Sunday, January 25, 2015

Truest statement of the week

China, having served Obama’s speechifying purposes as the jobs-stealing boogeyman, then becomes a prop for presidential self-congratulation on the environment. “In Beijing,” he said, “we made an historic announcement. The United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions.” This is Obama, Enviro-Man. But, wait! Here comes Obama as Frack-Man, who has overseen the hyper-production of U.S. oil and gas and turned the White House into PR central for the fracking industry. “We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. And today, America is number one in oil and gas.” One million new barrels of U.S. oil per day have flooded world markets, further encouraging fossil fuel-intensive development and global warming. He is a super-fracking enviro-marvel.
Weaponized U.S. oil production threatens to destabilize Russia, Iran and Venezuela – and possibly the entire global economy, which is slumping and does not need the extra fuel. But oil warfare is clearly Obama’s purpose. Sanctions are just gravy. “We’re upholding the principle that bigger nations can’t bully the small by opposing Russian aggression and supporting Ukraine’s democracy, and reassuring our NATO allies,” he said, celebrating his alliance with Ukrainian Nazis.

-- Glen Ford, "State of the Union 2015: Lethal, Predatory, Delusional" (Black Agenda Report).

Truest statement of the week II

Uday Al-Zaidi is the brother of journalist Muntadher Al-Zaidy, who threw “the shoe that went around the world” at George W. Bush on December 14th, 2008 “… for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq.”
In Court he testified that watching the US President he had “felt the blood of the innocent people bleeding from beneath (Bush’s) feet”, compelling his action.
Representation to the Iraqi government at the highest level is incumbent on all those to whom humanity and human rights is utmost priority. No time can be wasted. Rivers of blood have bled, literally, from Iraqi feet and bodies, from Abu Ghraib to the innumerable secret prisons. Delay will near certainly be death.
It is also incumbent upon the UN’s relevant organizations, UNAMI and all other such international organizations that pressure be brought on the Iraqi Authorities for Mr Al-Zaidi’s immediate release.

It is further imperative to draw Prime Minister Al-Abadi’s attention to his personal responsibility for the safety of Mr Al-Zaidi and all others under government detention. Should human rights and international law in Iraq now count for even less than the woeful post-invasion standing, the Prime Minister will surely eventually be held accountable in international law for the horrifying abuses with his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki.

-- Felicity Arbuthnot,  "Uday Al-Zaidy: Another Life in the Balance in 'The New Iraq'" (Dissident Voice).

A note to our readers

Hey --


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.

We got up very early for us, got the edition up.

And what did we come up with:

Another truest for Glen Ford. 
Another for Felicity Arbuthnot,

It's really amazing to watch Americans pretend they give a damn about Iraq by trashing a movie or a dead man while refusing to call out Barack's request for US combat troops on the ground in Iraq.
I (Jim) begged Ava and C.I. to tackle this film.  A piece we did last week was big in terms of e-mails and C.I. has twice addressed the film at The Common Ills.  They didn't want to but agreed in the end and this is a powerful and important piece. 
Stan raised the issue of the documentary and we quickly assembled a group based on who had seen the documentary.  

Ruth brought this one to our attention.

We love ICH's content.  We hate the comments. 
Oh, Nancy, you're so begging for exposure.
What we listened to while working on this edition.
A response to the State Of The Union Address.

And another. 
Michigan Greens focus on their state. 
Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker.

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: We speak out when?

We're confused.

While some supposedly against the Iraq War wasted all that time trashing a film, they failed to get the word out on the White House's efforts to get US troops on the ground in Iraq in combat.

The White House sent US Secretary of State John Kerry to argue, December 9th, to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Congress must pass an authorization for US President Barack Obama's actions in Iraq and Syria and that this legislation must include that Barack can send US combat troops into Iraq.

When do we plan to address that?

The peace movement -- or what now passes for it -- keeps ignoring it.

They have time to trash a film and trash a dead man.

Because they 'care,' you understand.

They just don't want to work to stop Congress from okaying ground troops for combat in Iraq.

A number of groups are planning a protest in DC . . . for mid-March.

Do you really think Congress won't have passed an authorization by then?

And are you unable to plan a protest and to call for people to demand their representatives in Congress refuse to give Barack authority to put US troops into combat?

Just US troops being in Iraq means they may get into combat.

That's what happened to Canadian forces.

Last week,  the Canadian government acknowledged that  combat took place for Canada and the Islamic State.  Al Jazeera reports:

Canadian special forces have clashed with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group by exchanging gunfire in Iraq in recent days, in the first confirmed ground battle between Western troops and ISIL, a senior officer has said.
The Canadians came under mortar and machine gun fire while training Iraqi troops near front lines and shot back in what Canadian special forces commander Brigadier General Michael Rouleau described as self-defence, killing the ISIL fighters. 
Rouleau said the melee had taken place in the previous seven days and was "the first time we've taken fire and returned fire" in Iraq, where the armed group has overrun large areas.

And instead of dealing with reality, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper distorted reality to put those objecting to war on the defensive (see The Common Ills' "Harper hits (and gropes?) below the belt").

If you don't know which side the White House is on, you missed the State Department's Brett McGurk's Tweet:

PM Stephen Harper on 's SOF in : "If those guys [from ] fire at us, we're going to fire back and we're going to kill them."
19 retweets 16 favorites

The peace movement needs to be calling out what Barack's doing in Iraq right now -- not in mid-March.

Media: American Sniper

American Sniper is a film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper as Iraq War veteran Chris Kyle who served as a sniper and wrote his life story in a memoir entitled, yes, American Sniper.  The film is both a critical and a commercial success having scored Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing and made over $170 million in ticket sales in the US alone.

The reaction to the film has largely been positive.

It's also brought out a lot of ugly on our side (the left) -- some of which was touched on last week in "The Big Ugly: Lindy West."

Before we get to reactions, let's deal with the film which we were forced to see as a result of the controversy.

We're not fans of the war genre and would have been just fine never seeing the film.

Bradley Cooper is amazing and Sienna Miller was solid enough to have been nominated for Best Supporting Actress (she wasn't).  Clint Eastwood being nominated for Best Director wouldn't have surprised us.  But he wasn't nominated.  Clint has been before, has even won the Award.  He was also one of the five directors nominated for Outstanding Directing by the Directors Guild of America.  The only director nominated for the Academy Award this year that wasn't nominated by the DGA was Bennett Miller who's been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director twice before (his current nomination is for Foxcatcher).

The film is neither pro-war not anti-war in our opinion.

It's open-ended and ambiguous allowing the viewer to form their own opinion.

Clint Eastwood declares that the film is anti-war.

And it may be in a film world where Platoon and Coming Home and All Quiet on the Western Front qualify as anti-war because their theme, like American Sniper's theme, is how war damages the human spirit.

We weren't surprised by the theme.

It's a standard in American films.

We were surprised by some of the criticisms.

The film, for example, was slammed for not focusing on Iraqis.

Who has ever focused on Iraqis in the never-ending Iraq War?

Not the New York Times and it's one of the few news outlets that has kept a bureau in Baghdad.

The focus has never been on the Iraqis.

And that's true of The Nation magazine.

Take the worst War Crime in Iraq,  the gang-rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi  on March 12, 2006 by US soldiers who also killed her parents and her five-year-old sister.

We covered it here.


After Katha Pollitt at The Nation was called out repeatdly, the 'feminist'  mentioned Abeer finally.  A single-sentence.

There were convictions for these crimes.

The Nation magazine couldn't bother.  Katha Pollitt couldn't bother.  (As we've long noted, the late Alexander Cockburn had a CounterPunch and Nation column that mentioned Abeer long before 'feminist' Katha found time.)

But what US war film has treated a real people the US declared war on as valid characters in a film?

There's Casualties of War and Redacted -- both directed by the great Brian DePalma.

Anyone else spring to mind?

Even Reds, which we love, doesn't really illuminate the Russians.

That's pretty much a given for most films throughout the world.  They tend to focus on one group, the one of the country financing the film. That's true of France's Indochine (a great film carried by Catherine Deneuve) and most others.

So this notion that Clint made a huge mistake in bringing to life a memoir of an American soldier, of telling the story -- as the book did -- from his point of view?

Our response to the little whiners is: Have you ever seen film before in your damn  lives?

Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan were among those  doing real harm.

Moore declared snipers were "cowards" and then wanted to play like he hadn't said anything insulting.

Cindy Sheehan spewed hate at the late Chris Kyle in a blog post and made it even worse last week by insisting that it was Chris versus her son Casey.

Moore realized he'd gone way too far and tried to walk it back repeatedly.

It's really too late for that.

And Moore's nonsense of "I employ this veteran and that?"

It's bulls**t.

There's no doubt that Cindy and Moore embrace some veterans.


Those who will recant their actions and match the fury Moore and Sheehan feel and display.

The service members didn't declare war.

They have every right to feel proud or ashamed or neutral on what they saw and what they were ordered to do.

They are not the ones who gave the orders for war.

We've watched cowardly Michael Moore whore for Barack non-stop.

But he's not going to support a service member who won't call out the war?

Does he not get how cowardly he looks?

And Cindy needs to grasp that her son is only one of many Americans killed in the Iraq War.  And if his death causes her grief, she might remember that other families grieve as well.

Some will argue that this nonsense that has been spewed at the film was productive.

It wasn't.

Why aren't we talking about the White House requesting Congress authorize Barack's actions in Iraq and give Barack the power to put US troops into on the ground combat in Iraq?

Why aren't we talking about that?

Instead we're talking about a film.

Instead, the film is being used to slime and slam a dead American vet.

Cindy can't talk about Iraq anymore but damned if she can't use it.

She's planning a DC action this March on the anniversary of the war.

How is her hatred supposed to help turnout?

More to the point, how do her remarks or Michael's help anyone?

Veterans saw what happened in the last weeks as the crazy was unleashed by people like Max Blumenthal.  Thing is, that human trash, no real standing?

Blumenthal's not even famous for his father.  No one knows who he is and his career ended the minute The Daily Beast let him go (fired!).

But Moore and Sheehan have been presented as anti-war voices and the two are recognized as such and what do their statements do now?

Sliming a dead man, holding him accountable for a war he didn't start, that helps bring over what people to the movement?

Does it make veterans feel welcome?

They really haven't been joining the peace movement in the last years -- mainly because there is no peace movement.

Cindy herself says in a press release:

Organizing against the wars has been challenging during the Obama administration because so many people who would identify as 'antiwar' misplaced a lot of hope in Obama ending the wars. As a matter of fact, Obama has expanded the wars abroad, drone bombing, assassinations of US citizens without trial, and the police state here in the states. It's time to reclaim our principles as members of a global community and join together in Washington DC and stop giving Obama a 'chance.'

Is it less challenging when you're attacking American soldiers?

The box office appears to have spoken.

Americans aren't opposed to Chris Kyle.

They may be proud of him, sad for him or any mixture.

But they don't hate him.

And the hate they've seen spewed at him only slows -- or even halts -- the peace movement's ability to recruit new activists.

A wall's now up.

Cindy could remove the wall she created.

She'd have to acknowledge she spoke out of anger and that, of course, all lives matter.

That's really not inconsistent with her past expressed beliefs.

We're against the ongoing Iraq War.  We always have been.

We have no problem calling out those responsible for the war.

That would be the leaders and the policy makers.

We will call out service members when they break the law.

Steven D. Green was the ringleader in the conspiracy against Abeer.  We called him out repeatedly for his crimes which were War Crimes.

But Chris Kyle didn't commit War Crimes.

Yes, he killed Iraqis.

We wish no Iraqis had been killed --  we did not and do not support US troops being in Iraq.

But if troops are sent into a foreign country, guns will go off.  People will be ordered to kill.

That happens in war.

Chris did what he was trained to do and what he was ordered to do.

You're going to have a hard time convincing Americans that he's a criminal as a result.

And if you continue to make that argument, you're just going to ensure that attempts to restart any movement are useless.

Documentary roundtable

Ava: February 22nd, the 87th Academy Awards presentation will air on ABC.  For the purpose of this roundtable, we're dropping back to last year's awards to note the winner for Best Documentary Feature.  Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Ava (Con't):  Let me toss to Stan whose idea it was to do something on this film.

Stan: 20 Feet from Stardom is a documentary directed by Morgan Neville which focuses on a few backup singers.  I enjoyed performances -- both archival and ones appearing for the first time in the film -- by Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Tata Vega, Darlene Love and The Waters, among others.  If you focus on those performances and on some people who deserve larger recognition getting that recognition you can applaud the film. I think it was worthy of the Academy Award and the only other possible winner last year was Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer's The Square.  These were attempts at truth -- as opposed to a known liar who was nominated and who has repeatedly -- this White male -- distorted facts about incidents involving the Black community.  So I was especially glad that he and his partner lost.  But I was watching 20 Feet from Stardom again because it's now on Netflix and I was bothered by a number of issues.

Ava: Which is how we come to this roundtable which is composed of  The Third Estate Sunday Review's   Ty,   and me;  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);   Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.  The film is supposed to be about back up singers but it's really more narrow than that.  Betty?

Betty: Sheryl Crow  started as a backup singer and she appears in the film briefly.  She is White. So was one of Sting's backup singers in the film.   David Lasley is a White and he's a backup singer who was featured. I don't know his work.

C.I.: He's also a songwriter. His most famous song is probably Maxine Nightingale's "Lead Me On" which he wrote with Allee Willis.

Betty: I love that song!  And that goes to a problem I had with the film.  They didn't tell us that.  I didn't know it so I didn't know they didn't tell us that.  But throughout the film, I kept thinking, "Why aren't they telling us anything?"  Darlene Love, they covered.

C.I.: Somewhat.

Betty: But with Darlene we knew she sang lead on some songs that were billed to the Crystals -- a sixties girl group -- a Black group produced by Phil Spector.   Merry Clayton?  Why was she even in the film?  If you can't note the hook she sings on Tori Amos' "Cornflake Girl," why are you even bothering to include her.  I like Merry and I love her singing.  But my point is no context was really provided.

Ann: I believe Betty's talking about when artists were presented that they show up and we get some b.s. on the screen listing five or so acts they did backup vocals for -- not even told it was touring or album work or what.

Betty: Yes, that's what I'm complaining about.

Ann: And that's such a valid point.  And that was true of everyone in the film for the most part.  I mean, Lou Adler produced the Mamas and the Papas among others.  At one point, Merry's walking down a hall and mentions that "Carol" would stick her head out of a studio in this hall and ask her to come sing on a track.  Carole who?  Carole King.  And the tracks were on the best selling Tapestry album -- which Lou Adler produced.  But we're not even told Merry's talking about Carole King, let alone that there really is no "Way Over Yonder" on that album without Merry's vocals.

Isaiah: Merry also provided back up vocals on Carole King's Music album.

Rebecca: And this was needed, this sort of information, in the documentary.  But let's point out that Merry and others in the documentary took part in the 2014 MusicCares awards, they performed.  And the award for person of the year was Carole King who made a point to thank people for their work on Tapestry but did not thank Merry who was sitting there in the audience.

Ava: Carole didn't thank any woman to be clear.  Toni Stern co-wrote "It's Too Late" -- the massive number one single from the album and Carole didn't bother to thank Toni either. This sexism, this refusal to acknowledge female peers is something we noted and addressed in "Carole King's Conditioned Role and Desire (Ava and C.I.)."  We note, for example, that she meets John Lennon and Yoko Ono but can't even bothered with speaking to Yoko.  Or she reduces Carole Bayer Sager to a co-writer of Carole's own bad non-hit "Anyone At All" while refusing to note that Carole Bayer Sager is the gifted co-writer of "That's What Friends Are For," Diana Ross' "It's My Turn," Aretha Franklin's "Ever Changing Times," Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better," Rita Coolidge's "I'd Rather Leave While I'm In Love," Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald's "On My Own," and so many more including "A Groovy Kind Of Love."But while Carole King gives background on the men in her book, she just tosses the women out and dispenses with them quickly.  I believe we noted she presents Carole Bayer as a friend she co-wrote "Anyone At All" with and never mentions anything Carole Bayer wrote which was a hit or that Bayer is not just a friend she got to write a song with in the 90s but a longterm songwriter whose career dates back to the sixties and whose won numerous awards.

Isaiah: The Grammy, the Golden Globe, the Academy Award.

Kat: The latter for co-writing the theme to Arthur, "Best That You Can Do."  And while Carole Bayer Sager's winning awards for writing for films, Carole King was recording two songs for the cheaply made Care Bears movie.  Carole also didn't thank Joni Mitchell who sings on the Tapestry album.  Let's be clear that she slighted all women in her acceptance speech the same way she did in her book.

Ty: One of the things that I didn't like was the ahistorical nonsense.  The director makes Darlene Love the heart of the film and to do so he hypes her like crazy.  In 1958, Darlene joins The Blossoms and the film tells you they are new, there is nothing like them, they change music.  Prior to this, the film insists, there were only White backup singers.  That damn lie is obviously untrue.  But let's pretend the White film maker is attempting to say the pop charts only had White backup singers.  Prior to 1958?  We're not going to do a huge fact check, we're just going to note Ray Charles and The Raelettes.  Ray forms the Raelettes in 1956. The Raelettes predate the Blossoms and are better known.  Over the years, this group of singers will include Mable John -- who does briefly appear in the documentary, Minnie Riperton and Merry Clayton among others.

Ann: And on that topic, White back up singers, they were dismissed so rudely.  First off, you're talking about a different genre and a different time.  To ridicule them for being able to read music?  How shameful and that nonsense came from White idiots like Bruce Springsteen.

Kat: What the f**k was Bruce doing in the film?  His knowledge of backup singers is limited to cheating on his first wife by sleeping with one and then marrying her.  Bruce is so stupid throughout the film.  He insists he wanted the Phil Spector sound early on but later realized it was about youth -- the sound required youth.  What a stupid ass.  Does he not know the age of the session musicians on, for example, "Spanish Harlem"?  What a damn fool.

Ty: And he and others stated repeatedly that back up singing was the church, was the Black church.  No, it wasn't.  Motown, more than any other label, utilized lead and backing vocals.  Mary Wilson has long stated how offensive it was to her when 'critics' would say Diana Ross and the Supremes needed to "get back to the church" like Aretha when their singing wasn't rooted in the church.  Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Four Tops, etc, they weren't rooted in church vocals.  There's nothing wrong with church vocals.  But stop pretending that African-Americans sing like they're in the church.  Dionne Warwick never has.

Rebecca: I think a theme can emerge, one that the film ignores, in that the mid-to-late 60s finds a number of British White performers using African-Americans to appear soulful and to get a 'church sound.'

Isaiah: Not only would I agree with that, I think you can make a similar argument of use about the director of this documentary.  And I want to be on record stating that Bruce Springsteen's remarks were both idiotic and borderline racist -- and I'm being kind and saying "borderline."

Betty: I found his racist and offensive.  He needed to shut his damn mouth.  Sting was one.  Sting spoke of the backup singer and didn't try to deliver a history lesson or speak for Black America.  Bette Midler spoke about backup vocalists.  I didn't mind that at all.  Unlike Bruce, Bette's known for her work with backup singers.  That alone gave her standing to speak.  The fact that her remarks were also intelligent was an added bonus.

Stan: I would agree with that 100%.  She really was the only 'star' artist featured who knew what she was talking about.

C.I.: What about Patti Austin?

Stan: See that goes to the issue about the film failing to identify people.  I don't really consider Patti a backup singer.  She's done that but she's also had hits and she's moved over to jazz where she's found real glory.  I felt the film was better when she spoke but I don't think most people watching knew who she was because the film failed to provide her background -- there was no, "She hit number one with 'Baby Come To Me,' she won a Grammy in 2008 for one of her jazz albums . . ."  It was just, "Here's Patti Austin."

Rebecca: For a documentary allegedly about women, there was way too much worship by the director of men.

Isaiah: I would agree with that.  And ask: Who the hell is Claudia Lennear?  Oh, she was an Ikette?  Okay.  So she was used to provide church and soul?  To Tina Turner?  What nonsense.  The film was more interested in telling you she slept with Mick Jagger, that she's supposedly the inspiration for the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" and that she posed for Playboy.  Why the f**k am I supposed to care about any of that?

Ty: I found the film insulting and a White rescue attempt.  It reminds me of the idiots who whine about Florence Ballard and how Berry Gordy made Diana Ross the lead singer of the Supremes.  Flo had a powerful voice.  It just wasn't marketable because it was the generic powerful voice.  Sorry ladies in the film, but that applies to some of you as well.  Diana had a unique sound and that's what Berry picked up on.  There's this notion that anyone could have been a star when it requires a lot of work and a lot of luck.

Betty: Right.  In noting the hits that Carole Bayer Sager had co-written, Ava mentioned Rita Coolidge.  Rita was a backup singer.  That's how she got her start.  The film seemed unwilling to note that you could and many did crossover.  That also includes Minnie Riperton whose famous forever for her hit "Loving You."  Did Darlene have a hit making voice?  In the sixties, yes.  But that same voice as an adult solo artist?  I don't think so.  She sings like a little girl -- in terms of range and the purity of the notes.  Judy Garland did as well but Judy never dominated the pop singles chart -- not even in the pre-rock and roll era.  There is nothing, for example, sensual about Darlene's voice.  I can remember hearing her version of "Love On The Rooftop," for example, and thinking, "Eh."  Then hearing Cher sing it and thinking, "That's a song."  Now Darlene's a great back up singer and a great oldies artist but let's not pretend that she had the maturity to move beyond it -- vocally had the maturity.

Kat: And, if we're naming women who were backup singers, Cher was a backup singer on most of Phil Spector's big hits in the sixties -- including "You've Lost That Loving Feeling."  A fact that the movie ignores as it rushes to insist that Darlene and the Blossoms were the backup singers for Phil.  Yes, they were on many songs but they weren't the only ones.

Ann: Merry Clayton going on Soul Train to perform Neil Young's "Southern Man" was an embarrassment.  What label, what sane label, would let her go out looking like that.  The hair was embarrassing.  A really weak attempt at a fro.  The blue jeans were awful and made her ass look flat.  The t-shirt was just an embarrassment and made it look like she was about to clean the attic, not go out on stage and entertain.

Stan: I didn't see any serious evaluation of that.  I saw a lot of 'we was robbed!'  Well you kind of robbed yourself in many cases.

Ava: C.I.?

C.I.: Well there are numerous opinions in this roundtable and that goes to the fact that what makes a recording star is so vague and so happenstance.  Luck can't be underestimated.  But, to the Ikettes, why would you do this film and not note PP Arnold.  Now she's a friend so I'm going to include her and maybe I'm biased out of friendship.  But PP is your counter-argument to Darlene Love or any other woman in the film.  She was singing back up with the Ikettes, they go to England to tour with the Stones in 1966 and PP decides to go solo.  And she has a series of hits initially and racks up a hit about every 12 or so years after her initial run.  That's a career. A solo artist career.  Pat has much to be proud of and if you're doing a film on the topic the documentary focused on, I don't know why you would present Darlene Love as the centerpiece to make an argument that PP Arnold's career refutes.
And that's not to insult Darlene or take anything away from her but to note the director made a victims' film.

Stan: I would so agree with that.  And Betty's right about Darlene's voice.  It's powerful, it's in tune but it really is more of a juvenile's voice.  Ronnie Spector had a more limited range but her voice is a star's voice -- and as the lead singer of the Ronnettes, she sang many hits.  It's not noted in the film that Darlene's been kind of bitchy about Ronnie over the years in interviews -- insulting Ronnie's singing, for example, putting it down.  I would guess that would also hurt the way people see you. I don't think Darlene's necessarily a bad person, I just didn't like the documentary zooming in on her and presenting a lot of hype where reality was needed.

Kat: And Ronnie, like Diana Ross, has a commercial voice.  In popular music, what makes a hit recording artist is not necessarily a two octave range, etc.  You have to have personality in your voice itself.  Barry Manilow, for example, has personality.  I'm not a huge fan of his but I will note that his voice is distinct and like no other.

Isaiah: And I'd like to point out that Bette Midler and Stevie Wonder knew what they were talking about and more footage of both should have been featured.

Ava: As we wind down, let me note that Darlene's also insulted Vikki Carr over the years and Carr's version of "He's A Rebel."  That's the only reason Phil recorded Darlene doing the song, Carr's version was about to come out and he wanted to beat it.  But Darlene's made insulting remarks about Carr's singing over the years indicating Carr is bland and white bread and blah blah.  Vikki Carr's real name is Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona and she was born in El Paso, Texas.  Sometimes Darlene Love's a little stupid  And sometimes so is 20 Feet from Stardom.  The five films nominated for Best Documentary Feature this year are Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky's Citizen Four, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel's Finding Vivian Maier, Rory Kennedy and Kevin McAlester's Last Days in Vietnam, Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier's The Salt of the Earth and Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara's Virunga. This is a rush transcript.

Tweet of the week

  • Obama failed to mention our drone strikes, our increasing presence in Iraq, our aid sent to radicals to fight other radicals.

  • They raise 'em real stupid at Information Clearing House

    As long as you don't read the comments, Information Clearing House is a good site.

    If you read the comments, however, you're immediately sucked into the sewer.

    We were reminded of that when we came across this comment regarding the prime minister of Israel being invited to address the US Congress.

    Michael E 's avatar
    Michael E · 2 days ago
    For the US congress to permit this idiot to speak in such a way is tantamount to treason, which if I am correct is still punishable by death. If they carry on with this idea to humiliate Obama, they should all be charged with treason, after all, if you or Iwere to do the same in such a public space, I'm sure we would not get away with it.

    This is not "tantamount to treason" -- Michael's remarks, however, are tantamount to grave stupidity.


    Treason is a serious charge.

    You'll never make it stick when the action is inviting and/or hosting a leader of a government -- especially one allied with the US government.

    Treason is a serious charge and people should not make it lightly.

    But when Thom Hartman unleashes the crazy, many more follow.


    The great Thom.

    And his brother Thed.

    And Thimmy.

    Equally true, embarrassing Barack isn't a crime.

    If it were, they would have had to have thrown Barack into prison for his own actions years ago.

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