Friday, December 16, 2005

NSA spying, Patriot Act, WTO and more

Good evening. Cold enough for you? I want to start with shout outs to Wally and C.I. and Gina and Krista for getting the word out on the Patriot Act vote today. A lot of other people did too so shout outs to them too. But in this community we all pushed NOW because that's a great organization. And I don't think you could read the discussion in the gina & krista round-robin this morning and not think, "Okay, I need to call my senators." And Gina and Krista gave phone numbers and e-mails. They weren't able to push it through today. Who knows what happens next time but this time you had us working together as a community and you had people working together in their communities to stand for freedom.

Let's go to Democracy Now! and I'll pick up there.

Report: Bush-Enacted NSA Program Monitors Phone Conversations, E-Mails
The New York Times is reporting the National Security Agency has been eavesdropping on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals without court-approved warrants. Under a Bush administration directive enacted in 2002, the agency has monitored the international phone calls and e-mails of hundreds, and possibly thousands of people inside the country. The National Security Agency’s mission is to spy on communications abroad. Although officials said the program had helped thwart at least two potential attacks, most people monitored by the N.S.A. have never been charged with a crime.
The Times says it delayed publishing details of the program after a request from the Bush administration at least one year ago. At the request of the White House, the Times also says it has omitted information administration officials said could be useful to terrorists. The disclosure comes two days after NBC News revealed the Pentagon has kept detailed records on the events and meetings of anti-war groups across the country.

C.I. wrote about this early this morning and my prof said to pass on that he thinks it was "a powerful motivator" to tie the N.S.A. spying in with the vote today for the Patriot Act and that he passed it on to some of the other profs.

Here's what C.I. wrote about the Times' report:

That's the spotlight story. James Risen and Eric Lichtblau's "Bush Secretly Lifted Some Limits on Spying in U.S. After 9/11, Officials Say" in this morning's New York Times. And let's put that with what's waiting in the Senate, and could come up for a vote, the renewal of the Patriot Act.
Does Hatch-et face want to cop to knowing about the above? What about John Corny? I know members in his state aren't pleased with this. They're wondering where Corny was on this?
So maybe the things is Hatch-et and his other boy toys who echo every word and dance everytime he pulls the string didn't actually know about it?
So that might indicate that *they need to pause* before they attempt to force through a vote in the Senate to reauthorize an act that they have been woefully negligent in providing oversight on, an act whose impact they've been happy to take the White House's word on.

That story just brought it home if people wanted to make the connections. We talked about the vote today and how it went. Most of the people in class think that Bully Boy & Congress will just try to pull something when no one's watching and that may be but we had a win today.

WTO Talks At Standstill in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, considerable divisions between industrialized and developing countries at the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization are lowering expectations for significant agreements before talks end Sunday.
European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson: "It is hard to see where progress can be achieved in Hong Kong if talks continue in their present direction. I do not want to contemplate failure at Hong Kong. So much is at stake. Equally, I see no point in an outcome here that simply locks in low ambition, diminishes benefits for developing countries and falls short of our responsibilities to the global economy."
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson. Negotiations have stalled on a number of key trade issues. On Thursday, the Group of 77 -- the coalition of 132 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in the Third World -- announced they would reject any deal that eliminates protections for their farmers and access to foreign markets. Another group of developing nations, the Group of 20 -- which represents half the world’s population -- accused the US and European Union of holding up talks by refusing to cut state agricultural subsidies.
Meanwhile, outside the meetings, thousands of protesters continue to make their voices heard.
Oxfam’s Alison Woodhead: "The system in theory should work, but at the moment it's riggedin favour of the richest countries. The rich countries benefit from the trade rules as they exist at the moment. They're able to protect their own markets and destroy the markets of poorer countries."

There's so much going on these days that it can be hard to follow everything and Elaine said C.I. was wondering how to work in what's going on here because there had been a lot of interest in it from members. They've been focused on Iraq which is so important and some other really impotant issues. So me and Elaine are members and we can highlight this stuff. There's only so much that The Common Ills can cover.

So what do I say about it? I say if you're going to treat "free markets" like your God, it's strange that you don't really believe in your God. If you did, you wouldn't be screaming for subsidies. This is just one more to screw over developing countries and keep them from being on a fair playing field. You could respect other countries markets or you could open your own but it's nonsense to pretend like just because you keep preaching "free market" that you really believe in it.

Be sure to check out Elaine's comments at Like Maria Said Paz.

Now be sure to check out Cedric (he wrote about megachurches and megabullies) and be sure to check out Rebecca (she wrote about customer service) and be sure to check out Seth (he wrote about retail during the holidays). And if I didn't note her yesterday, be sure to check out Kat who's weaving music and her sharp eye to make an insightful critique. This is real popular on campus and I kept getting stopped by women on campus saying, "Tell Kat not to stand for this crap!" Nina was elbowing me and going, "See! See!" Kat won't take any crap, don't worry.

It's sort of weird because I'll mention my site and all and Tony and Nina will talk about it and all but I didn't know that many people knew I was part of The Common Ills community. Nina and I were outside the library and this woman stops by us and goes, "Is Kat as cool as she sounds?" and before I could answer, Nina goes, "A thousand times cooler."

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Torture, Patriot Act, Rory O'Connor and more

Good evening. We'll kick off with Democracy Now! but before we do, let's note that Amy Goodman was back today. Her voice sounded almost back to normal and Ma saw it, I have to listen lately with my schedule, and she said that she had color in cheeks and looked good so I hope she's all better or on the road to all better. And let me note that Elaine's off on Thursdays so I'm soloing here.

House Passes Non-Binding Measure in Support of Senate Torture Ban
Meanwhile, the House overwhelmingly approved a non-binding vote Wednesday in support of Senator John McCain's push for a Senate ban on torture of detainees in US custody. The measure is now being negotiated in Congress, where the White House is pushing for an amendment that would exempt interrogators from punishment.

It's sad, isn't it, that we live in a country that has to pass a BAN on torture. I mean, isn't that pretty sad? And isn't it disgusting that we live in a country where the leader would be trying to stop a BAN on torture?

Patriot Act Renewal Moves to Senate as House Approves Renewal
On Capital Hill, the House of Representatives voted to renew the Patriot Act Wednesday, setting the stage for a showdown in the Senate. A bipartisan Senate group threatens to hold up the bill over concerns it would give the FBI too much power over civil liberties. The Bush administration is lobbying intensively for a renewal. Republican leaders are reportedly considering a fall-back position that would extend the current Patriot Act by one year if efforts to push through new provisions fail.

We gotta stop this. I already called my senators' offices (my parents had the contact info on the fridge with instructions for me and my sister to "MAKE THE CALLS"). But in case someone wants to weigh in but doesn't know how, let me swipe from C.I., this is from NOW's "Oppose Reauthorization: USA PATRIOT Act Violates Our Civil Liberties:"

Vote set for this Friday! Act NOW.
Action Needed:
Please send a message to your Senators urging them to oppose reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Improvement and Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005 (H.R. 3199), which fails to include important reforms and poses a serious threat to individual privacy and to our precious civil liberties. The reauthorization of this controversial law would enact scores of new surveillance powers for the government, establish a number of new crimes, including new death penalties, and still permit secret eavesdropping and secret search orders. Safeguards that were adopted by the Senate earlier this year have been deleted and, alarmingly, most provisions in this final version would be made permanent, bypassing the critically important periodic Congressional reviews.
Senate Democrats are united in opposing this draconian re-write of the PATRIOT Act, and so are a number of Republicans, which makes victory possible. Sen. Russ Feingold (Wis.) and a number of both Democratic and Republican members are threatening a filibuster. The Senate is set to vote Friday (Dec.16). The more conservative House voted today 251 to 174 to adopt the reauthorization measure. So this makes it all the more critical to contact your Senators immediately. Please use our formatted message or write one of your own and urge your Senators to oppose this dangerous bill.
Take action NOW.

So you got a link, you got a good organization. NOW made it real easy, all you do is visit the page, you fill in your information, it sends it to your Senators and there's NO CHARGE. Maybe you already contact your senators and you're used to it and have parents like mine who put it on a chore list. :D But if not and if you're not sure how to do it, NOW's made it real easy.

Now let's note a Rory O'Connor, who I bet may be Irish-American like me with a name like that, and his "Able Danger and Unaccountability:"

A December 8 Washington Post article by Dana Milbank, "Intelligence Design and the Architecture of War," described a question-and-answer session that followed a recent National Press Club speech by former deputy defense secretary (now World Bank president) Paul Wolfowitz.
"How do you account for the intelligence Iraq?" Wolfowitz was asked.
"Well," he said after a long pause, "I don't have to."
Precisely. That very lack of accountability at the highest levels of the Pentagon continues to be one of the biggest reasons why the world's only superpower is losing the war on terror.
Accountability for intelligence failures, Wolfowitz explained, just wasn't his problem. "And it's not just because I don't work for the U.S. government anymore," he said. "In my old job I didn't have to. I was like everyone else outside the intelligence community... We relied on the intelligence community for those judgments, so the question is, in a way, how do they account for it?"
To Milbank, the pass-the-buck, laissez-faire attitude exhibited by Wolfowitz "was an unexpected response from a man who, as the Pentagon's No. 2, sat atop 80 percent of the nation's intelligence budget and an intelligence agency that made particularly aggressive claims about Iraq's weapons."
But after months of chasing the Pentagon for answers about, and accountability for, intelligence failures relative to the Able Danger data mining operation -- which purportedly identified four 9/11 hijackers a year before the worst terror attacks ever on US soil -- the Wolfowitz "What Me Worry?" response was exactly what I expected.
Just this week, for example, after literally months of silence, the Department of Defense finally provided an answer -- of sorts -- to my many queries.
That's the good news. Now the bad news: the answer is "No."

And let me point out that Kat did a hilarious thing yesterday. So check out her "Ryan, remember this is Heddy we're talking." And let me point out that Nina wanted to weigh in on "Heddy." I go, "You can write whatever you want." But she goes this is my site and all. I go, "Everyone still asks about your poem in e-mails." :D But that wasn't enough to change her mind. So I go, "I'll interview you!" And she goes, "Oh, Mike, don't make a huge thing out of it." :D So she just wants to weigh in and say that if "Heddy" can't figure out where she stands on the war after over 1,000 days, she's a mush brain. :D She says she's 19 and she's old enough to know that war is wrong and she's old enough to know she needs to say it. She goes she was in D.C. And she was too. That was a lot of fun. She goes she was in D.C. in September and stood up and was counted so she's embarrassed that a grown woman, "1 older than me", can't find a better way to use her voice "than writing about shows I'd be embarrassed for my little sister to watch and she's 13." :D

I love Nina. She's the best.

One more day 'till the weekend. And Nina just reminded me to say something about my buddy Wally. I love The Daily Jot and Wally's had something every day this week. I hope you're checking him out at The Daily Jot.

Remember my motto: The Common Ills community is important and the Common Ills community is important to me. So I'll do my part for the Common Ills community.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Pentagon spying. Dexy Filkins lying? Iraq

Good evening. We'll start out with Democracy Now! like always but note that Amy Goodman wasn't on today. Not because she was blowing off some steam or relaxing which she's earned the right to do and then some between the show and the Un-Embed the Media Tour, but because she has laryngitis. So I'll just say I hope she gets well and takes all the time she needs.

C.I. wrote about that today. If you missed it, please read it. We are really lucky to have Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez and everyone else who's working behind the scenes on Democracy Now! but at a time when silence is pretty much everywhere and when so many play "War Got Your Tongue." Now maybe they got the time to bore you with their non-thoughts on a TV show like Prison Break, but they can't say a damn thing about the war. Lot of cowards out there. Lot of silence. Lot of fear. So be glad that we've got Democracy Now! but support them. C.I. noted that you could donate online at their site or you could send something in to this address:

Democracy Now!
P.O. Box 693
NY, NY 10013

If you go the site, you can print up a form if you want to send something in snail mail. Community member ??? noted that to C.I. And I'll back up C.I.'s point. If you don't have money to give, you don't have it. I got high school readers and college readers and I'm going to college myself and working half a day during the week so I got it that money's tight. (And read the interview I did last night for another view of how tight money is.) So if you got the money to give, that's great. But if you read that and think, "I wish I did have the money to give" well you can still give. How can you give without money?

You can get the word out. Say you wanted to give twenty bucks but you weren't able to because you didn't have it. Well could you get the word out on Democracy Now! to twenty people? That's twenty more people who would be watching and twenty more people who would be getting some real news and twenty more people who would be thinking about something other than nonsense. That's a contribution.

Iraq Officials Deny Report on Seized Forged Ballots
Meanwhile, Iraqi officials are denying a New York Times report that said border guards have seized a tanker filled with thousands of forged electoral ballots headed from Iran. According to the Times, the driver of the vehicle reportedly told interrogators another three trucks carrying forged ballots have already crossed into Iraq.

Elaine and I were kind of surprised that C.I. didn't highlight this item but C.I. let's members do the picks. But if you missed it, the article that has a problem, it's by the hideously bad Dexter Filkins. He wrote the article. And here's what C.I. noted about it first thing this morning:

Dexter Filkins does love what he's told. (Spoonfed in the Green Zone?) "Police Seize Forged Ballots Headed to Iraq From Iran" relies on "official said" four times. Sometimes, to spice up the single source for his story, an anonymice one, he will add a subclause between "official" and "said." Maybe you'll count more. For fun, go through the article and find named sources and note if they spoke to Filkins or not? (I think you already know the answer to that one.)

Dexter Filkins was in Falluja and didn't see anything. He made it into a video game while it was a slaughter and now we know white phosphorus was used there and that's another thing Filkins forgot to tell readers. Elaine talked to C.I. today and asked, "Did you know about this?" meaning that the article was being questioned and C.I. didn't is the short answer but check out Elaine's site because she is blogging tonight. So check out Like Maria Said Paz for more on that.

But you heard it questioned in some places and in others you heard silence. Not because someone was writing about something else that was important which is cool, there's a whole mess of lies coming down each day. But what's not cool is if you jerk off with nonsense while some of us are trying to be adults in the real world.

Pentagon Monitoring Anti-War Events Across the Country
Meanwhile, NBC News is reporting the Pentagon has been extensively monitoring the events and gatherings of peaceful anti-war groups across the country. A military database obtained by the network lists small activist meetings and events among 1,500 “suspicious incidents” over a 10-month period. The events included a gathering at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Florida, to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. In total, the database listed over four dozen anti-war meetings or protests.

This is one Elaine and I agreed on when we were on the phone but as soon as Dad got home he goes, "You gotta do three headlines tonight because there's one you gotta put in." He meant that one. He wanted that in. He said stuff like that is too important to ignore and that it's happened to us before in this country and everyone should note it so that America knows what's going on.

That's like Danny Schechter's Tell the Truth movement. And Tony said, "Dude, you gotta start noting Danny more. C.I. does." And I found this tonight, in my bulk folder which I don't check as often as I should and it was the thing Ryan "Kansas" was talking about last night, Danny Schechter's "News Makes News: Info War Now Page One in the NY Times:"

"The campaign was begun by the White House, which set up a secret panel soon after the Sept. 11 attacks to coordinate information operations by the Pentagon, other government agencies and private contractors."
This secret war was perhaps a secret to the New York Times but not to those of us who have been tracking the deployment of information warfare for several years. It's a sign of the times (and The TIMES) that our media is just getting hip to a multi-million dollar government strategy designed in part to spin news, reinforce message points, cover up crimes and plant information that ends up being punted by analysts on Fox News and other TV outlets. It is part of the methodology for turning lies into "credible" news.
According to the report, at least l000 articles have been planted in the Iraqi and Afghan press, but widely acknowledged, if unstated, is that much of it "blows back" into US media as news, a practice winked at by government officials. (To challenge this disinformation has launched a "Tell The Truth About The War" campaign recommending websites like for more accurate news.)
Why is it that we are just learning about this vast undertaking now? It is not because information about information war was not out there.
Writing in my new book, "When News Lies," Retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner, who teaches at our war colleges, relays his experiences in trying to alert major media outlets about his own detailed study about how the Pentagon constructed and distorted major stories during the Iraq war. He references meetings with the Washington Post, The Atlantic, 60 Minutes, The LA Times and the News Hour at PBS where he tried to interest journalists in blowing the whistle.
He walked away totally frustrated.
"By this time, I'd had enough," he writes. "I had to get this monkey off my back. I had to move forward rather than to keep looking back. I had to have some closure. My solution was to publish my stories on the web."
I saw a small reference to his study buried in US News & World Report. The magazine cited it, but did not give it much visibility. I was dumbstruck. Here was what I considered possibly the "Pentagon Papers" of the Iraq War and yet it was being totally downplayed.
Having been among the first in Boston, in 1970, to name Daniel Ellsberg as the leaker of that Vietnam War investigation, I knew the importance of hard-hitting studies by military insiders.
So should the New York Times and Washington Post, or so you would think? They defied the government to publish the Pentagon Papers and were willing to go to jail to do so. Today, they are busy keeping journalists collaborating with the government out of jail.
I tracked Sam Gardiner down and visited him in his Virginia home, just ten miles from the Pentagon. He is very articulate and impressive. He showed me documents and shared his well-informed deconstructions of news stories. He agreed to appear in my film WMD (Weapons of
Mass Deception) that reveals part of the Information Warfare story.

Now I wasn't the only one doing an interview last night. Rebecca talked with Maria and Martha so check that out.

Remember my motto: The Common Ills community is important and the Common Ills community is important to me. So I'll do my part for the Common Ills community.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

2 headlines from Democracy Now! and my interview with Ryan

Good morning. I'm late cause I type so slow. We're moving quick because I've got a full plate. First two items from Democracy Now! that you should know about.

California Executes Stanley Tookie Williams
In California Stanley Tookie Williams has died after being executed by lethal injection early this morning by the state of California. He was 51 years old. On Monday California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to spare his life and grant him clemency. Williams was a co-founder the Crips street gang. He was jailed after being convicted of four murders in 1979. He later became an advocate against gang violence and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Early this morning over 2,000 people gathered outside San Quentin Prison to protest his execution including the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Rev. Jesse Jackson: "I am obviously very disappointed that the governor has missed a moment to choose life over death, has missed a moment to choose redemption over revenge."

U.S. Activists Hold Vigil Outside Guantanmo
A group of U.S. activists have begun a vigil near the gates of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay. Members of the group Witness Against Torture walked for five days across Cuba to reach Guantanmo. Military officials rejected their request to meet with any of the 500 or so prisoners who are being held without charges.
Peace activist Frida Berrigan: "We're fasting, most of us fasting just on water. Some people drinking some juice. Fasting and praying, and hoping that our intentions reach the prisoners. That somehow through the power of prayer, they will feel our presence, feel our solidarity. At the same time we're calling on people in the United States to call President Bush, to call Donald Rumsfeld, to get in touch with the base here in Guatanamo, so that we might be let in to visit the prisoners, to visit the soldiers, American soldiers here. And to open up this modern heart of darkness to the light of day and to the light of world scrutiny."

Check Elaine's site, all the time, Like Maria Said Paz. She is "disappointed." Me, I'm just pissed. She said she's so disappointed she might not even post tonight. I hope she does.

I've got an interview with someone tonight and we'll get into it there. This guy's name is Ryan. This isn't Ryan of The Common Ills community. Ryan's someone we tracked down by using Google. Real basic thing. Leg work involved but I guess it's tough for some people. Giving credit where it's due, C.I.'s the one whose idea to track Ryan paid off. Ryan, welcome and I'm not sure where to start so how about you describe yourself to us.

Ryan: Sure. I'm 34 years-old, married for almost ten years, ten years in February, we got married on the 14th. We got a daughter. She's real pretty and in the second grade. Her name's --. My wife's name I'll leave out because she's a teacher and it can get pretty red neck, Bush loving in our part of Texas. In fact, can you take out my daughter's name too?


Ryan: Thanks. Everyone knows where I am politically and that's great with me. Keeps the creeps from talking to me. But I just don't want to do anything that screws stuff up for my wife.

No problem. For the record, Ryan's opinions represent only him. His wife's opinions aren't being discussed.

Ryan: What else? I grew up in Kansas. Moved to Texas. I'm a Democrat. Parents are, there parents are, their parents were. How's that?

Good, real good. Now we spoke together before.

Ryan: Right. I got an e-mail from C.I. asking about a Dylan post. Okay, here's the e-mail: "Ryan, I think I saw your post on Dylan online and was wondering if that was with you? If it was, I'll assume you know what I'm speaking of. If not, ignore this e-mail and my apologies for bothering you. If it was you, would you be interested in speaking of this for the record to The Third Estate Sunday Review? They are an online web site." And there's a link there. Then it says, "If you're not interested but you do know what I'm speaking of and would like to talk off the record, please contact me."

And you knew what C.I. was talking about?

Ryan: Yes. I'd read a post I disagreed with about Bob Dylan at a site that I visited and I'd posted that I disagreed with it and that I didn't think Dylan had done anything worth listening to in 40 years.

Then what happened?

Ryan: What did I think happen or what turned out to happen? Because what I thought was happening was all the readers of that site were dogging on me with some really nasty remarks. What it turned out happened is that someone, maybe the guy who wrote the thing, linked it to a Bob Dylan site and all these Dylan freaks showed up to tell me I'm "stupid" or "stupid shit" or whatever. One person felt the need to list everything Bob Dylan had done in the last 40 years in his personal life. I don't care about his personal life. I didn't write about his personal life. I don't think he's done anything in the last forty years that's up to what he did when he started. So I'm reading this and checking back. I keep waiting for the people at the site to do something as the abuse piles on.

Why was that?

Ryan: There's a woman with the site, I think it's her site. She used to do a site for Ms. Magazine that my wife and I both read. If things like that happened there, wait. Nothing like that would have happened there. But if some comments half as nasty had popped up there, she would have come into the comments and said something. She would have said that we can all disagree or we can agree to disagree but let's not be personal. That didn't happen while I was checking. I'm too old for that kind of nonsense. I mean, if kids want to do that nonesense, that's there business. And I liked the guy who posted the thing. I liked everyone's writing at the site. I just disagreed with that post. So I said that. I didn't say, "You dumb whatever," I just posted that I disagreed 100% and that I thought Dylan hadn't done anything worth listening to in 40 years. I think I said something about Ani DiFranco and Bright Eyes. Something nice because the guy was trashing "When A President Talks To God." He came off real pompous and was sneering at that song. I mean, did you see that on Leno?

Yeah, I did. He performed it on The Tonight Show. People applauded. It was a big moment. It's a powerful song. Did you type "You're pompous."

Ryan: No. I said I disagreed with him 100% and then stuck to the issue of music. I'd posted there before and never had anything like that happen. But I'd always posted something encouraging.

Not that time.

Ryan: No. I didn't see the point. I could've posted that. Why is that website writing about Bob Dylan? Did his book just come out? No. Does he have a new CD? No. Did his public TV special just air? No. It was a tired post on a tired topic. And I really didn't appreciate him dogging Bright Eyes.

So what happened?

Ryan: I stopped going. I thought this was a site for adults. That the readers were adults. That the people writing stuff for it were adults. I don't need flamers. If someone had said, "I disagree with you 100%" back at me, that would have been fine. But there were personal attacks on me and the language was an issue because I was on a computer at work. We do have guidelines about what we can look at but other than that, it's not an issue. We can't go to sites with nudity, obviously, and the language has to be appropriate. So between the comments and the fact that no one stepped in to say, "Okay, that's getting too personal," I was done with the site. In fact, I stayed away from everything for a few days. I checked my email. I checked out ESPN. But that was it. At home and at work. I read that site all the time and there had never been anything like that before that I saw. If there had been, dogging me or dogging anyone, I wouldn't have gone there. I can't deal with that little kid stuff and that's what it was to me, a bunch of little kids tossing out their dirty words. And nothing like that had ever happened there. I mean, there are things they put up that get no comments. They're lucky to get three comments on most stuff. I read stuff and I wouldn't comment unless I really liked it. So I thought this was a place for adults. When someone did disagree, they weren't swearing like sailors and usually that would result in an exchange between the author of the original thing and who ever commented. It was mature.

And then you just checked out.

Ryan: Yeah, that was it. Then I got the e-mail from C.I. and wrote back because I did want to talk about this. I knew The Common Ills but I wasn't a member.

You want to tell what you said when we were all on the phone with you?

Ryan: Yeah, I apologized for not being a member and said that my wife and I couldn't afford it. We didn't pledge to our local station.


Ryan: Yeah, PBS. We didn't have the money. Then C.I. explains about "member" and I started laughing because I had gotten that so wrong.

Because there's no money exchanged. You just e-mail things you want to share with the community and make a contribution in that way.

Ryan: I still laugh about that. But my wife thought the same thing. We give to Bartcop. And we go there at home. We can't go there at work. She teaches school and she'd get in more trouble on some of the things there then I would. But we scrape a little together each year for Bartcop because we believe in it. It was easier a few years ago but I haven't gotten a raise in three years. We're on a hiring freeze, for three years now, and there are no raises for us. On top of that, the stuff they take out of every check for insurance went up. I'm on my wife's plan now because it's better and it's cheaper. But, at least where I am, tomatoes went up, milk went up.
We're struggling. Like three years ago, we switched to Roma tomatoes. I like the round ones but Roma tomatoes were only 79 cents a pound at our local Kroger. So it was a way to cut back. Only thing is, they went up to 89 cents and then up again and up again. Last weekend, we were talking about this, how they were, I think, a dollar and 19 cents. We couldn't not give to Bart. He's funny and he's there day after day and didn't worry about what anyone said, he just told it like it was and he's kept doing that.

Anything you want to take out about your wife?

Ryan: No. But can I read this before it goes up to double check?


Ryan: Thanks. So we scrape together what we can, when we can. We don't listen to the radio show or nothing like that. But Bart works hard and he needs money to do that because the site costs him money and he puts so much time into it. So we scrape together when we can. It's actually been awhile. So I'll probably mention this to my wife and we'll see if we can get together something before Christmas. If we can, great. If we can't, we'll wait until after New Year's.


Ryan: So I thought that was what the whole membership meant at The Common Ills. And I like the site and go there but we had to stop giving to public TV and that's, you know you feel like a bum watching, or I do, because they're asking for money all the time. They put on cartoons and our daughter watches them. The ballerina and Arthur and all of that. We've given in the past but the last 3 years have been rough and we've had to stop pretty much everything but paying bills. We don't have cable anymore. We still have the internet. But we dropped back to dial up.
With the raise freeze, it's like we slipped. They're taking out more for retirement now too. I could drop the insurance, but we're not given a choice on the pension. You work there, you put in. So even with dropping insurance, I'm not coming out ahead with pension going up. And my wife's got her student loans. We go to church and we put something in the plate every Sunday but even there we had to cut back and make our weekly donations smaller. For awhile I was working at Best Buy part-time on weekends and two nights during the week but my wife said it wasn't worth it because we weren't seeing each other and my daughter was having to be quite when I was home because I was always sleeping. I have a good job. But I started right before the raise freeze. I finish probation just when that happens and at first I wasn't even going to get a raise for finishing my six months probation. I was so upset about that that they found like a quarter an hour more they could kick me up. I've got a degree in my field. I would walk out but the whole point was getting a foot in and working my way up. I'd been working commissions, doing sales and not using my degree. I brought in good money like that but then we had 9/11 and sales were down. My wife and I talked and she felt since I wasn't happy, I should look for something with more security. So I put out applications and keep working in sales and then I get an interview for my new job and they were just promising the moon. Yearly raises, they'd cover college and I'd like to go back and get my masters. I could make more money at my job if I did. There were all these benefits. I start there and am thinking, "Advancement, good pay, benefits" and then we lose, I think it was college first, anyway, everything flies out the window bit. I can't believe we've been on a pay freeze and hiring freeze for three years. Because we've had layoffs and I'm doing my job and about 2 other people's jobs now. So while my pay's stayed the same and all the prices have gone up, my work's just gotten more and more. You probably don't need to hear about all of this.

No. This is fine.

Ryan: Well, you know, things are tight. My folks are in Kansas and we can talk there. Save on long distance. Our daughter's got all of these favorite places she goes like PBS Kids. If school's called because of ice, my wife can check that online. We don't have to sit through the news, and we have really bad news in our area, and look at the crawl and wait to see if her school's closed. We had a real bad patch in Texas last week. I mean, play the violins, but we get movies from our library instead of renting, we're just cutting back everywhere we can. And last year, we thought we cut back enough. We thought we had tightened the belt. If my car breaks down, I'll just stick to the bus. I started riding it this summer when gas got to be more than we could afford. We'll stick it in the garage and just make sure my wife's car is running. There's the house payment. When we got that house, I was thinking I was an adult. We put a lot of money down and I'm glad about that because we had it then. But it's more than a monthly payment. Last month the seal on the toilet in our bathroom was out and you'd walk in and find water on the floor. You think, "Okay, we can afford this." Then you turn around and the you got water spots on the ceiling from the rain because the roof's leaking. It's like it's something every other month. So, just to clear, when I say we'll scrape together something for Bart, I don't even mean thirty bucks. I mean, we'll try to get together ten bucks or something. It's not going to put food on his table but it's what we'll be able to afford and I'm sure he'll appreciate it.

You guys, you and your wife, use the computer too?

Ryan: We go to different sites. My wife will pull up stuff for lesson plans. But for personal stuff, we'll check out Liberal Oasis, The Common Ills, Bartcop, and a few others. Sometimes we'll watch Democracy Now! online. We don't get it on radio in our area and if it's on cable, well, we let the cable go. But if it's an easy day and there's time, which is often, and we see something at The Common Ills that looks interesting, we'll go ahead and watch it. With dialup, Amy's face will freeze every now and then. That's about the only problem. We'll click and read sometimes too. And we do pay attention to the headlines. Especially the stuff that gets picked.

The stuff members pick to highlight?

Ryan: Right. At The Common Ills.

And the Amy he was saying before is Amy Goodman, the host of Democracy Now! so Dona doesn't dog me for not noting that.

Ryan: Yeah, Amy Goodman. Seems to know her stuff. If C.I. quotes something and quotes it more than once, like the guy last week and this week on torture and the McCain amendment.

Michael Ratner?

Ryan: That thing got noted and all so it was obvious this is something we needed to make time for. And we did. We watched it.

Do you use the links a lot?

Ryan: Not really. At work, if I'm online, it's during a break. I'm trying to grab what I need and grab it quick. If I'm looking at Bill's site I'm not clicking to the links. I'm trusting him.

Bill Scher, Liberal Oasis.

Ryan: Yeah. Or like the Schechter thing today.

Danny Schechter.

Ryan: Right. C.I. hit that three times. I was meaning to click that because the stuff looks good.
But I didn't have time at work and doing this means there probably won't be time tonight. So if I'm going somewhere, I expect people to give me what I need there. If I had more time, I'd be clicking but most days that's not possible. And with dial up, let's be honest, you're risking a nothing screen because something may take forever to load, a page, and you might get a pop up and we're having to clean our hard drive enough as it is. So I just go my favorite sites that I bookmark most of the time. When C.I. explained what a member was, I was "Thank God" because I really felt like, "We're going to have to find some money because here these people are talking to me and I go to The Common Ills."

Anyone else?

Ryan: I'd been to your site and Rebecca's but at home only. My wife loves Rebecca's site. She loves the photos, she loves the "don't take any crap" attitude. But you and Rebecca we'd been to too. But only at the house.

We let the language fly.

Ryan: Not a problem at home, but at work. And if the f-word pops up, I stop going at work. We've got a house payment, we've got a kid and bills, I can't lose my job. There's a site I really like but I don't go there because one day, at work, I'm there and they've got a link. About Ahnuld. I click on it and the page loads and it's him with a woman on his shoulders and the woman doesn't have a top on. There was no warning or anything. I'm at work and I've got a topless woman on my computer screen. I thought I was going to get fired. I closed it and didn't get back online for a week. I don't want to dog on that site, but they should give you a warning or something so you know what's going to be showing up if you click on a link like that. I like it that you either have stuff in the quote that's got stars on it or dashes or you get a "not work safe warning."

At The Common Ills?

Ryan: Yeah. I wish other people did that. But that's probably another reason I don't click. I really did freak when I saw that topless woman. I didn't tell my wife about it and that made it worse. I don't mean, "Honey, I saw a topless woman!" I mean I didn't tell her I was online at work, at a site, and I click a link they have and I end up staring at a half-naked woman. When I kept thinking I was going to be fired for that, that was probably the worst part of it, trying to explain it to her, how I lost my job because I was at a site running down news and they provided a link and that was what it was to. How do you explain that? And who cares why when you lost your job?

Do I need to take that part out?

Ryan: No, she knows about it now. I'd still be sitting on it if I thought I was getting fired. But enough times passed that I slipped by. I'm not sure how they check on people or if they check on everyone or just a small group or what. But I slipped by and I've had evaluations since then without that being on them so I think I'm safe.

So you e-mail C.I. back and you say you're the guy and you're fine with talking?

Ryan: Yeah. On the record or off. So you guys call and we're talking.

And that didn't get posted.

Ryan: I hadn't been online yet when C.I. phoned. Sundays, it's get showered, get cleaned up, eat breakfast, get to church. But yeah, C.I. apologized and explained what was going on. How the person had her feelings hurt and how she felt she was being attacked and how she wanted peace. I said whatever. I was kind of let down to be honest. But C.I. goes we'll do one for something that goes out by e-mail and doesn't get posted online. That went pretty good. Since it wasn't online, my wife wanted to give her opinions too.

That'll be in Friday's gina & krista round-robin.

Ryan: So I talk to you guys and I was really glad about it even when it didn't run. Because I was thinking, at first, "Maybe someone will e-mail me and say, 'That really isn't the way our site is.'"
You know something like that. A lot of people don't post comments there. And my wife really thought I'd get a e-mail like that. And it never came that week. So the call was enough. Just knowing that someone else felt like what happened wasn't cool. Then Sunday afternoon, we had time, my wife and I, to read Kat's thing and really catch up on it. To me, it's like, at the other site, they think they can write whatever they want and nobody else can have an opinion and if they do, they're right and everybody else is wrong. I thought it was cool that Kat's first thing, the thing that got her drug into this by the site, was focused on what happened to me. I was nodding while I was reading that and my wife was saying, "Yes!" Because I think Kat captured it perfectly. And shout out to Kat for sticking up for me. I'm sorry she got drug into it. Wish I'd known about it before I talked to you guys.

So what happens next?

Ryan: Someone, C.I.?, tells the woman at that site that while her site's focused on her feelings, has she even tried to contact me or something like that. Ava sent me an e-mail on that and I didn't make a copy and I can't be on the phone and online at the same time.

Cause you have dial up.

Ryan: Yeah. But she must have made some comment back because I read the thing where Jess and C.I. explained how they tracked me down. Which was pretty smart, by the way. But it's kind of spooky knowing something you had forgotten about is still up there. I had posted about Ms. Musing, Liberal Oasis and some other sites, for nominations, nominating them and others as the best sites and that was like a year ago. So Ava e-mails me and says that the woman tried to e-mail me, this is this week. Not last week. She tries to e-mail me only after it's pointed out to her that I'm upset and that you guys did contact me and she says her e-mail got it bounced back. So she's already wondering how you guys tracked me down and I liked Jess's "basic reporting" remark. So Ava's asking me if I can e-mail something to her and she'll forward it to the woman because Jess and Ava are thinking the woman's doubting that you guys talked to me. Which I think says more about her than anything else. So I start to just write back. But my wife and I were trying to win tickets to a concert so we signed up at both our accounts with a local radio stations. Now we get e-mail from them all the time. Since my account wasn't a working account, that was the claim, I think.

The woman's claim.

Ryan: Yeah. So I grab one of those that came in and I forward it and put my message to Ava at the top of it because it shows that I do have an e-mail account, that I do get e-mail at. Here's what I wrote to Ava: "Dear Ava, Hope I'm doing 1 better for you. I'm fowarding most recent email not a personal 1." That should be most recent that's not a personal one but I was hurrying. Back to what I wrote Ava: "I had no contact from her. I got 12 emails today. No problemo on my end. I read C.I.'s thing with Jess and laughed. When I post there it asks for email so I put it in." There is at the woman's site. Back to my e-mail: "I figured thats where you all got my email address from. You're welcome to forward this to her. I don't know why it's an issue. I'm not going back to that site. Thank you for passing on that she says I am welcome to post there. I just don't want to. I'm not 12 y.o. punk who thinks it's way cool to mix with trolls and flamers. I never had that problem before there and she used to step in and say something that would pull everyone's different opinion together to give closure. If that's the word. There was respect at MM." MM is Ms. Musing. Back to my e-mail: "I was disrespected. Can you please tell Kat I lost the paper I wrote her e-mail on? Is it okay to write her through C.I.? If not, could you please pass her my e-mail? Glad you thought I was funny in the interview." I put in a smile right there. Back to the e-mail to Ava: "I'm not sure I'm funny in the one I did with C.I. I was tired and had read Kat's stuff on this and reallyI was kind of mad."
Now I've got the name of the man who did that stuff to Kat in here so I'll just say fill in name
"did try to sick them on her. Probably would have worked if they hadn't moved on. But I moved on too. I'm not going back anywhere that disrespected me like that. If" put in the guy's name
"had replied to me in any form I would have some respect but instead he stood on the sideline like a little punk while all these people who the excuse is don't go there normally swarm in and some 1 who does and who posts gets disrespected. Good for your gang for being smart enough to track me. Underline it, your gang actually got through. If she tried problem's on her end. If. Tell Kat to use the dictionary definition like I said when she post again. Tell C.I. I'm thinking of a name now and am thinking Kansas if that's not grabbed. Stay cool, Ryan."


Ryan: That's where I'm from. Or did you mean why a name?

Why a name?

Ryan: Because we'll go to the sites that treated us decent. We don't have time for that nonsense. We're not 12 years-old. We're grown ups, with a kid and not a lot of time to waste. So we'll go somewhere that appreciates us instead of to somewhere you get disrespected and they seem so happy that they're actually getting traffic that it's okay to spit on the people who've been with you. Because my wife and I both went there when she left Ms. Musing. That woman didn't even have anything up for a whole week one time. But we'd check in. And like I said awhile ago, I never disagreed before that post. I would post stuff like "Great post" because I just wanted to give them encouragement. That's not me saying that the posts I commented on weren't great. I only said that when I meant it. But I mean they had like 13 or 14 comments on that Dylan thing when it was all over because I did check after I talked to you guys. And that's a whole lot for that site. They have stuff that nobody comments on. And they have stuff that sometimes gets a comment or two or three. So when I saw that and all, it was like, "Oh, you care more about this new traffic then you do about how someone who's here all the time and supports you is treated."

So then what happened?

Ryan: I e-mailed Ava Monday evening and then I didn't hear anything. When you e-mailed me today I saw she had written to.


Ryan: No the woman.

Do you want to talk about that?

Ryan: Yeah, I do. The title of her e-mail says it's an apology. It says "Apology from" and then her site's name. Now I didn't want to hear from her. I said that in what I wrote to Ava and intended for that to be forwarded to the woman. But she's saying she's apologizing in her title and I've read your e-mail and think, "Well, if I'm going to talk about this to Mike, I should at least know what she said because this may have just been a bad week." You know? I mean, think of all the excuses C.I. gave for her when we were all on the phone. So I was thinking like that because the title says "apology." So I open the e-mail. The first paragraph's about how she got the e-mail because apparently I'm too stupid to understand what I wrote for Ava to forward. Apparently, I'm too dumb to know that if the woman's responding to me, Duh!, it's because Ava forwarded my thing like I gave her permission to. But I'm also stupid because she says I mispelled my e-mail address. I may have. Until I found out how you guys found me, I figured it was through that. But since that doesn't display, I guess we just have her word that she tried to forward me. It's not like she forwarded me that earlier e-mail. I don't care. But first paragraph, she's telling me how she got my e-mail and read it, which I already know. Then she's telling me I mispelled my e-mail address at her site. Maybe I did. But she doesn't mention that she didn't even try to write me until she found out you guys had. So I really don't care. I'm waiting for the apology.


Ryan: It's two paragraphs. This is the "apology." That's what the title says. So I told you the first paragraph. The second paragraph is three sentences. The last sentence is a weak apology.
The first two, she's lecturing me about what happened to Kat. Why is she even writing me that? This is supposed to be my apology. Why is she bringing up Kat and bringing her up before she says a thing to me about what happened to me? So I get a lecture on what happened to Kat, I read it. Darn it, I started it. I was the one who posted "I disagree 100%," the first comment anyone posted. I think I know what happened. I don't need that woman to lecture me on what happened. So here's the big apology. The last sentence of this so-called apology, where she finally get around to "apologizing." Here's what she writes: "But I am sorry you won't be returning to" her site. That's it. That's the apology.

Wait a second! Let me try to do this like C.I. would. Give me a second. Okay! So the sentence before "But I am sorry you won't be returning to ___", before that she's apologizing, right. The sentence before she's saying something to you about what happened to you, because this is your apology right?

Ryan: The title says it's my apology. But the sentence is all about what she thinks happened to Kat. Because no one can have an opinion but her. And there's no apology. The only thing she ever says is that she's sorry I won't be coming back to her site. That's not an apology. I don't know what's wrong with that woman.

She had a fit with Ava. She literally had an e-mail fit. Ava was "flat effect" that's what Elaine said. Ava was just responding to her e-mail, staying to the facts. And that woman's reply was just this huge rant. Like "How dare you talk to me like this!" And I mean, Ava showed it to her aunt first. Her aunt had told her, "Do not tell her anything personal, do not trust her, she will betray you." So Ava knew ahead of time not to do anything other than stay cut and dry. And the woman had a snit fit on Ava. But let's get back to your apology e-mail. The woman knows you're upset by what happened and she writes you an e-mail that says in the title this is an apology and what is her apology again?

Ryan: There's no apology. There's a lecture about how I should see things the way she does. She doesn't even mention what I posted or what anyone posted about me in reply. There's nothing about what was done to me in the e-mail. "Sorry," I guess that's her idea of an apology.
"Sorry." Sorry you won't be coming back to my site. That's her apology. I didn't ask the woman to write me. She's the one who wrote me. And she called it an apology. Instead, she's telling me I wrote my e-mail address wrong with an extra "d," and she's telling me how she got my e-mail, and she's telling me what she thinks happened to Kat. It's not an apology to Kat, let's make sure that's clear. She's still, the woman, in attack mode. She's still going after Kat. Still insiting that her opinion is the only opinion in the world. And then, in her last sentence, is what is supposed to be the apology: 'Sorry you won't be coming back to my site.' Why did she even bother writing? Hold it. My wife wants to say something.

Ryan's wife: That was the most tasteless apology I've ever seen. It wasn't even an apology. I work with little kids. I have to tell them to apologize to each other throughout the day. They say, "I'm sorry." I say, "For what?" Then they say what they did. This woman's only sorry that my husband isn't going to her site. That's not an apology. And I didn't like what she wrote about Kat. I didn't like her even bringing Kat up in what was supposed to be my husband's apology. What she was supposed to be apologizing for was what happened to my husband. Instead of even addressing what happened to Ryan, she's working through her own issues. That wasn't an apology. Therapy may be needed, but she needs to do that on her own time. If she's going to say in the heading that she's writing an apology, she needs to write one. I'm sorry because I know I'm screaming in your ear but this really upsets me. Before the excuse on her end was that she didn't have a way to contact him. When she does have a way to, what does she do with the opportunity? Lectures my husband. Doesn't take responsibility for what happened at her site. Doesn't even bring up what was done to my husband. Then she offers a weak ass, "Sorry you won't be coming back." Was she sticking her tongue out when she wrote that thing?
How mature is this woman? There's no reason to write someone an apology if you don't mean it. And there's no reason to call that an apology. It's not an apology and after all that happened to Ryan, to write that, it's just insulting. It's just rubbing salt in the wound. Here's Ryan.


Ryan: Yeah. She's upset. (Laughing) She's madder than I am. I was mad when I read it but when she read it, she was screaming mad and I thought, "I'll let her be the mad one." She is furious. My wife can't believe this.

Because she said, the woman, that it was an apology and then there's no apology.

Ryan: Yeah. And why did she even write me? To lecture me on how she sees what happened to Kat? I mean, I didn't want to hear from the woman. But fine, she says she's apologizing and then she does that? She's got issues that she needs to get under control. I didn't expect her to beg my forgiveness. I did expect that something in the e-mail would be about my comment or the comments where people dogged me. That didn't happen. She's too busy tearing apart Kat.
It's like, hold it, my wife wants back on.

Ryan's wife: It's like "jealous much"? That woman is so damn focused on Kat. She's just got to bring up what she thinks about Kat any chance she gets. It's like she just wants Kat to die or something. I read both of Kat's things on this. The thing that enraged the woman to begin with and then the thing where Kat shares her opinion, after the woman said Kat wasn't as good a writer as the man who writes for the woman which was really insulting and I am a feminist and I'm the reason Ryan went to Ms. Musing because I gave him a lecture that we have a daughter and that she has one father and he better be there for her and he better be able to talk to her about something other than football. He'd read my Ms. when he saw it lying around the house. So it was easy to get him to read Ms. Musing. But who is this woman? This isn't the woman who wrote for Ms. Musing. There is nothing about feminism in the way she has attacked Kat.
And reading the e-mail to my husband, her hatred for Kat is just intense. She just wants a cat fight, that's all she wants. She will not say one nice word about Kat and she will bring up Kat's name to trash for any reason in the world. That isn't feminsm. I'm guessing that's why she's not at Ms. Musing anymore. And Ms. is better for her being gone! I'm sorry, I know I'm yelling, but who does this woman think she is? Where does she get off lecturing my husband when she's supposedly writing to apologize. No one I know would read that and say, "Well, at least she apologized." Because she didn't! All she did was go into another rant about bad writer Kat. In her mind, Kat's a bad writer. I've been a fan of Kat's writing since the thing where she and her friends were in the middle of nowhere, about to run out of gas, when they find the perfect CD to listen to. You know, Kat wrote my husband. He lost the e-mail address and asked someone to let Kat know. So Kat writes him and she doesn't bring up that woman. She writes a short e-mail that checks in to make sure he's okay. But that woman, in a supposed apology, after wanting my husband's e-mail, just wants to lecture him about how she sees things? No one cares. You say you're going to apologize, you apologize! You don't write an e-mail like that to my husband. And I'm sorry but that editorial you did, it said it all. If you can't speak out against the war, if you can't even talk about it, what use are you? What a waste of time. I mean it's all old music and whatever TV show the teeny boppers are watching. This is how an adult finds pride? Well no surprise! She also thinks insulting my husband is an apology! She also thinks "Sorry you won't visit my site anymore" is an apology. She needs to do some work on her issues. ___ has serious issues. And she needs to leave us alone. She finally gets around to writing an apology, what a week later? And that's her apology? Just leave us alone. We're not going to your stupid site anymore. We'd already made that decision and we are not "sorry" about it. But after that lame attempt, it's not an attempt. She just wanted to "last word" it one more time. That's all this whole thing's been about. Her attacks on Kat. Her lame e-mail. She's just got to be right and we all have to be wrong. Well she's entitled to her opinion but when so many think she's wrong, she might want to be a little less sure of herself. That woman disgusts me. I'd heard from Ryan, after C.I. called, when we were on our way to church, Ryan tells me that the woman wants to make peace. She wants to end it. It's bothered her. Blah, blah, blah. No, it hasn't. She doesn't want peace. You don't bring Kat up to my husband, in what's supposed to be his apology, to again say that Kat is wrong and you are right, if you want peace. The woman has serious issues. I'm a teacher, not a counselor. I can't help her. She needs to find someone who can. Handing off to Ryan.

Ryan: You there?


Ryan: I told you, she is mad.

She sounds it.

Ryan: And this is calmer than she was when she first read it. She is mad. I'm mad too.

I know you're going to have to go soon.

Ryan: Right.

And I need to get this typed so you can read over it.

Ryan: No. Just put it up. Don't worry about it. I'll read it tomorrow. I'm sure it's fine. And I bet it's going to be a lot to type anyway.

Yeah. The only thing I hate about interviews are the typing of it. I'm going to e-mail it to you, okay? That way you can read it at home or at work. A lot of people copy & paste into e-mails for that reason. But I don't think we have any language issues here.

Ryan: Sounds good.

So, last thoughts?

Ryan: I just think if you're going to tell someone you're sorry, if you're going to apologize, you do it. You don't do what she did. And 'Sorry you're not going to visit my site anymore' isn't an apology. Like my wife said, it's like a little kid sticking out their tongue at you. Nah-nah-nah. That wasn't an apology. It doesn't even read like it was written to me. It was like a bad excuse for never having tried to e-mail until she realized that there were other people in the world besides her, which only happened when she found out you guys had contacted me, and it was a lecture about how Kat is wrong and this woman is right. That e-mail wasn't even to me. It was just her screaming some more and she needed someone new to scream at.

Do you think you'll get an apology?

Ryan: No. And it doesn't matter because I'm not reading anything else from her. She had a chance at an apology. When I saw that title, I was thinking about all C.I. said, about how maybe it was too heated and how this woman deserved a chance and all the rest. So there's the e-mail with the title saying it's an apology and I'm willing to believe it's that. Then I read it and it's not that. That's it. Quit bothering people. Leave people alone. If you don't know how to apologize or if you can't be sincere, don't even contact people. That was insulting.

Ryan, I really appreciate you're talking to me tonight.

Ryan: No, I appreciate you. I appreciate C.I., you and everyone. The only people who felt bad about what happened was you guys. None of you did anything wrong. The person who should feel bad is too busy screaming about Kat being wrong. Kat's right. If it wasn't for the fact that the woman can't apologize, I'd say she owes Kat an apology. But the way she's acted, now or again, there's no need for her to contact Kat. Kat doesn't need the headache.


We stayed on the phone for about 10 more minutes. My opinion, Ryan was treated poorly to begin with and the apology wasn't an apology. MY OPINION. Now that woman doesn't think Kat's entitled to opinion, doesn't think she's smart enough to have one or smart enough to comprehend what she reads. But if there was an election and we made the woman ruler of all our thoughts, I missed it. So I'll keep my own opinion. I don't need permission from her. And Kat will write whatever she wants. She doesn't need the woman's approval. The woman thinks she and her people can demand corrections. Turns out she changed her site up. Not for a correction, my opinion, but to clean up the issue because it was embarrassing for her to be seen publicly acting that way. My opinion, she should be embarrassed. My opinion, she should have apologized to Kat publicly after insulting her publicly. But that woman doesn't know how to apologize judging by her e-mail to Ryan.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Stanley Tookie Williams, Iraq and silence

Good evening. Let's get things started with Democracy Now!

Stanley Tookie Williams Scheduled to be Executed Tonight
In California the state Supreme Court has unanimously denied an emergency request by lawyers of death row prisoner Stanley Tookie Williams to halt his execution. Williams' life now largely rests in the hands of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. If he is not granted clemency, Williams is scheduled to be executed a minute past midnight tonight pacific time. Williams is a co-founder of the Crips street gang who became an advocate against gang violence while on death row. We'll have more on Williams' case in a few minutes.

I'll be real honest on this - I don't know if Stanley Tookie Williams is guilty or innocent. I watched his Democracy Now! interview a few weeks back and thought that would tell me something about his guilt. Others in my family saw the same interview and said he was innocent.

I don't know. And I didn't know about him, nothing, until Democracy Now! started covering his case.

So I can't see that he's innocent.

I can't say he's guilty.

I don't believe in execution period. On that I agree with my church. Irish-American so if you're new or missed it, I'm Catholic. My church is against the death penalty.

To me Stanley Tookie Williams is the best case against the death penalty - I don't feel comfortable saying "innocent" and I don't feel comfortable saying "guilty."

To me, he deserves a new trial.

Not evidence coming out after he's dead when it won't make a difference.

Arnold The Terminator could have stopped the execution but later in the day he issues his decision not to.

Stanley Tookie Williams may be innocent. He may be guilty. But Arnold's willing to "move on."

I don't support the death penalty and I don't think it reflects what we're supposed to stand for or believe in.

But for those who have never thought about, I hope they'll think about it now.

Tomorrow Stanley Tookie Williams will probably die right after midnight California time and he may be innocent. If I were governor, I would have at the very least have given him clemency.
Arnold didn't do that and now a man with a case that's not clear cut will lose his life.

If he is executed and it turns out that he was set up by a jail informant fed information and more by the police, the decision not to give clemency should haunt Arnold for the rest of his life.

I don't support the death penalty period. But I don't see how we execute someone when there are old doubts of guilty and newly emerging ones too.

Ex-Iraqi General Says Shiites Torturing Sunni in Prisons
Meanwhile a former Iraqi general told Agence France Press that he witnessed horrific scenes of torture while he worked in Iraqi-run prisons. He showed the news agency videotapes recorded inside the prison. Men were seen with whip marks and acid burns. One prisoner had lost an eye. Another prisoner had nails driven into his body. The general -- Muntazar al-Samarrai - said at least three people died as a result of torture at the prison, The general - who is a Sunni now living in Jordan - said the abuse is being carried out at nine secret prisons run by pro-Iranian Shiite militias who work for the Interior Ministry.

And there's no way we didn't know about it. We probably looked the other way and called them "insurgents" or "terrorists." I know Bully Boy can't find Osama but we are occupying Iraq and we are responsible for the abuses. That's part of being the occuyping power.

People here in this country want us to leave Iraq and people in Iraq want us to leave Iraq.

We're still over there and making it worse because they don't want us.

Like we said in the editorial Thursday, everybody should be able to find their voice at this point. If you don't have the guts to speak on this war, you are useless.

Tony asked me if we meant it that people for it should speak up. Yeah, we did. We weren't trying to silence anyone's right to opinion. We were saying that as we round the corner to year three of a war, it was shameful and embarrassing for grown adults not to have an opinion on the war. It is too. It's cowardly.

This isn't "Do you like Dr. Pepper or Pepsi best?" (I like Dr. Pepper best.) This is a life and death issue. If you think there's a point to this war, you should say so. If you don't, you should say so. To not be effected by the fact that your country is at war is to look like an airhead.

If that doesn't effect you, nothing will.

In a democracy everyone should use their voice.

On campus we make fun of the war hawks but we make even more fun of the people with their thumb up their ass, just waiting to figure out what the safe position is or probably just hoping they don't have to make a decision.

Check out Elaine like always at Like Maria Said Paz. She read me a thing she's putting in tonight and I told her it was awesome but she wants to work on it some more. So look for it.

Wally notes a good entry C.I. did on Plamegate but I think the one everyone should be sure they read is the thing C.I. did on how the New York Times bends over backwards to kiss Republican butt.

Make sure you read that.

Motto: The Common Ills community is important and the Common Ills community is important to me. So I'll do my part for the Common Ills community.