Sunday, February 28, 2016

Truest statement of the week

Anyone who praises Hillary Clinton’s accomplishments and abilities, her understanding of world affairs, and her diplomatic acumen is right up there with the fools, dupes and suckers who take Donald Trump or Ted Cruz or any of the less colorful bozos in the Republican goon show seriously.

-- Andrew Levine's "Team Clinton: Fools, Damn Fools and Democrats" (COUNTERPUNCH).

Truest statement of the week II

The people who take me to task -- it is the same old thing. "But don’t you want a woman?"
But most of the people who say that are not aware of her record. It is strange to see somebody who says they are against fracking, and then you tell them, "Well, you know [Hillary Clinton] has been selling fracking," and they have chosen not to recognize that.

-- Susan Sarandon to Ted Johnson, "Susan Sarandon: Media ‘Lack Imagination, Journalistic Ability’ in Covering Presidential Race" (VARIETY).

Truest statement of the week III

There appears to be a layer of fear that protects Beyoncé from criticism despite her blatant exploitation of the bourgeoning movement. Many are hesitant due to her perceived social identity. Her status as a Black woman does not mean she is for the liberation of Black women. Just because her music is marketed and packaged to black people does not mean she is working in solidarity for radical change. Under capitalism, the masses are merely consumers to the vast majority of these corporate artists. Profit is their motivation. It is important to be critical of all corporate artists who attempt to co-opt the movement. How else can we move to a higher level of struggle and demand that icons and leaders uphold the ideology and practice of the movement?
If Beyoncé’s embrace of patriarchy is deemed feminist and her lust for money a model for Black liberation then we are in serious trouble.  Her target audience, young Black people, will internalize these principles as the correct path to social transformation. The revolution will not be televised, but the corporate media will certainly make it into a product. The courageous actions of thousands of Black people across the country have forced the corporate media to react. Thinking positively about this development is one thing, thinking critical about it another.

-- Reggie E, "How the Corporate Media Uses Beyoncé to Co-opt the Black Radical Movement" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

A 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.

And what did we come up with:

Andrew Levine gets a truest.
As does Susan Sarandon.
And Reggie E.
Judging by South Carolina's Democratic Party primary, there's a good chance we do.
Ava and C.I. take on FOX's latest flash in the pan.
They also do the third installment in their Emmy series.
We wonder what NPR thought it was teaching?

I (Jim) didn't like this idea.  C.I. ended up doing it over at THE COMMON ILLS.  Once I saw what she was doing with the posts, I got it.
Don't miss it.
Entranced by his own reflection.
Sarandon caught it.
Due to the Academy Awards, we listened to movie soundtracks while we worked on this edition.

  • India - protesters vow to continue struggle to fre...

  • Repost from Great Britian's Socialist Worker

  • Isakson Praises Senate VA Committee General Counse...

  • Press release from Senator Johnny Isakson's office.

  • Highlights

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

  • Peace.

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

    Editorial: We elect War Criminals, don't we?

    Because if we do, Hillary Clinton has no reason to sweat it.

    The War Hawk who promoted war on Libya, Syria and, probably, greater LA wants to be president of the United States.

    Listening to her prattle on, it's hard to figure out why.

    She has no real plans, no overarching dream of what the country could be, no expressed desire of helping the American people.

    So why her?

    Maybe, from Saturday's "Iraq snapshot," this is a clue:

    The Podesta Group has [PDF format warning] disclosed their new contact to represent the government of Iraq:

    Iraq shall pay the Provider an amount of nine hundred sixty thousand US dollars (US $960,000) for services rendered, plus expenses.  Quarterly installments of two hundred forty thousand US dollars (US $240,000) shall bee paid by check in advance of each three-month period, including the beginning of the term of this Agreement.  Should the Provider be required to travel, Iraq will reimburse Provider at cost for travel expenses, including but not limited to airline tickets, airport transfers, accommodations, and meals.  Public relations expenses such as subscription services, events, digital and media monitoring, or advertising will also be passed through at cost.
    Expenses for each three-month period shall be invoiced and paid by check with the fees due for the following period.  Total expenses billed during the period of this contract shall not exceed forty thousand US dollars (US $40,000).

    What's that money buying?

    The contract innocently puts it:

    The objectives of this contract are to promote better understanding within the United States of the priorities and concerns of the Government of Iraq and to further the purposes of the Strategic Framework Agreement between the United States and Iraq, facilitate dialogue between Iraq and the U.S. Congress and executive branch, and make available to the Government of Iraq the services identified below. 

    So Podesta's family gets richer and he gets Hillary's ear and what do the Iraqi people get?

    A non-responsive government which tolerates and participates in abuses well documented by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

    A functioning media would be raising this issue, asking Hillary at debates, "How will you be protecting the people of Iraq when the Podestas rake in close to a million for representing the government of Iraq?"

    The Podesta Group was founded by John Podesta and his brother.

    John Podesta is the chair of the 2016 Hillary Clinton for President campaign.

    Why does she want to be president?

    To help her friends get richer, apparently.

  • So that vote for the Iraq War -- and all her years supporting it -- were just to create 'business opportunities' for her friends?

    You've come a long way, Hillary, to an America where Boss Tweed can be a woman.

    TV: The superficial devil

    FOX's latest struggling show is as fake as Tom Ellis' chest.


    Ellis plays the title role in LUTHER.

    The series has already proven to be the typical FOX show -- an out of the box hit that peters out with each passing week.

    High concept meets no plot in the (stolen from the comic books which stole it from Milton) tale of Lucifer Morningstar, the Devil, returned to earth after centuries in hell apparently wishing he could be the male lead in a rom-com.

    LUTHER wants to be really edgy and funny but it's about as edgy as 1973.

    That's the year Lily Tomlin took offense at LAST TANGO IN PARIS star Maria Schneider saying she'd slept with 20 women and 50 men.  Lily told THE NEW YORK TIMES, "Instead of fifty men and twenty women, write that I've had fifty women and twenty men.  If I'm going to go out on a bisexual limb, I don't want to play safe by listing more men than women.  That was disgusting of Maria."

    We were reminded of that as we watched Luther lust over Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), have sex with Dr. Linda Martin (Rachael Harris) and seduce multiple women.

    And apparently one man.

    He gets out of bed in one scene leaving behind a man and a woman.

    One man.

    The show has no edge.

    And LUTHER too often plays out like the network's attempt to update MOONLIGHTING as Lucifer and Chloe go from crime scene to crime scene, solving this and that.

    The dialogue is often risque but rarely sophisticated and the plots are even more embarrassing.

    In other words, the show has all the depth of a glossy coffee table book.

    And it's as fake as Ellis' chest.

    Remember that?

    If you want to wax your chest, wax your damn chest.

    But do it consistently.

    Tom Ellis waxes for every shirtless scene.

    He shows up for those as smooth as a new born.

    Yet when wearing a dress shirt, without a tie, open to the second button, he treats viewers to more than a small thatch of chest hair.

    It's just another inconsistency in a show that no one ever put any real thought into.

    Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Ava and C.I.)

    The Emmys will be this fall.

    Chances are the same useless nominees will be nominated.

    Clair Danes will give the same wooden performance and be nominated, for example.

    Here are our picks for five deserving nominees.

    Taraji P. Henson (EMPIRE)

    As Cookie,  Taraji Henson frequently carries the whole show on her shoulders.


    Some episodes find Viola playing the lead character, some find her lost in the ensemble.

    Jennifer Lopez (SHADES OF BLUE)

    With this series, Lopez has reminded everyone of her skill and talent.

    Priyanka Chopra (QUANTICO)

    One of the few hits of fall 2015 has been carried by Chopra.

    Jaime Lee Curtis (SCREAM QUEENS)

    We're not crazy about the show but Jamie Lee Curtis has delivered a strong performance.

    And the winner is . . .


    Taraji Henson.  When we argued last year that she should have won, many e-mailers wanted to disagree.

    This month alone, she's won The Golden Globe and The NAACP Image Award for her portrayal of Cookie.  Still want to argue with us?

    Taraji deserves the Emmy.  End of story.

    With attention to the lack of African-Americans nominated for acting Academy Awards this year, we're doing a series noting the lack of diversity for the Emmys.  In terms of African-Americans, only Isabel Sanford (THE JEFFERSONS) has won a Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy (and only won once) and only Jackee has won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy (and only won once).  In the meantime, hagged out no-talents like Cynthia Nixon have won Comedy Emmys despite the fact that all they can really offer is watered down drama portrayals.  Our previous efforts were  "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series ..." and "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Ava and C.I.)."

    Teaching what?

    It's hard to decide who is more stupid: Rachel Morello or NPR?

    Morello reported the story, NPR aired it.

    With tonight's Academy Awards featuring no actors of color among the lead and supporting awards, 
    "the kids at this school, where ninety-nine percent of the student body is African-American, decided to stage their own Oscars ceremony.  They're giving the Academy Award of Excellence to some black members of Hollywood, past and present, who didn't get Oscar nominations, but arguably should have."

    Sounds good but then we get to this:

    One class honors ninety-one year old actress Cicely Tyson for her 1978 portrayal of Harriet Tubman in A Woman Called Moses, and the honorees in every category receive a gold plastic statue with an "E" on top, for "Excellence."

    Cicely Tyson was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for SOUNDER.

    She was not nominated for an Academy Award for A WOMAN CALLED MOSES.

    But then, a TV mini-series does not qualify for the Academy Awards.

    Still more TV shows to be turned into bad movies

    It started with Stan's "The Rock, Zac Ephron and Goldie Hawn," specifically this section:

    I like The Rock.
    Dwayne Johnson's turned out to be a strong film performer.
    TOOTH FAIRY is a favorite film of mine, I'm not joking.
    And I love a lot of his other films.
    I'm not a fan or a foe of Zac Ephron.
    But the two are teaming up and my big question here is "why?"
    I'm assuming they'll work well together.
    But why work together on a film of BAYWATCH?


    It was a piece of crap TV show.  So bad it got cancelled, remember?
    And only lived on in new episodes in syndication.
    What is the reason to make a film out of that?
    Are they going to mock it?
    Send it up?
    Okay but that's still sort of lame.
    I just don't get it.

    It became the topic for a theme post as everyone wondered what TV show could next be a bad movie?

    Ruth's "Kojack: The Movie:"

    KOJACK: THE MOVIE would continue Hollywood's desire to turn really lame TV shows into films.

    It would also provide Patrick Stewart with a starring role.

    In the film, the plot would revolve around some French jewel thieves and drug smugglers who also build bombs on the side.

    Willem Dafoe would star as the main bad guy.

    Patrick Stewart's young partner would be played by Justin Timberlake.

    To add a love angle, Dakota Fanning would be cast as Patrick Stewart's girlfriend.

    No, no one would ever comment -- in the film -- on the vast age difference.

    Three weeks after the film bombs at the box office, VARIETY will announce that they're doing a reboot and recasting the main role with Vin Diesel.

     Rebecca's "trapper john m.d:"

    afraid there are no more pointless t.v. shows to turn into films?

    time to go with 'trapper john m.d.'

    1 of the all time boring shows.

    for a plot you have some medical emergency: susan sarandon is prepared to have her tonsils taken out when trapper discovers that she also has an issue with a balloon in her belly - containing drugs from a trip to mexico where she was unknowingly used as a drug mule.

    antonio banderas co-stars as the mexican drug runner determined to get the drugs back even if he has to kill susan and trapper.

    trapper is played by russell crowe so he can deliver a lot of sanctimonious speeches.

    kellen lutz has the gregory harrison role which means he mainly walks around in briefs or is caught in the shower.

    every now and then he scrubs up for surgery.

     Mike's "BJ and the Bear:"

    Afraid Hollywood's running out of bad TV shows to turn into films?

    Fear not, they've still got BJ and the Bear.

    Cam Gigandet poses and preens in the title role as truck driver BJ.

    Tom Selleck voices the role of the Bear.

    The Bear is the monkey that BJ travels with.

    In the film, instead of using a real monkey, they go with an animitronic (sp?) monkey -- the way they did Scooby in the two live action films about Scooby Doo.

    BJ and the Bear's special relationship on the long road trips is alluded to but not really explored until, at a truck stop, Bear wanders into the men's room and discovers Cam on all fours stuffed at both ends with a crowd of men cheering him on.

    After that, the film plays like the last ten minutes of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN but with Willie Nelson singing "On The Road Again."

    Betty's "Holmes & Yo-Yo:"

    As Hollywood searches for more bad TV shows to turn into hideous movies, they should next go with HOLMES & YO-YO.

    In this film of the 70s TV show, an often half-dressed Channing Tatum stars as a detective who's assigned a new partner -- the robot Yo-Yo played by Jonah Hill.

    Over the course of the film, Channing learns to open up emotionally and not just physically while Jonah discovers sometimes the real human is a robot.

    James Cameron directs to ensure that the last 30 minutes features a lot of explosions and gun fire.

     Kat's "Supertrain:"

    SUPERTRAIN was a really bad 70s TV show.

    Fred Silverman was supposed to rescue in the toilet NBC.

    This did not rescue the network.

    But it should be the next bad TV show to be turned into a really bad film.

    You could have a series of big names in minor roles as various passengers.

    Anne Archer, Fred Ward, Celine Dion, etc could be the passengers with minor storylines.

    Julia Roberts could play the passenger who has scientific knowledge.

    That knowledge is needed when the main character responsible for the train -- Chris Pine -- learns the villain (Jon Voight) has disabled the brakes on the train and it will now crash.

    Sounds like 100 other films you've already seen?

    Well that pretty much describes everything released in 2015, doesn't it?

    Ann's "The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo:"

    The next bad TV show that should be turned into a bad movie?

    Sheriff Lobo.

    I see Gerard Butler as the self-infatuated and crooked Lobo.

    Heather Grahm should play his love interest.

    Owen Wilson could play his deputy.

    But the part we're all interested in?

    Who plays the Nell Carter role?

    This is the show that shot Nell to fame and allowed her to star in Gimmie' A Break.

    Viola Davis could get that role.

    The film would be nothing but a series of bad jokes and bad car chase scenes with Owen Wilson running around naked, hands over his junk, around the 70 minute mark.

    Stan's "Blansky's Beauties:"

    As Hollywood increasingly runs out of TV shows to turn into films, I nominate BLANSKY'S BEAUTIES for the next one to be turned into a bad TV movie.

    Glenn Close can star in the lead (played on TV by Nancy Walker).  She's over a Las Vegas all female review so Emma Stone, Anne Hathaway, etc can star.

    They'll get a few musical numbers.

    And Gwyneth Paltrow can show up as the stunt bike rider (Roz Kelly in the first episode of the TV show).

    And maybe the movie can explore the tensions between Gwyn and Glenn's characters -- something the TV show avoided.

    There's no real plot here but, you saw, STARSKY & HUTCH, these films never have much of a plot.

    So this pointless 70s sitcom will be perfect to turn into a bad movie we all quickly forget. 

    Elaine's "The Man From Atlantis:"

    THE MAN FROM ATLANTIS is the next bad TV show that should be made into a film.

    It starred Patrick Duffy as a character with super powers like Aquaman.

    The reason people watched?

    Half naked Patrick in every episode.

    People take onscreen disrobing for granted these days but in the 70s it was still a big deal -- to see men anyway.

    An episode of the Duke boys (DUKES OF HAZARD) skinny dipping, for example, was considered major water cooler talk for those who admired the male form.

    Similarly when Stephany Powers guest starred on THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN and Lee Majors was shown nude with basically a wash cloth over his crotch, that was big talk for days.

    So Patrick Duffy in just a swim suit in episode after episode was a show driven by viewer lust.

    I see Chris Evans or Hugh Jackman in the lead role.

    Marcia's "Love Sidney:"

    Worst idea for a movie based on TV show?

    How about Love Sidney?

    Tom Cruise could star as a bachelor -- who the audience thinks is gay but who (in the 80s TV show) is never specified as gay.

    He'd take in a woman and her child -- so it would be like a Jerry McGuire sequel.

    The whole thing would be meaningless and, 50 minutes in, the audience would grow restless over the refusal to address Tom's character being gay or to even acknowledge it.

    and Trina's "American Girls."

    The 70s series American Girls was a short-lived and largely meaningless program.

    Due to the rush to turn bad TV into films (The Equalizer, Baywatch), it's my nominee for next at bat.

    Cameron Diaz and Viola Davis go around the country in an RV as journalists doing human interest stories when not being kidnapped and sold as sexual slaves.

    On CBS in the seventies, that 'plot' was enough for Saturday nights.

    Endorsement of the week

    Barack goes Greek


    As always, Barack Obama demands all surfaces be shiny enough for him to see his own reflection.  In Greek mythology, this self-obsession is how Nemesis trapped Narcissus.

    Tweet of the Week

  • Wow! So brave & articulate. Thx 4 being on the right side of history even tho it might cost u dearly.

  • This edition's playlist

    1) WORKING GIRL soundtrack

    2) MAGNOLIA soundtrack

    3) LADY SINGS THE BLUES soundtrack

    4) GREASE soundtrack

    5) PURPLE RAIN soundtrack.

    6) A HARD DAY'S NIGHT soundtrack

    7) BEGIN AGAIN soundtrack

    8)  THE VIRGIN SUICIDES soundtrack

    9) FUNNY GIRL soundtrack

    10) THE BODYGUARD soundtrack

    India - protesters vow to continue struggle to free arrested student union president

    This is a repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

    India - protesters vow to continue struggle to free arrested student union president

    Students groups block Bihar Sampark Kranti Express demanding release of Kanhaiya Kumar
    Students block the Bihar Sampark Kranti Express trainline demanding release of Kanhaiya Kumar

    The biggest wave of student unrest for 25 years has hit India following the arrest in Delhi of Kanhaiya Kumar, a student union president.

    Cops seized Kumar after he addressed a demonstration last week and charged him with sedition.

    Far right students, linked to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, had accused him of making “anti-national” statements during the protest held to mark the execution of Afzal Guru – a Kashmiri convicted of a terrorist attack on the Indian parliament in 2001.

    Thousands joined protests yesterday, Thursday in response to Kumar’s arrest. These took place at colleges across the country, from Udaipur in the north to Chennai in the south.

    More than 10,000 students from across Delhi blocked city streets.

    Elsewhere, scores of protesters were held by cops as they tried to march in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Varanasi constituency. Meanwhile, demonstrators clashed with right wing student activists in the southern city of Hyderabad.

    In Patna, students stormed the BJP headquarters and tried to vandalise the offices of the hard-right party. Some students were injured as police drove them out with baton charges.


    The tempo of struggle rose dramatically after BJP lawyers threw rocks at Kumar and journalists covering his case in court earlier this week.

    The BJP lawyers waved Indian flags and chanted “Glory to Mother India” and “Traitors leave India”.

    The BJP is desperate to whip-up anti-Muslim tensions in the run up to state assembly elections later this year. They calculate that by polarising Indian society they can rally right wing voters into their camp.

    But the resilience of the students has many politicians rattled, and the movement shows little sign of dispersing.

    As one student from Jawaharlal Nehru University said, “Until the time Kumar is released, we will continue this struggle. Unless they drop the sedition charges against our comrades we will carry on with our strike.”

    The spread of the student protests to the millions of workers and poor who are being attacked by the government is the best way to ensure the BJP’s plans turn to dust.

    the socialist worker

    Isakson Praises Senate VA Committee General Counsel on Receiving Special Recognition Award


    Senator Johnny Isakson (above) is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  His office issued the following last week:

    Monday, February 26, 2016
    Contact: Amanda Maddox, 202-224-7777
    Lauren Gaydos, 202-224-9126

    Isakson Praises Senate VA Committee General Counsel on Receiving Special Recognition Award
    Amanda Meredith honored by Disabled American Veterans for years of service to veterans through work on committee, Veterans Court
    WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today applauded committee Deputy Staff Director and General Counsel Amanda Meredith on receiving the Special Recognition Award from Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a veteran service organization that advocates for veterans and their families to ensure they have access to the resources needed while transitioning back to civilian life.
    Meredith, of Binghamton, New York, has worked for the committee for more than 10 years, where she currently focuses on veterans’ benefits policy. Previously, Meredith served at the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
    “When I took over as chairman of this committee, I knew I needed Amanda Meredith by my side to see to it that veterans get the benefits they deserve,” said Isakson. “She is a great asset to our team and the veterans of America are lucky to have her working on their behalf.”
    DAV National Commander Moses A. McIntosh, Jr., said Meredith’s “exemplary professionalism and unwavering spirit of cooperation with DAV and others have measurably contributed to stronger federal policies and laws to improve the lives of America’s veterans, particularly those injured or ill from their military service.”
                For more information about DAV and the Special Recognition Award, click here.
    The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 114th Congress.
    Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate VA Committee since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the military as well as more than 750,000 


    This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

    "The waning of Moqtada?" -- most requested highlight of the week.

    "Iraq snapshot" and "How to get John Kerry to talk Iraq?" -- C.I. reports on a Congressional hearing.

     "Walk On Water" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

    "SHADES OF BLUE," "that useless 'scandal,'" "FULLER HOUSE." "X-FILES" and "The Originals (The one and only Freya)" -- Elaine, Rebecca, Stan, Mike and Marcia cover TV. 

    "Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook" -- Trina reviews a book.

    "Idiot of the week: John Kerry" -- Mike picks the stooge.

    "F-ed up USPS" -- Kat on the postal service.

    "ZOOLANDER 2" -- Stan goes to the movies.

     "On diabetes (C.I.)" -- C.I. fills in for Trina.

    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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