Sunday, February 03, 2013

Truest statement of the week

God help you sons [and daughters] of Iraq against the tyranny.

-- part of the message TeaM KuWaiT HaCkErS left on the website of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Truest statement of the week II

Most recently, in November, federal police invaded 11 homes in the town of al-Tajji, north of Baghdad, and detained 41 people, including 29 children, overnight in their homes. Sources close to the detainees, who requested anonymity, said police took 12 women and girls ages 11 to 60 to 6th Brigade headquarters and held them there for four days without charge. The sources said the police beat the women and tortured them with electric shocks and plastic bags placed over their heads until they began to suffocate.
Despite widespread outcry over abuse and rape of women in pre-trial detention, the government has not investigated or held the abusers accountable. In response to mass protests over the treatment of female detainees, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a pardon for 11 detainees. However, hundreds more women remain in detention, many of whom allege they have been tortured and have not had access to a proper defense.

--  Human Rights Watch's "Iraq: A Broken Justice System."

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?

A group of hackers called out Nouri al-Maliki.
Human Rights Watch explains what's taking place in Iraq.
How the press loves to ignore Iraq except when they can slam the Iraqi people.

Ava and C.I. take on the last hour of Tina Fey's awful show.
Nadir is not just a victim of Nouri's Iraq, he's a symbol of how the press is treated.
Ava and C.I. agreed to take on Superbowl ads.  The deal was they'd watch them all and then try to string together something around them.  They cover 17 of the commercials.  That's one more than half the ones that aired.
Again, Nouri has declared war on a free press.

Dona discusses the Hagel confirmation hearing with Ruth, Wally, Kat, Ava and C.I. who attended it last week.
We should start with the elected officials.
Ava and C.I. offer three articles this week including a look at the new series House of Cards.  This was the only piece they planned to write, by the way.  I (Jim) asked them for the other two.

Senator Patty Murray.

Workers World repost.

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

 That's it, see you next week.


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

Editorial: The US press loves to spit on Iraqis

For weeks now, protests have been taking place in Iraq.

Friday saw the largest turnout so far.

How did the US press cover it?

By repeating over and over that al Qaeda in Iraq was supporting the protesters.

That's the story?

The week before, the US press made it about 'terrorists' participating.

11 people were killed and sixty injured Friday, January 25th when Nouri's forces began shooting at protesters.  (Six died by the end of the 25th, the death toll would rise to 11 as the days passed).

Instead of holding Nouri accountable, the US press was happy to repeat Nouri's smear that the protesters were terrorists.

omar bin ali

That's a photo of Omar bin Ali and his daughter.   Kitabat ran the photo of the man who was among those killed by Nouri's forces on January 25th.

At some point, the US press is going to need to learn to be a friend to the people or accept that no one believes a damn word it reports.  It also needs to be noted -- for future reference -- that the US press has repeatedly rushed to protect Nouri by changing facts and minimizing his actions.  He is a tyrant and, let the record show, the press is responsible for refusing to report that.

TV: 30 Rock goes out sucking

Watching the series finale of NBC's 30 Rock Thursday, we couldn't stop hearing Joni Mitchell in our heads singing, "You could have been more, you could have been more, you could have been more" ("The Arrangement").  And couldn't it have?


In the finale (two half-hour episodes booked together), Tracy Jordan declared, "Not a lot of people watched it.  But the joke's on you.  We still got paid."  They tried to pass this nonsense off as  cutting edge humor for seven seasons.  The reality is that the show was the ultimate NBC suck-up. Saturday Night Live hits harder at NBC than 30 Rock.  Chris Matthews is mocked on SNL, he's fawned over on 30 Rock.  In fact, all the NBC News faces and MSNBC hosts were happy to show up on the sitcom because, like NBC, they knew the show had their back.

So when it was time to offer a negative portrait of a TV woman, Tina and company would ask:  Who left NBC?  Season five's Carmen Chao (Vanessa Minnillo) was among the most mean-spirited    women ever to appear and she was based on . . . Soledad O'Brien who left NBC for CNN.

Tina Fey was the ultimate brown noser.  This is the hall monitor in high school, the saving-herself-for-a-deity in college.  You don't get much more out of touch than Tina Fey.

Which is how each season seemed to offer one insulting stereotype of a lesbian or a gay man.  Tina's homophobia was just as offensive as Tracy Morgan's which is why, when Tracy's took his live onstage at a comedy club, Tina turned it into a joke.  Because it's all a joke to Our Modern Day Phyllis Schlafly.

You could have been more
You could have been more
You could have been more

It didn't have to be that way.  But that is the path show runner Tina Fey selected.  How it could have gone was made obvious in season two when Liz encountered her childhood hero Rosemary (Carrie Fisher), a writer from Laugh-In, and Liz brought her on as a guest writer.

Rosemary: I have an idea.  We open on a New Orleans abortion clinic.  A beautiful mulatto --

Liz:  Uh-uh, I don't think we're allowed to use any of those words.

Rosemary:  Why not?  It's live television.  I mean, we used to say [bleep] and [bleep].  

Liz: No, you didn't.  Did you?

Rosemary:  We did.  We pushed the envelope.  Remember the mailbox sketch that shocked America?  Don't you get it?  The mailbox was [H.R.] Haldeman.

Cerie: Is-is that a person who lived?

Rosemary: What about race?  I mean, I say that is the last taboo.  We get Josh in blackface, right?  And then we get Tracy to call him a [bleep].

Frank: I'd watch that.

Liz:  No.  No, no, no.  You can't do race stuff on TV.  It's too sensitive.

Rosemary: We would have done that on The Mandrell Sisters!

Liz: Look, I-I-I want the show to be edgy too.  But, I mean, but my boss, Jack Donaghy.

But Rosemary was to be ridiculed.  And Liz was to be a man's good little girl.  That was season two.  Season five carries that even further as we learn that Liz's show offers nothing but PMS jokes as Jenna (Jane Krakowski) plays Hillary, Wonder Woman and others ("TGS Hates Women").  We then see the ratings drop further as Tracy disappears.  And the ratings continue to drop.  In fact, Liz willfully tanks TGS at the start of season seven.

When the show finally gets the axe ("A Goon's Deed In A Weary World"), it's because Kenneth confirms that a sexual harassment lawsuit has merit.

Liz was non-threatening to the male structure (the same as Tina).  What looked like promise early on, quickly revealed itself to be nothing but more of the same.

TGS is The Girlie Show.  Would any network really air something with that name?  Not now or back then.  But we thought show runner Tina Fey was showing an alternate take.  As the years passed and the episodes piled up, it was clear that Tina was spitting out one stereotype after another so that she could personally profit.

That was Tina Fey's story, that was the story of Fey's character Liz Lemon.

Season seven was really about proving how untalented and how harmful Fey was.  "Stride of Pride" stands among the worst episodes ever of the show.  Tina Fey wrote that script all by herself.    The premise?  Tracy Tweets women can't be funny and Liz sets out to prove him wrong.  She does so by presenting an overly talky and unfunny sketch that she and Jenna did back in the 90s.  Tracy laughs like crazy.  Because in the sketch, Liz plays a doctor.  Tracy finds the idea of a woman doctor hilarious.

The episode was pure crap.  Tina couldn't even allow Liz to actually be funny (thereby proving Tracy's point?).  And we were supposed to laugh at Liz's inability to be funny.

So were we supposed to be surprised by how it all ended?

The hour was written by Jack Burditt, Robert Carlock, Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield and existed to punish women.

An out of work Liz pitched a pilot to new NBC president Kenneth who doesn't care for the term "women."  Kenneth's hatred of women, confessed to Jack, only helps seal the deal for Jack to make Kenneth president of NBC.

Jenna's vanity is her main story for the hour.  Tracy's vanity?  As always smoothed over and minimized.

Jenna can't find work  anywhere.  She wants to do film but goes to LA and realizes she's not as firt or as young as every woman out there.  With TV, all she can get is a corpse on a Law and Order show.  This despite the fact that she's a star of America's Kidz Got Singing.  Was that forgotten?  Was it forgotten that Jenna's had multiple hit singles including, in season seven's episode four, a Jimmy Buffett-style mega hit?

Where did the success go?  Oh, that's right, they forgot her back story.  For example, she went to California alone -- where was Paul?  Remember Paul?  He and Jenna got married at the end of this season's episode eight.  Paul was no where to be found.

Jack's supposedly in a panic and, for a moment, Jenna's worried about him and talks to Liz in their only scene together in the whole hour.  But Kenneth comes up and announces she will bring the show to a close by singing and suddenly Jenna can't even remember Jack's name.

There are so many problems with that scene including that Liz and Jenna are supposed to be best friends (and that's supposed to go back to the 90s) so why weren't they allowed even one scene where they acknowledged they wouldn't be working together anymore?

There's also the fact that Jenna is a hit singer so why is it Kenneth and not Liz who gets the idea to let Jenna sing in the show's final moments?

There was also the visual.  Jenna repeatedly stormed into the writers' room to make an announcement.  Why there?  So that the shot could be framed to include Cerie (Katrina Bowden) as Jenna made claims about her talent and beauty, claims that shots of Cerie's ass were supposed to undercut.

It was disgusting.

By contrast, Tracy was caring and had feelings for others and Liz played Mommy to him yet again.  Yet again.

As bad as all of that was, even worse was the flashforward.  In the episode proper, Liz learned that she needed to work to be happy and her new husband Criss (James Marsden) learned he was happiest at home with the kids.  So Liz could work.  But in the year forward we see Liz working on the set of a TV sitcom and there are her two kids on the sideline.

Where's Criss?  Did the relationship falter already?  Where's Criss?  It's a valid question.

Another one is why she's doing a fat-husband-skinny-wife sitcom?  And why she's doing an all Black cast sitcom?  We longed for Angie to show up and tell Liz she shouldn't "do impressions of other races."

That was too much to hope for.

Tracy's father finally returned home from getting cigarettes.  How sweet.  But are we supposed to forget that Jenna's father also walked out on her as a child?  Are we supposed to not notice that Jenna doesn't get that happy ending?

Instead, Jenna's onstage claiming a Tony award for Best Actress when the real winner shows up.  Jenna makes some nonsensical noise then drops her top for the TV cameras and exits like Ashlee  Simpson when she was caught lip synching on Saturday Night Live.

Over and over, it was one insult to women after another.

And that's all Tina Fey had to offer.

The supposed spin on the show was always that it was too hip and too funny.  But it wasn't.  It was tired and what originally appeared to be a spoof was, in fact, an embrace of all the TV tropes of the past.  Tina transformed nothing because she was happy with bad TV.  She embraced gender stereotypes, homophobic 'humor' and could only offer stale takes on decades old TV.

"You could have been more."  And she damn sure should have been.

Nadir Dendoune: Latest press victim in Nouri's Iraq


Nadir Dendoune is a French journalist who is in Iraq reporting for Le Monde Diplomatique and Courier Atlas. He is also a prisoner in Iraq.

He returned to Iraq this time on January 15th and was arrested on January 23rd.  Monday news out of Iraq noted the arrest:


As we noted this morning, Nadir  Dendoune, who holds dual Algerian and Australian citizenship was covering Iraq for the fabled French newspaper Le Monde's monthly magazine.  His assignment was to document Iraq 10 years after the start of the Iraq War.   Alsumaria explains the journalist was grabbed by authorities in Baghdad last week for the 'crime' of taking pictures.  (Nouri has imposed a required permit, issued by his government, to 'report' in Iraq.)  All Iraq News adds the journalist has been imprisoned for over a week now without charges.

A petition calling for his release has already gathered 13,690 signatures and a Facebook page has been created to show support for himThe Journalistic Freedoms Observatory in Iraq, Reporters Without Borders and The Committee to Protect Journalists have called for his release.


That Nadir needs to be released goes without question.  Equally true is that Nouri's war on the press needs to be called out.  Nadir has the world's attention.  Most Iraqi journalists don't get that.  Freeing Nadir is only one step.  Nouri's war on the press must be called out, must be publicly condemned.  It must be made clear to Nouri that the world is watching.



TV: The Super Bowl Ads

The 2013 Super Bowl may have been a competition between two teams but what surrounded it was all sociology.  That's all the commercials that run during the Superbowl really are.  Sunday was about informing us that all things -- even celebrity -- have a short shelf-life and that a resource war was coming.

sba bestbuy

There is a food chain, the commercials told us.   We learned that there were only three stars who matter in America:   Amy Poehler, Kaley Cuoco and Dwayne Johnson.  The three pitched Best Buy, Toyota and milk.


Of the three, Dwayne Hickman, aka The Rock, was clearly the most powerful.


He pitched milk in one commercial and a film in the other (Fast and Furious 6: This Time Brian Tops Dom!).


A food chain includes those at the top and, yes, those at the bottom.

So we also saw failed celebrities.  For example, if you're biggest problem as a car maker is trying to make your car 'hip' and 'cool,' then someone from the 1800s probably isn't your best celeb to go with . . .


even if he does share the same name as your car.

That just made them look silly.  If Amy, Kaley and Dwayne were 'fresh,' there was no 'buzz' around Honest Abe.  And the point of the night was that celebrities fade quickly and spiral down the food chain.

Jeep made that life lesson clear with what was the worst commercial of the game.

It wasn't just that it was wordy but it was wordy.


Over a lot of images of men in the military and a token woman or two, you get the following voice over.

There will be a seat left open, a light left on, a favorite dinner waiting, a warm bed made.  There will be walks to take, swings to push and baths to give On your block, at the school, in your church.  Because in your home, in our hearts, you've been missed.  You've been needed.  You've been cried for, prayed for.  You've been the reason we push on.  Half the battle is just knowing, this is half the battle because when you're home, we're more than a family -- we are a nation that is whole again.

Oprah does the voice over.

"You've been the reason we push on"?  So now she's blaming the military for her decision to self-start the epic failure that is OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network)?

The problem isn't just that the woman whose own pocketbook goes to a scandal plagued 'girls school' in Africa probably isn't the best voice for America.  Nor is the problem just that she sounded throughout as if she'd recorded her voice over on the toilet while trying to force a dump.  It also includes more than the fact that who is this woman who has turned on her own relatives and started no family of her own (unless she's getting honest about her and Gayle) to talk about family?

But mainly the problem is that with over 8,000 US service members killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan War, not to mention all the wounded a War Whore named Oprah really isn't the one to   do that voice over.  March 1, 2009, we revisited the War Whore named Oprah:

Or has everyone forgotten that Oprah used her trashy show to pimp the Iraq War? 
Has everyone forgotten how a woman in the audience called the garbage out and Oprah got curt and nasty? 
There was Oprah -- in the only moment of TV she should be remembered for -- getting all mean and nasty, that fat neck tensing up, as she let the little peon know that Oprah knows what's what and so do her guests, thank you very much, now shut up and let Judith Miller provide us with more 'facts.' 
That's right, Oprah pimped the war, she even brought on Judith Miller to do so. 
 Oprah rallied her audience of shut-ins to the Bully Boy and to cheer on the Iraq War.

Oprah was part of the media roll out of the illegal war and using that cheap, lying closet case to deliver a 'message of hope' for the troops was insulting.

It was also surprising because Oprah's influence -- as everyone knew would happen -- plummeted the moment she was no longer available on free TV.

So the use of the tired and haggard Not-So-Big-Anymore-Except-Around-The-Waistline O was shocking.

So was Calvin Klein's Concept 2013 which appeared to be about little more than jutting nipples on men, a man in various poses to give him 'jugs,' in other words Calvin's own eternal dilemma:  The significant other must have a penis but Calvin's own personal issues (internal homophobia) means he sees the man as a woman.


While Calvin and Oprah demonstrated how quickly the mighty can tumble down the food chain, another food battle was at the heart of the rest of the commercials.

America is said to be the land of the plentiful but we, the commercials informed, have a scarce resources issues.  Now don't panic, there is no oil crisis as evidenced by the fact that only Lincoln MKZ appeared aware of the need for "smaller [energy] footprints."

But there is an apparently more dangerous resource scarcity on the horizon: Junk Food.

The self-proclaimed "global leader in the beverage industry," Coca-Cola, attempts to prepare us for the coming Junk Food Wars, where various groups of people will compete over scarce bottles of the once plentiful and inescapable bottle of coke.


So their ad pitted four groups against one another.  The battle for thirst kicked off as  4 people with camels (3 ride, one is on foot) see a giant Coke bottle in the desert, a multi-ethnic group of six cowboys (five men and one woman) ride up and then see it as, over the hill, four rowdys from a bus-and-truck company of The Road Warrior appear and head for the Coke bottle -- but, wait, look, it's a bus of Atlantic City showgirls armed with a glitter cannon!


Who will reach the prize first?

Sadly, it's a cardboard display announcing Coke is "50 MILES AHEAD."

The Junk Food Wars have begun.  Someone call Rick Deckard or at least Tank Girl.

A world apparently so shaken by dwindling supplies of Junk Food is left with little to do but fight in public over unseen cookies.

sba oreo

That's the point of the Oreo 'whisper fight' which takes place in a library as sides are chosen in the eternal cookie or cream debate.  The Junk Food Wars, no doubt, is behind the decision of adult males gathered to play football to instead cross-dress and play princess . . .


. .  . all for a handful of Doritos a crafty little girl managed to stash away in her bedroom.

sba doritos2

Another Doritos found wild animals -- or at least a farm animal -- descending upon the bedroom of a man who had stockpiled bags of Doritos.

Of course, there will be resisters in the Junk Food Wars and M&Ms ran a commercial that was apparently co-sponsored by PETA.


Throughout the commercial, an M&M makes it clear that being cooked and eaten does not change the fact that M&Ms have feelings too.

Are you prepared for this bleak future?


This future where, Redd's Apple Ale informs you, non-junk food will attack people, hitting them upside the face?

If you're not, don't despair, shop!


Sketchers will give you the ability to outrun anything, even cheetahs and panthers, regardless of whether you're in peak form or kind of average like the man in the commercial.


You'll need those Sketchers because in this future where Junk Food is Scarce, the elderly will take to making midnight runs to Taco Bell.

To come out a winner in the Junk Food Wars, like the elderly, you will need to plan for your future now.

sba prudential

Fortunately, Prudential is there.

Most disturbing Tweet of the week

Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) provided the most disturbing Tweet last week as he explained what happens when you try to report in Iraq.

The Hagel Roundtable

Dona: Last Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on US President Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The hearing resulted in reporting by C.I.  "Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot"; Ava's "Congress was as bad as the press today"; Wally's "Hagel's all mushy (Wally)"; Ruth's "Oh, Winslow" and "Applause for Senator Blumenthal"; and Kat's "Lindsay Graham."  So what I get from your reporting is that Hagel, a former US Senator, was unprepared for his hearing, correct?

curse of chuckie

Kat: He fumbled and stumbled over the most basic questions.  Senator John McCain is supposedly his friend.  A lot has been made of McCain supposedly being rough on him and how is that a friend but friendship works two ways.

Dona: Meaning?

Kat: Meaning that if he and McCain were friends, Hagel should have grasped that the so-called 'surge' in Iraq would have been a topic McCain raised.

Ruth: And how could he go into the hearing and not know that Israel would come up or that his comment about a "Jewish lobby" would be raised?  As C.I. pointed out in her coverage, that was probably the biggest topic -- Israel -- of the hearing. But Hagel was completely unprepared for it.  How does that even happen?

Dona: Well he could have been prepared poorly or he could have thought he knew everything and blown off preparing.

C.I.: Here's a scarier thought: What if that was Hagel at his best?  What if after preparing, that was Hagel at his best?

Wally: That would be something to really worry over.  His performance was awful.

Dona: Ruth, what was your take on his performance?

Ruth: I felt like the entire hearing -- and remember I am old -- was one senior moment after another.  I seriously question whether Mr. Hagel is capable of serving in any capacity.

Dona: I asked Ruth because that because the rest of you were very clear on this issue.  So Ruth says senior moment.  Anyone else?

Wally: I'd say, if you wanted to be kind and white wash it, you could say he had low energy levels.

Dona: Okay.  The point Ruth was referring to earlier, that C.I. reported on, was that the hearing wasted time on the same issues over and over while refusing to address the issues that actually mattered in terms of the duties of the Secretary of Defense.

Ava: Right.  Where was the detailed discussion of rape and assault in the military and what was his plan for addressing that?  Where was the detailed discussion of how he would address suicide within the military?

Wally: It was Ruth's senator, Senator Richard Blumenthal, seriously addressing the assaults and rapes in the military.

Dona: If Blumenthal was serious, Hagel was a joke.  The hair was covered in the reports but I didn't really believe it until I saw photos.  He really does look like Bea Arthur on The Golden Girls.

Wally: I think everyone can agree he did present as a masculine presence at the hearing.

Kat: And the other big standout would be he had no position he stuck to.  Either he refused to acknowledge it -- as with the 'surge' opinion -- or he said he was wrong.  Over and over, that is what happened.

Dona: And what was your impression there?

Kat: It didn't build respect.  How can you take someone seriously if they're either selling out a position or refusing to defend one.

Dona: I had a question in an e-mail about C.I. and Kat's reporting.  It was noted by Burke that C.I. said the Israel issue didn't matter to her anymore and Kat felt that the best moment may have been when Senator Lindsay Graham questioned him on that topic.

C.I.: I'm sorry that Burke was confused but if he'll go back and re-read what I wrote in the Thursday snapshot, I said the "Jewish lobby" remark.  Kat and I can disagree and that's fine but we actually weren't disagreeing.  She was reporting on Graham's questions about Israel.  My issue was the "Jewish lobby" remark.  His calling the lobby for the Israeli government the "Jewish lobby" was either him mispeaking or he seriously believed that Jews in America were part of some grand conspiracy.  His huge bungling of everything in the hearing convinced me that it was very likely he simply mispoke.  But I noted that was my opinion.

Dona: So will he be confirmed?

Kat: I'd say yes.

Wally: Me too.

Ruth: Sure.  There did not seem enough energy.  He was so disappointing that he actually seemed to lower the energy level of his opponents.

Ava: I am going to pass on predictions.  I have no idea how the vote will go.  I will say that, my opinion, I think the hearing demonstrated that he was not qualified for the position.

C.I.: I will go along with Ava.

Dona: Alright, this is a rush transcript.  We're using Isaiah's "The Curse of Chuckie" as our illustration.  And our e-mail address is 

Make Washington more accountable?


At her own website, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand features a page entitled "Reform Agenda to MAKE WASHINGTON MORE ACCOUNTABLE."

We agree that Washington needs to be made more accountable.

And we think a great place to start is with Senator Gillibrand herself.

For example, she was wrongly applauded for her 'hard hitting' remarks about assault and rape in Thursday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

She was applauded for 19 words.  For less than 140 characters.  She could have Tweeted her remarks about rape and assault and had characters left over.

There was nothing to applaud.

Media: House of Cards

When Crackle did it, we called them out.  Now Netflix has done it as well.

What are we talking about?  Offer a 'series' by dumping it.

house of cards

First let's talk about House of Cards.  It's a remake of a British series which means it will be new to most Americans.  Kevin Spacey stars as US House Rep. Francis Underwood.  Robin Wright plays his wife Claire who's an environmentalist of sorts. And what exactly is House of Cards?

House of Cards pretends it's a political drama and that it has something to say about politics.  The reality is it's George and Martha if the encounter Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? lasted a year and not just an alcohol-soaked night.  Also, unlike George and Martha, Frank and Claire don't just toy with words, they set plots in motion that result in loss of beliefs, loss of love and loss of life.

Claire's supposed to be the more 'noble' of the two and she does toss off twenty to a homeless man outside of her work.  She also reached under the sheet of a man who lays dying in a hospital to grab his cock and she helps Frank get a security member in deep trouble.

There is no nobility with Claire or Frank.  Kristen Connolly plays Christina -- one of the few characters with actual beliefs.  And you root for her and care about Peter Russo (Corey Stoll) mainly because Christina invests so much in him.  First rate performances are to be found throughout the 13 episodes, with the actors already mentioned as well as Constance Zimmer, Mahershala Ali, Sandrine Holt, Kate Mara, Sakina Jaffrey and Michael Kelly.  It's to Spacey's credit that he surrounded himself with a top-notch cast -- something that often threatens big names.

The big spoiler we're going to do here is this: At the end of the 13 episodes, you do not have an ending.  Clearly the plan is for a second season to resolve the issues.

Will anyone want one?

Friday, Netflix elected to dump all 13 episodes of this new series online.

A series isn't a glut or a dump.  A series is something with multiple episodes.

You need some space to allow the episodes to register and, more importantly, get talked up.

We criticized Crackle for this before and were told (by a Crackle-r) that we didn't understand their model, "Our model is to provide everything."


Is that Netflix's motto as well?

Because neither provide everything.

All the movies Netflix or Crackle will show in 2013 are not now up for streaming.  No, they will add some and take away some as the year continues.  Were they to put everything up in January and not change it until next January, they know that by April, they'd see their streaming numbers drop because people would have already grabbed what they could and they would know that there was no point in visiting for anything new until the following year.

So they can kid themselves all they want about having a model, but they don't.

What they have is a problem on their hands.  They're trying to create calling cards but don't have faith that they could build a buzz by doling out an episode weekly.  In other words, their biggest problem is that they don't believe in themselves.

Murray on veterans suicides

senator patty murray

Senator Patty Murray (above) is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and her office issued the following.

Friday, February 1, 2013
CONTACT: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834

Senator Murray's Statement on New VA Study on Veterans Suicides

(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray released the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released a study that provides more accurate information on veterans suicides.  The two-year study incorporates information from 42 states and includes data on the suicide deaths of veterans who were not previously recorded because they had not sought care or benefits from VA.  This is an important advancement that will help VA better understand veterans mental health needs and do more to combat the epidemic of veteran suicides.  In August 2011 Senator Murray wrote to the National Governors Association urging Governors across the country to provide information to the VA to help them track the scope of veterans suicides.

"This data provides a fuller, more accurate, and sadly, an even more alarming picture of veteran suicide rates.  And while I am encouraged that VA has worked to collect the information needed to better understand the problem we face, this must lead to action.

"I encourage VA and DoD to quickly implement the Mental Health ACCESS act that I recently pushed through Congress and that was signed into law this month.  That law will help streamline and improve suicide prevention programs while offering veterans and their family's new avenues to mental health care.

"VA also needs to do more to quickly bring on additional mental health professionals to deal with the shortage veterans face, particularly in rural areas.  We cannot accept as unavoidable that VA facilities have month-long wait times for appointments or that at-risk veterans feel that they have nowhere to turn.

"We also need to do more to reach out to the families of veterans so that they recognize warning signs, know where to go for help, and have a support network of other veterans and their families to lean on.

"This must not only be a top priority for the VA, it has to be a top priority for the nation as a whole if we are going to begin to make progress in reversing this deeply troubling trend."


Matt McAlvanah
Communications Director
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
202-224-2834 - press office
202--224-0228 - direct

Women in combat (Kathy Durkin, WW)

Repost from Workers World:

Women in combat: Behind the Pentagon’s decision

By on February 2, 2013 » Add the first comment.
On Jan. 24, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that the Pentagon had lifted its ban on women serving in combat, and that more than 230,000 “battlefront” positions could be opened up to them. Military officials must submit plans by May on how to include women in combat, although they have until January 2016 to list male-only positions.
The reality is that women have already served in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. They comprise 15 percent of the 1.4 million active military personnel. More than 280,000 women have been sent to Iraq, Afghanistan or to other war zones; 152 have died and 800 been injured. Enlisted women want payment for their combat duties, and they seek promotions to jobs denied them; some are suing the Pentagon over this issue.
Women join the military for the same reasons as do men. Because of the recession, high unemployment, and the proliferation of part-time and low-wage jobs, they are also subjected to the “economic draft.” This is especially true for women of color, who face worse discrimination and economic inequality. The military recruits them by promising college educations, job training and benefits.
What is the real reason behind the Pentagon’s decision now?
Is the U.S. military suddenly purging itself of sexism? Just look at the high rate of sexual assaults within the ranks and the officials’ inaction in holding perpetrators accountable. Military women are frequently mistreated — at Veterans Administration facilities and while seeking sexual trauma treatment and disability benefits.
The real answer to this question was hinted at by Joint Chiefs of Staff head, Gen. Martin Dempsey, who stressed that, “ultimately, we are acting to strengthen the armed forces.” (ABC News, Jan. 24)
The Pentagon needs more combat troops to carry out its ever-expanding war drive, to fulfill its imperialist goals of dominating many corners of the globe. It plans to send more troops to Africa, Australia and East Asia, even as it maintains existing deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Male soldiers have been serving three and four deployments in war zones. Many suffer from war-related post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Troop morale is low; suicides are at an all-time high. There is no military draft to replenish the forces. Pentagon and other government officials fear a major revolt among the youth if they try to reinstate it.
Women are needed in combat. This is a major reason for the Pentagon’s new policy.
What does it mean for women and men to be soldiers in an imperialist army, one that brings death and destruction in its wake? This military machine does not bring health care, food or other aid to the people under occupation, subject to bombings or threatened by drone attacks. It’s a death machine.
In the Israeli Defense Forces, women do 90 percent of the jobs men do and the government claims that shows it has “liberated” women. But their role, just like the men soldiers of this patriarchal settler state, is to brutally occupy Palestinian territories and oppress the people. There is nothing progressive about it.
However, many times in history armed women have played a progressive role, such as in World War II Resistance movements or in the Vietnamese liberation army. This is not just a question of women’s participation. The issue is the class character of the military, in whose interests it is fighting and for what purpose.
Women in the U.S. should not face sexist or racist discrimination anywhere. There should be no barriers for any women to higher education, jobs, livable wages and essential government programs, including reproductive and other health care.
Moreover, the federal government should enact a strong Equal Rights Amendment that guarantees women’s rights and bans all discrimination.
Let’s renew the call for women’s full equality while demanding that all U.S. troops be brought home now.

Articles copyright 1995-2013 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


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.

"Hejira" -- most requested highlight of the week.

"Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Congress was as bad as the press today," "Hagel's all mushy (Wally)," "Applause for Senator Blumenthal,"  "Oh, Winslow," "Lindsay Graham" -- C.I., AVa, Wally, Ruth and Kat report on a Congressional hearing they attended.

"Happy Endings," "Go already 30 Rock," "How I Met Your Mother," "revenge (yawn)," "The New Adventures of Old Christine," "It was about chemistry,"  "Fringe," "Arrow," "Smash" and "Bob's Burgers" -- Wednesday night's theme post was TV.

"Uncle Drunkard is the reason for now" and "THIS JUST IN! THE REASON FOR NOW!" -- Cedric and Wally on why Barack suddenly cares about immigration.

"Whitney,"  "Whitney,"  "scandal 'truth or consequences'," "Whitney,"  "Arrow: Vertigo," "Nikita: Survival Instincts," "no revenge," "Wonder Woman,"  "The Good Wife"  and "Two shows that aren' t cutting it" -- Ann, Betty, Rebecca, Marcia, Stan, Mike and Ruth cover TV.

"Bette continues to soar while Barbra sinks,"  "Zero Dark Thirty," and "Zero Big Thirty" -- Kat, Ann and Stan go to the movies.

"The Grouch of Wrath" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"All the questions" and "THIS JUST IN! THE QUESTIONS!" -- Cedric and Wally on the swirl.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }