy for the last five years. They gave up their rights and now they're having more rights stripped from them. Overseas, like in Iraq, they gave up even more rights. Now they have little but Operation Happy Talk to offer. It's a shame because not everyone kissed ass. Helen Thomas didn't. Donahue didn't but they cancelled him. And we've had some really brave people like Amy Goodman, Robert Parry, Juan Gonzalez (especially with his depleted uranium story), Jane Mayer, Seymour Hersh and a few others.

But we had a lot of them blowing kisses at each other and at the Bully Boy. Now they find that kisses ain't enough and the administration wants to take even more. I don't feel sorry for them. I don't really feel sorry for us. We already know how they trade access for truth telling. We've been warned off by their own work.

FEMA Filled With Political Appointees, Not Disaster Experts
Questions are also being raised as to why the Bush administration chose to appoint a number of other top officials at FEMA who had no experience handling disasters. FEMA's deputy director and chief of staff Patrick Rhode, was an advance man for the Bush-Cheney campaign and the White House. The agency's third-highest ranking official, Scott Morris, was a public relations expert who worked for a Texas company that produced TV and radio spots for the Bush-Cheney campaign.

See this is the sort of thing we should have known about and had blasting from the front page of every paper when these idiots were being appointed. The press does the same thing with John Roberts right now. They just act like it doesn't matter and besides they're too busy being friends in D.C.

So I don't feel real sorry for them. They made themselves a joke.

The lesson here is support and go to independent media. And let me 1 more time recommend Democracy Now! because it's the all time best.

Check out Elaine because she's spotlighting the same two items.

Leanne e-mailed me that I needed to write more about Elaine blogging and I agree. I was just not prepared to find out that she was going to blog or that she was already blogging. It blew my mind.

I'm still blown away. And you heard her here last night, we did this. See what we can do? We can do a lot more. But Elaine wasn't wanting to blog. She was serious about not blogging and doing her own site. I don't think we forced her, but I do think we persuaded her. And that's what we need to do with some of our elected officials, we need to persuade them.

I think we can do it. So let's get focused on bringing the troops home. And let's get motivated on supporting indymedia because the "official record" has betrayed us.

The one and only wonderful Dave Zirin had a great article at CounterPunch that I missed but Tony pointed it out to me today. Here's a slice from his "The Earth's Most Damnable Homeless Shelter: The Superdome: Monument to a Rotten System:"

There is nothing "unnatural" about the disaster of New Orleans. When politicians smirk at global warming, when developers look at our wetlands and dream of mini malls, when billions are flushed in the name of war and tax-cuts, when issues of poverty and racism don't even register in Presidential debates, all it takes is wind, albeit 145 mph wind, to expose a sturdy super power as a house of cards.
Nowhere is this personified more painfully than in a monument to corporate greed that has rapidly become the earth's most damnable homeless shelter, the Louisiana Superdome.
The Superdome is perhaps the most unintentionally appropriate name since Mr. and Mrs. Cheney looked at their newborn son and said, "Dick." It was birthed in 1975 with pomp and bombast, as the largest domed facility in the world. It was also funded entirely on the public dime. In a case of brutal foreshadowing that would shame a B horror flick, the dome was constructed on an old cemetery for the poor. The burial grounds were dug up and discarded with a promise that the Superdome would the centerpiece of a New Orleans "Central Business District" that would benefit
all. The results are certainly now in plain, ugly view. This past week, 25,000 people, walked through its doors, many for the first time. They entered a stadium where tickets go for 90 bucks a pop, season passes cost $1,300 and luxury boxes can run for as much as $109,000. The arena boasts of having a capacity that can comfortably seat 72,000 people, with 9,000 tons of air conditioning, and 88 massive restrooms. But for the 25,000 that can't afford the oxygen, there has been no air conditioning and bathrooms without electricity, running water, or working toilets. Feces and garbage now pack the upper decks. The traumatized people finally emerging tell of dead bodies on the 50 yard line. One man even committed suicide, throwing himself off the upper deck. Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco called the Superdome shelter strategy an "experiment", when asked if it could hold the storm or the flood. Chuck D's line about Housing Projects comes to mind when he said, "What is a project but another word for experiment?"
Saints' receiver Joe Horn has looked at the place where he has set receiving records and said that football couldn't be farther from his mind. "It's devastating to us. I've cried three or four times. Seeing kids without any food, elderly people dying and the government saying that help is on the way - that's the most shocking part."

If you don't know about Dave Zirin, you can read this discussion we had on his book at The Third Estate Sunday Review: "Third Estate Sunday Review: 1 Book, Ten Minutes."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Democracy Now! and my interview with Elaine

Good evening. I'm starting late and you'll understand why. We'll start with Democracy Now! and then move on to Elaine's interview. I'm kind of stunned in a happy way so I really don't have anything to add to the two stories from Democracy Now! They pretty much speak for themselves.

Toxic Water Being Pumped Back Into River & Lake
In environmental news -- officials are warning that it could take years to restore clean drinking water in New Orleans. Mayor Nagin's office said E coli bacteria had been found in the flood water, which is contaminated by sewage, dead bodies and toxic chemicals washed out of oil refineries, hospitals and other industrial plants. According to ABC News, flood water in the city's Ninth Ward contains 45,000 times as much bacteria as considered safe for swimming. To make matters worse, 530 of the city's sewage treatment plants remain inoperable. The Army Corps of Engineers has begun pumping the contaminated water into Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality told reporters Tuesday that there really isn't any alternative to pumping the water into the lake or river.

New Orleans Police Accused of Beating/Detaining Reporters
Reporters Without Borders has issued a warning about police violence against journalists working in New Orleans. According to the group, on Sept. 1 police threatened a reporter and photographer from the Toronto Daily Star at gunpoint because they were seen covering a clash between police and individuals identified by police as looters. When police realized the photographer had snapped photos, they threw him to the ground, grabbed his cameras and removed the memory cards containing about 350 photographs. His press card was also torn from him. When the photographer asked for his photographs back, police officers threatened to hit him. Police also detained a photographer from the New Orleans-based Times Picayune after he was seen covering a shoot-out involving the police. Police smashed all of his equipment on the ground.

Okay, let's get started with this. You've been subbing for Rebecca at her site Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude. You did like 6 weeks of that and finished it up last Friday. So now it's like you're going cold turkey or something, right?

I wouldn't put it that way. By the way, how are you?

Oh, fine. How was your day?

Honestly a bit too long, like the whole summer.

Yeah, it's really dragged on this. And been hot like crazy.

Crotch rot worries?

Nah, got it taken care of. Know how to keep my junk in working order.

Good to know.

So come on, didn't you like filling in for Rebecca?

There were parts I really loved. Especially after the second or third week.

Okay, talk about those.

Well, I enjoyed the e-mails. It was interesting to read what issues and concerns people had. I enjoyed being able to do the peace quotes.

I loved that. You'd end every entry with a quote about peace. It was a good way to go out and it was a good way to remind us of what is important. What else?

I liked working out items with you from Democracy Now! We'd discuss and debate which ones to choose.

That was fun. How can you walk away from that? What was the bad stuff?

Facing the computer screen, Monday through Friday, knowing I'd have to say something and that people were counting on it. Rebecca, of course. Her readers too. Then the whole issue of if I wrote something especially lame, what if they dropped Rebecca's site for good?

But everyone liked you.

Well, not everyone. There were three who hated everything I did.

Were they community members?


So screw 'em. What was it, they were pro-war?

Yes. "How dare you say bring them home, don't you know we have to stay there! It's our responsibility."

Our "responsibility," the Iraqi's curse.

That about sums it up.

Did you have fun with The Third Estate Sunday Review?

Yes. That was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed helping out. It's rush, rush, rush and I can see why some get a headache as they worry that Sunday morning will roll around, the sun will rise and there will be nothing to put up. Jim thrives on it. He likes riding a wave of chaos. But Dona's someone who wants, and will enforce, clear deadlines. Those are probably the two extreme poles in the group and the dynamic of interest is to watch the activity of others between.

What about Ava & C.I.'s TV reviews? You had wanted to observe that.

Yes, I did. I was really curious about that. I know C.I. obviously so the humor in the reviews wasn't surprising but I wanted to see how they took a show and reviewed it. Ava's adding in humor, C.I.'s adding in humor. They've got notes they took on what happened but, most of all, they have their comedic bits. A joke that's really a group of jokes. And they're trying to convey the show and work in their, lack of better word, stand up. I love their reviews. I do understand why they're seldom pleased with them.


They've got a number of points they want to make, some serious, some funny. It's the sort of thing that either would really want to work on but instead it's something they get 20 or so minutes to turn out. They really would prefer more time but there's not more time. So, in the words of Kat, it is what it is.

What's your favorite review by them?

Oh, that's a hard one. For humor probably One Tree Hill, The OC and Smallville. I love the points they make in the one where they take a look at Desperate Housewives and Charmed. For the same reason, and the humor, I love their review of What I Like About You. But I mean, Make Room for Bully, where they take on Bully Boy's press conference was inspired. The Law & Order review was hilarious too, where they were kids trapped at home on a bad Friday night.

Their thing on Veronica Mars was pretty funny.

Yes, it was. I'd rank Prison Break right up there, one of their bests as well.

Jim's been worrying a lot about the pressure that's put on Ava & C.I. to be funny in those reviews or angry or anything that's memorable but I think most people really respond to the whole take a pin and poke a hole in the male ego aspect of their reviews. As a psychologist, what do you think?

The pressure is there. They don't deny it. They also have internalized it which is why they think everyone is awful. They hate their Prison Break review right now. But this time next month, they'll turn out something equally funny but say it's not and wish they could write something like Prison Break again.

Why do you think that is?

Well it's the pressure from what goes up and it's also the pressure of the writing experience at The Third Estate Sunday Review. If you'll think about it, they had the review written before midnight this time. So they were rested and able to participate without that hanging over them. But then that review is lost in cyber space and the sun's up and everyone wants to go to bed. You've got them yawning, and from Ava and C.I.'s seperate accounts, falling asleep and jerking back awake while they wrote it. That's a lot of pressure to come up with a review under. And for it to be funny. But if you don't understand why they hate their review of Prison Break right now, that's why they hate it. You or I read it and laugh and think, "Good point." They look at it and it's "Oh my God, do you remember the stress we were under on that?"

They're really creative.

They are. There's a lot of creativity in the community. In the last few days alone, for instance, we've had Betty's hilarious post about Thomas Friedman buying a shorty robe and then, today, we had Kat's review of Joan Baez's Bowery Songs.

I got that CD!

Me too. I really enjoy it. Do you?

When I can hear it. Dad's pretty muck jacked it.

I hear that and I think, "That's great." The way you or Jess can share music with your parents.

Let me know if this is out of line, but you have a brother and that's it.

Right. Our parents died when we were both teenagers. My brother was just starting college and I was still in school. It was Party of Two instead of Party of Five. I went down a variety of avenues trying to make sense of it and then finally ended up majoring psyche.

But Rebecca and C.I. are like family, right?

Good point. Yes, they are. They've been in my life forever and we've shared a great deal. We're at a stage in society, our country, where we're being pushed into standard roles, so that's a good point.

Can you explain that?

In the nineties, I mean you hear all this talk about a reaction against the sixties and while that's there, there's also a reaction against the nineties. I don't mean this in a "You're a kid!" kind of way but I don't think a lot of people realize how much we've lost in a decade. Or half a decade. The last five years have been very destructive to our nation. The vast number of families in this country are non-traditional ones. That may mean a single parent or two people living together or friends as family. Of course it means same-sex couples. The "till death" couples with children aren't a majority. But Bully Boy brought many illusions with him and that was one. We've had wars on science, wars on truth, wars on reality, wars on women. But the one I always note is the war on non-traditional relationships. Rebecca and C.I. are family. Another friend no longer is. She married in 1996 and we were still family then. She went over to the dark side in 2001. After 9/11 in fact. She sees none of her friends now and begs off with "I have to focus on mmy family." That's her and her husband. They have no children. There's a desperation to it because he cheats on her and she knows it. In another time, I believe, she would have left him. The war on women combines with the push for stereotypes. But it only works because you have people willing to buy into it.

The 90s seem way cooler than the way things are today. Or the way they were this time a year ago. I think things are changing.

Me too.

But like music has sucked and sucked. I was never going "Nice implants, Britney Spears! It don't matter that you can't sing!" and I wasn't into any of the boy bands. I think that stuff put a nation, at least young people, to sleep. It was mall songs for mall rats with nothing but mall worries.

Well the 90s kicked off with alternative music and that was a really free scene. It wasn't pushed by the lables the way the Disney Kids were. It came up on it's own. No one saw Kurt Cobain on the Mickey Mouse Club and said, "Let's create a band around him." No one saw Tori Amos and thought, "Put her in a push up bra, get her some writers who know 'beats' and we've got a hit maker." It was about the music. The labels were playing catch up. They'd water it down with each progressive year; however, it began due to the conditions of the 80s which was one long beer commercial, sang by one bald or balding man after another. I love Bright Eyes and Jack Johnson, for instance. I don't hear them on the radio which is why I don't usually listen to the radio for music. In fact, if it weren't for Pacifica, I wouldn't listen to any radio.

I like Pacifica too. I wonder how many people listen online to them because I get a lot of e-mails about that. And now that Ruth's reviewing their programming, I really get a lot of e-mails.

And we've got Democracy Now! which just grows and grows each day, the audience for it.

I found out about it from The Common Ills and now I can't imagine not watching. I'll listen but I prefer to watch it on TV. Ma and Dad were like, "We've told you about Democracy Now! for years!" and I was like, "But it wasn't cool coming from you guys." :D

I don't understand a great deal about links and I don't pretend to but one things I was happy to help you with when I was filling in for Rebecca, and it's something I'm proud of, was that if they have any power, links, I was using that power to note something I really believed in.

I think they have power. And we've talked about this before so I should explain, we're talking about in terms of making something popular online. But we both agreed that even if it didn't, we were using our space to say, "Hey, here's something really cool, really wild that will do you good to know about." I like doing that. I'm glad you did too.

I did.

So don't you want to do it again?

Mike, here's the thing, I can't blog every day. I have too much going on.

If you explained it that way, I bet people would understand. I know from the people who e-mail me that you really spoke to a lot of people. If it was just twice a week like Betty usually does, it would be worthwhile. I really wish you'd think about doing your own site.

Okay, Mike, you persuaded me. I'll do it.

For real?

What should I call it?

Mmm. Elaine's Page of Peace!

How about if I called it Like Maria said Paz?

That'd be cool. Cause Maria's always saying "Paz," right?


Are you really going to do it?

You want the truth?


I already have. I started it yesterday.

No way! For real?

Yes, for real. Maria, C.I., Ava and Jess know.

I didn't hear about it.

We were keeping a lid on it so that you could have the scoop tonight.

You're not shitting me, are you?

No. C.I. linked to it on the permalinks last night at The Common Ills.

Hold up. I want to pull this up.


You did start your own site! It's really cool looking.

I wasn't impressed with templates, to be honest. I wanted something a little more Laura Asheley. I ende dup going with that one because it reminded me of a Calvin Klein dress I have, it has sharp, crips lines and a simplicity to it.

It looks really nice and it is called Like Maria Said Paz. I can't wait to read it. There are two entries.

Right. I started it yesterday. Don't expect much. Don't expect it to be daily either.

That is so cool. So did the e-mails help?

They did. Everyone wrote nice e-mails, full of encouragement. Give yourself credit too, Mike, because you are the one who would not lay off on this.

Thank you. Thank you for doing the site, Like Maria Said Peace, and thank you for letting me have the scoop.

You had been spearheading this and pushing it so when I made up my mind, it seemed that you should get the scoop.

Well thank you to everyone who e-mailed Elaine. I feel like I should say something like weighty and maybe I will tomorrow if it comes to me.

You're shocked right now.

I am.

Okay, let me help you out. Last week you interviewed Jess. Before that yinterviewed Ty, Dona, Jim, and Ava. So who's next Wednesday?

Cedric. C.I. said Cedric's moved his site so he needs more attention to be sure everyone's familiar with the new location. So me and my buddy Cedric will be keeping it real here next week.

That sounds like a great interview. I look forward to reading it.

Well thank you, Elaine, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz.

Thank you, Mike.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Democracy Now! and meeting Nina's parents

Good evening. We'll kick things off with Democracy Now! as usual but I'm pinching from The Common Ills tonight because I'm late getting started.

Pentagon: USS Bataan Waited Days For Orders to Help Out
Criticism of the federal government's response is also coming from some unlikely sources including the Pentagon. Lt. Commander Sean Kelly, a Pentagon spokesman for Northern Command, revealed on the BBC that NorthCom was prepared to send in search and rescue helicopters from the USS Bataan almost immediately after the hurricane hit. He said, "We had things ready. The only caveat is: we have to wait until the president authorizes us to do so." That authorization didn't happen for days even though the ship was docked just outside New Orleans. On board the ship had doctors, hospital beds, food and the ability to make up to 100,000 gallons of water a day.

P. Diddy Offers Support to Kanye West
A number of musicians and actors have come to the defense of hip-hop star Kanye West. On Friday night West appeared on a live NBC telethon and said that President Bush doesn't care about Black people. He also criticized the media for its portrayal of African-Americans in New Orleans. Fellow hip-hop star P. Diddy told the program Access Hollywood "I think he spoke from his heart. He spoke what a lot of people feel." In New York at least one participant in the West Indian Day Parade was seen carrying a sign that read "Kanye West was Right."

Barbara Bush: Relocation is "Working Very Well For Them"
While the federal government has been widely criticized for its slow response, former First Lady Barbara Bush told the radio show Marketplace that the relocation is "working very well" for some of those forced out of New Orleans since they were "underprivileged anyway." This is Barbara Bush speaking at the Astrodome in Houston. "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this working very well for them," Bush said.

I want to thank Rob, Tomika and Shane who selected those items for The Common Ills and I want to thank C.I. Usually, I offer a line or two about each item. I think these three all pull together to form one big story. The Pentagon waited so what do you say to Kanye West now? He was right in my opinion. And if you have any doubts about how stupid Bully Boy is you just have to listen to his mother. You want to know what I'm like, you can check out Ma and Dad. They raised me and we're pretty much in line with our thoughts. That Barbara Bush could say what she said and be so stupid and so out of touch says a lot because she was a First Lady a long time ago and it also says a lot about her son Bully Boy. All three reinforce each other. The first one tells you the problem, the second one has Kanye calling out that problem and the third one shows you the Bully Boy mentality.

Tomorrow night, I have an interview with Elaine so look for that. If you didn't know, Elaine substituted for Rebecca for like six weeks at Rebecca' Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude. Elaine also has helped out a lot at The Third Estate Sunday Review. And her and me used to get on the phone to plan what Democracy Now! stories we were going to note. I go "used to get" like it was months ago or something but it was just last week.

I'm trying to get Elaine to agree to do her own blog because she is like so smart and has a way of seeing stuff that's important to hear. So I'll be pressing her on that tomorrow night. Hopefully, we'll also have some fun questions because she's got a really nice laugh.

Most of the e-mails are asking how it went with Nina's parents tonight. Nina's my girlfriend and tonight I met her parents for the first time. I'm not sure how it went for them but I felt like I was all thumbs and elbows and they were thinking, "Who is the big ox that our daughter's dating?"

I'm really tall, six foot, and Nina's a small person. Her parents are about the same height and I just felt like Gulliver and like I was taking up all this space and this wasn't anything that they did. Usually I don't mind being tall but I did feel like the big oaf. I was aware of everything tonight. Like if I laughed too quick at a joke or too hard, and I did both a lot, I would realize it like right after and think, "You are so stupid!"

They were really nice but I was too focused on worrying what they were going to think about me to relax. Hopefully next time I won't feel so awkward.

Mike Burke has a scary thing up at CounterRecruiter about the military targeting three year olds now.

I'm really out of it tonight, I know. I just keep going over everything I did. Like I wasn't trying to shake her father's hand hard to impress him or anything but I'm shaking his hand and realize I'm gripping too tight. I keep thinking about stuff like that and thinking what an idiot I am.

Tomorrow night will probably be a little late in the posts because I'll be interviewing Elaine at the usual time I start typing and I'll have to type that up and all.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Cedric's got a new location for Cedric's Big Mix

I knew Cedric was moving his site, Cedric's Big Mix, but I hadn't heard from him about that. Rebecca just called and asked me why I didn't have his new site up on the blog roll. I just added it.

I also added Ms. Musing because I like Christine's work and had been meaning to do so anyway but then Elaine told me she links to Rebecca and that made it all the more important to me that we link to Christine.

Democracy Now!, Labor Day Party and other stuff

Good evening and happy Labor Day. Let's get this party started with Democracy Now!

Louisiana Official: Federal Gov’t Abandoned New Orleans
On Sunday Aaron Broussard, the president of Jefferson Parish appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press and accused the federal government of abandoning the people of New Orleans. He broke down crying, as he recalled how the mother of one of his colleagues died after waiting days to be rescued. He also said that FEMA turned away trucks from Wal-Mart loaded with water and that FEMA prevented the Coast Guard from delivering 1000 gallons of fuel.

If you watch the show or listen, you'll get a clip from that later in the broadcast - you can watch online. It'll rip your heart completely.

Nothing was done. It's sick.

Report: Karl Rove Orchestrating PR Campaign Over Relief Effort
In Washington, the Bush White House has responded to the mounting criticism by trying to shift the blame to local and state officials in Louisiana. According to the New York Times, this is part of a coordinated public relations campaign led by President Bush’s chief advisor Karl Rove. The Times reports that in many ways, the unfolding PR campaign reflects the style Rove has brought to the political campaigns he has run for Bush. Meanwhile the Washington Post has been forced to print a retraction after it published as fact a claim sourced to a "senior Bush official" that the relief effort was delayed in part because Louisiana’s Democratic Governor -- Kathleen Blanco never declared a state of emergency. In fact Blanco did just that – four days before the hurricane hit.

Bully Boy and his ball scratcher Rove just got to try to smear the blame around but the stink keeps coming back to them, don't it? It always will. Reason for that is that the Bully Boy failed.

How was your Labor Day? I hope you had a blast. We cooked out in the backyard and all Ma's relatives were over because they live in the area but Dad's relatives really weren't because they don't. All my siblings came by so it was more than just my sister and me the way it usually is. Everybody got to meet my girfriend Nina and they all think she's cool. Tomorrow I'll be blogging later than usual because I got to have dinner with her parents. I'm a little nervous about that.

I even tried to weasel out of it today but she pointed out that she was meeting almost my entire family (all but Dad's relatives) so the least I could do was meet her folks.

Tomorrow, Joan Baez's CD comes out and I hope you're thinking about getting The Bowrey Songs. I read this at Kat's site and I want to include it here:

C.I. also put me wise to an item in The New York Times' "Arts, Briefly" by Grant James Varjas, "New CD's This Week."
1) Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang.
2) Sarah McLachlan's Bloom.
3) Joan Baez's Bowery Songs.
4) Greg Dulli Amber Highlights.
5) Alison Moyet's Voice.
6) Idlewind's Warnings/Promises.
7) North Mississippi Allstars' Electric Blue Watermelon.
Of the above, I'm interested in Joan Baez's Bowery Songs, obviously. It's a live CD and I did catch her last tour. I felt she brought to bear her full range of living on each song. The group I went with had lousy seats at the beginning of the concert (we were practically at the entrance) but one of the guys working the concerts knew me and found a place upfront for my group.Even from what was practically the last seat in the house, I was blown away by what she was doing, that little speck on stage that I could barely see, but that voice that reached as though it was sitting next to me. If Bowery Songs documents even a fourth of what Baez provided on Dark Chords tour, it's worth having.
The Times notes that Keith Richards will sing on one of the Rolling Stone songs. That usually means the album's a little less formal (and formalized) and a little more fun so that honestly raises my interest in the album. (Further honesty, I wasn't all that interested before that.)
Sarah Mac. If you love her, and some are obsessed with her, Bloom's probably just your thing. (We discussed her Surfacing at The Third Estate Sunday Review. I'll try to post that up here later this week.) I'm not inclined to like Bloom so don't expect a review. She's not a dance diva and if she'd grasp that and stop trying to tweak the production on her albums (World on Fire, for instance), she'd be so much more powerful. But if you're all about the booty shake, check out Bloom.
Alison Moyet's a great voice but never one I've been into. I can take her after a night of partying. The fact that she's recording, among others, Elvis Costello may raise your interest in this album.
Greg Dulli. If you know music, you know the Afghan Whigs. (His last group is better off forgotten.) This man was a cock. The biggest cock in music. And not afraid to swing it around or even slap you in the face with it. His bravado made the Afghan Whigs what they were, one of the best damn groups of the nineties. If he's back to free ballin' and letting it all hang out, this could be one of the better albums of the year. Most recent go arounds, he's pulled away from his maleness. Here's hoping he's reaching back into his briefs to explore the good, bad and ugly of manhood. I'll be purchasing this album. If you were burned by his previous incarnation, feel free to wait on a review. I'll try to get one together by Tuesday after tomorrow at the latest.
Those are my highlights from the list. Joan Baez a must buy; Sarah Mac for booty shakers still mourning the musical death of Donna Summer, Moyet may expand on her specialized audience, the Stones may actually be having fun and I'll check to see if Greg can still get up.

We had some cool tunes playing at the bbq today. Dad, Ma, my sister and me all picked out stuff and my oldest brother was whining about that but Dad goes, "You don't live here anymore." I laughed so hard at that. You'd have to know my oldest brother (who is cool in some ways) to get why that's so funny probably. But when he lived there he really wanted to control the TV, the stereo and just about everything else. Maybe cause he was the 1st born he felt it was his right or something.

One thing that we all wanted to do, Ma, Dad, my sister and me, was watch Democracy Now! today. Watch it together. And Ma had a great idea about inviting everyone here to watch with us yesterday. So last night I called Rebecca and passed that on and she said she'd make sure she had the TV on at her party and was stressing how great Democracy Now! was.

Ma goes "Maybe they'll watch or listen after this, maybe they won't but they'll know it is out there." It was a really great episode and I know it usually is but this one today focused on what was going on with the lack of assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and everyone was already interested in that topic so everyone was watching real close. Dad was afraid it would be like when we watch the Super Bowl and people would be "yammering away" (he means my oldest brother lol :D) and not paying attention. He was telling Ma this morning at breakfast that if people started having their own conversations and he couldn't hear the TV he'd ask them to take it somewhere else. But that didn't happen. Everyone was watching and the only talking came during the breaks which kind of made me mad cause there was this one song I really liked and wanted to hear. I'll try to catch it online sometime this week.

But hopefully they will go on to check out Democracy Now! again. They always do a Christmas Day show too and Ma says we'll do that on all the holidays. Thanksgiving too. Maria always urges people to pass it on when she does her stuff at The Common Ills each weekend on Democracy Now! and my family did our part today. If you just count the over 13 people in the room there were 41 viewers of Democracy Now! in our living room.

We had some great conversations at the house today and I'll try to share them as the week goes on. Tomorrow you better not expect much cause unless Nina's parents are like hugging me I will probably still be freaked out. That's your warning.

I was on the phone with C.I. today and teasing about a mistake at the site. C.I. said that the cross postings weren't done on Sunday but they were. C.I. works too hard and forgot that some cross postings had been done over at the mirror site.

My cousin Patrik (that's spelled right, by the way) comes up to me and goes, "I been reading that stuff you been sending and your site and I think it's pretty cool." That was like the best pat on the back I could have. I am so stoked to be a member of The Common Ills community. and Patrik goes that Elaine was really incredible at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude as she filled in for Rebecca and I was all "Did you write her? Did you let her know?"

He hadn't so we got online and he did. I'm not giving up on getting her to start a site and I'll be pushing that when I interview her. (That'll go up here on Wednesday.) Then we checked out C.I. and Patrik and me were laughing as C.I. critiqued Todd Purdum. That was so funny.
"NYT: What can the Times do about Todd S. Purdum's smelly jock strap?" You got to read it it so if you haven't make time.

I had a lot of fun working with The Third Estate Sunday Review Saturday/Sunday. It's always cool and I learn stuff too. I'll note some stuff later in the week, or plan to, but I want to note the editorial and then I'm off to help Dad hose down the backyard and pick up the trash.

"Editorial: Let's play politics"
Like a really bad road company Rizzo, forgetting her blocking and stumbling around stage, Bully Boy spent most of last week singing "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" repeatedly and hitting the same three sour notes constantly.
As Lucy Bannerman notes in The Scotland Herald, "Bush pleads 'don't play politics' as blame lands at Washington." Bully Boy pleads it and a whiner calling into C-Span's Washington Journal all but spat at The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel of "being 90% negative." Ironically, vanden Heuvel had taken the high road (and remained on it).We won't high road it here. It is playing politics? Is the truth political?
The truth is very political in any period but especially in a time when "up" is called "down," when fiction is passed off as reality.
How do you play the truth game in these distorted times? We'll do it by spitting out the obvious, Bully Boy is no leader. He can marshall the usual subjects to chant "we have to pull together!!!"
Those who seem him as King George are more than happy to be loyal subjects.
Us, we've never forgotten that he's supposed to be working for us. And we'll pull together -- behind the truth. We won't, however, (to paraphrase Susan Sontag) all be stupid together.
What we saw last week was a national disaster hit New Orleans. And, just like on 9/11, the nation was left to await the Bully Boy's actions. And wait and wait. No one expected that he'd grab a shovel and dig in, please that family doesn't work (well, dirty work . . .) But we did expect that the former cheerleader would grab the pom-poms in some attempt to comfort the nation.
Didn't happen. We waited. We waited. And saw the dull witted Bully Boy respond in slow mo yet again. Which, by the way, is why we were never surprised to learn about the years of planning that went into the invasion of Iraq.
So truth telling involves stating the obvious, while the nation was in shock, while Americans were in disbelief that their own citizens could be referred to as "refugees." The nation's jaw dropped further as footage from New Orleans dominated the news cycles.
Truth telling involves faulting him for his lack of response to the nation and to the areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Unlike Bill Clinton, he does not feel your pain, nor is he concerned with it.
Also slow in response was our national agencies. FEMA was rightly noted for its disgraceful behavior by Terry Ebbert, head of emergency operations in New Orleans, and for its late to dinner appearance in Mississippi. FEMA's response was a disgrace. Homeland Security, the much ballyhooed agency created under the Bully Boy's watch wasn't any better. So who's responsible?
We realize that basic question is a "political" one. It always is. But especially when you're dealing with an administration that's refused accountability regardless of the situation. Lies that took us into war? "Didn't happen." Smears against those who told the truth (and in the case of Valerie Plame, the spouse of someone who told the truth)? "It wasn't us." And when it turns out that, yes, indeed it was them? "We can't comment due to the ongoing investigation." 9/11?"
No one could have guessed . . ." Condi's statement is the fallback for everything apparently.
"No one could have guessed."
And here's where it gets especially ugly, this truth telling, because in the case of the devastation that followed Hurricane Katrina, it could have been guessed, in fact it was predicted.
Bully Boy's not responsible for the hurricane hitting the United States. He is responsible for the lack of preperation, for the slow response and for ignoring the needs of the areas hit throughout his previous term.
Playing "politics?" Isn't that what got us into our current crisis?
Politics, not the hurricane is at the root of the current crisis. Politics determined who headed the agencies that should have been responding immediately. Politics determined which monies went where and which priorities were recognized and which weren't. Politics determined that the Bully Boy yet again pushing his privatization of Social Security in a state not hit by the hurricane was more important than his demonstrating to the public that he was actually on the job.
A natural disaster (the hurricane) hit the United States. That's about the only issue in this tragedy that's nonpolitical. The ignoring of preparation, the misguided budget policies, the lack of leadership and the lack of response are all political issues.
The Bully Boy's not beyond playing politics (he excells especially in dirty politics) but watch the goon squad come out and try to hush the questions and try to distort the truth. Why? Because the emperor has no clothes. After 9/11, they were able to silence important questions. They can't do it this time. The nation has grown weary of the politics coming out of the White House and we're not in the mood to play follow the faltering leader.It's time for some accountability and that's the ugly truth.
[This editorial was written by the following:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ty, Jess, Dona, Jim and Ava, C.I. of The Common Ills, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Kat of Kat's Korner, Elaine substituting for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude and Mike of Mikey Likes It!]