Monday, February 01, 2016

Truest statement of the week

For months, Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign have stuck to a consistent story line when faced with allegations of classified information on the private server she used exclusively as secretary of state: She was the victim of an overzealous intelligence community bent on categorizing information as top secret or classified when it was, in fact, neither.

That defense hit a major snag on Friday when the State Department announced that it, too, had found “top secret” information on Clinton’s server — 22 emails across seven separate emails chains. The information, the State Department said, was so secret that those emails would never be released to the public.

-- Chris Cillizza, "Hillary Clinton's email defense just hit a major bump in the road" (WASHINGTON POST).

Truest statement of the week II

But it isn’t just that. Hillary has two big problems regarding her husband’s behavior - both of her own making.
First is the historical record of her response to those accusations – her own directly, or that of the president’s team, of which she was very much a part.

The Clinton team did just about everything that women’s advocates say should not be done to women who make a complaint about sexual assault. The accusers were investigated, intimidated, mocked, called humiliating names – thoroughly smeared.

-- Taylor Amerdig, "Column: Hillary Clinton can't shake her role in discrediting husband's accusers" (SALEM NEWS).

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?


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

Editorial: She already gave you the Iraq War . . .

what else can she offer?

Hillary Clinton, the one who would be president.

If she had her way.

But who would really want her?

Honestly, a lot of people are shocked Bill Clinton's stuck with her this long.

Who really supports this war hawk?


That would be the same paper that worked overtime to sell the illegal war on Iraq.

The illegal and ongoing war.

With Hillary, it's always lies and more lies.

iowa cozy

As Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Iowa Cozy" (above) points out, now she's even trying to pretend she's tight and close with Barack.

There's no lie she won't tell.

Media: Boycott what?


An Oscar boycott?

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith called for one.

Natalie Stone and Hilary Lewis (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER) explained mid-month:

Jada Pinkett Smith took to Twitter on Saturday morning to share her thoughts on the lack of diversity among the 88th Academy Award nominees that were announced on Thursday.
In a series of three tweets, the actress, who appeared in 2015's Magic Mike XXL, shared her opinions on the lack of nonwhite nominees among Oscar contenders.
"At the Oscars ... people of color are always welcomed to give out awards ... even entertain," she posted in the first tweet.
"But we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating all together?" she questioned. 

"People can only treat us in the way in which we allow. With much respect in the midst of deep disappointment," Smith concluded. 

Some have attacked Jada, some have attacked her position/call.

Among the public, which will not be attending, there's been a variety of responses.

Our position?

"People can only treat us in the way in which we allow."


We support that statement.

The power of "no" means you have every right to refuse to go along with your own mistreatment.

That said, we're not really big on artistic boycotts and while we can, and do, support Jada's individual action, we don't support a boycott of the Academy Awards.

We'll explain why later in this piece, but for now, let's talk about a perception.

Jada is married to movie star Will Smith.

Will Smith's CONCUSSION was released December 25th.


In part to qualify for the Academy Awards -- the cut off date for this year's nominees was 12/31/15.

The film was a routine, by-the-numbers piece of well meaning drek that these days usually finds a home on Lifetime.

Audiences weren't interested in spending money to see a TV movie.  That's why the film only grossed 33.9 million in North America.  It's the latest in a series of bombs Will Smith has starred in -- his last hit was 2012's MEN IN BLACK III.

Will Smith is a movie star.

He's noted for selling tickets.

No one mistakes him for Marlon Brando or James Earl Jones.

Like Tom Cruise (another movie star), Smith is adequate in most roles.

He never digs deep.

There is no shocking talent on display in any of his roles, he merely delivers the same performance over and over.

He's a TV star still working as though he's in TV.

Mary Tyler Moore had to dig deep to get an Academy Award nomination for ORDINARY PEOPLE.

Being box office, Will has been nominated.  Or, when he was box office.

The days of the courtesy nominations ended when his career hit the snags of audience tiring of the same performer doing the same damn things (see the career of Burt Reynolds if you're unfamiliar with audiences growing bored with a well loved performer repeatedly playing the same role).

In CONCUSION, you had a box office flop, with struggling box office Will giving the same mediocre performance in a plodding piece better suited for basic cable.

He was never going to be nominated.

He also wasn't helped by his 'director' who also wrote the plodding screenplay.  Being a box office star (even a faded one) means you get to dictate certain terms to the studios.  One of Will Smith's demands should have been that CONCUSSION get a script doctor and a real director (one not widely by the Directors Guild and one with actual talent).

Here's another truth, Diana Ross probably deserved the Academy Award for LADY SINGS THE BLUES.

We would have given it to her.

It being an artistic competition, we can't say, "She deserved it!"

We have to say "probably" because this is not a sporting event, it's an artistic one and the lines are less clear cut.

Why didn't Diana win?

Race may have factored in.

But so did Berry Gordy.

Berry was told that advertising cinched the award and went on to overwhelm the entertainment community with one full page ad after another promoting Diana.

It was too much.

Wags sniffed he was trying to buy the Oscar.

Getting a nomination required more than acting in a film that's released during the qualifying period.

You have to campaign.

One of the shocking moments in the history of the Academy Awards was when Sally Kirkland received a Best Actress nomination for 1987's ANNA.

Along with real nominees like Cher (who won for MOONSTRUCK), Glenn Close, Holly Hunter and Meryl Streep, there was Kirkland.

How the hell did that happen?

The film made zero at the box office and made little narrative sense.

But Kirkland had a body of work -- small parts, yes -- and was known in the industry.  Most importantly, she had champions.  Two time Academy Award winner Shelley Winters spear-headed the campaign to get a nomination for Sally.  Among other things, Shelley hosted dinners to drum up support for Sally.

Because of her image in the industry as dedicated, hardworking and talented, because her performance in that (awful) film had received critical praise and because industry heavyweights like Shelley got behind her and because the company (Vestron) got behind her (and had money -- thanks to DIRTY DANCING -- to mount a real campaign), Sally got a nomination.

Some people are upset that the acting nominees are all Anglo White.

We're upset that the nominees do not include, for example, Lily Tomlin for Best Actress and Angela Bassett, Jane Fonda and Jennifer Hudson for Best Supporting Actress.  As respected actresses (Lily and Angela have been nominated before while Jennifer's won one Academy Award and Jane's won two) giving critically acclaimed performances with active campaigns for the award, we expected them to be nominated.

They were not.

We can see that possibly Angela and Jennifer cancelled one another out since they were in the same film.  But that wouldn't explain Jane and Lily not being nominated.

But the reality is sometimes people just don't get nominated.

Another truth?

Some material isn't Academy worthy.

STRAIGHT OUT OF COMPTON received mixed reviews.  More damaging to it is the fact that it celebrates a period of homophobia and misogyny.

We're real sorry that in your rush to promote that film, you're too vapid to grasp that a film like that is never going to be nominated by the Academy Awards which are supposed to recognize excellence.

The vapid includes some reviewers who got called out after the film was released for their rah-rah reviews over a film that avoided the realities of its subjects.

Ten or twenty years ago, the film might have gotten a nomination -- though none of the performances.  But STRAIGHT OUT OF COMPTON is as offensive as D.W. Griffith's BIRTH OF A NATION.

Which is why, facing a s**t storm of criticism after the film was released, Dr. Dre rushed out an apology for the women he'd beaten, etc.  He realizes the climate has changed and he hopes -- he hopes like hell -- that a few token words can leave his 'beat' empire unaffected.

We find it interesting that there's a boycott called for an artistic competition but no one's calling for a boycott of Beats by Dre due to his history of abusing women.

We also find it interesting that the SAG Awards are being presented as 'diverse.'

Winners included Queen Latifah (for an HBO tele-film), Viola Davis (for a TV series), Uzo Aduba (for a Netflix series) and Idris Elba for a film.

Only Idris could have been nominated for an Academy Award for those performances.

And we'd argue he should have been.

Possibly if the 'Will Smith/Tom Cruise' slot hadn't be filled (box office actor who's not really a strong actor) hadn't gone to Matt Damon this year, Idris could have been nominated?


Equally true, BEASTS OF NO NATION made even less money than ANNA (it didn't break one million) and was quickly shown on Netflix -- an outlet that film executives are still unsure of in terms of what it means for the future. (It should also be noted that Bleecker Street put their emphasis on promoting Bryan Cranston for an Academy Award for TRUMBO -- and succeeded -- but didn't mount a similar high profile campaign for Idris.)

There are a number of reasons why someone gets a nomination or doesn't.

An Academy Awards nomination.

What bothers us about this topic is that it's simplistic and fails to address real issues in terms of awards.

Real issues?

Tracee Ellis Ross.

How did she not get an Emmy nomination last year for BLACKISH?

''Wait, wait, Ava and C.I., you were talking about 'probably' with regards to her mother Diana Ross but now you're not offering qualifiers."

No, we're not.

May 25th, we noted:

If there's any justice in the world of entertainment, September will find Tracee Ellis Ross winning the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.  As Dr. Rainbow Johnson on Black-ish, Tracee's delivered a powerful performance and found laughs that others would have easily missed.
Bow is a full-bodied person who comes to life each Wednesday night on ABC and Tracee efforts and accomplishments argue for the Emmy.  If she were to win, she'd be first woman of color to win the award for lead role in a comedy.  As we've previously noted, Jackee Harry (227) was the first African-American actress to win the Emmy in comedy -- for supporting actress -- and the only other actress of color to win an Emmy in comedy is America Ferrera who won for playing the title role in Ugly Betty
[CORRECTION: Isabel Sanford won in 1981 for The Jeffersons.]

September 28th, we offered:

This month has demonstrated, for instance, that African-American women cannot be funny.
Or, at least,  not in the eyes of the Emmys anyway.
Only days ago, Anglo White actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her fourth Best Actress in a Comedy Emmy for VEEP which is in its fourth season.
So one actress has given the best comedic performance four years in a row?
Tracee Ellis Ross, star of BLACKISH, can't even get nominated.
But Julia can win four Emmys for playing the same character in the same series four years in a row?
This isn't a competition, it's a Ku Klux Klan convention.

And that's why we drop the probably.

Meryl Streep is a great actress.  RICKI AND THE FLASH was released in time to qualify for this year's Academy Awards but she was not nominated for the film.

Yet somehow you want to argue that Julia Louis-Dreyfus not only deserved four nominations for playing the same role but also deserved four Emmys for it as well?

Or that Edie Falco deserved six nominations (and one win) for NURSE JACKIE even though Edie herself argues the series was not a sitcom?

The Emmy voters and judges clearly do not believe that African-American actresses are capable of comedy.

You can see that with the fact that only one African-American woman has ever won for best supporting actress (Jackee) and one for best actress (Isabel Sanford).

And the Best Actress category has been all White Anglo for the last seven presentations.

There's a reason the ratings for the broadcast of the Emmy awards drops each year -- it's the same predictable awards being handed out to the same people who, if you're lucky, at least are wearing something different.

And there's a reason to call out The Emmys.

Doing so now could have an actual effect for 2016.

Some have argued Jada's argument is all about Will not getting nominated.

If, indeed, that is the case, that's all the more reason for Jada to join our call.

If Will Smith doesn't get a hit real soon, he'll probably be headed back to TV.  She'd be planning for the future if she'd shine a light on the issue of race and The Emmys.

Still Ms. Jackson 30 years later

January 11, 1986, the top 20 pop hits were dominated by people over thirty -- Lionel Richie "Say You, Say Me," Dionne & Friends "That's What Friends Are For," John Cougar Mellencamp "Small Town," Stevie Nicks' "Talk To Me," Dire Straits "Walk of Life," Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin's "Separate Lives," Bruce Springsteen's "My Hometown," Tina Turner (with Bryan Adams) on "It's Only Love," Stevie Wonder's "Go Home," Sting's "Love Is The Seventh Wave," Paul McCartney's "Spies Like Us," etc.

Among the few under 30?

George Michael's Wham with "I'm Your Man," Eddie Murphy's "Party All The Time" and the then-29-year-old Gloria Estefan with Miami Sound Machine bringing the world "Conga."

If you included the next ten -- for the top 30 -- you'd find over thirty artists like Pete Townsend, Clarence Clemons, Jackson Browne, and Pat Benatar among others.

Young and important groups like R.E.M. wouldn't break the top 40 until 1987.  10,000 Maniacs (led by Natalie Merchant) would have to wait until 1993.

And don't forget the MIAMI VICE effect that dominated so much of the mid-80s -- where male rockers of a certain age hit the charts courtesy of a song heavily featured in that TV program.

Into this world, snarling "Gimmie a beat!," came the one and only Janet Jackson.


She'd hit the R&B charts before, but 1986's CONTROL would find her topping the R&B charts as well as the pop charts and the BILLBOARD 200 (album chart).

Thirty years ago February 4th, CONTROL changed everything.

It brought young artists to the foreground.

It brought dance music to prominence.

It demonstrated Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (the producers of the bulk of the album who also co-wrote the bulk of the songs with Janet) were not mere one-off hit makers but actual artists.

It showed that the Jackson family had two powerhouses -- Michael and Janet.

Janet topped the hot 100 with "When I Think Of You," and "What Have You Done For Me Lately," "Nasty," "Control' and "Let's Wait Awhile" all went top five and "The Pleasure Principal" went top twenty.

CONTROL featured a crisp sound that's still being imitated today.

It featured a strong woman who didn't take four-steps back on her next release.

(Alanis and Tina, for example, rode strength to hit making popularity only to follow up with albums that rejected that strength -- most infamously in songs like "Thank You" and "Typical Male.")

Janet was -- and remains -- strong.

And the sense of community she created with that breakthrough album has only deepened with each subsequent album.

This is story about control
My control 

Control of what I say
Control of what I do
And this time I'm gonna do it my way
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do
Are we ready?
I am 

'Cause it`s all about control,
And I've got lots of it

-- "Control," written by James Harris III, Terry Lewis and Janet Jackson

CONTROL is where she set the record straight.

And got the whole world dancing.

Is Valerie Plame a hypocrite

We know where she stands.

In Leb 2 ambassadors & fmr CIA Operative give compelling reasons why Hillary is their pick
Embedded image permalink

Well, yes, there is that.

But we were referring to the great tragedy of all time -- in her mind: Her being outed as a CIA agent by the government.

It matters to her.

At least it matters to her when it happens to her.

Hillary Clinton's e-mail scandal?

The latest twist?

John R. Schindler (OBSERVER) reports today:

Discussions with Intelligence Community officials have revealed that Ms. Clinton’s “unclassified” emails included Holy Grail items of American espionage such as the true names of Central Intelligence Agency intelligence officers serving overseas under cover. Worse, some of those exposed are serving under non-official cover. NOCs (see this for an explanation of their important role in espionage) are the pointy end of the CIA spear and they are always at risk of exposure – which is what Ms. Clinton’s emails have done.
Not only have these spies had their lives put in serious risk by this, it’s a clear violation of Federal law. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, enacted due to the murder of the CIA’s station chief in Athens after his cover was blown by the left-wing media, makes it a Federal crime to divulge the true identity of any covert operative serving U.S. intelligence if that person has not previous been publicly acknowledged to be working for our spy agencies.

If accurate, Valerie Plame will either have to step away from Hillary or embrace the title of hypocrite.



We get it, we do.

But is it really that hard to call it "most read"?

"Most popular"?

"David Bowie dead at 69"?

We're just saying there's a nicer way to word it.

Uh, what is wrong with you?


Speaking about gun control, candidate Hillary Clinton snarled, griped and yelled, "What is wrong with us?"


That's what her presidency would mean?

No uplifitng?

No encouraging.

Just never ending griping and nagging?

Oh, joy

This edition's playlist


1) Janet Jackson's CONTROL.

2) Janet Jackson's UNBREAKABLE.

3) Janet Jackson's VELVET ROPE.

4) Janet Jackson's JANET.

5) Janet Jackson's ALL FOR YOU.

6) Carly Simon's SONGS FROM THE TREES.




9) Diana Ross' diana.

10) SupergrassLife On Other Planets.

Chairman Miller Statement on VA’s Inability to Discipline Kimberly Graves


US House Rep Jeff Miller (above) is the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  His office issued the following last week:

Chairman Miller Statement on VA’s Inability to Discipline Kimberly Graves

Jan 29, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today Chairman Miller released the below statement regarding a judge’s ruling that reversed VA’s attempt to discipline employee Kimberly Graves. A September 2015 VA Inspector General report found that Graves and fellow VA employee Diana Rubens had abused their authority, enabling them to rake in a total of more than $400,000 in taxpayer-funded relocation benefits.

“The outcome of this case is a slap in the face to the many dedicated VA employees who do the right thing on a daily basis. In a twist of tragic comedy, VA’s attempt to discipline Kimberly Graves was undone by its refusal to discipline other employees involved in this scandal. By now there should be no doubt whatsoever that our federal civil service system is in need of drastic reform. And as long as there is a system in place that requires a similar burden of proof to discipline federal employees as it does to send criminals to prison, these problems will only continue. Over the years, VA leaders have repeatedly insisted they have the tools they need to hold employees accountable. This case proves those assertions are false, and it’s well past time for VA and Obama administration officials to be honest with the American people about the government’s massive accountability problem. Time and again, Congress has tried to make it easier for VA to discipline poorly performing employees, yet incredibly the department and the administration have fought us at nearly every turn. Enough is enough. Every objective observer knows that the federal civil service system coddles and protects misbehaving employees instead of facilitating fair and efficient discipline. And until VA and Obama administration leaders acknowledge this problem and work with Congress to solve it, it will never be fixed. That’s why over the next few weeks, I intend to personally engage VA Sec. Bob McDonald in the hopes of obtaining his support and assistance in fixing this problem once and for all. For the sake of all the taxpayers and federal employees who are continually failed by this dysfunctional status quo, I hope he is willing to cooperate.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Chairman Miller Statement on Passing of VA Scandal Victim Barry Coates

US House Rep Jeff Miller (above) is the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  His office issued the following last week:

Chairman Miller Statement on Passing of VA Scandal Victim Barry Coates

Jan 28, 2016
WASHINGTON Chairman Jeff Miller released the below statement today regarding the passing of Army veteran and VA scandal victim Barry Coates.

“Through no fault of his own, Barry Coates was dealt a tragic hand in life. Time and again he was let down by the very agency established to serve him. Yet after all he endured, he kept a positive attitude and remained focused on ensuring that other veterans would not have to suffer the same mistreatment he did. Barry is proof that bureaucratic incompetence, indifference and corruption can result in tragic consequences. His heartbreaking story should be required learning for every Veterans Health Administration employee. Barry and his family will remain in my thoughts and prayers.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs


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.

 "Hillary, what difference, at this point, does she ..." -- most requested highlight by readers of this site.

"THE FINEST HOURS,"  "Shazam?," "the naked gun" "Tiny steps"  and "How troubled is Tom Cruise's career?" -- Stan, Rebecca, Elaine and Betty go to the movies.

"When Hypocrite Met Hypocrite . . ." -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

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