Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Truest statement of the week

Obama was a protégé of Bill Clinton, who ravaged the social safety net for poor women and children while hiring 100,000 more cops and setting the bankers free to blow up the economy eight years later. As the presumptive corporate Democratic nominee in 2016, Hillary Clinton was eager to deepen the bipartisan austerity regime. Bernie Sanders’ push for Medicare For All would cause “a terrible, terrible national debate,” she said , and would “never, ever come to pass.” Although Clinton prevailed in the primaries, the anti-austerity genie was out of the bottle. 
Now Sanders is back, hawking a raft of austerity-busting measures that have not only garnered super-majority support among Democrats, but are attractive to half of Republicans! 
The corporate Democrats’ duty is to save the oligarch’s dream of global austerity from unraveling. Terrified that Sanders might sweep the 2020 primaries, the Democratic Party bum-rushed the Vermont Senator, flooding the field with 24 candidates, outdoing the Republican establishment’s 16-candidate bid to stop Donald Trump, in 2016. The game plan was to throw every type of candidate into the mix, appealing to every “identity” constituency, to fragment a Democratic primary base that was as much as 90-percent in favor of Sanders’ campaign planks. The bottom line: prevent Sanders from arriving at the Democratic National Convention with enough delegates to win on the first ballot. On the second ballot, the corporate-dependable “super delegates” would kick in to derail the self-styled socialist. 

-- Glen Ford, "The Ruling Class Will Not Tolerate the Sanders-Led Assault on Austerity" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

My message on Twitter and on my public Facebook wall: If Joe Biden wants to boast about his relationship with a racist, he is not who we need to succeed the racist in the White House.

-- Connie Schultz, "'He Never Called Me Boy...'" (CREATORS.COM).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Monday night here on the west coast -- already Tuesday morning on the east.

Let's 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, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?


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

Editorial: Don't get it twisted

As various voices step forward proclaiming no to war on Iran, we raise a skeptical eyebrow at some.

The Iraq War is ongoing.

Do the White women of CODEPINK not grasp that?

They've had years to notice.  When Barack Obama was in the White House for eight years, the Iraq War wasn't even a concern to them.  And Afghanistan?  Well they tried to rush forward with support for it.

We don't need war with Iran.

Absolutely not.

But don't mistake us for friends of CODESTINK or others who walked away from the ongoing Iraq War because we're not.

Unlike them and others, we didn't write books about Iraq or do documentaries or try to fundraise off an illegal war.

The Amy Goodmans did.  They used an illegal war to enrich their own pockets.

Amy didn't donate that money to help the Iraqi people.  No Iraqi refugees benefited.

They made money off the Iraq War the same as any weapons manufacturer.

So, no, they are not our friends and we do not stand beside them.

TV: Oh, those summer nights

On NBC's new summer show THE INBETWEEN, Paul Blackthorne has really bad indigestion. We're not surprised nor do we blame him as he powers through burp after burp. He does it in every scene, with nearly every line. We think Rolaids should probably underwrite the program.

Again, we're not blaming him nor are we really sure that it's a conscious acting choice. Considering the bad dialogue, indigestion might just be a natural side effect.


THE INBETWEEN offers bad writing galore. In fact, it may be one of the ugliest shows to ever grace summer TV.

Over at ABC, they're offering Poppy Montgomery's new show THE REEF BREAK and it's the perfect summer show. Crime and drama and romance set on the beach. Poppy's a surfer, she's a bit shady, got caught back in the day when she ended up married to Jake and didn't realize he was FBI. She knows the reef, she knows the people, good and bad and in between.

She's playing her role with as much confidence as the sun streaming and pouring down on the beach. She's a complete natural and fits in with her surroundings. Watching her in action brings a smile to the face.

And that's what a summer series should do. It should be the equivalent of a day at the beach, enjoyable and fun.

THE INBETWEEN is neither enjoyable or fun. Watching, you wonder how did this ever get on the air? You can almost hear Richard E. Grant in THE PLAYER saying, "If I'm really honest, this isn't even an American movie."

That would explain how Charlotte Sieling ended up as an executive producer. She's worked on a number of TV shows including the Danish version (the original version) of THE KILLING. THE INBETWEEN is dark and, honestly, hollow. Harriet Dyer -- a name no one ever thought would end up with stardom (and, based on THE INBETWEEN, that's still a good hunch) plays the lead named Cassie Beford. NBC promotional material insists that she "was born with a gift, though she may call it a curse." Oh, the drama!

Cassie's basically the little boy in THE SIXTH SENSE -- she sees dead people. She helps them resolve their problems -- which makes her a little like THE GHOST WHISPERER as well though she lacks Jennifer Love Hewitt's winning personality. Honestly, she lacks personality period.

The show can really be seen as a bad children's water color painting and Harriet's Cassie as the water that the paint brushes were left in before the water was splashed onto the painting causing a dark, blurry muddle.

With three episodes aired thus far (the next episode will air next week), NBC is seeing a steady erosion in the ratings with each episode. This isn't NBC's fault. They're promoting it like it's the return of FRIENDS.

Meanwhile over at ABC, where's the promotion for REEF BREAK? On Friday's MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD, they repeatedly aired commercials for the summer soap opera GRAND HOTEL. (GRAND HOTEL does not impress in episode one. Few soap operas do. We plan to review the show but are trying to give it an episode or two to find its footing.) Now if you are someone tuning into MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD, we have a few questions.

Our first question: Would you be more likely to watch an action show like REEF BREAK or a soap opera like GRAND HOTEL? Because we'd assume you'd be a better match with REEF BREAK; however, ABC aired no advertisement for REEF BREAK (again, while airing three for GRAND HOTEL). That confused us.

Our second question? Why are you watching the show still?

Last week was another episode of mental masturbation. Nothing happened. This is an action show, right? But we were (yet again) in a simulation of sorts so nothing taking place -- for Fitz and Gemma -- was really taking place.

Does the audience enjoy being jerked around like this? Now that this is a summer show, the episode order has been drastically reduced. Thirteen episodes for this season and thirteen for next. You'd think they wouldn't need to pad out episodes with that short of a season.

Our third question would be: How much do you enjoy being jerked around? Clearly, you must enjoy it some to put with non-action storylines that go nowhere. But we're referring to fan fave Deke, for example. He's barely been on this season. And, of course, the season started with Fitz missing and Gemma and Fitz apart. Isn't that how every season is starting to kick off -- Gemma and Fitz apart? It all gets a bit redundant after awhile.

But back to the characters. Deke's barely on. Gregg Clark's Coulson thankfully died. However, they've kept Clark on the show, now as a bad guy. If Clark was never believable as a team leader, he's even less believable as a bad guy.

But here's the thing: If they can bring him on as a new character, why can't they bring back Bobbi and Lance? It's not Adrianna Palicki's fault that Bobbi was written off and it's not Nick Blood's fault that Lance was written off. The plan was to star the two in a spin-off. But, in the end, ABC took a pass.

When that happens, most show runners say, "Let's bring them back!" And not for a single episode (the way Nick Blood was brought back) but as regular characters.

'B-b-b-but the storyline won't allow it, we wrote them out in such a way --'

Oh, get real. The universe has been created, recreated, destroyed and recreated again on MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD. It could easily be reconfigured to allow Bobbie and Lance to return. That is if they care about pleasing the audience. But maybe they don't care?

It's still more than a little stunning that so many faceless characters remain on the show after they were so quick to rush Brett Dalton off the show (first as Ward, than as Hive). What is the point of Piper or Davis being on the show? This is not meant as an insult to either Briana Venskus or Maximilian Osinski. With heroic efforts, they've brought their vastly underwritten roles to life. But if there are no storylines for Piper or Davis, why are the characters on the show?

Summer shows raise a lot of questions these days and maybe that's not a good thing. Hasn't the American school system conditioned us to put off all heavy thinking until fall?

We can't do better than this guy?

Joe Biden.

That's the best we can hope for?


bad biden

That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Bad Biden."  Every few days, it's another Biden moment where the tone police rush in to insist that this doesn't really matter and look the other way.  However, as noted in Monday's "Iraq snapshot:"

Joe's running a play it safe campaign.  He thinks that will work in the primaries.  And, with so much of the press propping him up, it may work -- in the primaries.

But when it's head to head time with Donald Trump in the general election, Donald's not going to back down.  As some idiotic Kos-Kos hisses, "We need to get along!," Donald Trump's not going to say, "Oh, okay, then I won't emphasize this stupid thing that Joe just said."

As history demonstrates, over and over, Joe Biden always says some stupid thing.

His supporters and enablers last week did him no good.  Many people were outraged by his statements.  Bob can quibble over what the wording was.  US House Rep Tulsi can say his rivals are making political hay out of the situation.  None of that matters.

What matters is that people had a serious response to this and they were ignored.  The candidate dismissed them and so much of the opinion shaping public did.  (Which, pay attention, is how you lose the ability to shape opinion.)

Joe Biden already suffered from an enthusiasm gap.  Everything that took place last week only ensured that the enthusiasm gap grew.

The message that's shaping up from Campaign Biden is that Joe's not Donald Trump.

Got it.

And We The People got that message in 2016 when Hillary campaigned on not being Donald Trump as well.

The first day of 2016, we looked back at the previous year with "2015: The Year of the Ass."  And that piece concluded with:

2015 will lead into 2016.  So is it any surprise that, as the year ends, it appears very likely that the two major party candidates who'll be competing next year will be Hillary and Donald Trump?

What else, honestly, what else could The Year of the Ass produce but a match off between each major party's biggest ass?

Right now the tone police are trying to control the conversation from the center-left to the left.  They may or may not be able to do that throughout the primaries.  Come the general election, however, they won't stand a chance of doing it.  The GOP will not look the other way on one of Biden's many gaffes because Kos-Kos whines, "Can't we all just get along!"

As Mike noted in "Go away, Joe," "He destroys everything."

So we're all just going to let him?  If the 2020 election matters at all then it's time to hold Joe Biden to real standards because we don't need Crazy Uncle Joe losing it in the general election.

  1. Biden has done more fundraisers than campaign events this year, per our count. Closed-door fundraisers are a presidential campaign staple, but Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders (the other candidates in the 2020 top 3) have sworn them off.
  2. "Joe Biden Doesn’t Look So Electable in Person" by Michelle Goldberg via NYT

Tiny House Living (Dona)

Our house . . . is a very, very tiny house. Okay, not mine. But my younger brother is doing tiny house living. The shows on this type of home insist that this is a movement and it's sweeping the nation.


For my brother, it's a way for him to save on rent. He got very lucky and found one for $23,000. It was used -- but in good condition. And, from the shows, he could have paid between $25,000 to $40,000 for the one he purchased so he got a great deal.

Our folks loaned him the money. So right now, he owes $12,000 (that's what he borrowed from our parents). And he's paying them $750 a month (that's what he was paying in rent). He'll be done with that soon.

He also has bills. For water. For electricity. And because it's a much smaller space, his electric bill is so much smaller. He's saving money all around. (He bought small parcel of land so he's not even renting land.)

But there is the issue of the kitchen. While some tiny homes can have kitchens, full kitchens, not all do. His has a sink, two range burners and a small fridge.

So how is he going to cook beyond that?

Well that's when his sister came to his rescue: InstaPot.

He can do a pot of beans or a 15 bean soup easily with the InstaPot. He also knows how to make rice with the InstaPot. He used the cookbook that came with it to teach himself how to do boiled eggs.

My mother taught him this:

Step-by-Step How to Cook Chicken in the Instant Pot
1.Add 1 cup of water to the 6-quart Instant Pot. Insert the trivet. Add the chicken to the pot. If frozen, make sure the pieces are broken apart and not in a solid mass. (See above for the correct water amount if using a 3-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot.)
2.Season your chicken, if desired. (See blog post below for suggestions.)
3.Set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for the number of minutes specified above, depending upon the type of chicken you’re cooking.
4.After the cook time has finished, vent to release any remaining pressure. (If natural release is specified above for the type of chicken you’re cooking, let it natural release for 5 minutes and then vent any remaining pressure).
5.Carefully open the lid and check the chicken’s internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. The chicken should register 165 degrees F at the thickest part, and the thermometer should not touch the bone. (See below for what to if the chicken isn’t done if your chicken is below 165 degrees F.)
6.Once cool enough to handle, shred or dice as desired. (See the above mixer tip for a quick way to shred.)
If he's doing tacos or a sandwich, he shreds the chicken. Otherwise, he doesn't and it's chicken pieces like they came out of the oven.

He also uses Trina's recipe for black eyed peas in the Instapot.

He says that was the first thing he cooked in the InstaPot all by himself without any help and that he hopes Trina does more Instapot recipes.

The InstaPot can be used in place of the oven and in place of the range with many items -- including desert. Because it is portable, it can also be in a cabinet when not in use freeing up counter space. He really did not think he was going to make it with just those burners. And it was just those burners because as soon as he moved, his microwave died. Jim and I sent him a new one via Amazon (prime, so there the next day) and that helps but he really can do pretty much everything in the InstaPot. If you have a small space and do not have an oven, this really is a life saver.

The 13 best singer-songwriters

Singer-songwriters. What would the world be without them? A lot less musical, that's for sure. We're presenting a bakers' dozen, these are the 13 best singer-songwriters. This is a genre. So someone can write a song and they can sing but that doesn't mean that they are a singer-songwriter. The genre's been known by many other names -- folk-rock, art songs, etc.

The artists first truly emerged in the sixties. They flourished in the 70s. They are still around today. For our focus, we are picking the 13 best from the sixties and seventies. That means Tracy Chapman, Tori Amos, Ben Harper and other artists we love were not eligible for this list.

singer songwriter

1) Joni Mitchell

2) Neil Young

3) Carly Simon

4) Laura Nyro

5) Cat Stevens

6) Stevie Wonder

7) Bob Dylan

8) Phil Ochs

9) Melanie

10) Dolly Parton

11) Van Morrison

12) Paul Simon

13) Jackie DeShannon

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