Due to the death of a friend of my wife's, I didn't go to one of the MoveOn.org vigils last night regarding the Iraq War going into year 5. I did go to one on January 11th and there was a fair number of people who turned up (at the corner of Ventura and Van Nuys Boulevards) in Sherman Oaks--though not as many as organizers likely hoped for.
Thanks to the left-wing media (notably the pre-Michael Lacey LA WEEKLY with jibes from Marc Cooper), the "moderates" and the right-wing, the notion of peaceful mass protests to show large numbers of opposition to unpopular wars is now considered unseemly and "inappropriate." Old Dan Rather (now exiled to Mark Cuban's HD network) weighed in on Bill Maher's REAL TIME "Overtime" webcast that protesting this war "would tear the country apart."
Maybe this sense of "nothing can be done" can be attributed to the Republican Party's no-draft policy (which began under Reagan); the only "drafting" is being done to Guard units whose members joined voluntarily.
On a similar but non-life-threatening note, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES can't get enough book publishers to buy ad space in its book review section. Therefore, the section will be switched to Saturdays next month (saving lots of $ because fewer Saturday copies are printed) and FOLDED INTO THE EDITORIAL SECTION.
Someone I know in the poetry community wrote a complaint on her MySpace blog about the downsizing of the TIMES book review and proposed the action of complaining to the paper. Unfortunately, with the large-profit-margin-obsessed Chicago TRIBUNE folks owning the TIMES, the deal's already been made and there's not a damned thing anyone--bibliophile or casual reader--can do to reverse it.
Instead, one could always write to Barnes and Noble, for example, and ask why it charges publishers $1 a book for better display in B and N stores--draining money away from newspaper advertising.
If anyone does that and receives a letter written by an actual B and N employee in honest, noncorporate language, please let me know. I'd be happy to reprint it here.