Friday, April 14, 2006

"Never underestimate the power of your own voice"

Mike and I have picked three items to note from Democracy Now! instead of our usual two. We'll probably only be commenting on two but the third item is an announcement. I was asked why sometimes the items are in the same order on both our sites and sometimes they aren't? That's our 'editorial' call. If, after deciding on the items, we don't agree on which should be the lead item, we have a different order. There are no hard feelings when that happens. In addition, if we're each commenting on only one headline (with the other picking up the other) we'll lead with whichever headline we're individually covering. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's commentary.

"RAF Doctor Jailed For Refusing Iraq Service" (Democracy Now!):
In Britain, a doctor in the Royal Air Force has been sentenced to eight months in jail for refusing to go to Iraq. Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith maintained he is refusing his assignment in order to not take part in an illegal war. "Now more so than ever he feels that his actions were totally justified and he would not if placed in the same circumstances seek to do anything differently," Justin Hugheston-Roberts, the lawyer representing Kendall-Smith, said after the sentencing.

"And the war drags on . . . (Indymedia Roundup)" went up late (which is usual due to the number of e-mails C.I. has to read to pull that entry together) and I missed it last night, but Sunny hit me with the news of Dr. Kendall-Smith as soon as I walked into the office. When we listened to Democracy Now! during lunch and heard it, it still floored me. The presiding officer/judge of the court martial refused to allow the issue of the war to be raised.

How can you explain why you refused to serve without addressing your beliefs regarding the war itself? You can't. The moment that was disallowed, he was convicted. We didn't need to wait for the verdict. I knew that.

But hearing of the verdict from Sunny and then during the broadcast, I was still floored. On some level, I must have been hoping that it could turn out differently (no matter how practical I thought I was being). Friday's are usually a bright day for me due to the fact that the week is over (I'm just as glad to have a week behind me and a weekend facing me as anyone else). But this was a topic that Sunny and I returned to between patients throughout the day. At one point, I asked how things were going with the delivery man she's seeing and we spoke of that but it didn't manage to lift either of our moods. (Things are going well between them.)

I might have started the weekend off on a foul note were it not for the fact that Sunny printed up C.I.'s Democracy Now! entry which included news from members outside the United States noting how the verdict has actually started discussions that were not going on (for some people) prior and that it had upped the level of discussion among people who were already discussing it.

While that does nothing to help the doctor, it does help the dialogue and, hopefully, the next resister. His attempted legal stance was a brave one and, in the end, the fact that he was not allowed to argue it didn't silence it. It's being discussed and debated without being sanctioned by the court martial.

"California TV Station To Stop Using VNRs" (Democracy Now!):
In an update on a story we have been tracking, a major California television station has announced it will no longer use material from video news releases in any news reports. Last week the Center for Media and Democracy revealed at least 77 TV stations around the country have been caught airing corporate-sponsored propaganda disguised as news releases in the past 10 months. One of these stations was KCBS, Channel 2 in Los Angeles. On January 27 the station aired an edited video news release promoting the child-safe Internet search engine for the company NetTrekker. The station used part of the script and video provided by the company without revealing its source. On Wednesday the management at KCBS announced it was barring the use of video news releases.

The glass is at the half-way mark. The "half empty" argument is that only one channel has bothered to publicly state that they will no longer air them. The "half-full" argument is that one station has stepped up to the plate (and possibly more will do so later on). I'll leave to you to figure out where you stand on it.

"Immigrant Rights Coalition Calls for One Day Boycott, Walk-Out" (Democracy Now!):
A coalition of groups advocating for immigrant rights are calling for a massive one-day job and economic boycott to take place May 1st. Some are calling the event "A Day Without Immigrants." Organizers are calling on immigrants to refuse to work or spend any money on May Day to protest moves in Congress to criminalize undocumented workers. In recent weeks millions of immigrants and their supporters have taken to the streets in an unprecedented wave of protests.

This is the item we wanted to note. Consider it an announcement and something you should particpate in if you have the chance. Thanks to C.I. for giving me the heads up last weekend so I could clear my calendar. I will be participating and encourage everyone else who is able to do so as well. If you don't feel that immigrant rights apply to you, then do it show solidarity.

I'm just going to answer a few questions that have popped up in the e-mails. One guy who wants to make it clear that he's not part of the community and that he supports the Bully Boy wrote to say that Rebecca "and others" are covering Pacifica but that C.I. doesn't. Democracy Now! is covered every Monday through Friday at The Common Ills at least once. In addition, C.I. works it into more than one entry a day. Ruth writes a weekly report on Pacifica at The Common Ills. If members note programming highlights that will air that day, they are noted at the site as well.

C.I. added Democracy Now! to get away from the worship of the mainstream that is so common. The problem, however, is that one station is listened to by C.I. (over the airwaves). To note individual programming on that station would be seen by some as an endorsement and they'd wonder why their favorite station wasn't noted? When Pacifica offers special live coverage of Congress or whatever, C.I. will also note that. There is no question that The Common Ills gets the word out on Pacifica. (And in the "And the war drags on . . ." entries, you'll frequently see a Pacifica newscast noted.) C.I.'s trying to get the word out on Pacifica and occupies a different position in the community then the rest of us do. To put it in Pacifica terms, C.I. is the community's Amy Goodman. To say, "Listen to ___" would be seen as an endorsement of one over the other. C.I.'s made it clear that your first choice in Pacifica should always be a station that broadcasts in your area (if you're lucky enough to live in an area that has a broadcast station -- either one of the five stations or an affeliate). Even leaving out Ruth's wonderful reports, if you went through and counted links and mentions, you would find more at The Common Ills than you would at any other site. I'm a "floater." This week, I noted special programming ( WBAI's special broadcast of Beckett's Waiting for Godot which aired Monday night -- if you missed it, you can use the archives to hear it). Rebecca's respected in the community as a take-no-prisoners, call it the way she sees it voice. She's a great voice. (She's also one of my best friends.) But she occupies a different place within the community and she uses her position very effectively. Rebecca deserves praise for what she does.

But it's a mistake to state that C.I.'s not covering or to look at the move to increase coverage at other sites as reflecting poorly on The Common Ills because C.I. 's the one who raised this issue with us. Both to try to help Ruth out so she's not stuck covering everything and also because if we support indymedia, we need to get behind it and show support. The community is welcoming to the hearing impaired and visually imparied members. When two couples, each have a legally blind partner, asked about audio (so that they weren't just reading the commentary C.I. makes and the excerpts at the site), C.I. began adding additional audio links besides Democracy Now! An audio program is something that the couples can listen to together. NPR is even on the audio links and that's due to the fact that, regardless of what C.I. thinks of it, it does provide an option for members where one partner is visually impaired. C.I. does not link to audio links that require someone pay a fee to listen. That's to factor in the members on fixed incomes.

The visitor and I will never agree on the Bully Boy. (I am impressed that despite the fact that he disagrees with close to everything that goes up at any of the community sites, he continues to read them.) But I hope that we can agree that there's a misunderstanding of what The Common Ills does and how C.I. makes decisions. Also remember that Kat covers KPFA's Guns and Butter and that Cedric and Mike WBAI's Law and Disorder?

Lucy, a community member, asks if I could pick one show to note? I don't want to do that. For various reasons. One reason is that listening live during the day is something that pops up when I have a cancellation. Otherwise, I only hear Democracy Now! (which Sunny and I listen to during the lunch hour). I'd prefer not to pin myself down to one program. I also think that by floating, I can grab more than one show over time. Lucy suggested a show and I will try to catch it next week and note it. If I was covering only one show, I'd have to say, "I'm sorry, but I cover ___."

I'll note a moment of panic today during Democracy Now! that Sunny and I both had. Amy Goodman was coughing and had to take a break. Before she came back, Sunny and I were both pointing out that the show broadcasts not far from ground zero in NYC and remembering this item from Thursday:

"Report: 15,000 Suffer From Medical Problems in NYC Post 9/11" (Democracy Now!):
In other news, the BBC is reporting the number of victims suffering medical problems in connection to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center has risen to at least 15,000 people. The US government has been hit with a class-action lawsuit that alleges it offered false assurances to Manhattan residents and workers that the air was safe in the aftermath of the attacks. In a landmark ruling, a New Jersey coroner said this week that a police officer's death was "directly linked" to his work at Ground Zero after 9/11. The officer, James Zadroga, died in January.

When she came back, she explained that she had a spring cold. (I think that probably comes from the fact that she's all over the country, getting the word out, covering news and doing outreach work for community media.) We both sighed in relief when she said that. Amy Goodman, who celebrated a birthday Thursday, does so much for indymedia and, if you found yourself worried in that moment, do your part to get the word out or do your part to get the word out because she had a birthday. But get the word out. Twenty years from now, due to further media consolidation (I think it will happen short of a major citizen revolution), the media landscape will have changed. I also think it's true that, twenty years from now, we'll see hundreds of Amy Goodmans because she's made a difference and she's demonstrated the role that journalists can and should play. She's altered the landscape and become a role model.

The visitor who disagrees with everything he finds at community sites continues to read. He's also started watching Democracy Now! on his local cable access channel -- a direct result, he states, of the emphasis this community has placed upon the program. If you think getting the word out doesn't matter, you're underestimating the power of your own voice. Let's make that the peace quote. (By the way, the visitor noted I mistyped the peace quote Wednesday in the heading. He's correct.)

"Peace Quote"
Never underestimate the power of your own voice.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Sentiment without action is the ruin of the school"

Mike called early (for the time zone he's in, but what would be our regular time normally) to make sure I wasn't waiting to figure out items. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's commentary. Let me add that Rebecca will be blogging earlier tomorrow night or that's her plan. The reason? I'm off on Thursdays and people will either still be out West or making their way back tomorrow night. So go to her site and you'll have something up. "And the war drags on (indymedia roundup)" will go up at The Common Ills but that's a four to five hour thing to assemble each week and, in my time zone, it's usually up after I've gone to sleep. Rebecca will be discussing Flashpoints so you won't want to miss that. (That's a regular Thursday planned topic for her site Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude.)

Even before I spoke to Mike, I had already decided to stay silent on the topic of Katie Couric. I've read some of the criticism and they're really going to town on her. Ava and C.I. will tackle it on Sunday. When the "it's a girl!" b.s. started up, I figured it was only a matter of time before they tackled the topic. I don't know if this will be in place of their usual commentary or in addition to but I do know it will be worth reading.

"Report: Bush Admin. Suppressed Evidence Refuting Iraq WMD Claim" (Democracy Now!):
The Washington Post is reporting the Bush administration claimed to have found mobile weapons labs in Iraq after the invasion despite the explicit conclusions of a Pentagon-sponsored mission the claim was untrue. On May 29, 2003, President Bush cited the discovery of the trailers in an attempt to justify his decision to go war two months earlier. Bush said: "We have found the weapons of mass destruction." But just two days before, a Pentagon team sent to Iraq had concluded that the trailers were in fact "the biggest sand toilets in the world." One team member said: "Within the first four hours, it was clear to everyone that these were not biological labs." The Bush administration failed to make the findings public and continued with its faulty claim for more than one year.

You lied. You lied. You li-i-i-i-ed. I'm swiping from Aretha Franklin's "Baby I Love You."

But the press won't say that. If we've learned one thing from the last six years it's that the corporate press refuses to use "lied" when it comes to the Bully Boy. They also have a "no lie" clause with regards to Colin The Blot Powell. Bill Clinton? Al Gore? "Liar" can be used "liberally" but with regards to Republicans, they are much more "conservative."

That comes not from "journalistic standards" but as a result of the right-wing echo chamber and the right-wing working the refs for decades. That's why I firmly agree that the "tone" argument is nonsense. It's upset the corporate press, the way people call them out. They've gotten used to it from the right and, as they've demonstrated in 2000 and 2004, they'll walk lightly around Republicans. They'll save their "fun" to Democrats. For instance, if the below happened to a Democratic vice-president, I'm sure it would be front page news.

"Cheney Booed At Washington Baseball Game" (Democracy Now!):
And in Washington, Vice President Dick Cheney was greeted with loud boos Tuesday when he threw out the ceremonial pitch at the opener for Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals. This wasn't the first time Cheney has gotten a hostile reception at a baseball game -- in June 2004, Cheney was booed at a Yankees game here in New York.

But aren't Cheney and Bully Boy beloved by the nation? No, they aren't. As Mike noted last night "World's waking up" and that includes this country. But waking up is just like admitting you have a problem. It's a start and nothing more if you don't follow it up.

We really need to be following up. That's demonstrating, that's making our Congress reps hear us, that's making the war an issue.

There is a great deal to make an issue of in the illegal war. There is the issue of an administration that treats veterans as though they're invisible while they serve and disposable when they return.

"Letters from Fort Lewis" (Kevin Benderman, Kevin Benderman Defense Committee):
Americans are going to have to break out of their apathy and start helping ensure that our government does the right thing by these veterans and active duty people who have done and continue to do what so many of the privileged among us refuse to do. If you are a person in America who has benefited from the sacrifice of a person who has served in this country's military with honor, then it is your responsibility to give back to the veterans and their families, because if it weren't for those veterans, you probably would not have been able to achieve the success in your businesses that you now enjoy, watch the movies that now entertain you, or run on the fields of the games you participate in.

So if you're someone late in waking up, someone who went along with Bully Boy because you thought you were helping the enlisted, you can make up for the error in judgement by focusing on the issue of the enlisted. You can remember that the best way to stand with the troops is to bring them back home and work towards that goal.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.
Edward Abbey

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Demonstrations and movies

C.I. doesn't have the Democracy Now! entry up yet and my guess is that either there was too much activism or members are really weighing in about one guest on Democracy Now! Sunny hated him. We were listening at lunch and she had the most intense reaction. She did not like what he had to say. She felt he "sucked up air time" with his "pompous blowhardness" and she asked that I quote her on that.

Mike finally called. I've been staring at the screen and staring at it while I wondered if I should just grab two headlines and post something. He missed everything but the headlines at the beginning and Reverand Lawton Higgs at the end. He said Ava, Jess and C.I. grabbed the laptops at lunch with the goal of going through the members e-mails for highlights, noting developments in Iraq and thinking it would take a half hour at most. But the guest that irked Sunny also bothered a lot of members, especially ones from Dallas. His name is Gilbert Bailon and he is the editor and publisher of Al Dia which, I didn't realize this, is part of the Belo corporation. They own so many TV stations nationwide that they reach something like 14% of the population. That may not seem a lot to some but considering that we're not talking about ABC, CBS, etc., it is a great deal.

I think it was the slamming of the students that probably ticked off members. It really bothered Sunny -- who was sputtering she was so upset. The point where he probably lost a number of people was when he felt the need to offer 'tips' on protests. It's not his protest to offer tips on. The students who walked out last week around the country did a wonderful thing and that was their activism. They took charge and they did a wonderful job. They don't need some middle aged person (including me) telling them which flags they should carry and which they shouldn't.
Student walkouts.

How long has it been since we've seen that? They didn't do that by going to a publisher and asking, "What should we do?" They did it on their own and they did a wonderful job. Bailon's opinion is useless and unneeded. Just the fact that the "establishment" (which he is) is still talking about it demonstrates that the students were heard and seen.

Someone who is obsessing, a week after the fact, over a Mexican flag is probably someone who would never join a protest today. I praise the students for what they did last week (and what they are doing this week, they are still staging in walk outs). Carry whatever flag you're comfortable carrying. C.I. said something to the effect of (last week), "Where do these complainers think many of the targeted are from?"

The Mexican flag caused Bailon to panic. He was preaching assimilation throughout. Which also bothered Sunny because he seems to think the key is to life is being just a little different, not too much. It's a bleached out notion of diversity.

There was a story on the broadcast, one that actually mattered. I heard it on a Pacifica newscast last night. I'm not the publisher of a newspaper so if I've heard about it, one would guess that Bailon should have heard of it. But he wants to gripe about a Mexican flag instead of addressing a very real issue.

Here's a link (and their summary) to that story.

"Eighth Grader Commits Suicide After Being Threatened by School Official With Jail Time for Organizing Walkouts" (Democracy Now!):
An eighth grader in California killed himself two weeks ago after being threatened by a school official for participating in the student immigrant rights walkouts. Anthony Soltero, 14, died after he shot himself in the head on March 30th. We speak with the attorney representing Soltero's mother.

Do you understand why Sunny was so offended? A child is dead. But Bailon wants to whine about flags? Maybe it's generational? Maybe we're on the verge of another generation gap?

"Up to 2 Million March in National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice" (Democracy Now!):
As many as two million people took to the streets in more than 100 cities and towns across the country on Monday to march for immigrants' rights. Undocumented workers, legal immigrants, labor unions, immigrant rights advocates and their supporters demonstrated in what was billed as the National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice. In New York, more than one thousand demonstrators crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and packed the streets in lower Manhattan for a rally near City Hall. In Atlanta, as many as 80,000 people flooded the streets. In Phoenix, an estimated 100,000 rallied at the Arizona Capitol. 25,000 marched in Madison, Wisconsin. 10,000 in Boston. 8,000 in Omaha, Nebraska. The rallies Monday followed a day of demonstrations in San Diego, Miami, Birmingham, Alabama, Utah, Idaho and Iowa. A rally in Dallas drew half a million people, the largest protest in the city's history. In Washington DC, hundreds of thousands streamed past the White House to a rally on the National Mall. The demonstration took place just yards from the Capitol, where Senators last week failed to reach agreement on wide-ranging immigration reform that would allow the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country a chance to work here legally and eventually become U.S. citizens. We'll spend the hour looking at the growing immigrant rights movement after headlines.

Why have the results been so astounding? I'd argue because you don't have party machinary calling the shots. This is people, of all races, saying, "No, the government is not going to attack a people." So those who will be under attack and those who care or can identify, band together to be heard. As C.I. pointed out in the column in Friday's round-robin, this isn't a top-down activity. This is people pulling together, doing what they know needs to be done. Possibly, that's what's upset the likes of Bailon so much that they become fixated on a flag. Instead of one voice (or rallying behind one voice like at a party convention), this is a multitude of voices and it's quite amazing. Possibly only after so many years of oppression under Bully Boy could people again find their voices and use them for something other than a candidate.

"French Government Backs Down on Unpopular Job Law" (Democracy Now!):
In other news, France has scrapped a widely unpopular job law that would have made it easier for employers to fire young workers. French President Jacques Chirac announced the decision following two months of protests attended by millions of people. Student groups and unions hailed the decision as a major victory over a measure they claimed would have only worsened job security in France. Chirac said the measure would be replaced by a new initiative to help disadvantaged young people find work.

I wonder how much this impacted actions in this country? I think it has. I think, C.I. would say "buttefly wings," that whenever a group in one area stands up for itself, it does impact other areas. It's like when you see a movie where someone, say Goldie Hawn, goes up against the system and wins. You may leave that movie thinking, "I could do that. I can take control of my life."

I like Goldie Hawn movies. Since Rebecca wrote about the type of films I watch, I've gotten so many e-mails asking me why I don't care for this type or that type. I like many types of movies and that includes comedies. The Apartment is one of my all time favorite films. However, I'm not too keen on most of the movies that come out today. They just seem to be geared towards a younger demographic. Add in that the "I've got to get my life together and move out of my mother's/grandmother's basement" genre never excited me.

But I like Goldie Hawn movies. Even The Banger Sisters. I think Shampoo is my favorite film that she's done and, after that, probably . . . I don't know which one I would put right below it.
Let me depress everyone with a story. My brother is basically retired now and that came from making enough to live on and from the fact that doing that gave him a heart attack before he was thirty-five. He really is the only family (blood relation) that I have. (Our parents died in a car accident.) That was the most depressing time in my adult life, when he had the heart attack. I pushed my patients off on a friend and spent every minute I could at the hospital. I would come home, put on Private Benjamin and fall to sleep. My friends and that movie are the only things that kept me going during that period.

I haven't watched the film in years but I can still quote it. "I mean the army can't afford drapes? I'll be up at the crack of dawn." During that period, the smartest thing anyone could do, and my friends knew this, was ask, "What do you need me to do?" I needed a great deal of small things taken care of. Rebecca and C.I. were so supportive, keeping the fridge stocked, watering my plants, the little things that there really wasn't time for. That was a trying and scary time and I didn't need to process (who had the time?), I needed to stay focused on my brother so the friends who picked up the slack for me by doing the daily errands really helped out.

On C.I., it was pointed out to me that when I complained about Noam Chomsky's book, how I was told I could reserve it, that it wasn't out yet. No one told me that at the bookstores. If they had, I would have been far more understanding. C.I. already had the book and was talking about it. I assumed, since Chomsky was also on Democracy Now!, that the book was already out. I took it to California with me but only had time to read on the flight out. On the flight back, I was tired and ended up sleeping. But the title is Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy. I'm only on page fifty-eight but after I post this, I intend to read for a bit and then go to sleep.

Last night, I wasn't reading. I was listening to Waiting for Godot on WBAI and if you enjoy Beckett, I hope you were as well. (If you missed it, go to WBAI and click on their archives.)

Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts later tonight. They were about to eat dinner when he got off the phone so I have no idea when he'll post.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Waiting for Godot broadcasts on WBAI public radio tonight

A Special Presentation [on WBAI]
Monday, April 10, from 9:00-11:00 pm:
Commemorate Beckett's centenary and the 50th anniversary of the American premiere of his masterpiece, Waiting for Godot, by listening to a special broadcast of the play featuring the original Broadway cast: Burt Lahr, E.G. Marshall, Alvin Epstein and Kurt Kasner. Hosted and with an introduction by Simon Loekle.

Heads up to the above. On WBAI which you can listen to for free online.

Questions came in about the laptop. When it finally would start to boot back up there was a message about "allocated space" being used when not needed and it went through some process before it was operating again. Though a number are still in California, I did have to return (or risk cancelling appointments which I do not like to do at the last minute). Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts and criticisms.

"White House Defends Bush Intelligence Disclosure" (Democracy Now!):
The White House has publicly admitted President Bush authorized the disclosure of pre-war intelligence on Iraq. But White House spokesperson Scott McLellan said the disclosure wasn't illegal because information disclosed by the President is considered declassified. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, has testified that President Bush authorized him to leak a highly classified intelligence document on Iraq to the press in an effort to defend the administration's decision to go to war.

I have no idea what lie Bully Boy will finally tell on this but it's obvious that he's going to have to say something, offer some sort of remark. He'll probably make it in front of a carefully chosen group. It will be heavily reported and that the "faithful" applauded will also be heavily reported. Dick Cheney will announce "the people have spoken" because a few people who were handpicked by the White House to attend the event applauded. Then the mainstream press will take the attitude of "He has spoken, we need to move on."

Because that is how they've operated in the last few years. People wonder why, in the rare times when Bully Boy holds a press conference, there are no follow up questions? Where are the follow up stories?

There are no follow up questions because there are no follow up stories. All the press needs is some sort of a quote and they announce that the story is closed. "Bully Boy, what was the White House involvement with Enron?" "Ken Lay eats green cheese." They would report the green cheese remark and then "move on" to some other story. If questioned, they'd argue, "We reported on that!" When note taking becomes reporting, we're all in trouble.

"Mass Protests Continue Around the US For Immigrant Rights" (Democracy Now!):
Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in cities across the country Sunday urging Congress to pass legislation that would legalize the estimated 12 million undocumented workers in the US. An estimated 500,000 people took to the streets in Dallas. The marchers filled the downtown streets with chants of "Si Se Puede!" -- Spanish for "Yes, we can!". In St. Paul, Minnesota, 30,000 people rallied at the state capitol. In Birmingham, Alabama, demonstrators marched along the same streets where activists clashed with police in the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. Other protests were held in New Mexico, Michigan, Iowa, Alabama, Utah, Oregon, Idaho and California. Michael Martinez, who attended a rally in San Diego, said: "It's not about flags, it's not really about race. It's about just equal opportunities for everybody and nobody being above or below the law and nobody being exploited by the law. It's that simple." More protests are planned for today in nearly 100 cities across the country.

That is so wonderful. If you think about it, certain lawmakers in Congress were under the impression that they could do exactly as they wanted without any input. That's been the process for some time now. So to see this massive surge of democracy is really amazing and a lesson in what can be done.

"Want More Bush? Elect McCain" (Helen Thomas, Common Dreams):
He is against abortion rights and gun-control laws and believes students should be taught the religion-oriented "intelligent design" theory of creation as well as the theory of scientific evolution.
His painful experience as a POW during the Vietnam War led him to buck the White House on the question of using torture to interrogate detainees and prisoners of war. Despite White House opposition, he triumphed with a 90-9 Senate vote on his anti-torture amendment to the defense appropriations bill.
Well, almost.
In signing the bill, the president issued a statement that under his constitutional authority as commander in chief, he did not have to abide by the anti-torture amendment. This is a dubious claim of presidential power that should be challenged.
McCain's political record is not entirely pristine. He was a member of the so-called Keating Five -- five senators linked to Charles Keating in the savings and loan scandals in 1991. But a special investigator found that McCain had not been substantially involved in influence peddling but criticized him and three others for "questionable conduct."
That searing experience may explain why McCain has been an avid advocate of campaign finance reform.
With his "hail fellow well met" persona and tendency to jaw with the media and pundits in the back of the campaign bus, he has created the impression in some quarters that he is a "moderate."
Forget it. His voting record speaks for itself.

I do like Helen Thomas. I do not like John McCain. For that reason, I'm noting the above. I assume, now that he's cozying up to Jerry Fallwell, that he'll shortly issue a press statement for attending the funeral of Mark Bingham.

Today, I caught Cat Radio Cafe on WBAI (airs from two p.m. to three p.m.) had a really interesting discussion about art and artists. I came in late to the show. Probably ten minutes after Janet Coleman began conductin the interview. But among the ones discussed were Brecht, Lillian Hellman, Norman Mailer and George Eliot. I had no idea, for instance, that Bertolt Brecht had been involved in Hollywood movies. He came up with the story for Hangmen Also Die which I looked up at IMDB. Here's a summary of the film:

On May 27, 1942 the Nazi Reichsprotector of Bohemia/Moravia, the "Hangman" Reinhard Heydrich, died from the bullets of unidentified resistance fighters. Hangmen Also Die is the story of Heydrich's assassination in fictionalized form. It was Bertolt Brecht's only comparitively successful Hollywood project; the money he received allowed him to write "The Visions of Simone Marchand", "Schwyk in the Second World War" and his adaptation of Webster's "The Duchess of Malfi". Hanns Eisler won an Academy Award for his musical score.

That was written by J. Arnold Free. There's also a summary by Jim Beaver. Somone else might recognize other names in the cast but I recognized three. The first was Anna Lee, who died in May 2004. She was famous as Lila Quartermaine on General Hospital to many but I'm sure to many (including me) she was famous for playing Sister Margaretta in The Sound of Music. Walter Brennan was in the film as well and the first movie that comes to mind for me there is To Have and Have Not with Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. (Second film? Meet John Doe starring Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper.) The film was directed by Frtiz Lang famous for M, Metropolis, Fury and more.

Brecht had a habit of taking credit for the work of women in his life. I wasn't aware of that but I only know some of his work and not a great deal of his life. Rebecca probably already knew about that. George Eliot came off better in the artist's eyes (I believe Edward Sorel was the artist interviewed). The discussion of the authors was the chief portion of the broadcast but it was also followed by a discussion on improvisation.

Kat is covering KPFA's Guns and Butter each week and Rebecca's covering Flashpoints. All of us are attempting to get the word out on Pacifica and, equally important, to help Ruth out so each Saturday she's not thinking, "Okay, seven days and twenty-four hours each day, I can cover this." There's no way she can. So we're all attempting to note Pacifica at least once a week at our sites.

I'm a "floater" meaning that I haven't adopted one show. It will probably depend upon what is going on that week and what I know is on. I'd mentioned to Ruth this weekend, when we were all together in California, that I had a Monday hour free due to a cancellation (no problem, dentist trumps all). I was hoping for some suggestions of programs she enjoyed or something you hadn't been able to get to that members of the community were requesting. She recommended Cat Radio Cafe because she enjoys it and it is a community favorite. Janet Coleman was the host I heard but David Dozier is also a host. Both are part of the The Christmas Coup Players.

Pacifica is popular within the community and I hope everyone works hard to get the word out. I noticed that C.I. worked in a mention of Law and Disorder during "Book Discussion: 2 Books, Don't Count the Minutes" and we really should be able to do that, to offer those kind of references. Not, "Oh, I was watching CNN" or "Oh, I was listening to NPR" but to note the sources that matter because they believe the world matters (as opposed to believing the world is a teeter-totter and "balance" is a religion). So my committment online is that I will try to note, in addition to Democracy Now!, at least one Pacifica program a week. Because that should be the ideal, what C.I. did. We're discussing Arundhati Roy's An Ordinary Person's Guide To Empire and she addresses the issue of torture. C.I. wanted to make a point about the Guantanamo prisoners and, in the middle of that point, works in Law and Disorder as a point of reference. (By the way, "I don't know that they are doing it" by C.I. refers to combining the practice of loud volume with no volume. I've added "[doing the next part]" to the transcript because I had an e-mail asking if C.I. was refuting torture by sound at Guantanamo and, no, that wasn't the case. C.I. spoke hesitantly on it and afterwards it was asked, "If they aren't doing it already, did I just advise them a way to improve torture?" I don't think so. I think it was a good point and that it's probably already being used but the connection outside of Guantanamo hadn't been made. I followed it but in case anyone else was confused, I've added that clarifcation.)

If we really worked at that, their would be an awareness, a very real awareness, of exactly what was out there on the media landscape beyond the consolidated, heavily referenced media we hear too much from and too much of. With that and the limitations of big media in mind, I've composed the peace quote for this evening.

Peace Quote (from me):
Peace requires many voices and the awareness of them.