Sunday, June 14, 2015

Truest statement of the week

Millions of “the 99%” of us have piously and stubbornly clung to the belief that U.S. President Barack Obama has really wanted to do some “good works” on behalf of us — the poor, the working class, the oppressed Afro-American, Latino and other nationalities and the middle class — that is, the overwhelming majority of the people within the U.S. multinational state. According to this belief, it is the monstrous, even demonic, white supremacist Republicans that have blocked the allegedly well-intentioned Democrat Obama at every turn. For this multitude, the scenario that is currently unfolding around the “Republicrat” efforts on behalf of the U.S. ruling class, the Wall Street capitalists, to have the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) ratified by Congress is a miracle that rivals the lions laying down with the lambs! This is especially true because the key link to TPP passage is the granting of Fast Track Authority (FTA) by the Republican-controlled Congress to their supposed “nemesis,” Democratic President Obama! 

-- Ray Light, "Let's Stop TPP In Its Fast Track! TPP: Economic Embodiment of the U.S. Empire's War at Home and Abroad" (via Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox).

Truest statement of the week II

You have to solve the political problem.

-- Gen Ray Odierno on how to address the issues in Iraq (CBS This Morning last Thursday).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.  First, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

What did we come up with?

If only everyone could speak as plainly.
And Ray Odierno gets a truest as well.
Barack's just more of the same.
Ava and C.I., on the heels of last week's piece (an all time record on reads in one week), decided to do something different.  They address variety shows.  
A parody.
Tom seems very sure of what's going to happen.
More parody -- or what Bernie would call 'humor.'
What we listened to.
White House repost.
State Dept repost.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

And that's what we came up with.


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

Editorial: Mister More Of The Same

Elected on some vague promise of change, Barack Obama has demonstrated he's just Mister More Of The Same.

His continuation of the Iraq War makes that ever more clear.

Last week, he met with Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.


He swore Haider was unicorns, candy corn and taffy.

Worst of all, the White House issued this:

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the Press Secretary on Additional U.S. Steps in the Counter-ISIL Effort

In furtherance of his comprehensive strategy to degrade and destroy the ISIL terrorist group, President Obama has approved additional actions to enhance the implementation of the counter-ISIL campaign.
To improve the capabilities and effectiveness of partners on the ground, the President authorized the deployment of up to 450 additional U.S. military personnel to train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces at Taqaddum military base in eastern Anbar province. The President made this decision after a request from Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and upon the recommendation of Secretary Carter and Chairman Dempsey, and with the unanimous support of his national security team. These new advisors will work to build capacity of Iraqi forces, including local tribal fighters, to improve their ability to plan, lead, and conduct operations against ISIL in eastern Anbar under the command of the Prime Minister. This effort will complement the ‎efforts of U.S. and coalition trainers at the four previously-established training sites in Al-Asad, Besmaya, Erbil, and Taji, where over 9,000 Iraqi troops have already been trained, with an additional 3,000 currently in training. These additional U.S. troops will not serve in a combat role and will augment the 3,100 U.S. troops who have already deployed to Iraq.
This train, advise, and assist mission builds on lessons learned during the past several months and is just one aspect of our commitment to support the Iraqi Security Forces. Toward this end, the President has also directed the expedited delivery of essential equipment and materiel in coordination with the central government to Iraqi forces, including Peshmerga and tribal fighters, operating under Iraqi command, to ensure that our partners have the equipment needed to effectively fight ISIL.
The President also approved a comprehensive approach to aid the Iraqi government’s efforts to support the people and communities living in areas newly liberated from ISIL. At the President’s direction, the United States has been working closely with the Iraqi government, the global counter-ISIL coalition, and the United Nations to develop a holistic framework to help the Iraqi government provide sustained security, services and assistance, and local governance among other key support. The United States fully supports the development of an international fund facilitated by the United Nations to help these communities across Iraq recover.
More broadly, we will continue our efforts to leverage all instruments of power to counter ISIL globally and most importantly, to protect the US Homeland. Thousands of foreign fighters – including Europeans and some Americans – have joined ISIL in Syria and Iraq. We remain concerned that these trained fighters will return to their home countries and carry out attacks and seek to inspire supporters to conduct attacks at home, and the President directed his national security team to intensify efforts with coalition partners to stem the flow of foreign fighters to and from Iraq and Syria.
The President also reaffirmed U.S. support for the efforts of Prime Minister Al-Abadi and other Iraqi leaders to build an inclusive and effective governance structure within which all of Iraq’s diverse communities feel that they have a say in determining the future of their country. In this regard, the U.S. will fully support the plan endorsed by the Council of Ministers on May 19 for the liberation of Anbar, as well as the Iraqi Government’s priority of de-centralization to empower local communities in line with the Iraqi Constitution. This “functional federalism” effort being pursued by the Iraqi government is integral to ensuring that ISIL – once defeated – can never again return to Iraqi soil.

His failed 'plan' is being extended and more US troops are being sent in.

The Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights, David Phillips, tells NBC News of the announcement, "It's just more of what we've done before, which hasn't worked."

Mr. More Of The Same.

Strangely, the press is not pressing him regarding his claim (June 19, 2014) that only a political solution could solve Iraq's various crises.

He's just Mr. More Of The Same.

Elected to bring change, he's proven there is none.

TV: NBC's Biggest Risk Ever?

They should have gone with Maya Rudolph.

That's all we're saying.

No offense to Neil Patrick Harris, but NBC should have gone with Maya Rudolph.


More than any other network, NBC realizes the power of variety and is willing to make a go at returning the format but they keep screwing up.

They were the network, after all, who gave Rosie O'Donnell a chance to bring variety back.

Instead, as we noted  November 30, 2008, Rosie acted as the lone gunman killing off the genre yet again.

It was truly the worst moment of television of the '00s.

It shouldn't have been that way.

Variety has long been a TV staple.

The undisputed ruler -- not just the queen -- is Carol Burnett and The Carol Burnett Show set the mark that no one else has ever risen to.

But that's far from the only success.

Variety shows (not specials) have been hosted by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and many others during the 50s and 60s.  Thoughts that the genre was stale were rejected in the late 60s not only by Carol Burnett but also by The Smothers Brothers.  By the seventies, there was something of a glut of variety shows with the best ones emerging being hosted by sonny & Cher, Flip Wilson and Tony Orlando and Dawn.

Sonny & Cher had been seen as sixties hippies and remade themselves as a more modern couple for the 70s which was generally the key to a successful variety series: You had an identifiable personality.

Talent was not enough.  The Jacksons learned that.  As did Gladys Knight and the Pips.

We're not trying to be mean but Donny and Marie Osmond had no discernible talent.  Given a strong enough song, Marie's listless, sing-song manner could often go unnoticed.  Donny's biggest problem was his inability to adapt to changing times and we'll be kind and leave it at that (at least for a few paragraphs).  The toothy two-some were living breathing cartoons.  And that image worked for a variety special which is how they lasted several seasons on ABC with so-so material and no great talent.

A VH1 Behind The Music special attempted to argue that rumors of Donny settling down with one woman sent fans packing but the reality was the show lost everything in October of 1978 when Goin' Coconuts was released.  The hideous film remains one of the 70s biggest bombs to this day and it not only destroyed the semi-hip image the duo had, it also destroyed Donny's TV hunk status (he looked like Christopher Knight throughout the film).  And it gave ABC the excuse it needed to kill the TV show.

But prior to that, they were variety genre stars.

A great deal more talent helped Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille successfully carry The Captain and Tennille series but, again, the personality aspect was very important.

Dean Martin hosted a successful NBC variety series for nine seasons with little more than a personality.  (Yes, he could sing very well but the show rested on the character he created of the intoxicated entertainer.)

Dolly Parton has an easy identifiable personality (or 'brand,' to be more 'modern') but that didn't help her with Dolly!  Her one-season variety special was pure charm when she was singing but seemed lost during the skits where the writing seemed dated and tired.

Carol was blessed with a sense of timing that went beyond comedic.  It's why her show, for example, featured a send up sketch of the Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello beach movies just as TV had created renewed interest in them.

The writers of Dolly! -- and of too many other bad variety sketches -- seemed to think The Beverly Hillbillies qualified as cutting edge and current.

Which is a shame because so many great variety shows -- including the Sid Caeser and Imogene Coca classic Your Show Of Shows -- featured strong material.

But, even then, the emphasis was on personality.

A strong personality and you could overcome bad writing.

When The Judy Garland Show was airing on CBS and the execs were repeatedly retooling it, the focus was always on how Judy was portrayed.  It was never, "Let's get better writers for Judy!"  It was how is she coming off?  Is she touching the guest too often?  (CBS felt she was.)  Are viewers able to identify with her, etc.

And that's because, to bring in viewers every week, people have to feel a connection to the host.

Mary Tyler Moore is a beloved TV legend.

And for good reason.

She was brilliant in both The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Viewers loved her.

So Mary, her variety series, should have been a huge hit.

Instead, it only lasted three episodes.

It goes to personality or brand.

And a new TV show was one thing but a new Mary?

Viewers didn't respond well to short-haired Mary.

Nor did they like this Mary Tyler Moore who wasn't like Mary Richards or Laura Petrie or any of the characters she'd played.

Despite two long running sitcoms, when she switched to variety, viewers didn't feel they knew her.

Do people feel they know Neil Patrick Harris?

They feel they know Barney, the character he played on How I Met Your Mother.

There's no question that he has talent -- comedic and musical.

He's done very well as the host of the Tonys, for example.

But he didn't do so well as the host of the Academy Awards, did he?

And we're not trying to argue that the Tonys is more of a niche audience (though it is) so much as we're trying to point out his tasteless Ed Snowden 'joke' ("for some treason") which appalled many on the left and left the audience present at the awards special stunned.

Neil's a centrist Democrat ("stodgy" -- is how one HIMYM cast member characterizes him).

Other than LGBT issues, he can't even be seen as progressive.

And that's a problem when your going to be hosting a variety show.

Let's go ahead and talk the elephant in the room: Donny's homophobia killed The Donny & Marie Show and killed Donny's solo singing career when "Soldier of Love" gave him a shot at a comeback.  Certain guests did not like working with the anti-gay Mormons and the complaints would get back to ABC execs who weren't exactly staging pride parades in the late 70s but knew they couldn't afford to offend the talent.  Donny's own on the set remarks were notorious and hateful.

So when the film Goin' Coconuts turned the duo into a joke, ABC was thrilled to have the excuse to cut them loose.

Neil is gay and he's married.

A lot has changed.

But being a leader on LGBT issues today isn't really leading.  It's more common sense.

The battle is won though a few fights will remain on the horizon.

Which means Neil's about as up to date in 2015 as Donny was in 1975.

If he was going to be the new Dean Martin or Cher of the variety world, that would be one thing.

But he's aiming for something more than those two stars did in their variety work.

Best Show Ever's supposed to be a blend and cutting edge (though based on the British program Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, it really strikes us more as a rip-off of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's  HitRecord on TV).  And he's the lure that's supposed to bring viewers in but when he hosted the Academy Awards he was stunningly bad and panned almost universally.

We're really worried what happens when he opens his mouth because, again, the insult to whistle-blower Ed Snowden was appalling.  And yet he thought it would be funny?

He's really not in touch with funny.

He's really not in touch with an audience either.

NBC keeps going for variety.

They realize they have to come up with a winner at some point.

And the ratings on Saturday nights are good.  That last hour of prime time, where they feature the repeats of condensed, old episodes of Saturday Night Live are doing very well indicating there's a place for variety in prime time television today.

But going with Neil Patrick Harris?

Maya Rudolph, in her one special broadcast of The Maya Rudolph Show, delivered over 7 million viewers.  That was something you could build on.

And Maya is something you can build on.

She's known.  She's loved.

She's got the personality to carry a weekly show.

Unless Neil Patrick Harris is planning to play Barney, NBC's staring down a very troubled program and in the same situation that CBS was in when successful sitcom star Mary Tyler Moore thought it was time for her to do variety.

Stop calling him Bernie! by Piggy Drexler


Stop calling him Bernie!

by Piggy Drexler

Story highlights

  • Piggy Drexler: Media, even candidate himself call Sanders just 'Bernie.' This reinforces stereotypes about crazy people needing to be approachable
  • She says especially in global context, trust, respect important for the potential leader of free world, not familiarity. Just 'Bernie' not appropriate
Piggy Drexler is the author of "My Boring Myself: Whines, Run-Ons and Meditations" and "Wearing Bras Without Boobs." She is an assistant janitor at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and a former operator at AT&T. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.
(CNN)This article contains language that may be offensive to some.

Since the news broke  that Bernie Sanders had declared his candidacy, notable among the blitz of news stories are the many that refer to him as the mononymous "Bernie," as if he were a pop star in a old man clothes.

The New York Post published an item titled "Lewis CK backs Bernie for President" while gossip site TMZ refers to the  U.S. senator  on a first-name basis throughout its news story on the announcement. Even The New Republic posted a piece about the run called "There's Nothing Remotely New about Bernie."

He's famous enough by now to go by one name, but should he?

While Sanders is arguably more widely known than any of his to-date opponents, he's also fairly obscure in pop culture. He's not Beyoncé. And yet, despite his decorated career in government, we've long called Sanders by his first name, and his first name only, in a way we don't do with those who have held similar, or even vaguely similar, positions of power.

Who is he?

"Uncle Joe" Stalin?

According to a conversation in the commons at the University of Utah recently, Sanders was called by his first name four times more than  US President Barack Obama, and the numbers are even higher if you include "crazy man," "Mister Insane" and "Off His Rocker" -- all names that no one calls Obama yet everyone uses when discussing Sanders.

[Yes, this is a parody of this CNN article.]

We hope psychic Tom Bowman is right


NPR reporter and fortune teller Tom Bowman weighed in on Iraq and US troop safety on Friday's second hour of The Diane Rehm Show.

  • 11:07:45

    REHMTom Bowman, how much of a shift is President Obama's announcement of 450 advisors to Iraq?
  • 11:07:59

    BOWMANYou know, it's really not much of a shift, Diane. It's adding some more trainers. We were told, initially, there'd be roughly hundreds more trainers. Actually, now we're learning most of those people will be security personnel for the roughly 50 trainers going to Anbar Province to this base called Taqqadum, which, interestingly, was an old Marine base I visited years ago. They called it TQ. So they'll be going there in the coming weeks and months training up the Sunni tribes, trying to get them to take part in the fight against ISIS.
  • 11:08:32

    BOWMANYou know, heretofore, there haven't been many Sunnis fighting. You know, they see the Iraqi government as one that's mistreating them or at least ignoring them. So it's trying to pull this country together in a unified way, get the Sunnis onboard fighting ISIS, that is the challenge.
  • 11:08:50

    REHMBut isn't there a danger that those 450 are going to be perhaps in the sightlines of, say, some ISIS fighters who may come along knowing Americans are there?
  • 11:09:07

    BOWMANWell, they'll be set in this base, again, called Taqqadum. It's a somewhat remote base. There could be rocket fire into the base. I know there have been some rocket fires into the other base where there are U.S. troops in Anbar called Al Asad. But again, these are huge bases. There is some rocket mortar fire, let's say, but at this point, no U.S. troops have been hurt or killed here. So there's a remote possibility that, you know, a rocket could come in and kill some Americans, but at this point, no, they're not going to be leaving that base, as far as we know, at this point. 

  • Let's hope Bowman's predictions are correct.  Otherwise, he'll be locked away in a fortune cookie factory, plying his 'talents' there.


    Bernie's campaign promises


    If elected President of the United States . . . .

    Bernie Sanders promises to gang-rape women across America and to jerk off or help jerk off all men as they fantasize violent sexual acts.


    We're not Bernie Sanders and we do not approve of his message.

    This edition's playlist


    1) Steve Grand's All American Boy.

    2)   Ben and Ellen Harper's Childhood Home.

    3) Tori Amos's Unrepentant Geraldines.

    4) Joni Mitchell's For The Roses.

    7)  Roberta Flack's Oasis.

    8)  Bruno Mars' Doo Wops & Hooligans.

    9) Carly Simon's Boys in the Trees.

    10) Jefferson Airplane's Bless Its Pointed Little Head.

    Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Al-Abadi after Bilateral Meeting


    That's US President Barack Obama above with Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.  The White House issued the following last week:

    Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Al-Abadi after Bilateral Meeting

    Schloss Elmau
    Krün, Germany
    2:53 P.M. CEST

    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, it is a pleasure to be with Prime Minister Abadi and his delegation.  Obviously, the United States has made an enormous commitment and investment in Iraq, and we’re fortunate to have a reliable partner in Prime Minister Abadi.

    The challenges that Iraq face continue to be significant.  Obviously, ISIL, or Daesh, has been active in its terrorist activities, particularly in Anbar and some of the western portions of the country.  We have seen successes, but we’ve also seen setbacks.  In areas like Tikrit, we’ve seen the Iraqi security forces operate very effectively with the international coalition to drive back ISIL.  Most recently, in Ramadi, we saw ISIL concentrate its forces to get what I believe will be a short-term tactical gain.

    What we do know is that our success is going to be dependent on an effective partnership between the international coalition and the Iraqi government.  And that’s why a lot of our discussion today will focus on how we can build on the thousands of Iraqi security forces that we have already trained; how we can coordinate more effectively in getting weapons into the hands of those who are prepared to fight ISIL on a timely basis; how we can ensure that the work that the Prime Minister has done to maintain an inclusive government in Baghdad continues.

    And in all of these discussions, what I found is that Prime Minister Abadi is very much committed to effective, inclusive governance.  And there’s a refreshing honesty, I think, on the part of the Prime Minister in recognizing that there remains a lot of work to be done.  But as long as the international coalition sustains its efforts, and as long as Prime Minister Abadi and the Iraqi government stay committed to an inclusive approach to gaining back territory from ISIL and then instituting governance that is inclusive and serves the people, I’m absolutely confident that we will succeed.

    I just realized I should have provided the translation for that.  That was kind of a long sentence.  Go ahead.

    So the United States is going to continue to ramp up our training and assistance.  We are going to continue to provide the supplies that are necessary for Iraqi forces to successfully mount offensive campaigns and not simply defensive campaigns inside of Iraq.

    In discussions with the G7 and other coalition partners, they’re absolutely committed to making sure that the Iraqi government can succeed in this process.  And I’m confident that although it is going to take time and there will be setbacks and lessons learned, that we are going to be successful, ISIL is going to be drive out of Iraq, and ultimately it is going to be defeated.

    PRIME MINISTER ABADI:  (As interpreted.)  I would like to thank President Obama and the United States, and the G7 countries, and the global coalition against ISIL for standing side by side with Iraq to defeat Daesh.

    We are fighting several fights and combats against ISIL.  We have won many rounds against ISIL.  One round we lost was in Ramadi, but I say that we lost it only temporarily.  And the Iraqi security forces and the Popular Mobilization Forces, all under the leadership of the commander-in-chief and the leadership of the Iraqi government, has taken control of the situation and are endeavoring very hard to liberate all the land in Iraq that is confiscated.  And we have liberated a space and amount of land in Iraq that is many folds more than what they have in Ramadi.

    And very frankly, Iraqis are fighting other land and they are fighting with the international community.  And the United States, standing side by side with Iraq -- and that is very important because the fight there is one that is a psychological war and a moral war, and we will continue our efforts to defeat ISIL.
    Undoubtedly, we will win the war -- we will win the war over ISIS that has a bad ideology, an ideology that is attempting at sabotaging archeological sites and killing citizens, and targeting and killing minorities, and causing destruction in Sunni cities.  Of course, ISIS is fully (inaudible) on anything that has to do with the Sunnis, because ISIS ideology is a false one.  And we shall be victorious.

    Thank God, we are working on including all the components of the Iraqi people and we are continuing this effort.  And our sons and our populations in Ramadi, those who fled the war scenes, come back to areas that are under the control of the Iraqi government.  We welcome them, and we will continue to help them and do everything for them.

    And as we fight Daesh in Ramadi, and we endeavor and work hard to expulse Daesh from that region, we sent two brigades to Mosul in order to put the area under -- the perimeter of the area under siege and to drive Daesh out of Ninawa.

    The problem resides in the foreign fighters, the influx of foreign fighters that goes into Syria and into Iraq, and it creates more of the bloodshed, more of the destruction, and the bloodshed and blood-spilling of the innocents.  This is what we discussed today and raised this issue at the G7 today.  And this will require the effort and the mobilization of the international community to address.

    Just to give an example and an idea -- 40 suicide bombers conduct operations and they kill many -- and many of them are killed, but these people are from outside and they are coming from outside Iraq.

    Also, another thing is that ISIL smuggles oil and tries to generate revenue out of oil smuggling and to generate and funnel money into its terrorist activities.  To stop this activity of ISIL, this will require the effort of the international community.  We also see that a mobilization is needed by the international community to stop ISIL from recruiting.  ISIL recruiting must be stopped, and this can be done by a global intelligence-sharing effort.  Iraq cannot do it alone.  It doesn’t have the resources.  But along with our global partners, we can do it.

    We believe that by protecting the Iraqis and our citizens, and with the help of our allies, with the help of the global community, the international community, and the G7, we will be able to defeat ISIL and be victorious in Iraq.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

    PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you, everybody.

    3:08 P.M. CEST

    Readout of Deputy Secretary Blinken's Meeting With Iraqi Parliament Speaker al-Jibouri

    The White House issued the following last week:

    Media Note

    Office of the Spokesperson
    Washington, DC
    June 10, 2015

    Date: 06/10/2015 Description: Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Saleem al-Jubouri, in the Treaty Room at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on June 10, 2015.  - State Dept Image
    Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the Iraqi Council of Representatives Speaker Salim al-Jibouri today to discuss a range of issues, including the United States’ strong and continued support to Iraq under our Strategic Framework Agreement, the collective campaign to degrade and defeat ISIL, and the status of ongoing political initiatives to address the needs of the Iraqi people and to foster cooperation and reconciliation across all communities.

    The Deputy Secretary discussed today’s announcement by the White House to deploy additional U.S. military personnel to advise Iraqi forces, including local tribal fighters, to improve their ability to plan, lead, and conduct operations against ISIL in Eastern Anbar. He noted that this action was in support of the five point plan put forward by the Iraqi Council of Ministers on May 19th, which includes accelerating the training and equipping of Sunni volunteers and other steps toward assisting Anbaris retake their province from ISIL.

    The Deputy Secretary thanked the Speaker for his leadership in the Council of Representatives in moving important legislation forward, such as the federal budget passed in February and the National Guard bill, which has now completed its second reading and awaits final discussion and vote by the Iraqi Parliament when it returns to session in July.

    The Deputy Secretary lauded the partnership between the Speaker and Prime Minister Abadi and encouraged the speaker to continue to work constructively across the Iraqi government to advance national reconciliation and other efforts to forge a durable security for Iraq. Deputy Secretary Blinken underscored the United States’ steadfast support for the people of Iraq and their government in the fight against ISIL and underscored our commitment to help Iraqis reclaim their territory from ISIL.

    Deputy Secretary Blinken and Speaker Jibouri also discussed the deepening humanitarian crisis in Iraq, where 3 million people have been displaced since January 2014. They noted the urgent need for additional support from the international community to address the humanitarian needs outlined in the UN’s $500 million humanitarian appeal released in Brussels on 4 June. He emphasized the United States’ more than decade-long support for displaced Iraqis, and noted the recent U.S. contribution of $200 million to support the humanitarian needs confronting the Iraqi people.


    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.

    "Circles and circles and circles again" -- most requested highlight by readers of this site.

     "Kat's Korner: Steve Grand's perfect summer soundtr..." -- Kat reviews Steve Grand's album.

    "Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Barack's Post-..." and  "Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Hillary's Aide..." -- Isaiah looks at Barack after the TPA House vote and at Hillary and her two chief helpers.

    "The Death of Children" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

    "Beauty and the Beast returns to the CW," "community wraps up season 6" and "Sense8" -- Mike, Rebecca and Elaine cover TV.

    "TPA's defeat," "His baby died!" and "THIS JUST IN! HE DID HAVE A BACKUP PLAN!" -- Kat, Cedric and Wally on the House vote.

    "About Congressional reporting . . ." -- Marcia on 'reporting.'

    "Martin O'Malley" -- Ann continues to cover O'Malley.

    "More Ramen and Mac and Cheese" -- Trina has two recipes.

    "Can Chris Pratt act?" -- Stan goes to the movies.

    "Call it a - uh - dance off!" and "THIS JUST IN! NOAM WEIGHS IN!" -- Cedric and Wally on the big diff.

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