Archive for hamas

Two shows, two reviews, two painful reminders

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When I opened my morning paper, I came across two separate reviews of two very different shows: one live at the Hollywood Bowl ("Hair") and one a three-camera situation comedy on the Tee Vee Machine ("Partners"). It was striking that included in each of the reviews was a reminder of the sad state of affairs in this world. Maybe they should have reviewed "post racial America" and tragedies of war.

I was an usher at the original production of "Hair" at the Ivar Theater in Hollywood (godI'mold), and was completely and utterly swept away by that production. Anti-war protests were everywhere, bell bottom jeans were coming into fashion, and long-haired, pot-smoking, peace-loving hippies were a gentle, emerging force to reckon with. I wanted to be a part of the show, live the show, not seat audience members. It was a magical time, but also a scary one. I wore one of these proudly:

war is not healthy for children and other living things

Another focus of what seemed like perpetual protests was civil rights. One day, we dreamed, one day there would be equal rights for everyone regardless of color. In our idealistic vision, making a film like "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" would be a quaint period piece, not an expression of growing pains and hope or a demand for change.

guess who's coming to dinner

Those were the days, right? Sadly, those are still the days, right now as we speak.

Via L.A. Times theater critic Charles McNulty reviewing the '60s rock musical "Hair":

I worried that this co-opting of the 1960s — a criticism leveled at the musical at least since its Broadway premiere in 1968 — might be depriving a new generation of theatergoers the chance to connect to a radicalism that our own war-torn age could badly use. But the musical's tragic ending laid its punch. "Hair" is fun-loving but also serious-minded. I left humming "Let the Sunshine In" but also wondering how I could make a difference in a world once again going up in flames.

israel hamas warVia NBC

Via L.A. Times TV critic Robert Lloyd reviewing the premier of a new sit-com starring Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence, "Partners":

A black actor and a white actor splitting top billing in a sitcom is enough of a rarity to be noted approvingly. And there are moments that suggest that the stars will find their footing. But for the nonce they're playing attitudes more than characters, and at times they seem to be in the same show only by virtue of sharing the shot.

end racism- hands

Splitting top billing in a prime time half-hour comedy between a black actor and a white one should not be a Moment of Happy rarity. Especially in 2014. It should be the damned norm. Sigh.

Let the sunshine in.

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Torture & Lies

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NicoleSandlerHeadshotw202h202

President Obama admitted the US tortured "some folks" following the 9-11 attacks.

Obama has used the word "torture" before to describe the harsh interrogation tactics used at CIA-run secret prisons during the Bush administration. But his words at a White House news conference were notably more direct than previous statements.

The comments reflect the line the president is preparing to walk as he gets ready for the release of a Senate committee report on the Bush-era rendition, detention and interrogation program.

According to the president, torture is not OK - but lying about torture is acceptable, as long as you apologize for it. Why do I feel like he learned this strategy by parenting pre-schoolers?

Marcy Wheeler joined in for the last segment of today's show, and she hit the nail on the head with her aptly-titled post, "But Brennan Didn’t Fuck His Biographer!"

Amidst calls for Brennan’s firing, Obama basically responded, “Sure, we tortured some folks, but I still have confidence in the guy who found the waterboard and black sites at which to torture.”

But I’m not sure why folks are so surprised by Obama’s reluctance to criticize Brennan for lying about hacking the SSCI. Aside from the mutual complicity — Brennan was personal witness to each and every drone strike Obama approved that violated international law, after all — CIA Directors don’t get fired for lying.

They get fired for fucking their biographer.

In the first hour of the show, Howie Klein was on for our weekly "Steve Israel Hour." We touched on the torture and lies problem, and both admitted to having the same scary thought: that once a president is sworn in and sits at the Oval Office desk for the first time to read the letter left by his or her predecessor, they find out just how limited their power really is, and that the CIA and NSA are the ones calling the shots.

Howie wrote "If You Let Criminals Off Lightly, You Guarantee One Thing: More Crime" about the problem with Obama's thinking in excusing Brennan's role in all of this.

We also talked about some important Senate races (Tom Udall who was the first to call for Brennan's ouster after his "apology" and is facing a very tough re-election. Plus Shenna Bellows, Jeff Merkely, Brian Schatz and a few others.) Blue America has a Senate page for donations here.

We also talked about some gubernatorial races up for grabs, including a tough re-election campaign for Illinois' Pat Quinn and his "sleazy billionaire sociopath" challenger. They also have a gubernatorial page here... 

And we called out another World's Biggest Asshole today, Iowa Congressman Steve King who we remember as the one who claimed that for every valedictorian among the Dreamers, there are 100 who have calves the size of cantaloupes from smuggling marijuana across the border. Yeah, that guy. He's back...

During a conference call last month with the National Emergency Coalition, Rep. Steve King said that the U.S. needs to crack down on immigration because our nation’s borders were established by God. Disrespecting the borders, the congressman suggested, is disrespecting God’s will.

He also blamed the child migrant crisis not on drug-war-related violence in Central America but on President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, or as he calls it, “deferred action for criminal aliens.”

- via

As if that wasn't enough, he went of Fox "news" Sunday to threaten impeachment if President Obama dares to issue another Executive Order dealing with the issue of immigration:

How we've managed to survive this long is beyond me!

A big show is on tap for tomorrow, with Congressman Alan Grayson joining in at the beginning of the show (so get here at 10ET sharp!), and @GottaLaff in hour two.. Radio or Not!

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News, Views & Muse

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I was a bit worried that there might not be enough news to talk about with Congress going on a 5 1/2 week recess but, then again, it's not like they do anything when they're in session.

But the drama that unfolded yesterday as they all attempted to leave DC was the perfect snapshot to illustrate the comedy of errors that the 113th Congress is. Adding to the absurdity of it all was Boehner's contention that President Obama, against whom the Speaker is filing a lawsuit over his use of executive orders, should use his executive powers to do something to fix the "crisis" at the border that the House is too gridlocked to do itself!

As Steve Benen explains,

The new House Republican leadership team held a brief press conference yesterday following a closed-door caucus meeting, fielding a few questions, all of which related to the humanitarian crisis at the U.S./Mexico border. One exchange between a reporter and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) stood out for me.

QUESTION: Just a follow up on that: are you still committed to having a vote before you leave? And, given the concerns within your own conference about the costs of this border bill, can you pass something?

BOEHNER: Listen, I, I’d like to act. We’ve got a humanitarian crisis on the border, and that has to be dealt with. But the president clearly isn’t going to deal with it on his own, even though he has the authority to deal with it on his own.

Wait a second. Hold on. Boehner has spent months shouting, sometimes literally, about President Obama’s out-of-control power grabs. As the Speaker and his caucus see it, Obama no longer gives a darn about separation of powers, and he’s embraced a tyrannical model in which the president is king. Boehner is so outraged by Obama’s willingness to act unilaterally that the Speaker is literally going to take the White House to court.

Hypocrisy is the definition of today's Republican Party!

Liar is the word that comes to mind when I think of CIA director John Brennan. Back in March when Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein took to the floor to declare that the CIA had hacked into computers used by committee staffers, Brennan denied it vehemently, saying

"As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn't do that. I mean, that's that's that's just beyond the, the uh, the scope of reason."

Liar! Cue the New York Times.

An internal investigation by the Central Intelligence Agency has found that its officers improperly penetrated a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to prepare its damning report on the C.I.A.'s detention and interrogation program.

The report by the agency’s inspector general found that C.I.A. officers created a fake online identity to gain access on more than one occasion to computers used by members of the committee staff, and tried to cover their movements as they rooted around the system, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation’s findings.

A statement issued Thursday morning by a C.I.A. spokesman said that John O. Brennan, the agency’s director, had apologized to the two senior members of the intelligence committee and would set up an internal accountability board to review the issue. The statement said that the board, which will be led by former Senator Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, could recommend “potential disciplinary measures” and “steps to address systemic issues.”

Brennan apologized. How nice! A resignation would be better.

But the saddest news of the day comes from the Middle East where Israel and Hamas are battling it out, and the Palestinians trapped in the Gaza strip are paying dearly with their lives. A 72-hour cease fire was agreed on yesterday, and the peace held for a couple of hours before rockets began flying again. Both sides blame the other.

Maysoon Zayid is a Palestinian American, a comedian and my friend, and she joined me on the show this morning to talk about the mess. Although we agreed that the horrific pictures emerging from the burned out buildings in Gaza are turning hearts and minds against the Israeli tactics, Maysoon suggested checking out Humanize Palestine instead, as every one of those approximately 1500 Gaza civilians who've been killed in recent days was a living, breathing person with families and friends who loved them. They're not just numbers, they're human beings. And the killing has got to stop.

Maysoon is doing a show Thursday, August 7 at the Comic Strip in NY, with the proceeds from this show being donated to the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund .

It's the Big Brown Comedy Hour is back featuring NYC's top Arab, Indian, Iranian, Pakistani and other "Brown" comedians. This is a VERY special spot! I will be filming my spot for a huge TV special AND *The proceeds from this show will be donated to the PCRF - Palestine Children's Relief Fund

This show features Dean Obeidallah, Maysoon Zayid, Ramy Youssef , Sabrina Jalees, Eman Morgan, Nader Uthman, Manvir Singh, Atheer Yacoub, Ashwin Bhandari, Feraz Shere, Tony Dabas and more.
All the Big Brown Comedy Hour's have sold out in the past, so don't wait to purchase your tickets! It will be a great night of Brown comedy.
Thursday, August 7, 8:00 PM at The Comic Strip Comedy Club
1568 2nd Ave at 82nd Street
New York, NY 10028
Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/761447 or call 800-838-3006

 

After all the talk of war and bombs, I needed some music to soothe the savage beast. Good thing it's Friday, as we wrap up each week with a blast from the past for Flashback Friday! Today, we had a double-header.

I'd already planned on playing back the January 1997 interview I did with Patty Griffin. It was her first LA radio appearance, as she had just released her debut album, Living With Ghosts. The radio station was KSCA fm 101.9 in Los Angeles, and it would be on the air for only about a month longer, as Gene Autry was getting ready to sell it. I wanted to get Patty on the air before then, so she came in for an interview and performance while in LA to film a music video. What a treat that was!

Nicole Sandler and daughter Alison with Patty Griffin in 2008

Nicole Sandler and daughter Alison with Patty Griffin in 2008

Earlier this morning, I saw a piece on MSNBC about a developer's purchase of the Nashville building that houses the legendary recording RCA Studio A, and their plans to tear it down to build condos. I learned that Ben Folds has held the lease on the studio for about a decade, and thought today would be good time to also play Ben Folds Five's first Los Angeles radio appearance - at that same station with me in late 1995, just after the release of their self-titled debut album.

Ben Folds Five with Nicole Sandler at KSCA/Los Angeles c. 1996

Ben Folds Five with Nicole Sandler at KSCA/Los Angeles c. 1996

Here's the segment about the studio. I hope he's able to keep it open.

So, it was a double header for Flashback Friday today. That's ok, as there are lots of savage beasts to soothe these days. Hopefully, that'll hold us over for the weekend.

I'll be back to take on a new week on Monday, radio or not...

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Violent headlines that won't go away #NotOneMore

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headlines guns shootings

I spend a good part of my workday hunting for stories to bring to you. If a headline piques my interest, I link over and start reading. If two similar headlines pique my interest, my newsflash periscope pops up. If three or four similar headlines about a topic I regularly cover show up, I drop everything and start writing. This is one of those times. Check out these headlines that are currently running at TPM Livewire:

A group of open carry gun activists who protested Saturday at Dealey Plaza in Dallas filmed a bizarre, more-than-10-minute video of their demonstration and posted it to YouTube.

For the second time in less than a week, police arrested a man on Wednesday for allegedly attempting to bring a pistol into a building at the U.S. Capitol, according to Roll Call.

The Riverside County, Calif. sheriff's department found a body believed to be the suspect in multiple shootings in California...

Police were searching for at least one suspect who was wearing body armor and carrying a semi-automatic rifle after a Riverside County, Calif. sheriff's deputy was shot on Tuesday afternoon.

And it's only 11:30 a.m. here in California. I don't know about you, but I've already O.D.'d on disturbing gun headlines.

While were (rightfully) focused on the Israel-Hamas war and the brutal downing of a Malaysian jetliner by Russian separatists, there is a whole lot of excruciatingly persistent violence going on right here at home. Plus a whole lot of sickos who are apparently convinced that their deadly weapons will compensate for their rather humbling "shortcomings".

Everywhere you look these days, people are substituting communication, patience, and reason with hostility and savage bloodshed. And what does America get when we ask for a way out, for remedies, for peace? Competing headlines featuring GOP Second Amendment Solution warmongers who are fixated on blaming President Obama and his alleged feck in an effort to appeal to their equally extreme voters.

You know what I say to all this anger and to politicians who perpetuate it? Feck you.

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Tackling the Tough Issues

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Nicole Sandler

As if things weren't bad enough before I left for 10 days... As Jon Stewart asked upon his return, "What could happen in two weeks?" Famous last words..

Well, Jon Stewart attempted to cover the Israel-Gaza story with objectivity and, for his troubles, he got attacked - from both sides!

I hearken back to those words of wisdom spoken by every mother to every child, "Two wrongs don't make a right." What's going on in Israel and Gaza is unacceptable. Yes, Israel has a right to defend itself, and Hamas' practice of storing its weapons where civilians live and play is reprehensible, but that doesn't make it right to kill hundreds of innocent people who cannot escape the Gaza strip. They have no place to go. As Jon Steward asked, “Evacuate to where? Have you fucking seen Gaza? Israel blocked this border, Egypt blocked this border. What, are you supposed to swim for it?

Then you have the Russians trying to deflect the blamed for the downed Malaysian airliner. The New Republic translated a story from a "Russian website" and CNN reported on it, saying

"Then it was taken to Holland. On the necessary day and hour, it flew out, bound for Malaysia, but inside were not live people, but corpses. The plane was flown not by real pilots; it was on autopilot. Or take-off (a complicated procedure) was executed by live pilots, who then ejected on parachutes. Then the plane flew automatically. In the necessary spot, it was blown up, without even using a surface-to-air missile. Instead the plane was packed with a bomb, just like the CIA did on 9/11.

And we thought we were living in Opposite world. Indeed.

Today on the show, as we do every Tuesday, I hung with The Political Carnival's GottaLaff in the second hour of the show.

In the first hour, I shared another interview from Netroots Nation; this one was with David Silverman, president of American Atheists.

Back tomorrow, a little more rested, radio or not...

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Ben "Friends of Hamas" Shapiro to speak at California Republican Party convention

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hagel breitbart friends of hamas

"This organization is so sinister that it doesn't even exist!.. What else is [Hagel] hiding that hasn't happened?... What are his ties to the Dead Poet's Society? And why are they dead? Did they know too much about Benghazi?

"President Obama, you must withdraw Hagel's nomination, or you will lose the support of every moderate Republican, another group that doesn't exist!"

-- Stephen Colbert Taking Apart Breitbart for ‘Friends of Hamas’ Debacle

 Meet Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large of Breitbart.com:

The Sacramento Bee is now reporting that Shapiro will be speaking at the California Republican Party convention. Karl Rove's slot had to be moved due to a scheduling conflict, so Breitie Ben will be taking his place.

Yes that Ben Shapiro.

You can stop laughing-- or crying-- now.

As my friend and Twitter pal @Jazzcattrio (h/t for the link) tweeted me just now, "I guess his speech won't be titled 'Journalistic Integrity'."

To refresh your memory, here's a recap of the utter insanity and lies that pass for Republican politics these days, from Raw Story:

Breitbart.com editor Ben Shapiro wrote, “On Thursday, Senate sources told Breitbart News exclusively that they have been informed one of the reasons that President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has not turned over requested documents on his sources of foreign funding is that one of the names listed is a group purportedly called ‘Friends of Hamas.’”

When Shapiro called the White House for comment, they hung up on him, which he took as confirmation. Shapiro ran the story and tweeted the link out to his more than 40,000 Twitter followers, touching off a right-wing media avalanche.

Those wacky, zany smear mongers on the right just don't know when to quit. They've become quite the laughingstock, yet persist in their nasty, delusional little ways. So now the GOP is anticipating Breitie Ben's California convention antics with glee, blissfully unaware of the immense hole they're continuing to dig for themselves.

If this is what they meant by reinventing the party, then by all means, please proceed.

hagel smear jon stewart

H/t: Jazzcattrio

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Video- CNN Debate: Rick Perry Warns Hezbollah and Hamas Have Infiltrated Mexico

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Oy oy oy. Via TPM.

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