Tuesday, October 25, 2005

"As long as you keep a person down . . . it means you cannot soar"

Mike (Mikey Likes It!) and I are discussing the same three items so you can click here and check out his opinions on these items from Democracy Now!

Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks 1913-2005 (Democracy Now!)
Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks has died at the age of 92. It was 50 years ago this December that she refused to relinquish her seat to a white man aboard a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was arrested and convicted of violating the state's segregation laws. Her act of resistance led to a 13-month boycott of the Montgomery bus system that would spark the civil rights movement. The boycott would also help transform a 26-year-old preacher named Martin Luther King Junior to national prominence. In 1958 King wrote "no one can understand the action of Mrs. Parks unless he realizes that eventually the cup of endurance runs over, and the human personality cries out, 'I can take it no longer.''' Parks had been involved in the fight for freedom since the 1940s. She was active in the NAACP, helped raise money to defend the Scottsboro rape case and attended trainings at the Highlander Folk School of Tennessee. The Rev. Jesse Jackson said yesterday ''She sat down in order that we might stand up. Paradoxically, her imprisonment opened the doors for our long journey to freedom.'' Henry Louis Gates Jr called her "the Harriet Tubman of our time." After he was freed from jail Nelson Mandela recalled how Parks had inspired him and others in the South African struggle against apartheid. We'll have more on Rosa Parks in a few minutes.

It's very rare for a woman to make the general history books. Our accomplishments are usually overlooked or minimized. Rosa Parks is a woman who was so fundamental to the civil rights struggle that there's no way for even the most general history text to completely overlook her. What happens instead is that they present her story as though it was an isolated incident that inspired a movement. While it did inspire movement, there were people who inspired Parks and a better history (certainly a truer narrative) would attempt to connect her to that struggle.

Maybe someday that will happen. But I know from a phone call with Cedric that apparently the death of Rosa Parks isn't a big enough thing for some bloggers. Apparently, they had to dig back three years to find something to write about today. That's very sad.

Rosa Parks is a story of a struggle for independence, repect and humanity. This isn't a story of one race. It's the story of America or should be. The story of how change can be effected and the story of why it must be. There was a time in this country when we cared about uplifting the boats of all. These days, taking our cues from leadership, we seem more interested in what is most superficially in it for us.

Rosa Park's will always represent the impact one person can have but her narrative also represents the power that people working together can have.

U.S. Death Toll Nears 2000 (Democracy Now!)
And the U.S. death toll in Iraq is creeping closer to 2,000. The military has announced a Marine died in Ramadi on Sunday bringing the death toll to 1997. Anti-war activists have organized over 300 protests to take place across the country on the day after the US announces the 2000th U.S. soldier killed. On Monday Cindy Sheehan announced she and other peace activists will begin holding a daily vigil each night this week outside the White House.

We're there.

Hurricane Wilma Wrecks Havoc in Florida, Cuba & Mexico (Democracy Now!)
Residents in southern Florida, Cuba and Mexico are all facing massive cleanups following the devastating Hurricane Wilma. In Florida at least six people have died and six million are without power. In Cuba parts of Havana flooded after a seawall broke Monday. In Cancun, 500,000 residents have lost nearly everything.

We're all glad that Wally, Beth and other members in Florida are safe. When C.I. gave the heads up to look for a special gina & krista round-robin, I started checking my e-mail almost every hour. Before the round-robin, C.I. would often say (or e-mail but due to us being friends of many, many years, for me it usually happened over the phone), "I think you and ____ would enjoy e-mailing" and if both parties were in agreement, C.I. would pass on e-mail addresses. Now with the round-robin, anytime a member shares something and wants to post their e-mail address it's up there. (All members who run sites have their e-mails posted in the round-robin as well.) It's amazing how close so many people have gotten. Pru e-mailed me wondering about Wally this morning and Gareth quickly followed. It wasn't that long ago that the community was worrying about them and other members in London. I think the community did an amazing job of showing support to Kara with Hurricane Katrina (and I checked with Kara to make sure it was okay to note that). (Kara said please do and to put up that she says thank you to everyone who helped her.)

Knowning that Florida community members were safe and accounted for, I started thinking about this:

Hurricane Wilma Hits Florida With 125 MPH Winds (Democracy Now!)
Here in this country, thousands have evacuated Southwestern Florida to escape Hurricane Wilma which made landfall this morning. The Category 3 storm battered Florida with winds 125 miles per hour . In Broward, the county's emergency management director said Hurricane Wilma may be the worst storm to hit the area in half a century. The storm has already devastated the Yucat√°n Coast in Mexico leaving 15,000 people homeless. Wilma marks the eighth hurricane to hit Florida over the past 14 months. Meanwhile Tropical Storm Alpha has hit Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Sunday. Alpha was the 22nd named system in the Atlantic Ocean this season making 2005 the most active hurricane season in 150 years. For the first time ever, weather officials had to turn to the Greek alphabet for a storm's name.

I know Kara and Wally and Beth get that something abnormal is happening this year with hurricanes. But I wonder how many people get it?

I got an e-mail from a visitor who's convinced that "you aren't all the happy family that you pretend to be." What's he talking about? He says that Rebecca and I don't get along. He says I rarely mention Rebecca here and she rarely mentions me at her site.

I read the e-mail to Rebecca over the phone and we both laughed. You're talking about two friends who go back to high school so, pulling a C.I., translation: you don't know what you're talking about.

I don't usually "plug" Rebecca here. That is true. There's a reason for that. She doesn't need the "plug." Rebecca's not approaching C.I. in terms of e-mails (no one in the community is) but she is second ranked. Rebecca actually asked that we focus more on the newer sites and on Betty. Betty because she's got such a juggling act balancing work, kids, family and blogging. She has very young children. She's such a perfectionist that she's never satisfied with something when it goes up. She also beats herself up over typos. We all love Betty very much and think she's an amazing voice so we try to note her as often as possible.

That was something Rebecca asked for. So you're seeing a problem that doesn't exist. As for my being noted at her site, I have been noted there. Plus, after six weeks of filling in for her, most of her readers know my voice and know of this site.

I'll "plug" C.I. shortly. We all do and there are probably two reasons for that. First, it is the site that started it all for the community and we're all aware of that and aware of the fact that when you speak truth to power, you don't always get the easy shout outs that pass for "acknowledgement" online. The second reason is that we're not noting C.I. as much as other members. C.I. usually has four entries a day. No one else does that every day. So I may note one of C.I.'s entries and a visitor may think, "She always 'plugs' C.I.!" but if you look at it in terms of the amount of posts versus the amount of mentions, it's not a case of C.I. gets "plugged" all the time.

C.I. actually turns down blog spotlights at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Each week, Jim has two or three items he wants spotlighted and C.I. will say that since people already know that the TV reviews are "by Ava and C.I." there's no reason for an additional spotlight. In terms of our own sites, it's also true that any excerpt by C.I. tends to result in a jump in the e-mails we receive. It's like bringing on a name guest star. So of course we do that.

And it's in the community's interest to "plug" The Common Ills because that's where it all started. Cedric and Mike are especially prone to "plug" because they're aware that when C.I. stuck up for a stranger that had just started visiting the site, it resulted in being pulled from a blog roll. C.I. knew that would happen but didn't think twice about doing it and announcing it (without naming) on the site. It's that kind of action, standing with the community, that results in members loyalty to The Common Ills and you can put me in on the loyalty list because I was offended when West was attacked. I'm also offended that others didn't stick up for West. The first time C.I. heard from West was when West e-mailed to C.I., Rebecca and two bloggers to apologize. Apologize for what? Liking their sites and advocating for them to an idiot who then threatened West with either West apologized for something that didn't require an apology or be banned and have the four sites plugged be banned. (West had said to the wants so bad to big blogger that if he was going to praise Michelle Malkin, as he'd done that day, he might want to step out of the GOP closet. The idiot tried to ban West on the pretext that the comments were "homophobic." They weren't homophobic. As a practicing psychologist, I will state loudly and firmly that they weren't homophobic. Since all e-mails were reprinted in the round-robin, I'll also offer the diagnosis that the idiot was on a power trip and couldn't take criticism despite trying desperately to get comments to his innane posts.)

C.I. could have stayed silent and protected the link on the blogroll. C.I. didn't. And from years of knowing C.I., I can tell you that will always be the case. C.I. doesn't approve of emotional blackmail and extortion is the only term that applies to the apology the idiot forced West into making. Idiot just wanted an apology to him but West thought it was an apology needed to everyone. That's what told the truth on idiot, when West e-mailed everyone involved.

C.I. didn't think twice. A kid, a high school kid, was beat up on emotionally by a supposed grown up who is supposedly on the left all because of a joking remark. (That the idiot knew wasn't homophobic but hid behind that to try to ban West and force an apology.) So C.I. stood with the kid, a kid C.I. didn't even know. C.I. will always root for the underdog and, in this instance, the underdog was a high school kid whom idiot not only attacked but spent the day prior to the attack trying to spy on by e-mailing to see if he could get dirt on the kid. The spying part only came out later and fortunately the round-robin could do the story on that ugly, otherwise unknown part of the story.

But in the blog world where links are everything, C.I. didn't think twice about blowing off a link on a blog roll to stand up for a kid that was bullied by grown ups (two actually, idiot's boss got in on the act). C.I. was delinked the day after the post went up. If you ask C.I. about it, you'll get laughter. And a speech on not wanting to be part of any supposed big name, top notch web site that would beat up on a kid. Now you'll also get the speech about the spying on the kid which wasn't known the night C.I. posted the comment to "Booger."

They proved who they were by beating up on a kid and no one in this community has any use for them. C.I. proved that silence couldn't be bought with a link. So if people are "plugging" The Common Ills it's because we all know that if it was needed, C.I. would stand with any of us.

When you're willing to walk away from a supposed big time link over a kid you never heard from before that day, it goes to character. Members note things like that. (I've seen C.I. walk away from much bigger, real opportunites for years so it wasn't surprising to me where C.I. came out on the issue. It was a matter of being true to yourself or staying silent to preserve a link. C.I. can't be bullied or intimidated into silence, trust me.)

Now, for my visitor, here's the plug: Don't miss C.I.'s editorial from last night.

"The not so brave Matthew Cooper" (The Common Ills):
Unless Chatty Cathy Cooper is sitting on something (not likely), he had no additional release from Rove. He breathlessly announced, on the day he would have been found in contempt (Miller was found in contempt that day), that he had contact with his source. Rove's lawyer denied it in real time and Cooper's been sketchy since which has allowed the press to circle the wagons and act like Cooper did have a new release.
No, that's not what it appears. What it appears is that faced with having to sit his butt in jail (which Miller had to do), Cooper suddenly didn't care so much about the legal strategy or the First Amendment.
Why does it matter?
Well he didn't conduct himself in any brave journalistic manner and that should be noted.
But if you want to draw a conclusion from the events, one conclusion is that Matthew Cooper was scared of Karl Rove. He wasn't scared of Libby. He named Libby almost immediately. His silence revolved around Rove.
He didn't want to testify against Rove. When Time turned over the documents, his argument was that they removed the need for him to testify. (From Cooper's account in Time, the notes fingered Rove.) He didn't want to protect a source, that's not what it looks like. If he had, and used the same standard, why did he roll over on Libby?
It appears he was either scared of Karl Rove or he had a special bond with him that made protecting Rove more important than protecting Libby.
So which is it? Either doesn't paint him as a good journalist, let alone a great one. Until he was about to be found in contempt, he was willing to push "protect my source" (Rove) as far as he could. So did Time have a reporter who had a special relationship with Rove? Or did they have one who was scared of Rove?
If it's a special relationship, it should have been disclosed considering Cooper's beat. If it was that he was scared of Rove, that says a great deal about the state of journalism.
Regardless, the point is that until he was going to go to jail, he was perfectly willing to stay silent on what Karl Rove did. That's not all that surprising considering that he stayed silent in July of 2003. Two years later, he can finally get honest.
What did his two years of silence buy? It bought Bully Boy another four years. It allowed Karl Rove the time (and luxury) of focusing on the election instead of worrying if he was going to prison. That's two things that Rove can thank Cooper for. I'm not sure America feels so "thankful" to Cooper for that.
Rove's lawyer has maintained there was no new release. Cooper's had an ever changing story on that. It appears that a release (the original one, the only one Rove's attorney says exists) that was good enough with regards to Libby wasn't good enough with regards to Rove. Was Cooper scared? Did they have a relationship that went beyond reporter and source? Those are questions "brave" Matt Cooper needs to answer.
In all the talk about Judith Miller, some time might need to be spent examing what happened with Cooper and why. Instead, he's given a pass and people rush to rewrite what happened.
Why was Cooper willing to fight (repeatedly) all attempts to compell him to testify against Rove until to continue fighting meant going to jail?
Why didn't he want to testify against Rove?

And in case the visitor's wondering, the easiest way to ensure that a post you do doesn't get plugged at The Common Ills is to mention C.I. Cedric's quoted today, a great entry by Cedric, but C.I.'s eliminated Cedric's shout out via this "[. . .]". Tonight's peace quote goes out to C.I. and West. A supposed left site, which wants real bad to be in the blogging business, attacked a kid, tried to "keep a person down . . . to hold him down." Didn't happen. West is embraced by the community now and an active member. The supposed left site? A joke among membership of the community.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
No matter how big a nation is, it is no stronger that its weakest people, and as long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you might otherwise.

Marian Anderson