Monday, October 30, 2006

Tina Turner, Ani DiFranco, & more

Nova M Radio. What's that? It's the newest radio counterprogramming against the right wing echo chamber. C.I. passed it on to me. A lot of you are fans of Mike Malloy. He is part of this network. In fact, he'll be on this evening. He is on from 9:00 p.m. until midnight and I believe that's Central Time (the network is based in Pheonix). So Nova M Radio. Make a point to check it out and see if it's for you.

Last week, I offered some thoughts on Tina Turner and gave a heads up to the fact that we'd be working on it this weekend. We did and you can read The Third Estate Sunday Review's Tina Turner: A retrospective and we were all very lucky to have some input from Kat on that feature. I think we had the most fun writing that of everything in the edition. I took my Tina Turner CDs to Mike's so we could listen (I wasn't sure how familiar he was with Tina) and Rebecca and I were talking about, "Remember when?" over and over. There was a lot of Tina playing during the writing of that. I really do love Tina's voice. I had no idea she was supposedly gearing up for a new CD until we were working on the feature. I hope this time, she has some really strong songs. She's made it clear that with each album, with each tour, she feels it may be the last. If that turns out to be the case with this album, I hope she goes out really strong.

Now Kat also has a new review -- "Kat's Korner: The death of Ani DiFranco?" -- and I did not know that Ani DiFranco was pregnant. My reaction was the same as Kat's. So was Sunny's. Today at work, that was the first thing she brought up. Is it fair to feel that way? That's what Sunny wondered.

I don't know if it's fair or not fair, I just know that there have been too many 'women in rock' who've gone soft. It's not even a question of sound. Some women in rock, Joni Mitchell for instance, never had this WAH-WAH sound going on. But it's about taking their strength, however it manifests itself, and throwing it down the drain. Say the woman writes these really intimate, confessional type songs, alright? She has a child and suddenly, the insight's put on hold and may never come back. Really, don't go into the studio telling us about how happy you are in these drippy lyrics, no one needs it.

I'm so glad Kat wrote that. I know she had doubts and said something to C.I. about she wasn't sure she could say it. Meaning that it might offend people. C.I. told her that's exactly why she should write it because it was a topic that she had strong feelings about and that she felt she had to censor herslef.

I agree with her examples. Carly Simon has always been Carly Simon. Motherhood expanded her topics. Her insight was still there, her interest in probing. But that is so not true of so many women. As a woman who didn't start listening to music five years ago, or ten, or fifteen . . . I've seen it happen too many times. I was also thrilled with what she said about Shawn Colvin because those drippy little commercials for a baby product got on my nerves.

We might expect that from actresses, but musicians who creat music (good or bad) shouldn't be on TV hawking a lifestyle. Colvin is someone that's been used as an example by men I know as 'proof' that women can't rock. Like Kat points out, Colving never rocked. Her work got weaker as she decided to market herself as Big Mommy.

I'm not her husband, I'm not her mother, I'm not her sister, I'm not her best friend. I have no interest in doodles of pregnancy and motherhood. If she wants to write about it, she better offer something worth listening to. Sarah Mac is someone I've loved for years and I was so eager for the studio follow up to Surfacing. Then came the news that she was pregnant. Then, many years later, came the CD with maybe three songs worth listening to. The whole thing was overdone and, as Kat points out, it may be called World On Fire, but it doesn't sound like it. I actually heard her perform two songs during an interview on NPR a few years back. They were from the album and it was just her and the piano. The songs were amazing.

On the album it feels like she's turned the reigns over to her 'man.' Which is another problem women musicians have.

I hope Ani will be different but I agree that there are very few women who have been. I'm also glad Kat made the valid point about who ends up with the responsibilities more often than not, women. So that can tire a person and that my be the only reason so many have churned out useless trash after becoming mothers.

Whatever the reason, it's disturbing and it's happened too many times. Another issue, and the point about inverting and subverting the stereotypes, is whether, once they become mothers, they feel they have to fit into a slot?

I have no idea. The Calgon-Take-Me-Away reference was a good one as well. It always surprises me that the take-me-away that gets produced is 'soft' (soggy) and 'soothing' (drippy). Apparently, they've never wanted to be taken away to some place wild.

Obviously, I love the review. I'm glad she wrote it. She has a strong eye and is a wonderful critic. I'm glad C.I. talked her into writing it. I can understand the reluctance but when I read it, I had the same "Yes!" moment I used to get in the early days of becoming a feminist. Those moments are so powerful and so instant but, as you get older, there can be less of them because you have awakened. Please read "Kat's Korner: The death of Ani DiFranco?" and please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's take on things.

"Man Faces First US Criminal Case Involving FGM" (Feminist Wire Daily):
A man is being charged with aggravated battery and cruelty to children after allegedly removing his daughter's clitoris when she was two years old in the first criminal case in the US involving female genital mutilation (FGM). Prosecutors claim that Khalid Adem, a 30-year-old Ethiopian immigrant, removed his daughter's clitoris with scissors in their apartment in 2001, the Associated Press reports. The girl, now seven years old, was videotaped during an interview at the age of three and identified her father as the person who cut her genitals. Mr. Adem, however, testified last week that he had never circumcised his daughter or asked anyone else to do it, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
The child's mother also blames the father. "He said he wanted to preserve her virginity. He said it was the will of God. I became angry in my mind. I thought he was crazy," testified the girl's mother, Fortunate Adem, according to the AP.

That is so frightening. There's so much going on right now (much more than elections) like the situation in Mexico. But I'll leave that to others to note because I read this today and I just felt so disgusted. In Possessing The Secret of Joy, Alice Walkers addresses this topic in fictional form (she's also written about it in non-ficition). It's frightening that it happens in Africa. It's disgusting that it could happen here where the excuse of 'cultural norm' doesn't apply.

This was abuse, this was mutiliation and it's disgusting. I think it is when it takes place in Africa as well. But genital mutilation has a long history there. In this country, we've done more of a cultural mutilation aimed at women. Until I saw this online, I hadn't even heard about it and that may be the saddest thing of all.

That's going to be it for tonight. I'm tired from this weekend.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, October 30, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; the US reaches a 'benchmark' but not one that will market well;
Different Drummer opens to business; and war resister Ehren Watada's father and step-mother continue raising awareness on their son.
Today, the
US military released a press statement announcing: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Sunday from injuries sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar province." That death brought the total number of US troops who have died in Iraq this month to 100. On that benchmark, John Ward Anderson and Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post) reported that this month has been "the deadliest month for U.S. forces since Jan. 2005 when 107 U.S. soldiers were killed." Already, the number has climbed today to 101 (for the month, 2814 since the start of the illegal war). Reuters notes: "A sniper killed a member of the U.S. military police in east Baghdad, the military said in a statement. It was the 101st death in Iraq this month, making October the deadliest month for U.S. troops since January last year."
Meanwhile, in the United States,
Different Drummer opened to business last Friday in Watertown, NY. Celebrating the first G.I. coffeehouse of the current war, included a free screening on Saturday of the films The Ground Truth and this Saturday will offer a free screening of Arlington West (2:00 pm). The coffeehouse, located at 12 Paddoack Arcade, 1 Public Square, provides music, coffee, counseling for soldiers and more. The mission statement reads: "TO PROMOTE the free and uncensored exchange of ideas and information among military personnel and civilians. This includes, but isn't limited to, issues of war and peace, foreign policy, the military mission of our soldiers both at home and abroad, and the proper balance between the rights of citizen soldiers and military authority in a democratic society. TO PROVIDE accurate information, referrals, and counseling regarding the rights and duties of America's service members under U.S. and international law. TO ENTERTAIN servicemembers, civilians, and their families with performances of music, dance, comedy rap, poetry, and authors' readings reflecting a wide variety of viewpoints." The coffeehouse is a project of Citizen Soldier.
In Iraq, chaos and violence continued today.
AFP reports "a deadly bomb attack" in Baghdad today and quotes Abu Zeinad ("eyewitness") stating, "The bomb was hidden in a plastic bag. It's the third time that an attack has hit this place this year". The BBC notes that the explosion took place "early in the morning in Mudhafa Square". Reuters counts 28 dead and 60 wounded.
In addition to that bombing,
Reuters also notes 5 other car bombs in Baghdad today which left 13 dead and 43 wounded. Outside of Baghdad, the BBC notes a bombing in Kirkuk that claimed the lives of two police officer. Reuters adds that it also took the life of "a three-year-old girl" while 19 were left injured while, near Kahalis, a roadside bomb killed two workers and left three wounded while, in Mosul, five were wounded by mortar rounds.
CBS and AP report that Essam al-Rawi, "a leading Iraqi academic and prominent Sunni political activist," was shot dead outside of his home. Christopher Bodeen (AP) notes that appoximately "154 university professors have been killed since the March 2003 U.S. invasion." Reuters notes an attack by "gunmen" on a police station in Baiji which killed two police officers.
Reuters notes six corpses ("signs of torture, blindfolded . . . bullet wounds") were discovered in Mahmudiya, five corpses (ditto) were discovered in Suwayra. In an update, Reuters noted that four corpses were also discovered in Mosul.
Al Jazeera reports that Iraq's foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari is stating that the United Nation Security Council resolution 1637 should be renewed and the occupation continued. Polling demonstrates that the Iraqi people do not support Zebair's conclusion. But the request comes one day after, as CNN reported yesterday, Nouri al-Maliki's convoy came under attack in Baghdad and one of his guards was wounded.
This also comes as the British consulate in Basra is being 'evacuated.'
Thomas Harding reported the evacuation in The Telegraph of London noting: "Despite a large British military presence at the headquarters in Basra Palace, a private security assessment has advised the counsul general and her staff to leave the building after experiencing regular mortar attacks in the last two months." [Polly noted that yesterday.] David Sanderson (Times of London) reports that: "Civilian employees will be moved to the airport, eight miles outside the city" and that the evacuation will not include "the Counsul-General and other staff from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development". This follows the August 24th 'evacuation' of the British military base in Amara (also due to mortar attacks).
In peace news, Bob Watada continues his third speaking tour to raise awareness on his son,
Ehren Watada, who is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. As Austin's KXAN notes, today Bob Watada is speaking "at Garza Independece High School.". Kim Miller (Austin's CBS 42) reports that Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi (Ehren's step-mother) also spoke in Austin Sunday with Sakanshi noting: "We know that he is taking the hardest way to do it. But he is eager to do it. Willing to do it because he thinks he's doing the right thing." Rudy Koski (Austin's KVUE) reports that at Sunday's gathering (Cafe Caffeine on Mary Street), Bob Watada stated of his son, "He is a patriot, by any definition he is a patriot because he is standing up for what is right in this country."
After Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi finishing speaking to students today, they next to head Oklahoma. Here are some of the upcoming dates of the speaking tour:

Oct 31, 7-9PM
Norman, OK
Location: Cleveland County Fairgrounds - Lobby
615 E. Robinson
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Jeri Reed, 405-307-0352, cell 405-606-9598,

Nov 1, TBA
Miami, Florida
Democracy for America Miami Dade and the South Florida Veterans For Peace Chapter 32
Venue and time TBA

Nov 2, TBA
Cincinnati, OH
Meet Dr. Victoria (Vic) Wulsin, candidate for congress 2nd district Ohio currently leading Jean Schmidt who called Rep John Murtha from PA. a coward.
Sponsor: Vietnam Veterans Against the WarVenue: TBA

Nov 3, TBA
St. Paul MN.
Location: Quaker Peace Center -- 1725 Grand Avenue
Sponsors: Veterans for Peace Chapter 27
Contact: Barry Reisch, (H) 651-641-1087 © 612-269-8934

Nov 4, 11AM
Milwaukee, WI.
Location: Great Lakes Arlington Event
Contact: Mark Foreman, 441-760-9991,
Sponsor: VFP Chapter 102* See the unveiling of a new "Arlington"

Nov. 5, 2PM
Boston, MA
Encuentro 533 Harrison Ave. 5th floor
Asian American Movement EzineAsian American Resource Workshop Boston Hawaiian Club Chinese Progressive Association Massachusetts Global Action New England Japanese American Citizens League

Nov 5, 7PM
Cambridge, MA.
Location: Unitarian Church, Harvard Square
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Brigade and Chapter 45, Samantha Smith Chapter
Contact: Lee VanderLaan, 978-257-2350

Nov 6, 2-4:30PM
Boston, MA
Location: University of Massachusetts/BostonSponsor: The Institute for Asian American Studies William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequence
Time: 2-4:30 pm

Nov 6, 7PM
Worcester, MA.
Location: Clark University
University Building, Lurie Room
Sponsors: Veterans For Peace Chapter 10
Contact: Bob Flanagan, 508-755-1479,

full schedule can be found at Veterans for Peace and those interested in hosting a Bob Watada speaking engagement in their area are urged to contact Doug Zachary.Brad Buccholz (Austin American-Statesman) interviewed Bob Watada for a piece that ran Sunday and wondered whether imprisonment was "a certainity" for Ehren? Bob Watada replied: "Well, right now, this is what the military wants to do. They have him for eight and a half years, for simply saying 'I do not want to go to Iraq to commit further war crimes. I don't want to go to Iraq to lead my men into commiting war crimes and putting their lives at risk, for nothing . . .' They (The Army) are basically trying to shut him up. They don't want their soldiers to tell the truth of what is going on in Iraq, though many, many are now. But (Ehren) is the first officer to publicly come out and say, 'This who war is based on a deception.' There were no weapons of mass destruction. There were no chemical and biological weapons. . . . There were no (9-11) terrorists in Iraq, and yet we're killing thousands of people over there, and getting ourselves killed (in violation of) the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Charter."
More information on
Ehren Watada and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.