Monday, February 06, 2006

"When evil is allowed to compete with good . . ."

Monday greetings. No post on Friday. I did try blogging but Blogger was having technical problems all night and most of Saturday. Remember that I will be taking Thursdays off starting this week. Remember to visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's take on today's news.

AG Gonzales to Testify Before Senate Over Domestic Spying (Democracy Now!):
On Capitol Hill, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is testifying today before the Senate over the Bush administration's domestic spying program. While Gonzales is expected to claim the Bush administration can legally carry out the warrantless spying, Senate Judiciary Committee Arlen Specter has admitted the administration's legal reasoning does not hold up. He appeared on Tim Russert's program Meet the Press on Sunday. Meanwhile a new article in the Washington Post raises questions over the effectiveness of the domestic spy program.. Intelligence officers who took part in the eavesdropping on thousands of Americans say they dismissed nearly all of them as potential suspects after hearing nothing pertinent to a terrorist threat. According to the Post, fewer than 10 U.S. citizens or residents a year have aroused enough suspicion during warrantless eavesdropping to justify interception of their domestic calls.

I caught bits and pieces of the hearings today a few minutes after a session here and there, basically, and then during lunch. Impressed? No. But I missed Russ Feingold. Mike says he spoke twice and was strong. The only one I heard speaking powerfully was Senator Patrick Leahy.

Democracy Now: Al Lewis; Senate Hearings (Miss Priss Instant Cuckoo and more)" (C.I., The Common Ills):
So the hearings . . .
Miss Priss Instant Cuckoo should be played by Oliver Platt who would put just the right amount of priss into the performance.
So Arlen Specter stabbed democracy in the back right at the start of the hearings. His spin was so amazing you kept expecting him to come up with some theory on a "magic bullet" . . . Oh wait, he pulled that trick decades ago.
His trick today? Albie Gonzales won't be under oath. Hand on heart, Specter swears that Albie is okay with being under oath, but Specter, like the lead singer of a sixties girl group, just keeps right on singing "Oh No, Not My Baby" and "Don't Say Nothing Bad About My Baby."
You saw Russ Feingold and Patrick Leahy object strongly. And? A vote was called. This is where Miss Priss Instant Cuckoo asked, "What are we voting on?"
You saw Repube Sessions cluck, "It's a question of propriety and good taste."
Leahy fought. He was the first Dem to question and he was on point, he did a wonderful job. And?
Then others spoke.
Ted Kennedy? Is he awake? Herbert Kohl, the Invisible Man? Get real. Dianne Feinstein has her best, white, kid gloves on again.
Let's watch as Dianne Feinstein throws in the towel yet again. Let's note BuzzFlash called her on her inept behavior in the Alito hearings. I'm missing anyone else doing that. (We called her here and in this community.)
DiFi, why do you ask questions? Or why do you ask your meandering questions?
Do you want answers?
If so, why say the following when Albie refuses to answer your questions:

Fair enough, let's move along.
Okay, that's fine.
I just want to ask some others [questions], you don't have to answer if you don't want to.

If that's it, if that's the best you can do, quit wasting everyone's time.
She was useless in the Alito hearings and she's useless so far today.
Why doesn't she get called on this nonsense?

40,000 Pay Tribute to Coretta Scott King (Democracy Now!):
In Georgia, over 40,000 mourners paid their respects to civil rights pioneer Coretta Scott King by filing past her open casket in the state Capitol's rotunda. She became the first woman and the first African-American person to lie in honor there. She died last Monday at the age of 78. Today's Coretta Scott King's body will lie in honor at the original Ebenezer Baptist Church where her late husband, Martin Luther King, once preached.

40,000 people paying tribute to a legendary civil rights leader. But who hasn't paid tribute to her?

"Editorial: Does The New York Times editorial board not know that Coretta Scott King died or do they just not care?" (The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Coretta Scott King died last week. We think most of you heard of her passing. We sure many of you noted it and mourned the loss. But are you aware that The New York Times, the paper of record, hasn't seen fit to write an editorial or op-ed on King's passing? Or that they haven't run one by someone outside that the paper that they commissioned to write on the topic?

Are you aware that in the same week that section of the paper ignored Coretta Scott King as a topic, Gail Collins penned a ten paragraph editorial to a friend of her's who died? It happened.
The friend was a playwright. It's a tragedy she passed away. But it's editorial news how? Because the woman was White or because she was Collins' friend or some comibination of the two?
Sunday's paper contains no editorial or op-ed on Coretta Scott King. This was the fifth day they passed on the chance to salute her.
Now King never wrote a Broadway play but she accomplished plenty. Let's start with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. That's where most people start. She was committed to the struggle for civil rights before she met him and he credited her with inspiring him.
As one of the widows of the sixties (MLK was assassinated), one would think she would receive at least an editorial. Jackie O received much more. Possibly because she was also a First Lady or possibly because she was White. But she got coverage.
Coretta Scott King conducted herself in the wake of her loss with dignity and grace as well. That doesn't rate a mention in The New York Times.
In addition to being there to inspire the dream, she was active in the civil rights struggle while Dr. King was alive and she kept his legacy alive after he was murdered. She also took leadership in the fight against poverty and in opposition to the war in Vietnam. She raised four children and inspired many more, of many, many generations.
In her later years, she could have rested. She could have taken easy positions. But she didn't. She refused to complacent in a world where so much still needed doing. She spoke out against the war in Iraq. She spoke out in favor of gay rights. She wasn't playing it safe.
This legendary woman played many roles in our national history. You'd think that would result in an editorial or op-ed addressing her life and accomplishments.

I also want to note something Betty wrote for her ongoing novel Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man. I always love Betty's chapters (and am delighted to be an occassional minor character in them) but this is one she's happy with. She's never happy with any of them -- but this one she is and if you read it, I think you'll see why. Here's a section of it.

"The Pig Is Racism, The Pig Is The New York Times" (Betty, Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man):
I thought, "Well maybe Gail considers these important topics for editorials?" Then I saw "Oh, Oscar!" about the Oscar nominations. The Oscar nominations? The Times needs to editorialize about Oscar nominations? But has no time for Coretta Scott King?"

Oh, Oscar!"? Oh, Gail.
I was fuming. I was raging. Thomas Friedman was kvetching, "Who the hell knew I married Angela Dickinson!"
"Angela Davis!" I corrected.
"Oh yeah," Thomas Friedman snorted. "One played Police Woman, the other was hunted by the police."
I just stared him until he stopped laughing.
"Um," he said staring at the ground. "Um, it's, see it's funny because it's juxtaposition."
"And funny because a Black woman is the butt of the joke? Or maybe you thinking Blacks should be hunted down?"
Thomas Friedman retreated to his office where, no doubt, he continued surfing online for fake nudes of the male cast from Saved By The Bell.
This morning, Thomas Friedman hands me the paper and tells me I'll be happy with it today.
Knowing the New York Timid too well, I finish my coffee before opening and flipping to the op-eds and editorials. Editorials? Four. None on Coretta Scott King. Opinion pieces? Paul Krugman writes of the "State of Delusion" which does not cover the paper's own delusion that they're somehow inclusive. Thomas Friedman writes about Bully Boy (he's got a poster of Bully Boy in a onesie nailed to the bedroom closet door) and oil in "Will Pigs Fly" (sooner than Lard Butts, Tommy, sooner than Lard Butts). Graphic designer Barbara Blauber does "Op-Art" about judging books by their cover. (Why not judge papers by what they choose to cover?) And not one, but two guest columnists are brought in to write two separate columns on Pope Joseph Ratzinger who, for the record, didn't die.
I guess Coretta Scott King doesn't matter to the paper. I guess her passing doesn't matter. She's known globally at least as well as Mother Teresa was. She dedicated her life to fighting for equality and peace. She was known around the world as a leader and her husband was as well -- her husband who was targeted by the FBI and who was assassinated. She fought for civil rights, for women's rights, for peace. She fought against poverty, against homophobia. On the national stage, she was certainly as graceful as Jackie Kennedy and she never felt the need to draw the veil and retire from public service.
So I found myself wondering, "Exactly what didn't Mrs. King do? What should she have done to have her death noted by the editorial and opinion staff of the New York Times?"
At first, I thought, "Well she should have written a play length version of Designing Women!" But then I remembered how August Wilson's passing was down played.
Then I thought, "She should have befriended Gail Collins!" Because women with unibrows are too often the butt of the jokes. Gail Collins should not be laughed at for her unibrow. There are plenty of other reasons to laugh at Gail Collins, trust me.
Which left only one thing that Coretta Scott King 'forgot' to do: Be born White.

So let's all ask this question of where is the editorial or op-ed devoted to the life of a brave civil rights activist who stood up against war, against poverty . . . An internationally known figure, a beloved figure, and somehow the New York Times can't find the time? Why is that?

Wally's back to blogging at The Daily Jot. Here's one of the two pieces he did today, in full.

"This Just In! Bully Boy Will Attend Coretta Scott King Funeral!" (Wally, The Daily Jot):
RELATED: "Editorial: Does The New York Times editorial board not know that Coretta Scott King died or do they just not care?"

Please visit Mikey Likes It! to get Mike's take on today's events.

Back to the hearings, I wish I could tell you that I heard strong fighters when I was able to listen today. I didn't. I heard people playing patty cakes with an issue that goes to heart of why this country was founded.

And quickly, please check out "Silence" and "silence" which are links to Kat and Rebecca's joint post. I'm rushing because there's a Blogger scheduled blackout tonight while they fix the program (which seems to have more bugs after each fix). But I need to note Trina. She has a new entry (remember, she blogs only on Saturdays) entitled "Mashed Potatoes in the kitchen."

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
When evil is allowed to compete with good, evil has an emotional populist appeal that wins out unless good men and women stand as a vanguard against abuse.
Hannah Arendt, 20th-century German political philosopher and author