Sunday, March 23, 2014

Truest statement of the week

Nouri is killing Iraqis and presidential priss Barack Obama is backing him on it.
Nouri's at an all time low right now in terms of popularity and doesn't deserve a third term.
In 2010, the Iraqi voters thought they'd voted him out of office.
But Barack pushed a legal contract (The Erbil Agrement) that went around the Iraqi voters.
There's a good chance that ass will try to do that again.
Iraq's not moving forward as long as thug Nouri is in charge.
He is a threat to every Iraqi as long as he remains prime minister.

--  Betty, "Thug Nouri kills Iraqis."

Truest statement of the week II

Well, you know, I was on post when this Iraqi came through my door in the post, I was at the Government Center in Ramadi which is the capital of the Anbar Province where Falluja is.  And when this man came into my post, at that point, I had been standing my post and somehow he had gotten through all the other security measures and gotten to my post. And so, you know, when I arrested him and put him -- detained him, my command told me at that point that it was my fault that I should have killed him.  He was in an area that is completely restricted for civilians.  No questions asked, it doesn't matter if he had a gun, that's out the door, the fact is, I should have killed him.  And you know, for me during that time period, that was really tough for me to deal with it.  I had to go through all the repercussions and treated as though what I did was wrong and, you know, how I was called a "girl" and all sorts of pejorative terms around this situation.  And so after that situation, what I think is really important is that this is just one instance of that.  And like how many soldiers across this country are coming down with orders from command telling them to commit these crimes, telling them to kill people -- who don't have weapons -- specifically because of where they are specifically because of how they've impacted this sort of post.  And so what is shows is there's a whole policy around the idea that-that soldiers can kill or can murder someone that doesn't have a weapon and that's totally explainable by the command. 

-- Iraq War veteran Ryan Endicott discussing the Iraq War with Abby Martin on her show Breaking The Set (RT -- here for the episode at Hulu).

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:

C.I. advocated for Betty and got no argument from anyone.
Jim and C.I. advocated for Ryan Endicott (again, no argument or other nominee came up).

She couldn't do one segment last week on Iraq.  The anniversary of the Iraq War and she couldn't do one segment.  She was revealed for what she really was.  The Goody Whore, she'll backstab anyone if it gets a few more pennies dropped in her pocket.

Ava and C.I. cover everything here.  Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are supposed to co-star in a new sitcom for Netflix.  Ava and C.I. explain why the format (single camera) is wrong and may lead to hassles between the two actresses, how Fonda's acting needs to be something more than it has been recently, how Katharine Hepburn ended her life as a joke, the type of actors that need to play Fonda and Tomlin's ex-husbands and so much more.
Don't they look happy?  And look, it's two men having a discussion and way off on the sidelines there's Susie Rice. 
Ava and C.I. tackled Pacifica and its huge and glaring disappointments.

We wanted to note Carter and we decided (Jess and Ty advocated for it) that the best way would be to make this type of article. 
We go through the mailbag.
John looks ready to drill, baby, drill.
What we listened to while writing this edition.
We don't enable War Hawks and if Hillary's thinks this will win votes, she's a lunatic.  She's now John McCain in more masculine clothes.
Eugene Robinson was unethical to use his Washington Post column to go after CNN and Fox News when he's paid by MSNBC.
Marcia, Ann, Ava and C.I. wrote this last week.

Not everyone was silent.

FBI repost.
Two senators stand up for veterans. 
Workers World repost.

UK Socialist Worker repost.

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


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

Editorial: Amy Goodman cashed in on Iraq

For most of America, Amy Goodman was a non-entity in 2001.

The horse faced woman who published in Hustler magazine had managed to steal Democracy Now! from Pacifica.

Hillel Aron (LA Weekly) reported Friday:

Pacifica launched Pacifica National News, a national, half-hour newscast, and despite resistance from some stations, especially Berkeley, modernizers pushed ahead in 1996, launching Democracy Now!, an hourlong, guest-oriented show. First designed with a preposterously unwieldy structure, co-hosted by four anchors in four cities, it eventually was consolidated to its two current hosts: Juan González, a New York Daily News columnist, and WBAI's talented news director, Amy Goodman.

Cooper has plenty of bitterness about Pacifica but saves his real vitriol for Goodman: "Amy's an evil bitch. Amy would be perfect in the [New Jersey governor Chris] Christie administration. She's a brass-knuckles fighter."
[. . .]
Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman joined the fray, siding on the air with the revolutionaries, signing petitions and giving an open microphone to the boycott of the network that was paying her comparatively handsome salary. She essentially became the public face of a movement that was targeting board members and posting leaflets in their neighborhoods, which read: "Wanted for criminal theft of a radio station."

"These [were] brownshirts," Cooper says. "And Amy was their leader and she knew it. And I told that to her face: She can fool a lot of people a lot of the time, but I know she's a thug." (Goodman did not return several calls for comment.)
[. . .]
Within a few months, Democracy Now! was privatized. In what may have been a reward for Goodman's support of the revolution, she was handed complete ownership of the show. For free. In fact, they paid her to take it, handing Goodman a contract worth hundreds of thousands of dollars a year — and gave her an automatic 4 percent raise every year, regardless of the size of her listenership or the money she raised.
According to former board member Tracy Rosenberg, Goodman now gets fees of around $650,000 for the right to air her show and for her fundraising services. Rosenberg says: "When you go to business school, they tell you that's how not to sign a contract."

Today, Pacifica's debts amount to roughly $3 million; $2 million of that is owed to Democracy Now!, which is also the name of an independent nonprofit run by Goodman.

That bitch got rich, didn't she?

While chanting in pledge drives "One of us, one of us, one of us, one of . . ."

She pretends to be part of the 99%.

But she's just another millionaire attempting to play the American public.

Last week Goody Whore didn't have time on March 19th to note the Iraq War or on March 20th or on March 21st.

Not one segment.

Silence from the Goody Whore.

It was the anniversary of the start of the illegal war.  Last year, she noted Iraq on three shows:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

But this year?


The Goody Whore used the illegal war to make her name.

She was insisting she went to the silences were (no, she never actually went to Iraq) and slamming the MSM for various offenses -- both real and imagined.

But she used many of her friends to get coverage without ever revealing it.

Friend Michael Powell wrote a fluffy piece on Goody Whore for the Washington Post in early March 2003.  It included:

Broadcasting on the Pacifica Radio network from a book-strewn loft in an old firehouse a half-dozen blocks from Ground Zero, Goodman is a daily polestar for those who crave the antiwar perspective that mainstream networks and newspapers often consign to the margins.
"War coverage should be more than a parade of retired generals and retired government flacks posing as reporters," Goodman says after the show. "Why not invite on some voices that are not Pentagon-approved?"
Her 9 a.m. magazine show mixes investigative scoops (a recent report detailed how the Bush administration quashed an FBI investigation into Saudi Arabian funding of terrorist organizations), reports from foreign correspondents, and very few generals. She and her co-host, New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez, speak, unabashedly, to those who oppose a war with Iraq, a roomier club than one might imagine from watching cable television news channels.
A recent Washington Post-ABC poll found that six in 10 Americans harbor doubts about using force in Iraq, while 40 percent are opposed to any invasion.
The audience for "Democracy Now!" is small but growing, and the show is influential among antiwar activists. More than 120 stations carry it, including WPFW-FM (89.3) in Washington and some public radio affiliates. And in the last two years, it's begun broadcasting on Web TV (via and public access television channels around the world .

 And starting today the formerly 60-minute show expands by an hour to accommodate more reporting on the war.

She was nothing and would have stayed that were it not for her posing on Iraq.  She used it to promote the show she owns and to enrich her own pockets.

And today, the woman who slammed so many others for their Iraq coverage?  She couldn't even be bothered for one segment on the ongoing illegal war.

We get it.  She's a dirty whore.  A pretender.  A fraud.  A fake.

TV: Grace and Frankie

As Stan noted this week, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are coming to Netflix.  Lesley Goldberg (Hollywood Reporter) explains the two will do 13 episodes of a sitcom entitled Grace and Frankie.


Three years from now, as 2017 draws to a close, Jane will be eighty, Lily Tomlin will be 77.  This year, Jane turns 77, the age when her father Henry passed away.

We bring that up to point out that both women have had long lives but time is finite.

Grace and Frankie could be one of the last recorded projects either woman does -- certainly one of the last projects where either is a lead actress.  And while both women are actresses of extreme talent, neither has shown much of it in the last decade.

Jane's done the most work -- six films and a TV show.  Sometimes, it has  worked.  Monster-in-Law was a strong and fully-fleshed performance, for example.  Peace, Love and Misunderstanding worked because Jane was willing to exhibit Grace's naked hunger and need to be part of her daughter's life.  . . . And If We All Lived Together worked far less than the other two and Jane seemed to confuse the character and her own performance.  After that, everything else is either insignificant (two cameos) or awful.

Awful is her performance as Leona Lansing on The Newsroom which is all wind-up power doll who never really goes anywhere because the scripts don't care to send her (or any woman -- we long ago noted Aaron Sorkin's problems with women).  It' a hollow performance, all indicated thoughts and feelings but no core.  It would be the worst performance Jane's ever given (yes, we have seen In The Cool of The Day) were it not for Georgia Rule.

In that awful film, only Lindsay Lohan deserved praise for acting.  Gary Marshall tried very hard to work his magic but it was impossible with Felicity Huffman giving the same dull performance she always gives, playing the role inside her mouth and thinking it's cute even though she left cute at least 40 years ago.

And then there was Jane playing . . .

Well what exactly?

A lumberjack?

Katharine Hepburn as she really was?

We bring this up because among the groups we spoke to last week about Iraq, illegal spying and Ukraine was a group of acting students and there big questions were about acting and politics and Jane came up. Specifically, the question was, "What the hell happened to her acting?"

Because the two-time Academy Award winning Best Actress was one of the most talented performers of her generation and her performance in Klute really is the finest film acting of the 20th century -- by an actor or an actress, it is the finest.

One person (and remember these are drama majors hoping to have acting careers) offered that Jane's too busy "pretending to be authentic offscreen and it's hurting her as an actress when she does a role."  That woman argued that Fonda knows illegal spying is wrong, she knows we don't need more wars but she lacks the guts to speak out the current administration "while trying to present herself as some sort of brave voice for the people.  She's full of s**t and it's coming out of her pores."


For example, our opinion has always been a gay man can successfully play straight before the camera (or on stage) but a gay man having to play straight on the set and also play a straight character may be having too many levels to pull off successfully. (Even in the closeted days, few were fully in the closet.  Tony Perkins was and it tended to paralyze his performance, bisexual Paul Newman, in the 50s and 60s, was more relaxed on the set and able to focus on his acting.)  So, yes, Jane acting "The Third Act" of her life (as inspirational leader who lacks leadership skills as evidenced by her inability to call out the current government spying) and also trying to act a character may explain why she's given such lousy performances in the last ten years.

But  another reason (instead of or along with)  could be that Jane knows her press.  Few performers pay as much attention to critical notices as Jane.  She seems to get a perverse joy out of them even when they're negative.  She's also seen as combative with reporters who are writing soft feature articles on her.  (It's why she got  a bad rep with many journalists and why, for example, journalist Paul Rosenfield loathed her.)  (In fairness to Jane, what they see as 'combative' is sometimes Jane initiating a conversation with a sardonic comment that is misread as combative.  Few performers have Jane's strong desire to be liked by all.)

Aware of her press, she's aware that her brittle roles remain some of her best received.

Klute, The Morning After, The China Syndrome, The Electric Horseman, California Suite, Agnes of God, They Shoot Horses Don't They?, Monster-in-Law, Julia and Fun With Dick and Jane are among her most praised performances.  Some (including one journalist intrepid enough to offer it to Jane's face) have gone further to divide her performances into smoking and non-smoking roles and arguing Jane excels at playing brittle, career women who smoke.

She gave a brittle, but naked, performance in 33 Variations and many in the entertainment community believe she was denied a Tony (she was nominated) because the voters felt she was doing, as one playwright put it, "The 330th Variation on the same performance."  He was speaking of the impression among some, he didn't share it, nor do we.  It was a very naked performance, she let herself out there in a way few actors ever do.  To her misfortune, the role, in the text, called for a performance or type that some see as all she offers.

In a well written role, Jane can find levels and depths that even a director or the original writer didn't realize were present.

But too often, in the last ten years, she's had roles that are nothing and she's tried to apply technique to bring them to life.

All that happens is a clinched performance.

More and more, Jane's a clenched fist.

Her body in these roles is as constrained as her emotions.

She becomes as unyielding as a stone and all a stone can do is sink.

Last year, The Guilt Trip was released and Barbra Streisand gave one of her finest screen performances. (Her inability to stop attacking people resulted in the film doing so-so business.  Stop trying to be the voice of a political party if you want to have ticket buyers or viewers or whatever.)

Barbra's performance was up there with Yentl and Funny Girl and The Way We Were and Up The Sandbox.  In fact, in some ways, it blew all of those previous performances away.

Yes, there were the showy moments like when her character finds out the man she wished she'd married, the man she'd named her son after was dead.  But even in those car scenes, listening to the audio books, Barbra provided so much reality, so much love, so much concern, so much need.  It was a rewarding performance.

Jane's done similar characters and done them well.  But the last time she played one in a leading role?  You really have to go back to Coming Home (which she won one of her two Oscars for).

In California Suite, Alan Alda notes a rare vulnerable moment in the character of Hannah and Jane's Hannah advises him to "take a picture, because you're not going to see it again."

That's more or less a promise the actress has kept.  There are flashes of vulnerability in The Morning After (an all time great performance) and in Peace, Love and Misunderstanding, for example, but flashes only.  (And Jane the actress finds those notes and fleshes them out -- they weren't obvious moments in the script.)

If you want to see Jane doing a performance hitting similar notes to Barbra's in The Guilt Trip, you really have to go back to her French films with Roger Vadim and her American films of that period.

Jane can still play those roles, she's just chosen not to (and there are fewer of them written over 40).  She played them very well in The Game Is Over (she's fantastic), Barefoot In The Park (ditto), Barbarella, Any Wednesday, Sunday In New York, Cat Ballou, etc.

And she played it in Coming Home and won an Academy Award for that performance (deservedly so).

But she's stuck to stones and immovable and impassive characters because that's what she's wrongly believed (based on critical reaction) that she can pull off.  It would be great to see her play a villain.  We imagine she could be as delicious onscreen as, for example, Vanessa Redgrave was in Mission Impossible.

Instead, she's stayed with brittle and her performances risk becoming as awful Katharine Hepburn's were at the same age.

Hepburn's win for On Golden Pond was one of the two most undeserved Best Actress Academy Awards of all time.

While Henry Fonda created an actual character in that film, Hepburn was a joke.

She was playing a twice removed send up of a mother and wife.

Most importantly, she was playing the public persona of Katharine Hepburn and had been since the death of Spencer Tracy.

She was involved with him romantically only very briefly.

Not because he was married but because he preferred men and she preferred women.

But there she was on the set, pretending Spencer had been the love of her life (not Laura Harding?) and pretending to be Ethel Thayer, a character the actress had nothing in common with but, most importantly, didn't respect.

So playing straight on the set (Henry knew she was gay and didn't care, no one really did except Hepburn herself) and then playing it even more over the top when the cameras were rolling, Hepburn created a character that doesn't resemble a wife or a mother or even a human being.

Jane Fonda the producer was wrong from an acting stand point to cast Hepburn.  As Henry noted before the filming and after, Barbara Stanwyck would have been better in the role.  (Yes, Stanwyck was a lesbian, that's not an issue.  The issue is are you using all your time on the set to convince everyone you're straight? Stanwyck was a strong actress who didn't waste her performance on the set pretending she was in mourning -- for decades -- over her lost male love.) Loretta Young (who also wanted to play the role) would have been better in the part as well.  If the concern was marquee value, Bette Davis would have been a far better choice than 'the great Kate.'

Hepburn may have brought in more fawning press in real time, and therefore helped ticket sales, but she's not just the weakest part of the film, she actually harms it, destroys it.

On Golden Pond was a huge hit, one of the biggest films of its year.  It's not very well remembered today and that's because of Hepburn and her camp performance of a heterosexual woman.

That's a shame in so many ways but it's a real shame for Jane the actress.  As Ethel and Norman's daughter, Jane gave a very strong supporting performance and it's largely forgotten and overlooked because of all the cheese Hepburn spread across the screen.

Jane the actress broke from her brittle roles to play this part.  Yes, she can detonate the sardonic one liner in the film but she's not the brittle career woman.  She's also not playing poverty (The Dollmaker and Stanley & Iris) but a contemporary, middle class woman and playing it very well.

Had it been recognized (she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award) and remembered, Jane might have returned to film sooner.  We're not making one of those hypothetical What-ifs.  We're not saying, "Had she won the Oscar for it, she might never have retired."

We're talking about the fact that once she decided to return to films, she went after a number of roles before she filmed Monster-in-Law.  In some cases (Elizabethtown, for example), she was actually briefly attached to the film.  In all cases, these supporting roles were seen as iffy for Jane by the studios making the films.  They didn't believe she could carry a supporting role or play these women who weren't brittle career women or deep into poverty.

Now when we spoke about the above, we were much more wicked in our remarks and got huge laughs and the professor told us later we should write up our critique.  We begged off and stated we might write about it after Jane passed away.

We had no reason, we insisted, to type up that commentary.

And then came the news of Jane and Lily's sitcom.

This news was quickly followed by a huge panic on our part.

Because this should be a great project but it could instead suck worse than anything ever seen.

Let's move to Lily for a moment.

Lily often plays eccentrics very well.   One of the few times she's played a non-eccentric well resulted in her Academy Award nomination (for Nashville).

In the 70s and the 80s, Lily seemed able to play almost anything (almost).

Part of the reason for this belief was Lily's amazing one-woman shows (Appearing Nightly and The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe).  But another reason for that belief was that Lily turned down pretty much everything she was offered.

In the 90s, Lily was offered much less -- not because she was less talented but because the entertainment industry isn't known for embracing women over forty.

Offered much less, Lily accepted pretty much everything offered -- which explains embarrassments like The Beverly Hillbillies, Getting Away with Murder and Krippendorf's Tribe.  It also explains why Kim Basinger delivered the star turn in Robert Altman's Pret-a-Porter.  Lily was supposed to play that role but bailed in the end because she wrongly believed ABC was going to turn her animated Edith Ann specials into a TV series.

Lily Tomlin's worst reviews came for Moment By Moment.  The film's not as awful as the critics made it out to be.  At times, it's distant.  But it's not stilted and it's far from one of the worst films ever.

For years, it was used by the press as an example of a film bomb (despite the fact that it made back its production budget at the box office).  It's actually has many moving moments and Travolta and Lily do have a genuine chemistry in the film.  The only real mistake Jane Wagner, as director and writer makes, is probably assuming the audience grasps the journey.  Apparently, many needed cards on screen explaining things like: "See how Trish is exploring Travolta's body and her own desires?  She's owning her sexuality." and "See how Trish is trying to find him?  Her comfort with her own sexuality is transferring to strength in other areas."

The biggest problem for the film was probably Lily.  Her character is fully realized but it's a minor key from an actress we expect standard chord progressions -- major chords -- from.  In other words, in Nashville and The Late Show and All of Me, Lily's reaching through the screen with her talent and grabbing us but as Trish, she's really not doing that.

In the TV show, Jane and Lily are going to play friends whose husbands have left them.  We'll get to that shortly.

But the roles being planned for the two women?

They don't go to the strengths currently.  Lily's not being asked to work on the order of her film triumphs or her successful turn as Kay on Murphy Brown.  Instead, the role is a lot more like her bad character on the recent Malibu Country (which Lily said was based on her mother but appeared to many to be playing Marie from The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (but without Jane Wagner to provide meaningful dialogue).

Jane can't be clenched in her performance.  Even if she's playing a brittle woman, she can't be clenched. And Lily needs to be written in bright tones, not minor chords.  She won't have anything to play in minor chords.

Lily and Jane, with Dolly Parton, made one of the most successful films starring women: 9 to 5.  The 1980 film, produced by Jane, was huge, over a hundred million domestically at a time when very few films had that kind of domestic box office and none of them were comedies.

In that film, Lily played smart and steely (not what her characters are usually known for) and Jane's character can best be described as innocent.  It worked, it worked very well and maybe there's something to be said for the sitcom considering creating characters against type.

Maybe not.

Netflix isn't known at present for doing series revolving around women.  Of all their original programming, only Orange Is The New Black revolves around women -- and women in prison, of course, is a fetish genre for many straight men.  So Lily and Jane doing well in this is important beyond just Lily and Jane.

And we're worried because of what we've noted above.

But we're also worried because of the description of the show The Hollywood Reporter provided:

From Skydance Productions (WGN's Manhattan), the single-camera comedy centers on nemeses Grace (Fonda) and Frankie (Tomlin), whose lives are turned upside down when their husbands announce they are in love with each other and plan to get married. The women, much to their own dismay, find that their lives are permanently intertwined and, much to their surprise, they find they have each other.

In other words, Netflix has ordered a third season of TV Land's Happily Divorced?

Okay, it's a premise.  One already done but many have been, a series isn't necessarily its premise.

The premise may raise eyebrows, we'll get back to it, but so should the format.

The sitcom should be filmed in front of a live audience because that would spark Fonda and prevent what will probably be a huge conflict between Lily and Jane since Jane's not producing this time and she and Lily are co-stars and equals.

As such, Lily's well known habit of repeating take after take and exploring her character will be given as much time as Lily wants and Jane really is a first-take's-the-best actress.  While Lily's wanting to work up her performance, Jane's is going to be spiraling down.

We're not saying Jane's process is right and Lily's is wrong or vice versa.  We're saying that the processes are at odds and that's not good for a series.

You can stomach it in a film and many have.

Take Robert Redford for example.

He and Barbra Streisand worked together and the result was a film that was a box office hit and went on to become a romantic film classic (The Way We Were).  In the years that followed, all the studios wanted the two to do was reteam.  Barbra wanted that herself and even wanted Redford, at one point, for The Prince of Tides.  Redford rejected all reteaming attempts.  He doesn't loathe Barbra or hate her or even dislike her. He would gladly present an award with her or do something live.  But he's not stepping foot on a film set with her ever again.

Barbra, like Lily, believes in exploration on the sound stage.  And it works for her (as it does Lily).  But it left Redford drained and desperate to finish The Way We Were.  There was never another film with Barbra and there never will be.

By contrast, Jane's first take is usually her best and, if you get past take five, you've got a problem.  (And you had problem with The Electric Horseman's big kiss scene because the takes went on forever with both Fonda and Redford fading with each take.)  Because their process is similar, Jane's acted opposite Redford more than any other actress: The Chase, Barefoot in the Park and The Electric Horseman.  (Natalie Wood made three films with Redford, but the third was a cameo where Natalie played herself.)

On the set of Big Business, Lily and Bette Midler fought loudly and viciously for the first week or so until they found a way to respect each other's methods.  Lily found Bette too casual in her approach and Bette was fond of reminding her that every take didn't have to be Oscar worthy.

Maybe it's assumed, "They've worked together before."  Yes, they have but 9 to 5 was 34 years ago.

And those 34 years now tend to show in close ups.  While Lily probably won't be highly concerned, Jane is a leading actress used to leading actress perks like having her close ups shot early because faces tend to droop as a day wears on.  It's going to be difficult to do that -- even in single camera -- if Lily's working up her characters and bits of business and more.  Again, the format should have been before a live audience.

Now let's go back to that premise.  Fran Drescher starred in Happily Divorced and there was much to praise (most of it Fran herself) in the first season.  There was also much not to praise.

In June of 2011, we noted:

Happily Divorced opened with Fran (her character's name is Fran also) in bed with husband Peter (John Michael Higgins) where he confesses that he's gay. It's in that scene that the show makes clear it may not recover.
Some people feel uncomfortable watching the show. It's not homophobic and Fran's own reputation for embracing full equality for all is well known. But there's a problem and they can't put their finger on it. Like the character Fran or the actress, they're missing the obvious.
The problem is Higgins.
John Michael Higgins plays shy, retiring types. In fact, "reticent" probably best captures his presence. He can be very good such as in Christopher Guest's classic films A Mighty Wind, Best In Show and For Your Consideration. If he were playing "Mr. Mooney" to Fran's "Lucy Carmichael," it might work. But he's playing Fran's ex-husband whom she's angry with. And he's gay. So her barbs and snap are hitting weak Higgins. What's next? An episode where Fran beats up on the elderly?
It's not that the writers don't give Higgins lines to say. Fran's not continually pelting him with insults. But his energy level is so low and Fran's is so high that their exchanges are uncomfortable.

Some critics considered the show homophobic.  We didn't.  But some did.

And if Jane and Lily exist on their new show to bitch about gay men, it's going be considered homophobic.

If they're going with the premise, the men better be something because sad sack gay didn't play on Happily Divorced and it won't here.

The actors?

They better be something.  That means it can be someone they've  worked with like George Segal (Jane's co-star in Fun With Dick and Jane, Lily's in Flirting With Disaster), Paul Mooney (Jane's co-star in the FTA documentary and tour), Keith Carradine (Lily's Nashville co-star) Dabney Coleman (Lily and Jane's co-star in 9 to 5, Jane's co-star in On Golden Pond), Jimmy Smits (Jane's co-star in Old Gringo), Fred Ward (Lily's co-star in Big Business), Jon Voight (Jane's co-star in Coming Home) or Alan Alda (Jane's co-star in California Suite, Lily's in Flirting With Disaster).  Or it can be someone who's established themselves already Robert Hays, Stacy Keach, Steven Bauer, Victor Garber, Elliott Gould, Dorian Harewood, Richard Benjamin, Harry Belafonte, Robert Wagner, A. Martinez, Ryan O'Neal, Michael Warren, Buck Henry, John Amos, Martin Sheen, Mike Farrell, Taj Mahal, etc.  But if they go with unknowns, they better be able to hold their own.

The imbalance on Happily Divorced made it awkward when Fran would get off a one liner because Peter came off like such a sad sack.

The ex-husbands would presumably be guest-stars and not in every episode.  Even if they only appear once, they better be played by strong actors who can hold their own.  For our suggestions, we went with people who were no more than 20 years younger than the actresses  but one  husband or both could also be significantly younger than the actresses.

What's important is that the actors hold their own.

Otherwise, the women's anger will seem overplayed and overdone.

It's also important that the two men don't come off as insulting gay stereotypes.

Grace and Frankie . . .

September 24, 2006, we reviewed Heroes.  By mistake.  We thought it had already started airing the Monday of the week before.  It debuted September 25, 2006.  (See note at the end of this October 1, 2006 piece.)

But otherwise, we wait until something airs.

Why not this time?

The show hasn't even filmed an episode.

And that's precisely the reason why.

We've outlined some potential pitfalls ahead.

They're going to make the show they want and it'll work or it won't.

We hope it works.  We hope it's popular and successful to give them a strong credit in the latter part of their careers and inspires Netflix to produce more shows with women.

In case you don't get how important this is, we'll offer two more points.  First, Netflix is probably closer to where entertainment series will be in 20 years, closer than broadcast TV.   So it matters that women are there on the ground floor and not trying to play catch up a few years from now.  Second, do you watch TV? If so, are you aware (regular readers of this site should be) that NBC's spring season, like last fall's season, features no new shows revolving around women.  About A Boy isn't just an NBC sitcom, it's also their programming strategy.

That jolly White House

The fun just never ends at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!  Look how happy all three are.

Last week, Barack pretended women mattered to the White House but you'll note that Barack and John Kerry have a discussion while Susan Rice is way off to the side, looking like someone desperate to be chosen and asked to play.

Media: Pacifica Radio (Ava and C.I.)

Pacifica Radio formed in 1946 and began broadcasting in 1949.  Friday, LA Weekly published Hillel Aron's "Left-Wing Darling Pacifica Radio Is Sliding Into the Abyss."

Thing is, people have been predicting the demise of Pacifica forever.  And remember how Pacifica began broadcasting in 1949?  That was KPFA serving the Bay Area.  KPFA went off the air in August of 1950 and 1951 would have already begun before it came back on the air.


You could make many arguments with that.  You could argue that Pacifica death has long been predicted but never come to pass, for example.  Or you might argue Pacifica's been dying since the day it was born.

You could run anywhere with that, guessing this way and that.

Let's instead focus on what has happened.

Pacifica Radio is KPFA, KPFK, WBAI, WPFW and KPFT -- Bay Area, Los Angeles, NYC, DC and Houston.  For funds, the stations depend upon the model of listener donations which are mainly raised via pledge drives.  Many non-Pacifica listeners may be familiar with pledge drives via NPR but Pacifica, which predates NPR, invented the model.

WBAI's in the toilet currently and may soon be cut loose (or it may not).  Why is WBAI in the toilet?

The article notes:

According to emails obtained by the Weekly, three Pacifica stations — WBAI, KPFT in Houston and WPFW in Washington, D.C. — owe Null $74,000 as his cut of premiums he's sold. And according to Bob Hennelly, recently fired program director of WBAI, Null claims that up to 3,000 premiums purchased by listeners were never mailed, going as far back as 2009. If true, it's unclear whether that's due to incompetence (the mail is largely run by volunteers) or because the stations are funding past premiums with payments for recent premiums — a kind of public-radio Ponzi scheme.

Null is Gary Null and Aron clearly does not care for Null.

But that doesn't excuse acting as though 2009 is the issue.

Long before Null was put back on air at WBAI, they were failing to mail the 'gifts' for pledge drives.

This was a problem in 2004, in 2005 and in 2006.

And a lot of subscribers walked over it.

The ones who have contacted us over the years -- we've written of this topic many times -- tie it to Law & Disorder Radio, specifically when the program began offering an archive of past programs on a zip drive.

Did anyone receive that premium?

We've heard from several in Connecticut and from two in New Jersey and from one in Texas (and the Texas donor was especially pissed because he contacted WBAI three times about this over a six month period and never received the premium).  Some of them and some of the other out of NYC listeners took it as an insult to them personally and assumed that those within NYC received their premiums.  At least three didn't.

If you're giving two cents, you deserve to be thanked.

But to get a premium like that you had to toss in sixty dollars or more.

And the 'thank you' was receiving no gift?

This happened over and over with many programs.  And it went a long way towards making people angry at WBAI.

Pretend for a second that it's you and you dug into your pockets to give money for something you believed in.  And you were promised a 'gift' or 'premium' in exchange but you never received it.

Do you just forget it?

Not if you listen to WBAI because, every few months, it's another pledge drive, more on air begging, and you hear promises of premiums and it just makes you angry.  Most likely, you don't just stop giving, you also stop listening.

All stations have problems sending out premiums and that's to be expected due to human error.  But if you contact KPFA, KPFK or KPFT, they make a point to fix the problem.

WBAI burned their bridges with so many listeners as a result of their inability to deliver the promised premiums.

The premium model is an implicit trust agreement whereby a listener shows their appreciation for the programming by donating money and the station shows their appreciation for the donation by providing the listener with a premium.

When it's just taking money?  That's a lot like stealing.

In the article, Aron speaks with four  people: Marc Cooper, Tracy Rosenberg and Matthew Lazar and Ian Masters.

Matthew Lazar presents as a historian.  That's not true.  He went on air with Sasha Lily and trashed a group of listeners and pimped who should be voted during the upcoming elections.

He and Lily lost out because the Rosenberg faction won those elections.

When confronted now on that specific event?

Even Lazar has given up defending his actions.  But instead of getting honest, he takes the position of 'I've washed my hands of KPFA.'

It's a damn pity he didn't wash them sooner.  You can't play radio historian and also break the rules.  Matthew Lazar made himself a joke.  Check the archives, we offered nothing but praise for Lazar until that moment.  We treated him as a historian and were happy to note him.  But then he broke the rules -- there are written rules regarding what can be said on air regarding elections -- and he knew the rules, he's the 'historian.'  If he would acknowledge what he did, we'd be happy to let it go.

Lazar is useless until that day comes because he's been publicly dishonest.

Tracy Rosenberg?

There are a number of people who don't like her.

That's fine.  You make your own decisions about who you like.

But a detached view would recognize that Rosenberg has not only tried to listen to listeners -- both before getting elected to the board and after, she's also been more open than anyone in her position has been.  She will answer questions in e-mails, she will answer them on the phone.  She will leave comments online when there is confusion in a thread.

We respect Tracy Rosenberg's work.  We haven't agreed with every move she's made but we haven't seen her try to hide from her decisions or to push the blame on others.

That leaves Marc Cooper and Ian Masters.

Cooper we've taken to task over the years and we'll go into him in a moment.

Here's a question for the readers:  If someone's running for public office and you're interviewing them live, after the interview is over, is it fair for you to trash the person -- especially on issues you never raised in the interview?

How about if that trashing takes place live on air?

Cynthia McKinney was the 2008 Green Party presidential candidate and Ian Master?

He was a dirty, little bitch.

McKinney served in Congress and is cited on many topics by journalist Greg Palast -- a journalist Pacifica has repeatedly promoted.

Ian Masters kissed McKinney's ass on air during the interview.  When it was over and McKinney was off the phone, still on air Ian Master ridiculed her.

For what?

For saying Bully Boy Bush stole Florida in 2000.

That's not an extreme view or one without supporting evidence.

But even if it had been an extreme view, if Masters disagreed, he should have said so during the interview, he shouldn't have been a little backstabbing bitch who waited until she was off the line and couldn't respond to his attacks.

Ian Masters is not to be trusted, he has not conducted himself in a journalistic manner so all of his attacks in the article and pretense of journalism standards are as laughable as he is.

That leaves Marc Cooper.

Cooper is opinionated.  He's also been very sexist in the past and won't cop to it.

He loves to trash women and tell them what to do.

For example, when Jane Fonda wanted to go around the country in 2005 speaking out against the Iraq War, Cooper wrote a column slamming her.  He'd then go into a slam of George Galloway but the way he slammed Jane, the vicious attacks, that's how he writes about women but not about men.

He can have the belief that Fonda would turn off more people than she would turn on.  He can express that.  But at what point does he get honest that this is why people hate him -- and many people actively hate Marc Cooper.

Assume he's right that Fonda, who had a bestseller autobiography on the charts when Cooper was writing that she shouldn't tour, would turn off a lot of people.  Let's go with a figure, 70%.

That would still leave 30% up for grabs.

(Fonda would not have turned off 70%.  As a well known anti-war activist, her touring would have rallied many anti-war activists and her history and her celebrity would have attracted interest from those who hadn't taken a position on the Iraq War.)

Marc Cooper can't allow that he's ever wrong, can't cop to his past problems with sexism, can't communicate because he's too busy repeating his opinion while covering his ears and refusing to hear anyone else.

And that's a real shame because Cooper is sometimes right and, even sometimes when he's wrong,  he can make an interesting point that may be valid or worth tossing around.

But he gets more and more rigid.

He also forgets that public radio is not Marc Cooper radio.

Public radio is public radio, it needs to serve the public.

A smart person accepts that while an ego maniac believes they scream loud enough to control all programming.

Marc Cooper really wants to be Ted Turner creating CNN but CNN isn't, and never was, public radio or public television.

Marc Cooper used to have a career.

He ruined it by launching non-stop attacks.

In the article, he calls out Amy Goodman, some might argue he attacks her (and he does have that history of attacking women in print).  That's not what we're talking about.

We're talking about when he goes after groups of people.

When he was still published by LA Weekly and could still be heard hosting programs on radio, he attacked those who questioned the official 9-11 narrative.

A lot of people question the narrative.  Skepticism should be encouraged by public radio, not conformity.

If there was one program on KPKF or one on KPFA questioning the narrative, Cooper would have a public fit and go into a rant.

Cooper, David Corn and Norman Solomon would attack premiums stations offered questioning the official narrative.

David Corn and Norman Solomon learned to let it go.

Cooper didn't.

They still have careers as pundits, Cooper doesn't.

If you don't care for the truth movement, then ignore it.

Why in the world are you attacking people?  Why in the world do you think you can dictate what gets aired and what doesn't on public radio?  Or that you should have a say over what's offered as a premium?

Let's pretend for a moment that the 9-11 truth movement is a big joke and the people look stupid.

Who hasn't looked stupid?

We sure have.

And our looking stupid doesn't mean that we should be silenced.

(The truth movement is composed of people seeking truth regarding an attack on US citizens.  They are dedicated to something more important than who's going to win The Amazing Race.  We wish them luck and we don't attack them.  Their actions have already prevented 9-11 from becoming a distant memory and they challenge many of the lies the government has told including Condi Rice's infamous "no one could have guessed" statement.)

What Solomon, Corn and Cooper were engaged in was similar to book burning.

It's not their job to dictate what can and cannot be discussed.

Cooper's ravings lately include pimping US government attacks on Ukraine.

He's really not qualified to determine who speaks and who doesn't.

Even if he were, it's not his choice.

He calls Amy Goodman a thug and that is something he's qualified to determine.  But few will listen to him because (a) he's attacked everyone and (b) he has no independent opinion from a Democratic White House.

Which is the real problem with Pacifica.

It's losing listeners because of it.

Aron writes:

Pacifica is still far to the left of anything else in mass media, and still gives voice to beliefs and ideas found outside the mainstream. It hasn't changed; the world has.
Decades ago, the left called for Lyndon Johnson's head. It was against Nixon, but also against Hubert Humphrey.

Today, those to the left of the Democratic Party have been relegated to the fringes — or perhaps they've relegated themselves, favoring new-age beliefs over science, seemingly invested in the idea that society is as bad off as it's ever been.

Relegated to the fringes?

Pacifica grew in that time period because it presented something other than "Republicans are bad so we must be in bed with Democrats."

That's what allowed it to grow and how it made an impact.

And then a lot of people glommed on to Pacifica and started confusing it with the voice of the Democratic Party.

Today, there's no difference.

Every few months a Dennis Bernstain will temporarily rail against the White House and then some Republican remark/attack/campaign will come along and it's time to stand with Barack.

Public radio stands with the public.

When it fails to, it becomes NPR.

With illegal spying and The Drone War alone, every hour of Pacifica not devoted to arts or health programming should be rebuking the White House.

Instead, they work overtime to make listeners think the White House is them.  But Barack's not part of ObamaCare.  He'll have insurance for life.  He doesn't need a job after he leaves the White House, he has a pension -- he who will not risk a thing to protect the workers of Detroit will leave public office a very rich man who never needs to worry again.

Barack Obama is not the friend of public radio listeners.

He needs to be pushed at every opportunity and that's how you get a left in this country.  That's how it was created in the first place, that's how it can be created again.  Failure to do so will allow 'the center' to continue to move to the right.

KPFA endorsed book burning in order to 'protect' Barack.  The 'book' was The New Yorker, specifically the 2008 cover parodying Barack and Michelle Obama.  Aimee Allison endorsed the destruction of the issue.  The fact that the cover was a joke or that it came from a magazine that was devoted to electing Barack or even that there's such a thing as free speech didn't matter to Aimee Allison.   If you thought this was an embarrassing moment for KPFA and Pacifica, it only got worse.  After pimping the Obamas as her Facebook friends,  Allison would go on, long after the 2008 election, to offer a YouTube video defending Barack's right to kill innocent people with drones.

That goes a long way towards explaining why people don't listen to Pacifica.

It's forgotten now because Air America Radio is forgotten but Pacifica Radio thrived during Air America Radio's brightest hours.

AAR was about defending Democrats, about promoting them, covering for them and lying for them.  Given the choice between the AAR programs that refused to note war resisters and hosts including Rachel Maddow who insisted that the Iraq War must continue, people chose to listen to Pacifica.  KPFA, WBAI and others were getting listened to via streaming from all over the country (and all over the world).

They thanked listeners for choosing them over Air America Radio how?

By, in 2007, pimping for Barack Obama -- pimping that continues to this day.

Marc Cooper in his published remarks has nothing to say about that.

He instead insists that it's journalism versus 'quacks' on Pacifica today.

No, ir's not.

For the sake of argument, let's pretend that all non-public affairs shows are "quacks."

Are the public affairs shows journalism?

March 19th was the anniversary of the start of the Iraq War in the US -- for countries to the east of the US, it was March 20th.  So we got coverage, right?

Because Iraq has gotten worse under Barack's leadership.

So we especially should be getting coverage.

KPFA didn't offer coverage.  Iraq was absent on the 19th, on the 20th and on the 21st.

What did we get instead as listeners?

Dennis Bernstein used Flashpoints  not to note Iraq but to offer 'in depth' jabbering about lime disease.  Kris Welch, always one to whore, served up not Iraq but  "women's anatomy and what the right-wing appears to not know."  This type of garbage was true of all the programs.  (Presenting the Democratic Party as the defender of reproductive rights is not just laughable, it's damaging.  Democratic politicians have chipped away -- and are chipping away -- at reproductive rights.  They don't need to be embraced, they need to be called out in the hopes that they'll stop selling out reproductive rights.)

Up Front?  It's a new program which KPFA describes as: "An hour-long news magazine with a strong focus on state and local issues. A statewide collaboration, featuring hard-hitting interviews, debates, and in-depth reporting from journalists working everywhere from Los Angeles to Oakland to Sacramento."

Great, maybe a news program could cover Iraq?


B-b-but, they cover "state and local issues."

Do you know what they covered on those days?

One full show was devoted to an author promoting his new book on the slave trade.  On Friday, they offered a writer promoting her piece on sex workers in Arizona.

None of it was reporting, none of it was journalism, none of it was "state and local issues."

And, in the end, none of it was necessary.

"Pacifica" Radio started in California.

"Pacific" does not refer to the ocean, it refers to the founders belief in pacifism.

They made their name during Vietnam.  After years and years of struggle in the 90s, they found their voice with the Iraq War.

But they walked away from it.  Listen to the embarrassing DC station, for example, where you'll now find anti-war peace activist Verna Avery-Brown playing the part of a disgusting whore.

It's interesting that Norman Solomon, Marc Cooper and David Corn could and did whine about 9-11 truth being on the air.  9-11 effects people lives, it was a tragedy.

Verna?    She devoted a segment to Sarah Palin's 'faked' pregnancy.

Norman didn't call it out, Marc didn't call it out, David didn't call it out.

It was treated as acceptable.

Even though it's not.  Palin didn't fake a pregnancy.  Had she done so, however, it wouldn't rise to the level of journalism but would instead be a personal matter.

But that's the sort whoring Verna does today.  She's a dirty whore for the White House.

Guess what?

Pacifica wasn't created to embrace the power or serve politicians.  The refusal of the network to ditch trash like Verna Avery Brown, the refusal to demand that Pacifica always question power -- regardless of who is in the White House, it goes a long way towards explaining why the listeners have vanished.

And the demise of Pacifica, if it does come to be?  No great loss.

It's become a propaganda outlet for those in power.

Losing it now would be no loss at all.


Note we're not including a kiss ass mentioned in the article for a number of reasons including her role really isn't what the article said.  She's the host of two programs -- not one -- and the second one airs on more than just KPFK.

Who should run in 2016?

The Democrats don't have much to offer in the next presidential election presently.

Hillary Clinton's embarrassing herself as she screams for war and comes off like some sort of American war monger.

Vice President Joe Biden is too old and was tasked to be over Iraq -- one of the administration's worst disasters.

Senator Elizabeth Warren's made herself a joke and she's also a 'new' Democrat, having spent most of her life as a Republican -- a detail presidential the press would probably have to explore.

Ex-US Senator Russ Feingold?

Russ was the great hope.  Russ was the big one who could save us all.

Big, bad, brave Russ.

Except remember how he lost his Senate seat?

By basically dry humping Barack Obama when what voters needed was a message that Russ would fight for them, not waste his time defending the honor of Lady Barack.

By the way, The Progressive?  Pay attention right now because this applies to you as well.

You're wasting all your time trying to bring down Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

It's a waste of time.

Because no one takes you seriously.

You don't look like journalists, you look like a hit squad for the Democratic Party.

As Barack's approval rating continues to drop in your state, your refusal to hold him accountable discredits you and anything you try to do.  You're not seen as journalists or even activists, just a Democratic partisans  which feeds right into Scott Walker's argument that this is about partisanship and not about what's right for Wisconsin.

Back to big Russ.

After he got spanked in public in his 2010 re-election bid, Russ wasn't smart enough to pull up his pants and tried to regroup.

The man who argued against The PATRIOT Act is silent on the illegal spying.

Few know why that is.

When Russ isn't dropping his pants and hopping over someone's knee for a good spanking, he's schilling for the White House, Barack made him a special envoy grasping that co-opting Russ would shut him up about the illegal spying.

Which it has.

Little Rusty Feingold is well behaved boy now that he's been taken over the knee repeatedly by Barack.

Maybe he'll be a hit in gay S&M porn videos?

He won't be a hit in politics.  He made himself a joke.

Doesn't have to be that way.

Remember this guy?

That's Jimmy Carter.

It's never really been established if a person elected to two terms as US president could then leave office and serve another term (or two) a little while later.

But Carter was one term, from January 1977 to January 1981.

So he's still got another term he could serve.

And maybe he should seriously consider running.

Dana Davidson (CNN) reports:

Former President Jimmy Carter said Sunday he believes the National Security Agency is monitoring his e-mails, so when he wants to communicate with a foreign leader, he sends an old-fashioned letter via snail mail.
Asked by NBC's Andrea Mitchell about the debate surrounding the spy agency and the conflict between privacy and national security, Carter said the surveillance practices have "been extremely liberalized and I think abused by our own intelligence agencies."
"As a matter of fact, you know, I have felt that my own communications were probably monitored, and when I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately, I type or write the letter myself, put it in the post office and mail it," Carter said.

No one wanting the Democratic Party's presidential nomination can afford to be silent.

But they all are, aren't they?

Jimmy Carter has no plans to seek another term.

But if he'd look around at all the others in his party playing cowards right now, he might realize that he's needed, desperately so.



Again into the mailbag.  Our e-mail address is

Erika asks how we pick what to highlight from others, "for example Workers World?"

Okay, this edition we were picking and we wanted to go with the protest story because we believe in people power.

However, the story is garbage.

It calls out John McCain.  For those who missed it, McCain is a US senator.  He's not President of the United States.  Guess who didn't have his name in the article?  Barack Obama.  We're not interested in that garbage.

Kim Plunk e-mails to ask if we "could do an article where one of you interviews Ava and C.I.?  They've been doing TV coverage since 2005.  I would really like to see a piece where they were asked about it and that included questions from readers.  Mine would be: What was your personal favorite TV show of all you reviewed?"

That sounds like an interesting feature.  Jim says he'll try it next weekend and if you've got a question you want him to ask, e-mail us to let us know.

Ronald B e-mails to note "Jim's World" and the poll.  "I appreciate the effort of attempting the poll and especially appreciate Jim explaining what it was all about.  But, honestly, I don't need to have 'interaction.'  I see this website as a magazine.  I come here to read.  If I have a complaint or praise, I'll write an e-mail."

Ronald, a lot of people felt like you did.  Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts.

Grahm e-mails, "I've been around long enough to remember the great collages you used to do about Bush, the MyTV's Fascist House series.  I miss those collages.  But I do enjoy the short features and agree with Dona that they add a lot to the site."

Dona's always thinking about the look and the design and she's made many important contributions there (as well as elsewhere).  We'd honestly forgotten about MyTV's Fascist House.  Those were fun to do but they needed to die with the Bully Boy Bush administration.  It was a lot of time to do and it's a signature thing for that era.  We did do a few collages with Barack early on.  The feature didn't work that way.  In part because Hello (image hoster) was gone and no one else could make the image large enough to really enjoy it as a reader.

Mark e-mailed to ask, "What are the chances of getting a TV roundtable before the end of April?"  Very good.  We may go for it next week, in fact, we haven't done one in a long time.  Thanks for suggesting it.

____ e-mails to inform, "You are full of s[**]t!"  About what?  Research reveals ___ has three different sites calling him out for cyber stalking.  He's a thug and a criminal.  Why is he writing us?  Apparently because of this 2007 article: "Ike Turner (Ava and C.I. feature)."  See, he goes all over the web insisting Ike Turner was a saint who never laid a hand on Tina.

In other words, he's 100% f**king nuts.

Let's note this:

Two poems by Luis Arias Manzo:
Music by the Brazilian poet Bernadethe Ribeiro:

We'll gladly include links but without the author's permission, we can't reproduce poems.

Calvino e-mails to complain that we have not accepted his Twitter invitation, while Inez complains she joined LinkedIn and we haven't acknowledged her on LinkedIn.  To those and many others, we're not on Twitter or LinkedIn or any of that.  We're right here where you're seeing us right now.

To those writing e-mails such as "We linked to you now if you could link to our Netflix coupon, for profit college page, blah, blah, blah."  We're not doing it.

We're not here to advertise you.

You're being paid to promote something.  Good luck with that.  But we're not here to amplify that.

Our e-mail address is

Slap and Tap Kerry

That look in the eyes, that grip, the sexual tension between US Secretary of State John Kerry and the US installed Ukranian puppet Areniy Yatsenyuk threatens to erupt leaving both with damp crotches.  Get to humping, boys.

This edition's playlist


1) Heart's Fanatic.

2) The Beatles' Revolver.

3) PJ Harvey's Let England Shake.

4) Nirvana's In Utero.

5) David Rovics' Into A Prism.

6) Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers.

7) The Go-Gos' Beauty and the Beat.

8) Ben Harper's Both Sides of the Gun.

9) Neil Young's Living With War.

10) Korn's The Path Of Totality.

Get real, Hillary

Hillary Clinton.

In 2008, she seemed to be the one needed.

In 2014, she's trying to pretend she still is.

Jake Miller (CBS News) reports on her efforts Friday to try to woo young voters.

"Look, I am very much concerned about the direction of our country. And it's not just who runs for office, but what they do when they get there," she said. "I'm obviously thinking about all kinds of decisions."

Is she for real or has she gone completely nuts?

She wasn't portrayed as weak by her opponents in 2008.

They tried that but it didn't stick.

What she was attacked for was for trying to out macho everyone.

But you could dismiss that nonsense because she actually spoke about important issues like jobs, like breast cancer, like families, like equality . . .

All she's done in the last 12 months is flap her wings and shriek for war.

She's a War Hawk.

 “Look, I am very much concerned about the direction of our country. And it’s not just who runs for office, but what they do when they get there.”

No, you're not concerned.

You want war, war, war.

You don't speak out about our rights as citizens and how they're violated with illegal spying.

You don't decry that lack of jobs.

You act like ObamaCare needs a light dusting when the whole thing is unworkable and will not help most Americans one bit.

You say nothing about any problem that exists in this country.

But apparently war turns you and gets you all excited so you're always demanding war -- war on Libya, war on Syria, war on Ukraine.

You are not the woman of 2008.

And you're not doing a damn thing to help America.

If this is what you plan to offer in a 2016 run, let us be the first to point out: You're not offering one damn thing to the American people.

Media: Washington Post's conflict of interest (Ava and C.I.)

The Washington Post has a written ethical code and it applies to all -- editors, reporters, columnists, free lancers, etc.

Which is why we were surprised last week to read "Without facts on the missing airliner, the media make stuff up."  The column, by Eugene Robinson, sported a title that implied the media would be taken on.

Now we're media critics and we encourage everyone who can be one to be one.

Eugene can't be one.

We've always known that and last week he proved it.

"Media" boiled down to CNN and Fox News.

He slammed Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper by name (both host programs on CNN).

Did no one see a problem with that?

At the end of paragraph five (most people stopped reading already, it's a poorly written column), Eugene Robinson slips in, "Full disclosure: I do commentary for MSNBC, a competing network that also is obsessed with the lost plane."

That's actually not full disclosure.  You do commentary?

What do you mean as a guest?

Eugene's a little more clear on his Twitter feed where he identifies himself with this, "I am the Washington Post columnist, MSNBC analyst and author. Washington, D.C."

An MSNBC analyst was allowed to use the pages and imprint of  The Washington Post to savage CNN and Fox News -- two networks that regularly beat out MSNBC.

Robinson didn't call out MSNBC, certainly didn't name Rachel Maddow or anyone else.

He is paid by The Washington Post -- as a columnist and editor -- to do his best work for the paper.  He is not paid by them to attack MSNBC's rivals.

The paper's ethics guidelines are very clear that there will be no conflicts of interests or even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

What Robinson did last week went beyond appearance.

It was an actual conflict of interest as he used The Washington Post to attack the two chief rivals of his other paid employer MSNBC.

As a Washington Post employee, he would have needed to have specifically called out MSNBC and include the disclosure that he is paid by MSNBC to avoid a conflict of interest.

Eugene Robinson needs to be suspended but as one editor with The Washington Post told us, "Editors never get real punishment.  They're fired or everyone looks the other way."

We'll assume that's the case at the paper.

But if Eugene not even going to get suspended for breaking the ethics code, he should at least be informed that he is no longer allowed to write about CNN or Fox in his column for the paper or the paper's website.

Paste magazine: Home of the Racist Chubby Chaser

Last week, "Paste magazine: Home of the Racist Chubby Chaser," "Paste magazine: Home of the Racist Chubby Chaser" and "Paste magazine: Home of the Racist Chubby Chaser" went up.  We're reposting it here.

 Paste magazine: Home of the Racist Chubby Chaser

by MarciaAnn,  Ava and C.I.

"I think the race argument about Girls is a completely tired and unfair debate. She's giving her account of her version of New York and her experiences, and if that doesn't involve any black people, then she shouldn't have to shoehorn them in just because of audience backlash."

Look, everybody, it's the welcoming committee of the Augusta National Golf Club.

No, actually it's a bad writer, a White man who just wishes those mean people -- "audience backlash" -- would stop demanding that all-White television shows become inclusive.

We've covered this before -- see  "We do not embrace sexism (Marcia, Ann, Ava and C.I.)," "We do not embrace sexism (Marcia, Ann, Ava and C.I.),"    "We do not embrace sexism (Marcia, Ann, Ava and C.I.)"  and "We do not embrace sexism (Marcia, Ann, Ava, C.I.)"  -- in 2012:

If your show is set in Iowa, demographics of the state more than explain why you might have an all White cast.  (93% of Iowa is Anglo-White.) But when you're show is set in New York City?
We do realize that less than half of NYC is Anglo-White, right?  That a quarter is African-American and slightly over that is Latino or Latina?  That 11% are Asian-Americans?
Yet Lena's brought us a show revolving around 5 characters in NYC and all 5 are White.

But the Paste writer disagrees,  "I think the race argument about Girls is a completely tired and unfair debate."

Addressing the racial make up of a show set in NYC is "tired and unfair"?

To whom?

To the people who are under-represented on TV?

Or to Lena Dunham?

It's really funny how the racist gets defended.

It's really strange how the people advocating for inclusion are part of a "tired and unfair debate" while the White, Jewish woman who wants to set a TV show in NYC is not being "tired and unfair" by refusing to include even one lead character who is a woman of color.

The Paste writer insists, "She's giving her account of her version of New York and her experiences, and if that doesn't involve any black people, then she shouldn't have to shoehorn them in just because of audience backlash."

So she's to be applauded for failing to make friends with any women of color in her entire life?

And here's the other thing, stupid Pastey, Lena doesn't write all the episodes.

If she's truly unable to write characters who aren't White, she can hire some writers.

We all are aware, aren't we, that of the show's 32 episodes thus far, 24 had co-writers or were written by someone other than Lena?

A large number of them (14, in fact) were written or co-written by men.  Nearly half the episodes were written or co-written by men.

Strange that men can write   women but Lena can't write women of color -- not in lead roles.

It all started with a bad article by a bad writer, Paste's Ross Bonaime.

Ross kicked it off with this laughable claim, "Considering how gigantically popular Lena Dunham has become in the past few years, we haven’t really seen her in any large roles that she wasn’t completely in control of."

Lena Dunham's not popular.

It's possible she will have a bestselling book because you don't have to sell a lot of books to have a bestseller these days.

Ross wanted to double down on his claim of popularity and 'back it up' by insisting in a comment, "Yet to say Dunham hasn't become more popular since Girls aired is sort of ludicrous. Girls IS a popular show and it is HBO's most popular comedy in years."

You didn't write she was more popular, you wrote she was "gigantically popular."  And she's not either.

She may be known because she's on TV but her ratings don't crack a million.  Girls is not "HBO's most popular comedy in years."  How far up Lena's crack are you?

Curb Your Enthusiasm.

That is "HBO's most popular comedy in years."

Before that, it was Sex In The City.

Popular goes to liked, Ross, and Lena's not liked.

That's why her show's in the ratings toilet and why she pulled Saturday Night Live in there with her when she hosted.

In his comment to his own article, Ross has a White race panic and, in the midst of meltdown, types this, "No other reviews that I've found mention it [race] either because it's irrelevant. I don't understand why this review and all other reviews should glaringly point out racial differences for no reason rather than not mention whenever diversity is shown.."

Race is irrelevant?

What world do you live in?

One that still has separate water fountains?

The episode was about race and if you could do something other than offer bad synopsis -- you know, something like write an actual critique -- you might grasp that.

Sitting on your Whiteness, all you saw was an episode of Saturday Night Live.

Though you accuse others of raising race, Lena's the one who raised it in the Scandal skit and she did so at two different points in the skit.

How did you miss that?

She says her character shouldn't go to Mexico, Olivia Pope should because she's a beautiful Black woman in a tailored outfit. "Just saying, like, you're a stunning Black woman [. . .]"

What did Olivia's race have to do with anything?

Is "Black" a qualifier?

Is Olivia supposed to be less stunning to White Kelsey because she's described as "a stunning Black woman"?

Did you miss that, Rossy?

Did you also miss her parting comment?

Lena of the all-White Girls cast makes a point to note how Scandal has a racially diverse cast -- and by making a mockery of that, she gets a laugh.

"But I want you all to know that you are the most beautiful and ethnically diverse people I've ever seen in one room."

Again, this got laughter.

Let's think about that for a moment.

It kind of reminds us of how we supposedly have more women -- or "way more women" -- in our music collections than we have male artists.

It's actually about 50%  but it seems like more than that to some people who just aren't comfortable with women.

"Ethnically diverse"?

So that's Huck, Olivia and Harrison.

That leaves Fitz, Abby and Quinn as well as Kelsey herself.

Four Anglo Whites (we're not assuming Kelsey was Jewish).

Four White people, 1 Hispanic and 2 African-Americans?

That's the most "ethnically diverse people I've ever seen in one room"?

As Demi Moore says in The Butcher's Wife, "Well you ought to get out more."

Race was also on full display in the 'feminist' sketch as a Latina was stupid and dumb and needed White women to save her.

In the comment to his own article, Ross  types, "I have brought up racial implications in the past of SNL, especially during the Kerry Washington episode, because that was when it needed to be discussed."

Oh, f**k no.

Kerry Washington's hosting is "when it needed to be discussed"?

Kerry Washington hosted one episode.

That was when "it needed to be discussed."

Golly, thank you, Ross, for finding one week in all these years when race "needed to be discussed."

By your 'reasoning' -- it's a stretch to call it that -- all the other weeks of the year weren't weeks that you should bring it up?

That's kind of like the racist who suffers through February trying to hold his breath while longing for March 1st to put an end to Black History Month.

As an alleged critic, it was your job to comment on such things.  And to do so long before Kerry Washington hosted an episode.

In his comment to his own article, Ross insists, "I personally think Girls is an important show because of its portrayal - sometimes universal, other times very personal - of what it is like for many people in their twenties today."

But not for people of color, remember.  Dunham can't write women of color.  They're a whole other species in her eyes.

So it can't "sometimes" be universal.  Not by her 'logic' and not by your own since you back her up.

Do we need to send you a dictionary so you can look up what "universal" means?

Ross also insists, "Saying she is unattractive or overweight should have no bearing on the fact that she actually is a talented writer and director who has a unique voice unlike most people writing for TV these days."

No, she's actually not a talented writer.  She is, however, unattractive and overweight and she's chosen to work in a visual medium where visuals will be noted.

And as was pointed out at Third on Sunday:

So overweight Lena says it's fat shaming to note her gross obesity but does a skit where a woman rejects a man because he's 'puny'?
In the sketch, Bruce is described as a "little skinny guy" and laughed at for having "little arms."
So fatty wants to make fun of skinny but wants to say no one should talk about how grossly obese she is?
In the skit, the woman whom Bruce has brought to America tells him, "I don't like your body.  I don't like your face "
And she does so to the glee of the other women present.
And Lena wants to whine that she's being fat shamed?
No, it doesn't work that way.
The phrase we all learned as children was, "Don't dish it out if you can't take it."

You're so very quick to defend a woman who keeps insisting that her body shape and weight are off limits but she took part in the ridicule of a man for how much he weighed.

Do you not see the problem?

Maybe not.  Because you don't seem to grasp that Nat King Cole, Anna May Wong, Bill Cosby, Diahann Carroll and a lot of others had to break down the walls for television to reflect even a small degree of diversity today.

Into this mix comes a spoiled brat who decides to put up barricades and create an all White show.

The year's 2014.

And yet you think the problem is the people objecting to the racism and not the racist?

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