Thursday, March 16, 2006

Iraq air wars and crap on TV

Good evening. I'm soloing tonight because Elaine takes off Thursday. Let's get started with Democracy Now!

US Strikes Blamed for Death of Iraqi Family Members
Meanwhile, a US military attack in the Iraqi town of Balad is being blamed for the deaths of at least a dozen members of the same family. The dead include five children and six women. The Associated Press is reporting the family’s house was flattened by an airstrike from a US helicopter. The victims were wrapped in blankets and driven to the Tikrit General Hospital. Ahmed Khalaf, the brother of one of the victims, said: "The dead family was not part of the resistance, they were women and children. The Americans have promised us a better life, but we get only death."

Get ready for a lot more innocent Iraqis dying. I was on the phone with Wally a few minutes ago. He'd read his new thing to C.I. over the phone and C.I. had told him it was great. "But C.I. always says that," Wally complained. So he read it to me. The US has launched what the administration and the military are calling Operation Swarmer. They're going to be bombing 'suspected areas' and good thing that bombs only fall on bad guys, right? Wrong.

It's disgusting. Filing for the "Bully Boy Press," Wally can make you laugh about the nonsense so check out his post.

Updated NSR Reaffirms Preemptive War, Singles Out Iran
The Bush administration plans to release its quadrennial National Security Strategy later today. The document reiterates the White House’s commitment to launching pre-emptive strikes against countries it decides are a threat to national security and interests. The Security Strategy places new emphasis on Iran, stating: "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than Iran. The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism; threatens Israel; seeks to thwart Middle East peace; disrupts democracy in Iraq."

C.I. noted that this morning. On the radio, I heard that the US is concerned about China's "buildup" so I guess that means China can hop on the list too. But everyone's on the list now. You don't need to do anything for us to go to war with you, for us to attack you, you just need to make us nervous. It's like arresting and convicting someone not because they committed a crime but because you thought some day they might.

And when that gets tossed back in our face, don't be surprised. Maybe it will be someone attacking one of our allies or a country we don't care about one way or another. And we'll say, "Why did you do that?" The answer will be "pre-emptive war." Or maybe we won't big the bulliest on the block and someone will attack us. We'll whine "international crime!" and the response will be, "Hey, you pushed pre-emptive war."

When I was on the phone with Wally, Wally asked me if I'd had problems with my site? Nope. The only ones who do are The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review. In fact, with the recent "white listing" and other stuff, a number of people wonder if The Common Ills isn't targeted? My guess? If you blog and you're left, you're a target. Just like if you speak out like that story Democracy Now! had on the spying on the Thomas Merton Center yesterday (Newly Released Files Reveal FBI Spied on PA Peace Group Because of Antiwar Views).

Shayla e-mailed to ask for two things. First she wanted me to highlight Ava and C.I.'s latest TV review. It's called "TV Review: Dick Wolf's Conviction:"

Conviction. Is that what we watched on NBC? It's the latest nonsense from Dick Wolf and it's gone through a number of titles before premiering Friday night. We liked the Young Prosecutors best of all the aliases, er, titles. Young Prosecutors gave it a sort of The Bold Ones/The New Doctors/The Lawyers/The Protectors type feel and told you immediately that this tired show would be dead on arrival.
Which it was. Who killed it? A title card says the episode was written by Rick Eid but we'd argue many a Dick Wolf series plays as if it had been still born in the mind of the creator who refuses to give either himself or the public a day of rest. This one is so bad, it may make you long Law & Order: Trial by Jury. (Then again, that nostalgia may result from the fact that this show uses the same sets as that cancelled show.)
[. . .]
And this is all before the opening credits, in different locales, with characters we've never met and aren't introduced to. If Dick Wolf thought he had an ER opening on his hands, he was mistaken. Corpses don't end up in the emergency room, they go to the morgue.
[. . .]
So we'll sum up by noting the life lessons that World o' Wolf is so fond of. Small breasted women are obsessed with their breasts (and other women's as well) and will talk about breasts with anyone, male or female. Women who sport their breasts just want sex, no romance. In World o' Wolf, this may be the "occupational hazard" to sporting breasts. Real men beat up other men and make sure to tell them that they are bitches -- as both the future sports star and Peluso did in the first episode. Those out of the closet "gay boys"? Little hustlers. It's a variation on the "You can be gay, just don't tell me about it" theme that World o' Wolf explored in the nineties.
Sex workers get what they deserve. If you try to treat them like people, they, like the out of the closet "gay boys," will only end up hustling you.
Watching Conviction is like serving time. If Friday's episode was any indication, America can take comfort in the fact that it already feels like it's going to be a very short sentence.

Shayla thought it was the funniest thing she'd read all week and it hilarious. Her second question was about a comment that Ava and C.I. had made about these kind of shows last summer in "TV Review: CSI Miami:"

Last week's review led to two e-mailers questioning what we saw as the glorification of the "law" and the "of course he's guilty" attitude of Law & Order: Trial By Jury. For those two, and any others missing the obvious, we offer the following dialogue exchanged during the show.
Procter: Do you think the parents have any idea that they are paying for their kids to have sex with teachers and buy their grades?
Adam Rodriguez: I don't know but it makes me realize what an angel I was.
Makes the audience realize that too. Makes them feel really smug and satisfied the way their parents did watching those wacky hippies on the cop shows of the sixties and early seventies. We'd argue that anyone from that period who watches this nonsense today was never interested in opening the floodgates to all, just opening them to themselves. Fair or not, that's why the baby boomers have one of the worst generational images. We're glad that we can say the boomers we choose to hang around don't share that selfish, 'Me-Decade' quality, but this crap obviously sells to those who do -- as well as to the reactionaries of all ages who need to be reassured of how wicked the world is.
There's no need for characterization in these type of shows or for strong acting, they're morality plays, little parables about the wickedness that is all around you and how only the strong arm of the law can save you. So you smirk as Caruso strongs arms a meth user or as Proctor has an entire school turn over their cell phones. (Proctor rolls her eyes when a campus security guard says he's there to make sure she doesn't trample the student's civil rights.)
These type of shows are what the boomers once rebelled against. Forgive us if badly acted, badly written, reactionary sermonettes don't strike us as entertaining. It's not that there's not a place for shows like these, it's just that the place is PAX and not CBS.

Yeah, I think that's pretty accurate. Most people on campus don't watch the Law & Orders or the CSIs. They're seen as "old people" shows. But there are a few people who are into them. They're usually the hard core Republicans. White kids who get nervous if an African-American student or professor walks by. You can see them go rigid. They need these crappy shows to feel safe because they think the world's out of control and the country's populated with worthless degenerates. Everyone's a liar and a crook, that's the message of those shows.

Shayla wondered what they're going to review this week? I honestly don't know. I know they're wanting to review a sitcom because that's their favorite kind of show but a lot of times they're still deciding on Friday night what they're going to review.

Now be sure to check out C.I.'s "NYT: It's only news when Republicans issue statements" because it captures all that is wrong with the New York Times perfectly. C.I.'s covering David Kirkpatrick's "Call for Censure Is Rallying Cry To Bush's Base" and besides disproving Kirkpatrick, C.I. will make you burst out laughing:

He's mainlining 90s Times' news print. He's getting high off the "reporting" of Jeff Gerth and so many others who presented Republican spin as fact.
[. . .]
Today, Davy Kirkpatrick puts on some flannel, drops a little X, hums a little Hootie, and heads off in search of a mosh pit, where he can bump up against other bare chested males in what is obviously homoerotic behavior but it's not gay, you understand, because it's all so darn butch.

Check out Elaine's "Peace doesn't come about through silence" from yesterday too. Now the last thing in Shayla's e-mail was an event. Martha and Shirley have a list of events from all over the place in tomorrow's round-robin. If you got an event that's not covered by that, I'll note it tomorrow. But if your event's covered there, to be fair, let someone else be noted. This one's going on in St. Louis:

Join us at the World's Fair Pavilion in Forest Park on the 3rd Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq * Sunday, March 19th * 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm *
In addition to the continuing loss of lives in the war, our nation's vast resources are being needlessly wasted. We will hold an Assembly to Reclaim Our Resources: Food - Jobs - Housing - Education - Energy - Health Care
Panel of featured speakers to include Dr. Rashad Zidan, an Iraqi pharmacist who lives and works in Baghdad. Dr. Rashad has been active in Baghdad and Fallujah through the Women and Knowledge Society, an organization she founded to aid victims of war, especially orphans, and to address the issues of women's education and employment in Iraq.
The assembly will feature art, poetry, music and other displays highlighting the human costs of the war on the people here at home. We will also remember the fallen with a solemn tombstone memorial to the U.S. and Iraqi dead by
Veterans for Peace.
Please bring canned goods for local food pantries, as we will be taking a collection and using what canned goods you bring in a special display.
Join one of our feeder marches leading to the event.
Feeder marches are planned for artists, labor, women, children, students, farmers and religious congregations. Others may be planned. Watch this space for additional details as the date approaches.
Revised Flyers for the Event (revised Monday, March 6, 5:45 pm):Download the flyer
in color or in black & white (For easy download, right-click on the link and select "Save As"). Please Distribute Widely!
We have a special flyer addressed to artists, musicians and performers: Please download the
Call for Artists to Creatively Protest
More specific details about the event and the marches can be found here:
Update 3-15: This is a national effort and this event is “IT” for our area. Please show your support as an artist against the war, by joining the artist “feeder march” starting at the NE side of the Grand Basin in Forest Park (feeder march=where multiple groups arrive at the destination from various locations). Call Laurie @ 314-882-7336 or go to if you have any questions.
NOTE: There will be a table labeled “THE ART TABLE” with the rest of the information tables, please leave your flyers, cards, announcements, etc with a paper weight (–to make sure they do not blow away).
Also note that STLIMC
gladly welcomes your coverage of this event!