Monday, November 30, 2009

AMY GOODMAN at Busboys and Poets, 30 November 2009, Washington DC

30 November 2009

First, allow me to disclose my bias: after living abroad for two+ years and having my primary media outlets be the BBC, the GuardianUK, alJazeera, the English version of French news sources, etc, I was sorely disappointed with my media options back here in the States.

I found DemocracyNow! and will tell you that it is the only US news source that I trust completely. They covered Hurricane Katrina with incredible grace, explore deeply the stories they choose to cover, and, as Amy herself says, they are one of the sole sources to cover the remarkable achievements of so many ordinary Americans who we never hear about in the “mainstream” media.

With that warning and aside, please find below my (incomplete and likely biased) notes from the talk Amy Goodman—host of the DemocracyNow! news program—gave this evening.

  • Amy’s Family History =
    • Some of her family members were killed in the Holocaust and that reality has created the backdrop/ credo for her entire family: never again for anyone, anywhere.
    • She also lost her mother this fall, and after spending several weeks in the hospital with her mother and three brothers has some very strong feelings on the importance of a complete sea change in American health care.
    • The two things patients need, according to her mother’s doctor, Dr. Meyer, are 1) enough time with your doctor and 2) good pain management.
    • And a very cool thing that she and her bros did for their momma: they had their mother’s friends write her goodbye letters, including the moments and things they most remembered and appreciated about her. I love that.
    • She described her mother as “transcendent” and “radiant” in her process of dying, “as she was her whole life.”
  • This Book Tour = Her new book, Breaking the Sound Barrier, consists of her essays over the past three years on the role of the media in America.
    • She says, “so many people are doing remarkable things that we never hear about in the media.”
    • DemocracyNow! is now on over 800 stations nationally, “supporting a forum for free speech.”
    • She likes the idea of promoting “trickleUP” journalism and claims the DemocracyNow! motto is: Steal This Story, Please!
  • Health Care =
    • She gave lots of props to Congressperson John Conyers for advocating for the “silenced majority” of Americans who want single-payer health care.
    • Tommy Douglas was voted the Greatest Canadian in 2004, primarily for his leadership as the 7th Premier of Saskatchewan in bringing Universal Health Care to Canada.
    • Apparently, certain television and media personalities have suggested that if Jack Bauer, the main character of the television show 24 was running the US, we would be a safer, better nation. In a way, some conservatives have made Jack Bauer their poster boy for a “good American.”
    • Yeah, it seemed like a non sequitur to me, too.
    • Turns out that Tommy Douglas is Keifer Sutherland’s grandfather. Kiefer has apparently advocated for and about improved health care in Canada and Amy calls upon him to do the same in the US because of his position as bada** Jack Bauer.
      • An interesting twist on using pop cultural icons to influence policy, but can it be effective? Is Jack Bauer really that big of a deal? What do you think?
  • Global WARRing =
    • “Isn’t it remarkable that Obama is receiving the Nobel Peace Prize one week after calling for an escalation of troops in Afghanistan? An escalation, by the way, that 59% of Americans are against, but only 12% of media articles and editorials are against.”
    • Harvard Medical School came out with a study citing that 2200 veterans died in 2008 due to a lack of health insurance.
    • Also, FYI, President Obama does not write letters of condolence to families of soldiers who have committed suicide, only families of soldiers who died in combat. Suck.
    • “With regard to American soldiers; the only way to stem the bleeding is to withdraw.”
    • “Soldiers cannot have debates [about the positives and negatives of escalation versus withdrawal] on their bases, so WE must keep the conversation going around the big kitchen table that is our media.”
  • Cool websites I just learned about tonight =
    • Media Bistro, which reports on … the media
    • Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
  • And a word I heard for the 1st time = advertorial; that is, an advertisement taken out in newspapers and magazines which is made to look like an unbiased editorial. Dig it.
  • New Year’s Eve 2010 = apparently over a thousand people from all over the world are going to Gaza to celebrate New Year’s 2010, in a Freedom March. You can register online here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

24 November 2009

24 November 2009



Afghanistan = Check out the indie pop band, Kabul Dreams who have songs like “Sound of Peace and Love.” Nice.