Sunday, May 17, 2015

Truest statement of the week

If concluded, the TPP will continue the process of concentrating economic power in the hands of U.S. based transnational corporations and financial institutions. And while the 1% who have no allegiance to any national territory or state will grow richer, the agreement will pit workers in the U.S. – especially Black and Brown workers – into cut-throat competition with exploited workers, this time in Asia, who will be paid slave wages to produce for the U.S. and European markets.

-- Ajamu Baraka, "Stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a “Black Issue”* " (Black Agenda Report).

Truest statement of the week II

Bill Gates is the world’s richest man, with a net worth of £55 billion. In 1998 his company Microsoft was charged with illegal practices, and Gates was condemned as a ruthless monopolist. Four years later, after launching a charitable foundation, Gates was praised as a generous philanthropist.
Not everyone was taken in by this switcheroo. As the saying goes, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. But many workers would be confused — is Bill Gates a class enemy or one of the good guys? Confusion prevents workers from moving decisively against their enemies. Since the 19th century thieving capitalists have used philanthropy to pose as social saints, shape society in their image and create confusion about the nature of capitalism. 

-- Susan Rosenthal, "Philanthropy: the capitalist art of deception" (UK Socialist Review).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.  First, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

What did we come up with?

Ajamu Baraka's first truest.
Susan Rosenthal's first truest. 
Where's that political solution?  Will anyone ask?
Ava and C.I. round out their coverage of Shonda Rhimes with this piece noting that Scandal never did recover in the ratings.
Jimmy Kimmel thinks he's cute calling CBS racist.  Ava and C.I. beg to differ.
Short feature.
Long overdue, yes.  
And we haven't done this feature since February which we still can't believe.
We do cover live albums here and this is the latest one.
Oh, Shonda.

What we listened to this week.

Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker.
Repost from IAVA. 
ACLU press release. 

Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

And that's what we came up with.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: It's almost June

And where's that political solution in Iraq, Barack?

It was June 2014 when US President Barack Obama declared publicly that the only solution to Iraq's crises was "a political solution."

Almost a year later, there's still no political solution.

Even worse, the US government has done damn little to help Iraq reach a political solution.

They've been happy to round up other countries to bomb Iraq or to send military 'trainers' into Iraq.

That really hasn't worked out, has it?

Ramadi just fell to the Islamic State, for example.

Eight airstrikes against targets in over recent hours & US support accelerating. spoke w/PM Abadi, readout to follow 2/2
87 retweets 29 favorites

That's Brett McGurk making the usual ass of himself.

He's State Dept.

But thinks he's DoD.

Got a real case of Pentagon envy, that Brett.

And those airstrikes he's so thrilled about?

Didn't do a damn thing, did they?

Didn't stop the takeover of Ramadi.

When is the US government going to use diplomacy to assist the Iraqi government in working towards a political solution?

There is no military answer for Iraq.

The root causes have to be dealt with.

But that's not happening.

Next month is the one year anniversary of Barack's statement that only "a political solution" can bring peace to Iraq.

So, one year later, why hasn't the White House done a damn thing to move Iraq towards that political solution?

TV: Shonda Rhimes' fall from grace

"He's got the biggest heart and the smallest penis in town, everyone knows his wife's cheating on him and now they cancelled his series?"

Yes, it's been a tough two weeks for everyone -- some had it rougher than others.  Like the hot guy with the micro penis that our friend was talking about.

But whether you're a good looking guy hung like a two-year-old or an actress literally working your butt off (one friend swears her ass lost two inches -- "that I couldn't afford to lose" -- doing junkets last fall to promote a now cancelled show), spring 2015 has been all about the suffering.

And the suffering took place on both sides of the screen.


In fact, the audience was punished repeatedly -- by networks eager to shed popular shows, yes, but also by show runners who went off the rail.

Let's focus on one in particular.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital does wonderful work.

And Shonda Rhimes can take comfort in the fact that what she's done on Scandal is resulting in a generous donation to St. Jude's.

Yes, the bet is being paid up finally.

For those just arriving to the crime scene, Shonda killed Scandal.

When the show returned after the winter finale with "Run" (January 29th), 10.48 million viewers tuned in -- the second highest episode of the season.

The show as unbeatable an ABC exec and friend boasted/insisted.

We told him he was crazy.

We told him he was bat s**t insane.

And that so was Shonda.

The episode got ratings, yes.

It also killed the show.

No one watched the show to see Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) being a victim.  Now here she was, kidnapped and terrorized, and with no hints that she would be free anytime soon.

The episode had huge ratings because viewers thought, "Olivia got kidnapped back in November, let's see how she gets out of this!"

And they watched the whole show to see that -- but she didn't get free.

This woman was scared.

And she was being mocked and toyed with.

And she would be auctioned off like a slave -- in the midst of Black History Month, no less.

This wasn't Olivia Pope.

We said back then that Shonda had killed the show and the ratings were about to drop so enjoy that nearly ten and a half million figure since it would never again get those ratings  this season.

And we were told we were wrong.

We were told we didn't know what we were talking about.

We even had that stupid (and meaningless) advertising tagline repeated to us: Shonda knows drama.

We said, "Fine.  Let's put money on it."

And we bet a modest lunch.

But then the next week saw us proven right and the exec still couldn't believe it.

So week after week, he elected to double down and let it ride.

When it got up to ten thousand, we said when he paid up, he could just make it as a donation to St. Jude's.

As the series set one record after another for season low, he just refused to admit reality and took to insisting that the last two episodes -- the lead up to the season finale and the season finale -- is when Shonda would pull it out of the toilet and the viewers would return.

Didn't happen.

Thursday was the season finale.

It was lower than the third season finale and the second season finale.

It was just barely higher than the season one finale -- just barely.

And you may remember, season one's ratings were so mediocre that the renewal of Scandal was something of a question mark during that first seven episode season.

ABC refused to see the writing on the wall but we heard the song streaming in the air.  It was Tina Turner singing "Back Where You Started" (which she won a Grammy for ):

Baby tell me what you're trying to prove
Playing games with my heart
Hey now listen -- I ain't gonna take it one more night
You're the one who broke the rules
I'm the one who played the fool
Now you're trying to tell me it's alright
You should know better than to hurt a friend
You'll never get a chance again
You'll be
Back where you started.

And Shonda is.

Back where she started.

She built a hit show and she tore it down.

Her stupidity, her drive towards self-destruction and, most of all, her disdain for the audience led her to destroy Thursday night's biggest show.

As the audience fled, ABC was convinced it would be back the next week, or the next or right before the season finale or, finally, with the season finale.

It didn't come back.

The season's over and what started with 11.96 million viewers ended with the lowest rated full season of the show's history.

There's a plague infecting ShondaLand and it's Shonda Rhymes herself.

The finale was a major disappointment in terms of the writing -- see Rebecca's "scandal - just stupid," Lindsay Putnam's "It's time for Shonda Rhimes to quit" (New York Post) and Chloe Gilke's "'Scandal' can't escape the prison of its plot" (Michigan Daily).

But Shonda's ratings have been eroding -- across the board.

The highest rating for her new 'hit' How To Get Away With Murder was its winter finale.  As we've noted repeatedly here, the audience began fleeing after Shonda made the killers of the cheating husband a cavalcade of students and not supposed series lead Viola Davis.

Grey's only bright spot in the ratings this season was the episode that killed off Patrick Dempsey's character.

Thursday night is in free fall.

Next fall, look for it to really get bad because this was the season that The Blacklist finally found its footing and NBC's planning to pair it up with the Heroes revival and a floundering ABC Thursday led by a floundering Shonda will have a real struggle to keep up with that.

In fact, instead of bringing viewers yet another new series this fall from Shonda Rhimes, ABC should have told her, "You've spread yourself too thin and that ratings prove it."

The fall from grace of Shonda is the TV story of this season but no one wanted to tell it.

When we started truth telling this story, we assumed our work would be (yet again) immediately pirated and pass off as the original thought and analysis of this or that member of The Water Cooler Set.

But this is how lazy and stupid these alleged 'critics' are -- they've failed to notice that all three of Shonda's current shows have suffered massive erosion, that viewers have fled.

When this does finally get attention from others -- and it will -- expect Shonda's shows to pull in even less viewers because part of her audience has always been faddish -- she was 'talked about' so they watched.

Now that her shows have lost their cachet, now that viewers are fleeing, look for the hangers on to go packing as well.

A lot took place this season but if you followed The Water Cooler Set, all you heard about was hype, copy that read like press releases for their pet favorites.

There wasn't a lot of examination or exploration.

Just a lot of high fives and head butting (when not attacking any show with a female lead -- a 'trend' that never dies for The Water Cooler Set).

A lot of shows got the axe and maybe that wouldn't be the case if The Water Cooler Set had done their job?

Maybe next fall, they can give up trying to look like cool high schoolers and instead actually try to earn their paycheck?

We won't hold our breath.

Jimmy Kimmel plays low and dirty (Ava and C.I.)

At last week's ABC upfront, Jimmy Kimmel attempted to be funny.  He claimed of ABC, "We are so diverse that when CBS drives by us, they lock their doors."



Fall 2014 through spring 2015 saw Maggie Q and Lucy Liu co-star in hour long dramas (Stalker and Elementary) and the main cast of of Elementary also includes Jon Michael Hill while the now cancelled Stalker also had Victor Rasuk in their main cast..

Grace Park, Daniel Dae Kim, Masi Oka, Chi McBride and Jore Garcia all are members of the main cast on Hawaii Five-O -- putting them miles ahead of the token African-American on Scandal (Kerry Washington), for example.  Jadyn Wong is one of the leads on Scorpion. L.L. Cool J co-stars in NICS: Los Angeles. Also in the cast of that show is Adam Jamal Craig and Miguel Ferrer.

CBS latest sitcom, The Odd Couple, includes Yvette Nicole Brown in its cast.  Garrett Morris is in the cast of 2 Broke Girls as is Matthew Moy. The cast of Mike and Molly includes Reno Wilson, Nyambi Nyambi and Cleo King.  The Millers had J.B. Smoove as a series regular.

The cast of Madam Secretary includes Patina Renea Miller, The cast of The Good Wife includes Makenzie Vega and Archie Panjabi (whose last appearance was in the season finale). The main cast of Battle Creek included Kal Penn.  Person of Interest's main female star is Sarah Shahi. NCIS: New Orleans has five people in its main cast, one of which is the legendary CCH Pounder. Rocky Carroll is one of the stars of NCIS.  One of the stars of Criminal Minds is Shemar Moore.  CSI: Cyber's main cast includes Hayley Kiyoko and Shad Moss (better known to music fans as the rapper Bow Wow).

We've ignored reality and news programming.

We've even ignored the summer season which, by the way, in summer 2014 included Halle Berry starring in Extant and will include Extant in this summer's schedule as well.

Jimmy Kimmel wanted to be funny.

One can dream.

But it's never funny to falsely accuse someone of racism.

And, for the record, ABC's tokenism isn't something that's easy to overlook.

They may now have Blackish on Wednesday nights but that doesn't excuse the lack of people of color in the main casts of The Middle or The Goldbergs.

And, let's be honest, the weak-ass attempts to add African-American characters to Modern Family have been as stilted as they were still born.

We could go on and on.

But how about you stop accusing others of racism to get cheap laughs?

Especially when your own network isn't doing that well at anything other than allowing Shonda Rhimes to fire one African-American actor after another.

And, Jimmy Kimmel, maybe  you can grasp how White your own network is when even People magazine is noting that after 19 seasons of the ABC staple The Bacherlor, they still won't make an African-American male the lead in that 'reality' show?

He meets all kinds

dirty whore

US President Barack Obama is fascinated by longtime whore EJ Dionne whose lost his youth but gained several hundred pounds.  Barack seems highly amused to discover that there are fat whores out there.

From The TESR Test Kitchen

We're soda drinkers here.  Even Jess.

And our primary cola of choice is Coca-Cola.  Have a Coke and a smile, or whatever they used to say.

We like a Pepsi every now and then.

In a pinch, we'll even have an RC.

But Coke is our go-to.

Some of us drink the original Coke in the red label.  Others, due to diabetes or weight concerns, go with Diet Coke.

A number of readers have been raising the issue of a new Coke -- Coca-Cola Life --  and, after the notorious New Coke of 1985, we were  bit nervous.


Turns out, we were right to be.

First off, limited number of participants.  Calorie counters were willing to forgo that concern and take part in the test kitchen but this is not a diet drink and those with diabetes did not participate.

Why would anyone drink this crap?

Forget the taste, we'll get to that, the green label boasts "REDUCED CALORIE COLA."  Then in very small letters "35% fewer calories than Coca-Colas."

This being a site aimed at American readers, we figure we'-ll need to help you with that math.

The 20 ounce Coca-Cola Life has 160 calories -- which is more than a 12 ounce can of Coca-Cola but less than a 20 ounce bottle of Coca-Cola.

240 calories is the amount in a 20 ounce bottle of Coca-Cola so this green label new cola has 80 calories less.

80 calories less.

That's really not much at all.

So you might as well just drink a Coca-Cola (or Diet Coke, if you're diabetic).

A regular Coca-Cola will taste sweet and refreshing.

This Coca-Cola Life?

"Did they mix Listerine in with this?"

That was the kindest comment as we tasted this brew.

We tried to be fair and we took additional sips.  But no one could finish the bottle.  Ty did it best drinking about ten ounces.

And he then got sick to his stomach.

No one needing a diet drink would drink this due to the huge amount of calories.

And with the  taste being so hideous, we can't see why anyone would ever drink this in the place of regular Coca-Cola.

In the years doing this feature, we have tasted bad -- we have tasted real bad (remember BaconPOP?).

But we didn't know from bad until we tried to drink Coca-Cola Life.

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