Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Coretta Scott King, Halliburton, Bully Boy & gatekeeping

Good evening and let's get things started with Democracy Now!

Coretta Scott King, 79, Dies
In Georgia, Coretta Scott King - the widow of Martin Luther King Junior - has died at the age of 79. She had spent her life fighting for civil rights and preserving her late husband's legacy. In April of 1968 she led a march through Memphis just days after Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated. Later that year she led the Poor People's March in Washington, D.C. She continued working for equality, peace and economic justice for the remainder of her life, both in the United States and abroad.

On campus someone said, "You know Henry Kissinger will probably live to be a 120, it's just not fair." It's not fair.

Back on September 28th, Betty was nice enough to let me interview her for this site and one of the topics she brought up was Coretta Scott King.

[Mike]: I'm going to wind down with this question: other than the war and the hurricanes, what news topic has touched the most this summer?

Good one. I'd say the death of John H. Johnson because he was a big figure in publishing and proof that, if we get the breaks and work hard, we can achieve. And then I'd say, and I won't go into this too much because I honestly will cry, Coretta Scott King's stroke. She's a beacon and . . . Trying not to cry. MLK died before I was born. I think she's done as much as humanly possible to carry on his work and to keep his name alive. And she is someone that I really admire and respect. She is someone who means so much to so many and the thought of her in faltering health is just incredibly sad. I hope she recovers and I'll stop because I am tearing up.


No, it was a good question and that's the sort of thing, her stroke, that is a clue to black people. Is it dealt with, is it noted? If not, the site's not really for us. They may throw out a TD Jakes and think, "He's black so black people will just love me for this!" but if they can't acknowledge Coretta Scott King's stroke, they aren't really interested in black readers. Those were the two biggest stories in my church, Johnson and King. And it's interesting how they weren't big online with few exceptions. With Coretta Scott King I can be more understanding because my reaction is not to want to talk to much about it or I'll lose it. So I can understand more on that. Maybe someone else didn't acknowledge it because it was painful for them as well. But if they ignored Johnson as well . . . They're not for me. They're off in their own little gated community and they didn't bother to give me the code to get inside.

This was very sad news today. People would start to talk about it on campus and just stop. One of my professors said that was because she did carry on MLK's legacy and kept it alive so it's like losing her and also losing a part of him. She was a really strong and brave woman and I think anyone with any sense at all feels the loss today.

Halliburton Stock Reaches New High
In other business news, the stock value of Halliburton reached a new all-time high on Monday following the report that Halliburton had its most successful year in its 86 year history.

I'm not sure that they have any sense at Halliburton other than the sense of greed. One thing we've been studying is how in WWII companies weren't supposed to profit from the war. Haliburton does and they do it openly. They know they can get away with it because they're buds are in the White House.

The Palace Revolt Against Bush
Newsweek has revealed that there have been deep divisions within President Bush's own Justice Department over the legality of the administration's tactics since 9/11. In a major piece titled The Palace Revolt, Newsweek reports a group of conservative attorneys stood up to the hard-liners led by Vice President Cheney over whether the president can assume near unlimited powers in the so-called war on terror. According to Newsweek, these attorneys fought to bring government spying and interrogation methods within the law. Some were so concerned over the legality of the administration's eavesdropping program that they lined up private attorneys in case the program even drew the scrutiny of Congress or prosecutors.

Does Bully Boy want to lie again that he didn't break a law? Of course he wants to. He can't help lying. And he knows he usually gets away with it. So he'll keep lying and we'll all be cheapened and disgraced by it if we don't stand up to the lies.

He got his victory for tonight, didn't he? Because Congress won't stand up to him. They gave him Alito. They includes Democrats and not just the four who should be termed out right now for voting for Alito. They also includes every Democrat that wouldn't stand with John Kerry and Ted Kennedy to support a filibuster. That's not forgotten.

On campus, Rebecca's "dear katrina" drew loud approval and C.I. really helped by posting it in full at The Common Ills. Elaine got a rude e-mail about that post and so we're both noting it tonight.

Here are my thoughts. I like Vanden Heuvel's writing. I didn't like one thing about her post. I thought Rebecca made strong points throughout. To me, the post by Vanden Heuvel was embarrassing. If it had come from the mainstream media, we would have thought, "What a moron." Vanden Heuvel is someone a lot of us read and we don't read her for suggestions about what to write about. I'm not sure if she was having a bad day or what, but that was embarrassing. Reading it, you felt embarrassed for Vanden Heuvel while you thought, "Is this the real Katrina Vanden Heuvel?" You hope not. You hope like hell.

That's the sort of thing that C.I. would call "clutch the pearls journalism" and it should be left to the likes of Cokie Roberts. We're not here to be ordered around. I've figured out how to run my site without any help from anyone at The Nation. Intended or not, the piece sounded arrogant, dismissive and uninformed.

Ma (Trina's Kitchen, remember to check out her site) is probably the biggest fan of Katrina Vanden Heuvel's writing and she said it was embarrassing to read. C.I.'s made the point that anyone can have a bad day and that may be all that was.

But as a community, everyone of us is against gatekeepers and people trying to tell Bloggers to watch their "tone."

Rebecca pointed out that Alito wasn't even mentioned in the "Stop writing about Kaine! Write about these four topics!" post. He wasn't. And that doesn't cut it.

I'm proud of Rebecca for writing what she wrote. And her best point, she's got good ones all the way through, may be that if you really feel it doesn't matter who gives the speech, why are you even writing about it?

That's just nonsense. It would be nonsense if Matthew Rothschild did it. It's nonsense when anyone does it. And when they do it, this commmunity will reject it as nonsense.

We have had long talks about this because C.I., Dona and Jim have been very vocal about this "tone" nonsense. There was no concern about "tone" from the mainstream until the left finally said "No more!" Then it became an issue. The right could call Bill Clinton a murderer and make up stories about how he kills everyone who works for him and Jennifer Flowers could go on TV and repeat that but no one in the mainstream cried "tone."

They cry "tone" now because they're thinking, "Oh no, we have to make room for the left too?"
They were happy to do the bidding of the right wing and tilt their coverage.

More important, if someone's speaking in their own voice, get the hell over it. They don't need a lecture from anyone. Not on topic, not on style, not on "tone." The Common Ills remains the community's flagship. And there's hardly ever an e-mail here that doesn't mention something people read at The Common Ills. And C.I. has helped and plugged everyone of the community websites. But we've all had to build up our own audiences. Rebecca and The Third Estate Sunday Review probably are tied for second behind The Common Ills but they'd be the first to tell you, it's a huge gap between their sites and The Common Ills.

C.I. doesn't tell any of us what to write. There are times when C.I. will ask if we're interested in covering something or C.I. will see something, like for me, on recruiting and forward it saying use it if I'm interested in it (because I cover recruiting here). If C.I. told us what to write, we probably would, because, hey, it's C.I. We all love C.I. We're all members of the community. C.I. built that up and we were and are a part of it. But that's C.I. who will and has given anything and then some when asked. And even when not asked. When some members couldn't afford to go to DC for the September protest, and C.I. will be mad that this is in here but Ma said it was past time that it was noted, C.I. arranged it and never wanted a thank you and made a point of saying, "I don't want to hear it" when some brought it up in DC.

If I want to write about something and I just have a vague idea of something I saw or read, I can call C.I. and it will either be, "It's __" or it will be, "Give me an hour to think and I'll call you back with the answer."

Now Katrina Vanden Heuvel, though a good writer, hasn't done any of that for me or anyone else in this community. So no one in this community needs to hear what she thinks we should write about. Or how. Or when.

C.I. offered that she may have thought she was making a point really clear and it might have gotten lost in the writing. I don't know. I just know that if that talks continues, I have no use for it. I have no use for gatekeepers.

Go read my blog twin Elaine! Like Maria Said Paz. You'll find plenty of stuff that's not all over the net. Elaine's got her own voice and she doesn't need anyone telling her what to write either.