Episode #352: A Fabulous Production
First Broadcast: 6/21/04 Opening animation cut off; "Free New York" title on for less than a second at the beginning.
Repeated: 9/20/04; 4/11/05 Transmission began at 2:01:47 AM, with the opening animation cut off. Transmission ended at 2:28:07 AM, cutting off a significant portion of the end of our program, including all of our end credits.
Repeated: 5/8/06, 1/8/07
This week, we assembled a retrospective on the life of the late 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. Only, instead of interviewing a bunch of talking heads from various think tanks, we stopped some anonymous people on the street in the East Village and got their opinions on the man. Those points of view, combined with a few musical statements from Wasted Youth, the Dead Kennedys, Reagan Youth, and the Ramones, painted what seemed to me to be a more accurate picture of what the Reagan era was like than all the lengthy tributes on the news stations that aired the week of Reagan's death. I think ours was the only program about Reagan that also mentioned Reagan Youth, by the way--which either says a lot about us, a lot about the mainstream media, or both.
Episode #353: Not A Blank Check
First Broadcast: 7/5/04 Opening animation cut off.
First of all, go see Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, so that you too can become as disgusted as I am at the extreme wrong turn this country has taken under Bush the lesser. That is, if you're not already disgusted at an administration that's ready to fine someone half a million dollars for baring a barely bare breast, yet not at all offended at telling a Senator to "go fuck yourself" in the Senate. Fortunately, there is still some sanity left at the Supreme Court, which recently decided that people imprisoned by King Bush have a Constitutional right to challenge their imprisoned status in a federal court, regardless of where they are imprisoned; and that they also "unquestionably" have a right to counsel, it not being a privilege the White House can just dish out at will. You can peruse Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Rasul v. Bush (and a whole bunch of other opinions) on the Supreme Court's web site, and see for yourself how they remind Bush that he can't just throw away on a whim a legal right that people have had ever since the Magna Carta. Interesting stuff.
Episode #354: One More Lie
First Broadcast: 7/12/04 Volume was reduced at least 5db.
First, George W. Bush told everyone that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction--that was a lie. Then, Bush and Dick Cheney said that Iraq had ties to al Qaeda--that was a lie. Now, it turns out that even the charge that Saddam Hussein "gassed his own people" (with U.S. consent, some would add) might be a lie as well, according to a former CIA agent who was in a position to know. It's no secret that Saddam Hussein was an asshole who violated human rights on a daily basis, but that's certainly no reason to just make up charges against him in order to go to war with an entire country that never attacked us in the first place. We also mentioned how Iraq was attacked just based on the possibility that it might have a nuclear weapons program, while Israel seems to get a free pass despite the nuclear weapons it's estimated to have had for over 30 years. Double-standard? Food for thought. P.S.: To The 5 Boroughs rocks!
Episode #355: My Pop Culture Friends
First Broadcast: 7/26/04 Transmission cut off 10 seconds before the end.
People who have read the final report of the 9-11 Commission (in either book or .pdf format) may have noticed two things: One, the Commission says that civil liberties must be respected, and that the government should have to prove why it needs extra power to restrict them before doing so; and Two, the Commission seems to have found more "ties" between al Qaeda and Iran than were alleged between al Qaeda and Iraq. (Do Saudi Arabia's extremist positions even merit a mention anymore?) Doesn't this sudden flip-flop of rogue state targets remind you of "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street", that episode of the Twilight Zone where suburban neighbors keep blaming one person after the other for why their block is blacked out, when it turns out none of them were responsible and they were all assuming the worst for no reason without thinking? It reminds me of it. And Bush says he wants to be the "peace president", and says he's made the world safer? First of all, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan says that he "cannot say the world is safer today than it was two, three years ago," and he would know; and second, a so-called "peace president" doesn't start unprovoked wars with countries that haven't attacked us first! Is this really that hard to understand?!?
Episode #356: Sometimes You Have To Put Aside Your Differences
First Broadcast: 8/2/04 Opening animation cut off. Volume lowered by 3-5db.
Yes, even though John Kerry is hardly the ideal candidate as far as I'm concerned, after listening to his acceptance speech at this year's Democratic National Convention, I feel like he's starting to throw a decent amount of bones towards progressives, and that the U.S. might be more than a smidge better off if Kerry was President instead of George W. Bush. Then again, at this point I think a dead dog would make a better President than Bush (a dead dog wouldn't start a war with a country that never attacked us, for example), so that's not a difficult accomplishment. Nevertheless, the current administration has become such a danger both domestically and internationally, that the combined electoral might of all those who oppose it may be the only force strong enough to stop it from inflicting another four years of pain and suffering on the rest of the world. In a way, just as it was necessary for the United States to ally with the Soviet Union in order to defeat Nazi Germany, it may also be necessary for all the various progressive divisions to ally in November in order to defeat Bush. Al Sharpton thinks so, Dennis Kucinich thinks so, and even--almost shockingly--Noam Chomsky thinks so; so it's not a totally sell-out strategy, though I completely understand people who are sickened by the prospect of having to vote for someone who might end up being only marginally better than Bush when all is said and done. Sure Ralph Nader's better on paper, but 1) Nader is probably not going to be on the ballot in all 50 states this year, and 2) Nader doesn't have the support of the Green Party this year, which was key to my reasons for supporting him in 1996 and 2000. That, and the country wasn't as fucked up then as it is now, though that's probably subject to more debate than I had time for this week. So, it seems to come down to this choice: yesterday's meatloaf, or more of the Kool-Aid? (Apologies to Kool-Aid. I meant the Jim Jones Kool-Aid, not the nice fruity Kool-Aid.)
Episode #357: Here's The Punch Line
First Broadcast: 8/16/04 Opening animation cut off.
So, according to The Washington Times, Al Qaeda wants to assassinate someone in order to "disrupt" the presidential election in November. Now, the Agence France Presse version of this article quotes an anonymous source as describing Al Qaeda's motivation like this:
"The view of Al-Qaeda is 'anybody but Bush,'" said the official.
This makes it sound as if Al Qaeda is on the same side as all those other people who would rather vote for "anybody but Bush" in the 2004 election, such as the people at anybodybutbush.info, anybodybutbush2004.com, anythingbutbush2004.com, the Anybody but Bush stickers store at irregulartimes.com, et cetera; and conversely, using this logic, anyone supporting the view of "anybody but Bush" would also support Al Qaeda. Both ideas are equally untrue: 1) the people who detonated the bomb at the World Trade Center in 1993--who are suspected to have had links to Al Qaeda--did so while a Democrat was President, so I doubt that any of the political parties in this country are preferable to people who carry out these acts; 2) many of the people who want to vote for anyone besides Bush are against violence of any kind, whether it's carried out by an army or a group of criminals, so they would never support more killing no matter who's doing it. So, why would an unnamed official try and make this connection, unless it's to try and link the anti-Bush movement with international terrorists in the eyes of the Bush supporters and the undecided voters?
In the end, that might not even be what the anonymous source meant. DeHavilland, a news source in the United Kingdom, reported the same source as putting it this way:
The intelligence officer told the newspaper the target of al-Qaida would be "anybody but Bush".
This is a completely opposite reading of the same quote! While the former presentation makes it sound as if Al Qaeda wants Bush out, and will get anyone besides Bush in office, the latter makes it sound as if Bush is the one person Al Qaeda likes, and that they would attack everyone else in the world before ever attacking Bush. Which is it? Damned if I know, since all this sounds completely hypothetical anyway.
Episode #358: They Picked The Wrong City
First Broadcast: 8/30/04
Repeated: 9/6/04; 11/8/04 Episode began at 2:00:55 AM, and transmission ended at 2:28 AM, cutting off the last minute of our program; 8/8/05 Episode began at 2:00 AM, with opening animation and "Free New York" title cut off. Episode ended at 2:27:46 AM.
Repeated: 9/10/07; 7/28/08
"They" being the Republicans who chose to come to New York City for their 2004 National Convention. News Flash to delegates: Just because New York City has a Republican Mayor, and just because New York State has a three-term Republican Governor, doesn't mean that the 87% of the city's registered voters who aren't Republican want you to be here! Apparently, most of the people we talked to on August 22 felt the same way: "Go home!" said most of them in so many words. If you agree with that sentiment (and why wouldn't you?), feel free to visit RNC Not Welcome, RNC Watch, Counter Convention, Shut It Down, and the National Lawyers Guild for more enlightening information. Who knows? We might be asking you a question next!
Episode #359: Just Get Rid Of It
First Broadcast: 9/13/04
The more eagle-eyed viewers among you might have noticed that my hair looked more than a little shorter in last week's episode. There's a good reason: prior to our taping, I got a haircut. Why? Why not! The fine people at Kropps and Bobbers (at 173 Orchard Street) were more than pleasant about letting us document the whole process. Besides, this let us ask the burning question: Does having short hair make a person less likely to be arrested during a protest of the Republican National Convention? I don't know if I have an answer, but you'll all be able to see what we saw in a future episode coming soon!