Sunday, August 31, 2014

Truest statement of the week

It just shows how absolutely wrongheaded business "leaders" and school "reformers" are when they pervert the whole purpose of education--which is NOT about training workers but about teaching people to be citizens--and call children "products."

Schools are NOT businesses and can't be run on business models. 

-- Susan, "A Quote That Pisses Me Off" (On the Edge).

Truest statement of the week II

President Obama is preparing to do something horrifically dangerous in Syria and Iraq. The rise of ISIS has crippled the empire’s decade’s old strategy of deploying Islamic fundamentalist fighters to do its dirty work in the Arab and Muslim world. ISIS, the Frankenstein birthed in the cauldron of America’s quest for regime change in Syria, has turned on its U.S., Saudi, Qatari and Turkish masters to establish its own caliphate, to which thousands of other Islamist fighters are flocking. Even U.S. corporate media now acknowledge that the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels that Obama wants to shovel $500 million at, are virtually non-existent. They were always a mirage, creatures of western propaganda. The Islamists were the only force that could challenge the Syrian army on the battlefield, and now that they are rallying to ISIS, or running away, Obama does not know which way to turn. 

-- Glen Ford, "Obama Schemes to Attack Syria, Under the Guise of Fighting ISIS" (Black Agenda Report).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.

First up, 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.

And what did we come up with?

Susan gets another Truest. 
As does Glen Ford.
Does it?  Because there's no discussion going on in the US.

Ava and C.I. examine the five pilots Amazon's offering this year.
The Democratic Party always promises us so much and delivers so damn little.
John Kerry plays Dolly Levi.
I go into the reason for lists.
Cut up Barack livens up a dull meating urging a quick round of Toss Jarrett.

What we listened to.
Workers World.
Socialist Worker (UK).
Mike and the gang wrote this.

For those wanting a TESR Kitchen, there will be at least one next week.  Possibly two.


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

Editorial: Cat got the peace movement's tongue?

Where for art thou  peace 'leaders'?

Refute Barack, deny his name.

Return to the work of peace.

The Guardian had a headline today: "Greens fail to force debate on Australian military involvement in Iraq."

Who's trying to force it in the US?

Congress goes back into session on September 8th and there are some who believe a vote could come as early as Tuesday, September 9th.

Will the US register any real objection to more war on Iraq?

TV: The pilots

Amazon wants you to help them pick their next show.

Of course they do, they didn't do too well picking last season's crop, did they?

Alpha House was supposed to set the word on fire but received only slightly average reviews and no buzz at all.

How bad does a show starring only men have to be to be ignored by the Water Cooler Set?

Pretty damn bad.

And Alpha House is.

So it doesn't take a lot to improve over last year's crop.

In fact, the main titles for Hysteria are already heads and tails above last year's effort at sci fi which promised, should the pilot get a series order from Amazon, they'd fill the special effects scenes in.  And Whit Stillman's The Cosmopolitians features Joan Osborne singing the theme song, her 2007 cover of "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted."

Let's start with that show because it's unique, one-of-a-kind and what TV could really use.

It's a wry and amusing pilot which has about five rhythms going on at once -- a hallmark in Stillman's previous work.

Stillman is one of the great directors to emerge in the independent film movement before it was co-opted by the Weinsteins.  Other great film makers who emerged during that era include Allison Anders, Spike Lee, Robert Rodriguez, Rose Troche, Lana and Andy Wachowskis, Kimberly Peirce, and Kevin Smith.  We don't include Quentin Tarantino on the list.  He does his Warner Brothers cartoons very well, we just don't mistake them for art.  We also note that the film makers we listed?  They've had epic battles with studios, they have suffered and fought for their art.

Quentin?  Every step has been smoothed over by the Weinsteins.  He is their product.  They repeatedly save his work by insisting he reshoot, he recast, he edit this or that.  In fact, the robotic feel to so many of his films can be explained by the fact that he basically does what the Weinstein's tell him -- he's a more of a directing program than a director.

Someone with more talent and ambition would be Steven Soderbergh, a true artist.  And like Stillman, he emerges early on in the era.  He's changed film more than he's ever been credit for -- there would be no Tarantino if Sodenberg hadn't re-invented film dialogue to begin with.  We're huge fans.

But we're puzzled by Red Oaks, the pilot Soderbergh produces.

It's not a bad pilot.

Paul Reiser plays an ass and he's perfect for and in the role.  He's funny, everyone is.  Jennifer Grey probably walks away with all the laughs.

But what's the point?

Does Amazon -- does anyone -- really need a sitcom set in the eighties about a White teen in college working at a country club?

It's well done but it's nothing we haven't seen before many times and probably was best done by Gary Marshall with The Flamingo Kid.

And does anyone need Really?

No offense to Sarah Chalke or Selma Blair but weren't they bothered by the dated premise?

Fat man, skinny wife?

Really goes all out on the formula by having two fat men (one of whom has bigger boobs than his wife, as his young daughter points out) and two skinny women.

Even worse than the tired genre is the tone.

We've broken old habits of unhealthy vice,
We now eat fresh seaweed and short-grained brown rice;
We've cleared out our cupboards, threw out those stale rolls,
By planting a garden, we've cleaned up our souls
"Organic," written by Patty Hall

Patty Hall's song gently skewers 'we.'  But there's nothing gentle or informed about Really where the four leads all play smug characters who really believed they've cleaned up their souls.

"I voted for Romney," a young outsider says to the group and they look like they want to die.

The smugness and superiority grows tired real damn quick.

Worse than a bunch of overweight Peter Pans would be Hand of God which appears to exist solely to ask the question if there's anything Dana Delany won't stoop too?

She seemed like such a talented actress on China Beach but would a talented actress have been repeatedly upstaged by a supporting character.  Yes, the supporting character, KC, was played by Marg Helgenberger who is an acting miracle.  But Dana had the focus of each episode and the best written scenes.  Still Marg walked away with the show.

Dana followed up China Beach with the film Exit to Eden in which she played a character who spanked Paul Mercurio but whose heart really wasn't in it.

America did not feel her pain and the film flopped.

Which is the story of all of Dana's films except for Housesitter, the Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin comedy.

Most of her post-China Beach work has been bad TV.  Body of Proof offered her a change of pace and a bit of quality for two seasons -- sadly, the show ran for three.

Delany destroyed the show.

Having a hit show wasn't enough for Delany who didn't enjoy certain things about the show.  She didn't, for example, like that audiences loved Nicholas Bishop so she got behind firing him after the second season.  She wanted more than Bishop fired, she wanted Jeri Ryan fired as well. The producers were ready to go along with that -- ABC was not willing to fire Ryan.

So the producers just sidelined Jeri's character for all but one episode, the sixth one, "Fallen Angel."  Also known as the highest rated episode of season three.

When Delany was filming China Beach, Ron Perlman was making CBS' Beauty and the Beast with Linda Hamilton.  He and Delany team up to make Deathwish with a religious twist.

There is no reason for this show to exist and you'd have to be ethically corrupt or unable to be hired for any other role to join the cast of this trash.

Which brings us back to Hysteria.

This is the one that succeeds.

Series lead Mena Suvari, is paired with an interesting concept and a script that hints as opposed to babbles.

In the pilot, Dr. Logan Harlan leaves Houston for Austin  as a result of a possible outbreak which she believes is spread by empathy.  While Hand Of God has the dated look of an LA Law episode, Hysteria has a unique visual that results in arresting and haunting images.  Otto Bathurst directed the pilot and we really feel his work earned a mention.  (TV is a producer's medium.)

Laura San Giacomo, James McDaniel, Josh Stuart, TR Knight, Asjha Cooper are part of an amazing and interesting cast of a series that could actually involve viewers.  Which is why we're sure Amazon will pass on Hysteria and instead go with the tired and offensive Hand of God.

There's rarely ever any change

It's time for song . . .

Oh, hear the loudly rolling drum
Democrats, good Democrats!
The time to right our wrongs has come,
Democrats, good Democrats!
Too long have "rings" and fraud held sway
The sword of justice hid away
'Till now for "change" the people pray
Democrats, good Democrats.

Yes, people wanted change.

And then some.

Remember in 2008, when Barack marketed hope and change?

Barry & Bully

[Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Barry & Bully."]

 After eight years of Bully Boy Bush, so many were willing to accept anything.

Our country calls on us tonight,
Democrats, good Democrats!
To battle bravely for the right,
Democrats, good Democrats!
Eight years ago we won the prize,
And then were robbed by tricks and lies,
Of Freedom's foes in friends' disguise,
Democrats, good Democrats!

Eight years ago we won the prize?  Damn right.  In 2008, it was 8 years ago that the Supreme Court stole the election and installed Bully Boy Bush despite Al Gore winning.

In Freedom's cause we come again,
Democrats, good Democrats!
Our foes shall find their tricks in vain,
Democrats, good Democrats!
Our country's good we will maintain
Our stolen rights we will regain
And honest laws we will sustain,
Democrats, good Democrats!

We really thought that in 2008, didn't we?

That a Democratic president would restore our rights and the rule of law?

Didn't happen, did it?

It so rarely does.

And the song?

It's actually referencing 1876 (Hayes and Tilden) not 2008.

In other words, Democrats have long promised to restore rights and seldom delivered.

Well Hello Johnny

Secretary of Match Making John Kerry attempts to pair up Robert S. Beecroft and Brett McGurk as those around the three chant, "Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!"

Jim's World


As promised, I'm doing a Jim's World this edition.

Last week, our output was:

"The Disco Ten" and "The essential dance tracks" were list pieces.  We'll be doing more of those.

Not because they're brief but because (a) readers enjoy them and (b) these type of lists determine who gets included in the canon and who doesn't.  So we want to do our part to enlarge who gets considered

Our playlists each week is just a list of ten albums we listened to while working on the edition.

But Elaine -- who kept begging for this feature to be brought back -- pairs it at her site with CounterPunch and she's begun noticing how CounterPunch will include 30 albums and one or two may be from female artists.  Or may not be.

You'll never find a list here that women aren't on -- not a music list.

But in CounterPunch's world, women aren't artists and they certainly aren't equal to men.

You'll find ravings over the Ramones at CounterPunch -- the Ramones who are to the Sex Pistols what the Monkees were to the Beatles.

We are going to continue to do list pieces.

They serve a purpose.

We'd ask that when you see a list -- at any site -- you see if the list expands what is accepted or is just a conservative knee jerk reaction list like the ones offered by CounterPunch each week.

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