Monday, October 05, 2015

Truest statement of the week

I'm through supporting leaders whose status depends on our failure to challenge and criticize them when they deserve criticism. I'm finished with thin skinned leaders who don't tolerate open discussion of differences and who cannot or will not build bottom-up membership-driven democratic organizations. I'm done with leaders who don't encourage ordinary to get deeper into politics and economics, and who don't work to empower ordinary people to come up with their own visions and plans of how to build pieces of the new world.

-- Bruce A. Dixon, "Why I Ain't Getting on the Bus for the MMM This Or Any Other Year" (Black Agenda Report).

Truest statement of the week II

At least 100 US Special Forces engaged in clashes with Taliban insurgents near the northern Afghan city of Kunduz on Wednesday. The US commandos were part of a larger force of US-NATO and Afghan troops attempting to retake the strategic northern city, which was partially captured by a small Taliban invasion force on Monday morning.
US military aircraft launched at least eight strikes against targets in Kunduz this week in support of the Western-led ground operations, according to the Wall Street Journal. As of Friday morning, Afghan commandos and Western “advisers” were still engaged in fighting on the outskirts of the city, according to Al Jazeera.

The US-led combat operations come fully nine months after the official “end” of the US war in Afghanistan, announced with great fanfare by US President Barack Obama at the end of December 2014. Obama vowed at the time that US involvement in combat would cease during 2015, and the US military presence would be progressively reduced to a mere “residue force” by the end of 2016.

-- Thomas Gaist, "US Special Forces fight Taliban militants in Kunduz, Afghanistan" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --

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

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

And what did we come up with?

Bruce A. Dixon racks up another truest.  And we wish everyone would make this their own personal mantra -- Dixon's words apply across the board.
Thomas Gaist grabs another.

What message does it send to the Iraqi people when the US President and the Russian President battle over the next-door neighbor Syria?

I (Jim) agree with Ava and C.I., why is ABC trying to ape DALLAS instead of their own 80s hit (DYNASTY)?

We'll be taking our daughter to the Peanuts movie but I'm still surprised that a movie's coming out next month when I haven't heard one word about it.
Inspired by The Telegraph of London doing the same with Dolly Parton (who is an amazing songwriter as well).
Truly the best thing of the week -- possibly the month.

The four killed matter so much to her that she doesn't even mention them by name?  Uh-huh.
What we listened to while writing this edition.
The return of Highlights -- boy, did many of you complain about this not being in the most recent editions.


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

Editorial: Forgotten Iraq

alsumaria front page

That's the front page of Iraq's Alsumaria currently.

Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin in a glorified pissing match over Syria.

Over a year ago, Barack promised Iraq help.

All he's given them is bombs, dropped from war planes.

Over a year now, he's joined in destroying Iraq.

Over a year now, he's let the State Department play toy soldiers.

Is there a grown up in the White House?

At this rate, the answer would appear to be no.

And the political solution he insisted on June 19, 2014 that Iraq needed?

He's apparently forgotten that as well.

TV: Dull Us

Dull us -- that's what ABC's doing with their latest soap opera.


Hap Brigs, Wick and Cody and all the damn rest are boring as hell.

And often ugly.

Wick's supposed to be the son of Don Johnson's character and there's not been such bad family casting since A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT.

Yes, Don has seen better days but he's still far too attractive to have fathered Scott Michael Foster.

BLOOD & OIL has to be the worst attempt at a night time soap opera that ABC has ever attempted.

In the 80s, as CBS was pulling in old and male viewers with DALLAS, ABC found its own way with DYNASTY which brought in younger viewers and a more diverse crowd.

It did so by avoiding the plodding storylines revolving around Larry Hagman's J.R. Ewing and instead inviting the country to be entertained not only by Joan Collins' Alexis but also Pamela Sue Martin's Fallon and Heather Locklear's Sammy Jo.

The first season of DYNASTY was largely forgettable except for Blake murdering his son's lover and daughter Fallon lying for him on the witness stand.

But season two is where DYNASTY found its footing.

BLOOD & OIL doesn't deserve a second season.

It doesn't even deserve a third Sunday night.

It's a wretched remake of DALLAS and no one wanted to watch the DALLAS reboot on TNT -- or did ABC miss that?

It's a show about men and, sorry, but Chance Crawford, while he's the most attractive male on the show, isn't all that attractive.

He's also about as interesting as a stick of butter -- no danger, no sex appeal, nothing but a pin up.

But the men do and the women wait.

It's all so retro, it's all so pathetic.

And that's before you get to the dinner table toasts to oil.

Who watches this crap?

No one as last Sunday's ratings demonstrated.

With no real competition -- Fox is tanking, THE GOOD WIFE wasn't airing on CBS -- the soap opera bombed.

And the ratings are only going to get worse.

The only thing that could save the show at this point is Melanie Griffith showing up.

We're not joking.

As we noted in 2007, VIVA LAUGHLIN came alive when Melanie showed up.

Don Johnson's ex-wife could probably pump some life into BLOOD & OIL as well.

The show needs female characters, not doormats.

It also needs actresses and you're kidding yourself that Amber Valletta is a lead actress.

Ms. One Note barely held attention on REVENGE playing Lydia Davis.

Bring on Melanie Griffith or cancel the show.

It's ratings will only get worse week after week as they explore slant oil drilling and other topics that America just doesn't give a damn about.

What the hell is happening to Peanuts?

No, we're not just talking about their new tie-in.


Yes, once upon a time, Peanuts meant Dolly Madison.

Couldn't get through an ABC special without the hawking of Dolly Madison snack cakes.

Yes, Little Debbie does seem a step down for the comic strip based characters who were once too good for Hostess.

November 6th, the back of the Little Debbie's box proclaims, a new Peanuts movie is released.


November 6th is a month away.

Where's the marketing outside of a box of Little Debbie's?

Turns out there's a Twitter feed.

And a Facebook page -- with less than a half-million "likes" (366,739 likes), so clearly there is a marketing problem.

30 of Carly Simon's finest

Singer-songwriter Carly Simon has been honored by the Grammys, the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.  She's one of the great American songwriters.  Below we note 30 of her finest songs.


1) "You're So Vain" -- she took this one all the way to number one and an enduring rock classic was born.

2) "Anticipation" -- an evergreen like the Beatles' "Yesterday."  Title track to her second album.

3) "We Just Got Here"-- as Carly matured so did her appreciations.  While men her own age were still posing as newborns freshly in love for the first time, Carly was writing informed and with wisdom.  This gentle prayer closes her HAVE YOU SEEN ME LATELY?

4) "We're So Close" -- "We're so close" she hauntingly sings, "we don't need love at all."  The torch song that should have gone on TORCH but instead showed up on SPY.

5) "The Right Thing To Do" -- a major hit off NO SECRETS except for one thing, "You're So Vain" was even bigger.  The loping piano measure may be one of the most recognizable in music.

6) "Jesse" -- a masterpiece of songwriting and recording.  The la-las take the song to another level as does the moment when the song calms down as Carly insists, "Quick come here, I won't tell a soul, not even myself."  COME UPSTAIRS was a mixed bag but this track alone justifies the album.

7) "You Don't Feel The Same" -- HELLO BIG MAN was largely overlooked (though it did receive a rave from US magazine) which is why so few people know this song, one of her loveliest compositions.

8) "Scar" -- a singer-songwriter is supposed to do something more than write on the nose lyrics.  Carly's never shied from going deep but even for someone as willing to explore as Carly, this was something.  Haunting, mature and beautiful.  From her 2000 classic THE BEDROOM TAPES.

9) "The Stuff That Dreams Our Made Of"-- What if you have what you need and you just don't realize it?  That's what Carly, inspired by a line from THE MALTESE FALCON, explores in this song.

10) "Come Back Home" -- SPOILED GIRL is frequently -- and wrongly -- seen as Carly's big mistake album wise.  There are actually many strong songs on the album and our personal favorite is this one where she's wondering when a missing lover will return?

11) "Let The River Run" -- She swept the awards for this song composed for the film WORKING GIRL.  So great, it's even been worked into a BOB'S BURGERS episode.  It's asking for the taking . . .

12)  "Holding Me Tonight" -- when she digs into the "when you're holding me, holding me" part of the chorus, the passion becomes intense.  (From HAVE YOU SEEN ME LATELY?)

13) "So Many Stars" -- THE BEDROOM TAPES contained many classics including this ballad.

14) "Coming Around Again" -- Carly returned to the charts with this track, written for the film HEARTBURN.

15) "Look Me In The Eyes" -- "I beg you, when you love me, look me in the eyes."  From the album PLAYING POSSUM.

16) "You Belong To Me" -- Carly teamed with Michael McDonald to write this classic which shows up on BOYS IN THE TREES.

17) "Legend In Your Own Time" -- an article about Hank Williams was the initial spark for this classic (appears on ANTICIPATION).

18)  "All I Want Is You" -- The song sweeps in and out and soars, Roberta Flack provides some amazing backing vocals and Carly tears into the lead vocal (from COMING AROUND AGAIN).

19) "How Can You Ever Forget" -- on an album with much to offer, THIS KIND OF LOVE, this track still managed to stand out as the finest.

20) "Do The Walls Come Down?" -- "Something in my pocket that was written long ago . . ."  a memory captured moments before it dissolves (from COMING AROUND AGAIN).

21) "You're The One" -- an overlooked masterpiece from her BOYS IN THE TREES album.

22) "Haven't Got Time For The Pain" -- There are many reasons to love this classic Carly wrote with Jacob Brackman but we happen to love the bridge and when she comes in singing, "Suffering was the only thing made me feel I was alive" (from HOTCAKES).

23) "Big Dumb Guy" -- Carly's sense of humor is often overlooked but she's more than capable of sending up trends as "Floundering" and this song prove.

24) "Half Way Round The World" -- when the breakup results in someone who just wants to erase you from the planet (first appears on the album LETTERS NEVER SENT).

25) "Life Is Forever" -- the chorus is one thing, the sparse verses something else.  A complex song that seduces quickly (from HAVE YOU SEEN ME LATELY).

26) "Our Affair" -- This rocker comes to a strong boil with vivid imagery (from THE BEDROOM TAPES).

27) "Fairweather Father" -- some have it easier in a relationship than others -- especially when they don't take their role seriously or invest too much into it (from the album ANOTHER PASSENGER).

28) "Gimmie All Night" -- "I have no need of half of anything," Carly confesses. "No half time, no half a man's attention."  It's a song of longing and need and she pulls it off perfectly.

29) "I'd Rather It Was You" -- LETTERS NEVER SENT closes with this song which should have played in any romantic film -- rom-com or straight romance.

30) "Sleight of Hand" -- This was the flip side to the 45 of "Gimmie All Night."  Remember 45s?  "Here it is, my gift to you," Carly sings, "Open it with care."  Indeed.

Best development of the week


The return of Janet Jackson with her new album UNBREAKABLE.

Fake Ass Hillary

In her bid to stem her plummeting polls, Hillary Clinton's been on a media charm offensive of late and no where has she looked more fake ass than on MSNBC Sunday when she spoke to the king of all fake asses Al Sharpton.

Illustration is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Hillary's E-mails."

Pretending to care about Benghazi, Cranky Clinton insisted, "I knew the ambassador that we lost in Benghazi.  Along with him, we lost three other brave Americans who were representing us in a very dangerous part of the world."

Were they brave?

Brave enough for her to mention their names?

Chris Stevens was the US Ambassdor.

The "three other brave Americans"?

Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods.

One wonders what Pat Smith, mother of Sean, thinks of Hillary's sudden appreciation of the three brave Americans?


This edition's playlist


1) Janet Jackson's UNBREAKABLE.

2) James Blake's ENOUGH THUNDER.

3)  Ben and Ellen Harper's CHILDHOOD HOME.

4) Steve Grand's ALL AMERICAN BOY.

5) Ben Harper's BOTH SIDES OF THE GUN.

6)  Aimee Mann's THE FORGOTTEN ARM.

7)  Chrissie Hynde's STOCKHOLM.


9) Carly Simon's PLAYING


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

"The only game in town" -- most requested highlight by readers of this site.

"Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Col Bernie San..." -- Isaiah on Bernie's problematic relationship with African-American voters.

"Kat's Korner The triumphant return of Janet" -- Kat reviews Janet Jackson's UNBREAKABLE.

"How To Get Away With Boredom," "Loser of the week." "proof shonda rhimes doesn't know what she's doing," "Dash on Minority Report," "Empire got some truth out" and "Minority Report" -- TV coerage from Betty, Mike, Rebecca and Stan.

"The Martian," "David Walsh has no taste," and "Why would anyone see The Martian?"  -- Stan, Elaine and Trina go to the movies.

"Dolly" and "Music" -- Kat covers music.

"Tweet of the day," "Healing what?," "Punishing the only success," "The failure Haider al-Abadi" and "Operation Inherent Failure" -- some Iraq coverage in the community. 

"Sequestration" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Again: Where are the jobs?" -- Trina ponders.

 "That backstabber Hillary Clinton," "Never mind," "shameful Hillary," "How bad is it for Hillary," 
"Bill, shut up, seriously," "Hillary is just so stupid"She's late, she's late for a very important date,"
"Does anyone like Hillary?," and "THIS JUST IN! CRANKY WOULD KILL CAM, MITCH AND LILY!" and "Cranky wants to kill" -- some of the Cranky Clinton coverage in the community.

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