MIMI KENNEDY Advisory Board Chair of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Dharma's mom from Dharma & Greg, discussing all-things Progressive, including her new film, In the Loop, a political black comedy about the run-up to war.
PLUS: Today's news, my rants & your calls (877-520-1150)! (Later this week: Sibel Edmonds, Ed Asner, much more!)
Consider this an Open Show Thread, where, as always, "Agent 99" will be your rascible host throughout. See ya tonight!
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POST-SHOW UPDATE, AUDIO ARCHIVES: After a technical glitch or two getting on the air for the first two minutes out of Los Angeles, all went well enough thereafter. The archives for all three hours (about :36 mins each with commercials removed, courtesy of Ben Burch at WhiteRoseSociety.org) follow below...
If you're in the 'hood, spread the word and please drop in to check it out! It's horrifying, gripping, and even funny (and yes, I'm in it, but it's good anyway.) If you're not in that 'hood or can't get there, click here to see how you can get your own copy of the DVD version signed by both myself and filmmaker Patty Sharaf!
Today, we remember, the 2,979 killed in both the terror attacks of 9/11 and in the oft-overlooked anthrax bio-terror attacks on American soil which occurred in the following weeks, along with all of those who have given their lives in defense of this nation and its Constitution, including the 5,679 U.S. troops who have been sacrificed so far in George W. Bush's (and now Barack Obama's) wars in Iraq and Afghanistan --- a number which does not include the countless U.S. contractors who have also perished in those conflicts.
As a veteran of Vietnam, my friend and colleague John Gideon, whom we tragically lost late last month, was a champion not just of voters' rights, but of all the causes of his fellow veterans and active-duty brothers and sisters.
Today, The BRAD BLOG's first Memorial Day without his valued presence, we dedicate this day to his memory, his undying fight, and his soaring spirit.
I thought it would be appropriate today, then, to offer the recent Part 2 of Talk Nation Radio's moving audio tribute to the legacy of our friend John. As in Part 1 of Dori Smith's radio special, I appear once again, along with VotersUnite.org's Ellen Theisen and John himself, in both voice and memory. Also, good friend and longtime election integrity advocate Pokey Anderson, of Houston Pacifica's KPFT, speaks about John and his legacy in this part as well. All four of us are seen in the photo below, taken by Desi Doyen, last summer during a few hours of wonderful retreat up in Washington state. It would be the last time all five of us would be together in person.
Post-Script: I just noticed that this article's permalink happens to be BRAD BLOG item number '7176' --- an oddly appropriate 'anagramatical' coincidence for you numerologists out there. Make of that as you will...
Chicago radio host Erich "Mancow" Muller decided he'd get himself waterboarded to prove the technique wasn't torture.
It didn't turn out that way. "Mancow," in fact, lasted just six or seven seconds before crying foul. Apparently, the experience went pretty badly --- "Witnesses said Muller thrashed on the table, and even instantly threw the toy cow he was holding as his emergency tool to signify when he wanted the experiment to stop," according to NBC Chicago.
"I wanted to prove it wasn't torture," Mancow said. "They cut off our heads, we put water on their face...I got voted to do this but I really thought 'I'm going to laugh this off.' "
The upshot? "It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that's no joke," Mancow told listeners. "It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back...It was instantaneous...and I don't want to say this: absolutely torture."
So far, it's been almost a full month since Fox "News"/ABC Radio propagandist Sean Hannity volunteered to be waterboarded for charity, claiming it was not torture. Despite MSNBC's Keith Olbermann offering $1000 for the troops, for every second Hannity lasts, the cowardly wingnut torture apologists has failed to revisit the topic since his original act of phony bravado.
See "Mancow" being waterboarded, and then commenting on it, in the two very short videos below. And remember, unlike the detainees that we tortured, he was not being waterboarded by hostile folks, and was able to call it off at any time, on his own...
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On a related topic... I was on San Francisco's usually very rightwing radio station KGO last night, with the progressive Christine Craft sitting in as late-night host. Lots of similarly cowardly wingnuts called in to inform us that waterboarding isn't torture at all. Here's the audio. Enjoy.
Last night on Countdown, Olbermann announced that he was rescinding the offer to Hannity, and instead giving $10,000 to charity following radio host Erich “Mancow” Muller’s waterboarding attempt. Olbermann promised to donate to the charity Veterans of Valor, founded by Sgt. Klay South, who administered the waterboarding to Muller. Olbermann revealed that Mancow’s publicist had contacted Olbermann’s show yesterday to see whether Olbermann would make a similar offer to Mancow as he did for Hannity:
OLBERMANN: Mancow Muller had the guts to put his mouth where his mouth was, and the guts to admit he was dead wrong. As you saw, he not only said it is torture, but that he had nearly drowned as a boy, and it is drowning, and that he would have admitted to anything to make it stop.
So the offer to the coward Hannity — a thousand dollars a second he lasted on the waterboard — is withdrawn.
And to Mr. Muller, whose station’s publicity person contacted us yesterday saying she’d heard I’d offered ten thousand dollars to anybody who would do what he did –
You got it. Ten thousand dollars to the military-families charity of the man who did the waterboarding, Veterans Of Valor. [...]
As to Hannity, you are now unnecessary.
UPDATE 5/29/09: Olbermann interviews Mancow after his waterboarding. Video follows below. Here's a bit of the transcript...
I'll be speaking on Election Integrity in Orange County, CA, at the Canyon Democrats monthly meeting on Monday, 5/18. (Yes, there are Dems in Orange County, CA!) If you're in the 'hood, please come by and say hello!
Here are the deets: Norman Murray Center, 24932 Veteran's Way, Oso Viejo Park, Mission Viejo, CA. Doors open at 6:30pm, I speak at 7:30pm. More info... | Map...
P.S. I await my invitation to speak to Orange County Republicans, as I'd be delighted to address them as well, anytime!
Even if I say so myself, the 'Clean Coal' industry helped us to make Tuesday's 'Green News Report', one of our most amusing (and, of course, informative) to date. As tomorrow's (Thursday's) episode, will quickly push the May 12th version into the background, I wanted to recommend it here, if you've yet to give it a listen.
I also wanted to mention that we've added a new feature allowing folks to directly, and easily, embed any 'GNR' episode onto their own blog/website in order to help spread the word. We'd appreciate if you did so, where inclined, and, if possible, touched base with your favorite local progressive radio station to ask them to carry the 'Green News Report'! It's free to them, and we'd be delighted to add their station to our growing list of affiliate/partners. Contact GreenNews@BradBlog.com for more info.
Here's what the embedded version of GNR --- in this case, the Tuesday episode I mentioned --- will look like on your website...
Recently, TPM asked their readers for casting suggestions for the upcoming biopic on Jack Abramoff, where Kevin Spacey is reportedly already booked to play the disgraced GOP uber-lobbyist:
They sought casting suggestions for 11 of the key players in the Abramoff scandals, sure to show up in the film. The resultant "Dream Team" of excellent choices for each were revealed last week.
But, amazingly, the TPM casting call overlooked one of the key players in the Abramoff scandal, our old friend, the disgraced now-former Republican Congressman from Florida, Tom Feeney, aka "Representative #3" in one of the key filings in the Abramoff affair. In 2003, Feeney accompanied Jack on the third lobbyist-funded junket to play golf in Scotland following trips with the disgraced now-former Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX) in 2000 and the disgraced now-former Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) in 2002.
The TPM oversight must be corrected immediately. And, of course, I can think of just one person who'd be perfect --- for so many reasons --- to play the role of Feeney in the upcoming Abramoff film...
Dori Smith of Talk Nation Radio has put together a wonderful tribute show to our late friend John Gideon. Ellen Theisen, his partner at VotersUnite.org and I --- and John --- join Dori in her remembrance. It was good...no, great...no, heartbreaking...but wonderful, to hear his voice again...
Dori, in addition to being a first-rate investigative broadcaster, is also a great election integrity advocate herself in Connecticut. She has a blog item, describing her beautiful tribute show, in honor of John, right here.
UPDATE 5/25/09: Part 1 of TNR's report is above. Part 2 of Dori's moving tribute is now posted here, in memory of John, on Memorial Day 2009...
I was scheduled to be on CNN's new online "Live" format last Thursday, before they knew what the "topic of the day would be". Turned out to be the FDA's approval to allow Plan B, a.k.a "the morning-after pill", to be sold to 17 year-olds after they were ordered by a U.S. District Court to do so. The judge also ordered the FDA to re-evaluate whether all age restrictions should be removed, following a determination that the Bush Administration's FDA had used politics, for years, instead of science, in determining whether Plan B was safe and effective enough to be sold over the counter.
Here's the video from my appearance along with a coupla other bloggers, Rachel Campos Duffy of AOL's parentdish and Gina Cooper from GinaCooper.com (she blogged about her appearance here). No comment on the use of the cutesy "Blogger Bunch" name for the segment, or for the allegation that Brad "leans to the Left" during the intro, even though Rachel, who doesn't "lean", but rather seems to live "on the Right" isn't described as such. But, as I say, no comment on any of that. I look forward to being invited back again soon...
Desi Doyen, my lovely co-host and managing editor of the The BRAD BLOG's smashing Green News Report, appeared today on KRXA's The Tasty Planet Show to discuss all things green-ish and food-ish. 'Tis a nice weekend break from all things torture. And ain't she brilliant? Enjoy!
MP3 download, or listen online right here [appx. 27 minutes]...
Since I first covered the story of the arrest of election officials (including a circuit court judge, the county clerk, the school superintendent and other members of the county elections board) in Clay County, KY, for buying and selling votes, as well as manipulating votes on electronic voting machines without the knowledge of voters, folks have been asking about the political affiliation of the conspirators and whether they were working on behalf of any particular political party.
The subject came up, as well, while I was on the Mike Malloy Show last Friday discussing these arrests, as they had just come to light.
You can download the MP3 of that interview, or listen to it online here (appx. 17 mins)...
While the federal indictment [PDF] notes that a number of those involved in the cabal appear to be members of the local Democratic Party, the scheme also involved at least one conspirator who served as the Republican Party's polling place judge at one of the precincts. Clay County is also a heavily Republican county.
On this point, a commenter who wrote in to respond to last week's article, who claims to be "from Clay County" and to know "each of the people arrested," writes that "ALL of the eight arrested this week" were actually Republican. "They registered as Democrat and took leadership roles in the local party to control precinct officer seats, ensuring all officers at the precinct were hand picked." I can't yet confirm that fact, but that reader's comment is posted in full below, with another one from a Kentucky writer, as both contain some helpful background.
Of course, it could still very well be the case that the crooks were Democrats at work. Either way, from what I'm able to understand about the scheme so far, it seems that it was more about personal power and financial enrichment than anything else. If they were Democrats, they don't seem to have been particularly successful in affecting Democratic wins in their county, even though their scheme was "successful" enough to be repeated election after election and year after year. At the heart of their scheme, after all, was bribing money out of candidates in order to be placed on a "slate" that the cabal would then help to get elected.
As the commenter suggests, it could well be that these "Democratic" officials were only signed up as such in order to affect primary elections (in order to ensure the weakest possible "D" candidate, for example) or even in hopes of adversely affecting general elections as "Democrats," secretly working on behalf of the Republican Party.
I've been unable to learn the party affiliations, yet, of the candidates who paid to be on their "slate," which, once we learn that, could be somewhat instructive. Maybe. But until then, a major point that I'd to make in any case: I don't really care what their party affiliations were.
Unfortunately, despite a valiant effort from listeners of the Peter B. Collins Show earlier this week, Peter tells me that he will indeed be forced to wrap up his show tonight, at least in its current format, as announced last week. This afternoon, from 3p-6p PT, will be his final syndicated broadcast, and with it, the last of my weekly Friday appearances at 5pm PT on his show. (You can listen via this link as we wrap things up today.)
Peter tells me that he plans to return in podcast format --- no official announcements yet as to where and how, on that --- sometime this June. So we'll have that to look forward to, at least, even as the people's airwaves lose one of the nation's most important progressive voices.
I'm also informed that Scott Dick, progressive talker, military expert, retired army major and yes, foodie, will be taking PBC's place for two of the three hours on KRXA 540am in Monterey, CA , the original flagship station for Peter's show. I've been extended the invitation to continue on as a regular weekly guest on Scott's show as well, which I hope to work out, and will look forward to.
But, for now, thanks for everything Peter. It's been a helluva ride over the last 4 or 5 years. Oh, the places we've been...
POST-SHOW UPDATE: My final appearance on PBC's show, during his final hour today, follows, along with the final moments of the hour/his show --- and even a KRXA 540am ad stuck in the middle, a surprise to me, with Peter B's voice announcing he'll be a regular weekly guest on Scott Dick's show, and a plug for my weekly appearances there as well! (Guess that's been finalized then! )
Today I was happy to bring some very good news to the show, as a welcome coda on a whole bunch of the stories PBC and I have covered over the years. So it's a good day. Thanks for the kind words, my friend. And Happy Trails...
Last year's Media Reform Conference with the theme "Have the Media Undermined Our Democracy?" at which I spoke, was pretty memorable. That one featured an FCC commissioner and then-Rep., now-Labor Secretary Hilda Solis (D-CA) on the panel. Here's some video and a transcript of my remarks last year.
This year, I've been invited back (book-keeping error, no doubt) and the focus will be on local media, though I'll likely be paraphrasing Tip O'Neill to make the case that 'all media is now local'.
This year's speakers include Domonique DiPrima, Tanya Acker, Mario Solis-March, Linda Milazzo, Anthony Samad and myself. Which one of us will be named Secretary of HUD next year? Who knows! But hey, it could happen!
If you're in the area, please stop on by and say hello!