Monday, February 27, 2017

Truest statement of the week

The fact is that the corporate media in this country are our enemies. Media consolidation has left us with a handful of newspapers and television networks which are all controlled by international conglomerates. They hoped they would make neo-liberal heroine Hillary Clinton the next president but Democratic Party failures and her own weaknesses put Trump in the White House.
The news has been fake long before Donald Trump used those words. The cozy relationship between Bush and the press gave him cover to invade Iraq and kill 1 million people. The correspondents’ dinners and the private briefings create media haves and have nots, and taint the journalism that comes from this collusion. Obama made the private briefing a standard operating practice and kept Democratic pundits in his thrall, not that he had to work hard to win them over.

-- Margaret Kimberley's "Freedom Rider: The Corporate Media Enemy" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

Most recently, the NAACP and the National Urban League endorsed a rollback of the Obama administration’s rules on net neutrality. Under a Democratic chairman, the Federal Communications Commission had reclassified high-speed Internet as a telecommunications service that should be regulated, like telephone companies. President Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon, proposes to roll back the classification, giving his former employers the right to favor some Internet content over others. The NAACP and the Urban League, joined by two Asian American organizations, this month sent a letter calling for the issue to be decided by the Republican-controlled Congress, thus sounding a death knell for Internet neutrality.
In typical liar’s double-speak, the letter calls for “a statue locking in net neutrality no matter how the winds blow.” But the winds in Congress are all blowing from the Right, just as they were 2010, when the NAACP and a long list of other Black and minority organizations opposed net neutrality on the dubious grounds that: “Because of the inherent ‘shaming culture’ of the Internet, we do not need draconian enforcement mechanisms or rigid net neutrality rules to protect consumers.” In 2014, the NAACP and an even longer list of minority organizations rationalized that classifying the Internet as a “common carrier,” like a public utility, would limit “the investment and innovation that have benefitted our constituents” – which is precisely the position taken by Verizon, Comcast and other telecom giants that threaten to go on “capitalist strike” -- withholding investment -- every time regulations are proposed.

-- Glen Ford "Black Misleadership Class: High-Speed Sell-Outs" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

An early Monday (in fact, it's only 11:35 on the west coast, where we now live).  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?

Margaret Kimberley earns another truest.
As does Glen Ford.
When will this war be over?  Does anyone even try to ask that question anymore?
Ava and C.I. take on an awful actress and an overrated one.  Yes, Meryl is overrated.  
This should have been major news last week but the western media had other things to do, apparently.
We continue the ongoing series.
The Academy Awards . . . 
And we fulfill Tamara's request by doing another TESR Kitchen installment.
What we listened to while writing.

An Academy Award repost. 
A press release from Senator Baldwin.
And one from NESRI.
And another Socialist Worker repost.


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

Editorial: Never-ending

Only the never-ending Iraq War could have the never-ending Mosul Slog.

The operation to 'liberate' Mosul began 132 days ago and still continues.

last updated map of situation in Mosul

In the rush to sell the ongoing war, many western outlets are trying to reset the clock on The Mosul Slog -- CNN, for example, tried to call it 48 hours old last week.

They lied to start the Iraq War, they lie to continue it.

President Donald Trump's not off the mark when he notes the press is the enemy of the American people.

They are not protecting the people.

They have not protected the people in some time.

And in they immediately reversed any gains in bravery that Vietnam and Watergate gave rise to.

This is the press who covered for Barack Obama for eight long years.

He killed civilians with drones and they weren't worried at all.

He continued wars and started new ones and they felt no need to hold him accountable or to report the truth.

Donald Trump strikes the posers as uncouth.

That's his crime for them.

So they rush to hold him 'accountable.'

Their refusal -- and this includes left outlets like MOTHER JONES -- to hold the liars of the Iraq War accountable demonstrates that they're not concerned with accountability.

A president, Barack, who was voted into office to end the Iraq War and managed to leave office eight years later without ever ending the Iraq War, was never held accountable.

TV: The overrated

THE GOOD WIFE ran on for several seasons too long.

By the time they were killing off Will (Josh Charles), there was no doubt that the series was running on fumes.  That was during season five and, sadly, the series continued for two more seasons.


Now CBS is serving up a spin off, THE GOOD FIGHT.

They thought it would be a treat for viewers.

No surprise, last Sunday it got lousy ratings when CBS debuted it on the network.

Now it will be just a web only program, one CBS hopes people will fork over money to pay to watch.


Why do they hope that?

Because they've always over-estimated Christine Baranski.

The actress is a real piece of work.

Most learned that during her backstage backstabbing while making the sitcom CYBILL but talk to the cast of PLAYING FOR TIME and you'll learn the little princess has been stirring up s**t for decades.

On THE GOOD WIFE, she couldn't get along with Julianna Margulies and frequently whined to CBS execs who confuse her ugly face with "character."

She has none.

And CBS made a huge mistake building a show around her.

As usual, people have confused their partisan beliefs with politics and with entertainment.

So they applaud the crap that is THE GOOD FIGHT, ignoring it's never ending racist portrayals.

More Arabs as terrorists.

But, hey, they got in some cracks about Donald Trump, so that's okay, right?

Again, partisanship is not politics.

It's something the artistic community repeatedly fails to grasp.

Which is how Meryl Streep got her 20th Academy Award nomination.

She's not attractive.

Let's clear up that myth.

As a young woman, that nose did her in as did her soul dead eyes.

If your eyes don't come across onscreen you never become a film star.

And Meryl never has.

She's not box office and never has been.

She's a WASP so the Academy pretends she's talented.

But she's not really talented either.

Not enough to deserve multiple Academy Award nominations.

Jane Fonda?

She's created memorable moments.  KLUTE has the finest work done by any actor -- male or female -- in the second half of the 20th century.  Jane's also got COMING HOME, THE MORNING AFTER and JULIA among dramas.  Among comedies, her highly underrated turn in 9 TO 5 remains amazing as does her work in FUN WITH DICK AND JANE, CAT BALLOU and BAREFOOT IN THE PARK.

Jane has moments onscreen that matter.

She's also been box office.

Meryl can't point to anything.

As Pauline Kael repeatedly noted, Meryl's 'great' dramatic work was hollow and unconvincing.

SILKWOOD, for example, belongs to Kurt Russell's chest and Cher's acting.  Meryl gives a fussy and empty performance.

Her finest film is DEATH BECOMES HER and Goldie Hawn (with less screen time) still manages to steal the film from her.  Goldie's not just funny, she's real.  She's full bodied.

Meryl, in far too many films, tosses her lines into the palm of her hand, not to other actors, not off the screen.

She's a church mouse, a dowdy church mouse, whose WASPish background is mistaken for breeding.

She's made over 50 films and America really didn't need any of them.

Anne Hathaway carries THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA.  Meryl elected to play a dishy villian -- or signed up for that.  In the end, she played her usual dull WASP because she didn't see "the devil" in the title as a villain.  She's incapable of letting loose onscreen which is why her career is littered with one meaningless role after another.

Linda Hunt, for example, went for it in THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY, Cher went for it in MASK and MOONSTRUCK while Annette Bening's gone for it in THE GRIFTERS, AMERICAN BEAUTY, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, BUGSY and 20TH CENTURY WOMEN.

Debra Winger and Shirley MacLaine did the same in TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, Jodie Foster in THE ACCUSED, Whoopi Goldberg in GHOST, Ann-Margaret in CARNAL KNOWLEDGE, DIANE KEATON in ANNIE HALL, THE GOOD MOTHER, SHOOT THE MOON, REDS and many more. These are performances that haunt and resonate.

You can list several by Bette Davis, several by Anjelica Huston, Carole Lombard, etc.

Meryl has spent the last forty years delivering the same performance over and over.  It seemed fresh, to some, in the late seventies.

It's not amazing.  It's not even good.

Arguing for the most daring film performances by actresses alive today, one would easily think of Vanessa Redgraves' incredible body of work, Charlize Theron or, yes, Annette Bening.

For example, Viola Davis won the Best Supporting Actress category tonight.

The sad thing is, she deserved the award for Best Actress in THE HELP.

She didn't get that award because it instead went to Meryl that year for THE IRON LADY -- another film that no one saw and another performance that was empty and shallow.

20 nominations.

And yet Annette Bening stole POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE from Meryl in one scene.

Great actresses leave an impression.

Diana Ross in LADY SINGS THE BLUES, Holly Hunter in THE PIANO, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in THELMA & LOUISE, Jessica Lange in FRANCES and TOOTSIE, Faye Dunaway in NETWORK, BONNIE & CLYDE and CHINATOWN, Barbra Streisand in THE WAY WE WERE, Liza Minnelli in CABARET, Ellen Burstyn in ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, Glenn Close and Michelle Pfeiffer in DANGEROUS LIASONS, Glenn Close in FATAL ATTRACTION, Nicole Kidman in TO DIE FOR and MOULIN ROUGE!, Rita Moreno in WEST SIDE STORY, Halle Berry in MONSTER'S BALL, Hillary Swank in BOYS DON'T CRY, Julie Christie in DARLING, AWAY FROM HER and DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, Michelle Pfeiffer in BATMAN RETURNS and THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS, Sigourney Weaver in ALIENS, Vanessa Redgrave in THE BOSTONIANS and JULIA, Goldie Hawn in PRIVATE BENJAMIN, SHAMPOO, and CACTUS FLOWER, Isabelle Adjani in CAMILLE CLAUDEL, Emma Stone in LA LA LAND and all the other women mentioned elsewhere and many more not noted have created moments of movie magic.

Streep's created no magic onscreen.

Meryl's been there.

Kind of.

Sort of.

She's taken up space on the screen.

But she's never inhabited it.

Or delighted.

Donald Trump called her overrated.

As much as it kills some on our side (the left) to admit, every now and then, Donald gets something right.

And 20 nominations for one actress who is neither is a star nor really a film actress (she's a stage actress posing) is overrated.

Another death in the Iraq War

DATE: February 21, 2017 12:13:25 PM CST

Death of a Fort Hood Soldier

Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne

Pfc. Brian P. Odiorne
FORT HOOD, Texas -- The Department of Defense announced Feb. 21 the death of a Fort Hood Soldier who died Feb. 20, in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.
Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne, 21, whose home of record is listed as Ware, Massachusetts, entered active-duty military service in October 2015 as a cannon crewmember.
He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, since May 2016.
Odiorne's awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Medal. He will be posthumously awarded the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal and Overseas Service Ribbon.
Circumstances surrounding the incident are currently under investigation by Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
No further information will be released at this time to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigative process.

For more information contact:
Fort Hood Public Affairs Office
(254) 287-9993
(254) 287-0106
1001 761st Tank Battalion Ave
Suite W105
Fort Hood, TX 76544

Film Classics of the 20th Century

In this ongoing series on film classics of the last century, we've looked at NEVER BEEN KISSED, BUT I'M A CHEERLEADERTEA WITH MUSSOLINITHE LATE SHOW, SUMMER STOCKTHE FULLER BRUSH GIRL,  The Net,  Your Friends & Neighbors,  Shampoo,  The Player,  Dick Tracy,  How To Marry A Millionaire,  Blow OutYou Only Live TwiceSleeper,  Diamonds Are Forever,  Sleepless In Seattle,  My Little Chickadee,  Tootsie,  After Hours,  Edward ScissorhandsChristmas in Connecticut, Desk Set,  When Harry Met Sally . . .,  Who Done It?,  That Darn Cat!,  Cactus Flower,  Family Plot, House Sitter,  and Outrageous Fortune.   Film classics are the films that grab you, even on repeat viewings, especially on repeat viewings.

A film can be a classic based on something as simple as the hardest of all all to achieve: chemistry.

Take the 1976 offering that teamed Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Goldie Hawn and Golden Globe winner George Segel.

Segel plays a card shark who isn't the successful cheat he wishes he was.


This lack of success leads to the repeated need to flee.


Blackjack is the name of the Dirtwater Fox's horse.

Segel shows the comedy chops and charms that few actors ever achieve.

Cary Grant made it look so natural but others have struggled repeatedly.

Not Segel who managed to create chemistry with Goldie in this film, Jane Fonda in FUN WITH DICK & JANE, Barbra Streisand in THE OWL & PUSSYCAT, Glenda Jackson in A TOUCH OF CLASS and Jacqueline Bisset in WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CHEFS OF EUROPE?

The Dirtwater Fox is a con man.  The Duchess is a dance hall girl played by Goldie.

She's tired of bumping and grinding.


And a wealthy Mormon with many children and several wives gives her an idea.


One day on, six days off.

That's her dream.

And they're looking for a governess for the children.

She needs to get a new wardrobe.

The easiest way is to hit up a mark, Segel.

But there's a problem.

"You never paid for it and I never gave it away," she says.

So she drugs him and makes off with his cash.


She charms the Mormon family while singing a dance hall tune passed off as a children's song.  She also explains, "I have several specialties but I don't think I could teach them to the kids."


A stage coach crashes, they hide at a Jewish wedding, take a trip downstream, get caught and staked to the ground in the desert to die and much more.

It's a caper film and one that leaves a lasting impression due to the charm and chemistry Goldie and George serve up.

Tweet of the week

  • These are the Oscar-winning : "Life-savers" one minute, Al-Qaeda terrorists the next.
  • With their victory for "Best Documentary", the become the very first terrorists to ever win an Academy Award Congrats!

  • From The TESR Test Kitchen

    We love V8.

    We're not all that down with the various 'fusions.'

    Strawberry V8?


    Same with banana and the other offerings.

    But V8's "NEW!" SEA SALT & CLAM?

    Okay, that had our interest.


    Then we made a mistake.

    We bought one.

    It went too fast with just two people -- and it was forty-six ounces.

    We bought three more bottles and had enough for the first round of tests but still not enough to enjoy.

    This is the rare example of a 'brainstorm' for an already established and successful product working.

    We rate this the best new drink of 2017.

    This edition's playlist


    1) Pretenders' ALONE.


    5) Janet Jackson's UNBREAKABLE.


    7) Ben Harper's CALL IT WHAT IT IS.


    9) Carly Simon's SONGS FROM THE TREES.

    10) Diana Ross' diana.

    The press lying never ends

    The big moment at the Academy Awards?  Best picture.  We're reposting this by C.I.

    The press lying never ends

    THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's "Oscars Shocker: Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway Read Wrong Best Picture Winner" insists:

    Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, stars of 1967's classic Bonnie and Clyde, announced the wrong best picture winner at the Oscars on Sunday to the shock of the crowd. 
    But Beatty and Dunaway announced the wrong best picture winner, announcing La La Land instead of Moonlight the correct winner. 

    Warren knew there was a problem when they opened the envelope.

    Faye took the envelope he was showing her and announced LA LA LAND.

    That's because, as Warren explained a few minutes later, the envelope said Emma Stone for LA LA LAND.

    They were given the wrong envelope.

    I don't know what the cameras showed but inside we could see Warren desperately walking from person to person explaining there was a mistake.  He was obviously in a panic.

    This was not Warren's fault in any way.

    I don't think you can even call it Faye's fault.

    They were given a sealed envelope and it was wrong.

    The blame does not belong to them.

    For the industry bible, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, to refuse to hold the Academy responsible goes to the press lying.

    They're more comfortable holding Warren and Faye responsible.

    It was not their fault.

    View image on Twitter

    Again, this wasn't Warren and Faye's fault.

    But a cowardly press always refuses to hold those in power accountable.

    If you don’t know Hockney this Tate Britian exhibition is your chance to start

    This is a repost from Great Britain's SOCIALIST WORKER:

    If you don’t know Hockney this Tate Britian exhibition is your chance to start

    Tate Britain’s huge retrospective on David Hockney that’s just opened shows the artist’s great skill of reaching out to people using art, writes Alan Kenny

    Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) 1971, by David Hockney
    Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) 1971, by David Hockney (Pic: David Hockney)

    Tate Britain is hosting “the world’s most extensive retrospective” of artist David Hockney’s work—that should be a tantalising prospect for those familiar with him.

    It is also a fantastic opportunity for those who have never seen a Hockney painting.

    The Royal Academy’s 2015 exhibition A Bigger Picture was a tremendous display of Hockney’s recent landscapes.

    But this exhibition shows a much fuller variety of the work he has created across his 60-year career.

    The second room in the exhibition, Demonstrations of Versatility, shows some very interesting early paintings from 1960-61.

    Two of them, We Two Boys Together Clinging and Cleaning Teeth, Early Evening (10pm) W11, are particuarly worth seeing. They depict gay male relationships five and six years before homosexuality was decriminalised in Britain.

    The style of these paintings seems to prefigure Jean Michel Basquiat’s work of some 20 years later.
    In room four the Sunbather displays are perhaps some of Hockney’s most well-known pieces—

    1967’s A Bigger Splash and 1966’s Peter Getting Out of Nick’s Pool.

    Peter Schlesinger was Hockney’s one-time partner and features in several other paintings and drawings.


    It’s clear that it is in this period that Hockney truly develops his exciting colour palette. This was inspired by his love for the Los Angeles scenery, where he first moved in 1964.

    His wonderful large dual portraits are also on show. They include one of novelist Christopher Isherwood and his partner Don Bachardy that’s never been on display in Britain. One of Hockney’s great skills is to create an intense dynamic between the two subjects in each of these paintings.
    Experimentation with form and technology is seen in his early 1980’s Polaroid composites—The Scrabble Game is particularly endearing.

    There’s a room of Hockney’s brilliantly coloured landscapes in California and Yorkshire, all painted with his remarkable vibrancy.

    Rooms 10 and 11 are a welcome reprieve of the A Bigger Picture exhibition, including the hypnotic The Four Seasons films.

    The exhibition closes with a selection of his iPad drawings. These are probably his most divisive pictures, but it’s hard not to admire his attempt to engage with new technology.

    These drawings also allow us the opportunity to appreciate Hockney’s dedication alongside his great technical skill.

    Several of the screens show layer upon layer of different types of mark gradually building up.
    Through showing the technique we are given a glimpse of the many hours of work put into the paintings.

    Hockney is so capable of reaching out to people with art. It was therefore disappointing that he took up the offer of redesigning the masthead of the Sun newspaper.

    Groups such as the Total Eclipse of the Sun, which campaigns against the bigoted rag, need to reach out to artists in every field to extend their campaign.

    This exhibition will be a smash hit. Hockney seems to be only growing in popularity—and it’s deserved.

    David Hockney is at Tate Britain until 27 May, go to and support the union at Tate at

    U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Jon Tester Urge VA to Support Student Veterans


    Senator Tammy Baldwin's office issued the following last week:

    For Immediate Release
    Thursday, February 23, 2017
    Baldwin (202) 224–6225
    Tester (202) 228–0374
    U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Jon Tester Urge VA to Support Student Veterans
    WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jon Tester (D-MT) are urging the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to more strongly support our student veterans. In a letter, the Senators call on the VA to allow university services staff to streamline student veteran data by submitting the data through the National Student Clearinghouse. This will help university staff to devote more time to assisting our veterans in adapting to life as students.
    “These university staff, many of whom are veterans themselves, dedicate their careers to ensuring that student veterans can excel in an academic environment,” wrote the senators. “However, due to the immense workload of monitoring and submitting data to verify eligibility for educational benefits, they often lack the time necessary to aid veteran students with issues such as assimilation and crucial study habits. This proposal offers a commonsense way to streamline the data submission process to VA while giving our veteran student population more resources to succeed in their colleges and universities.”
    A copy of the letter is available here.
    An online version of this release is available here.


    NESRI: Guaranteeing dignity in a precarious economy March 6th

    Join us Monday, March 6
    Monday, March 6 
    Theresa Lang Community & Student Center
    Arnhold Hall Rm I-202
    The New School
    55 West 13th Street
    New York, NY


    The United States is one of the wealthiest countries the world has seen, yet we live in extreme inequality and insecurity. From day laborers and factory workers to freelancers and academics, precarity is the new normal. Jobs, wages, health care, pensions: nothing is assured. Yet there is nothing inevitable about this precarity: it is the result of policy choices, and we, as a country can choose a new future.
    Many scholars and activists are sharing new visions for a more just, equitable society. Join us for a conversation exploring the opportunities and challenges of a universal basic income, baby bonds, reverse income taxes and other bold ideas to rewire our inequitable economy.
    Alyssa Battistoni, Editor at Jacobin, PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science at Yale University
    Lisa Duggan, Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies at NYU
    Darrick Hamilton, Associate Professor of Economics and Urban Policy at The New School
    and more to be announced.

    Moderated by Cathy Albisa, Executive Director, NESRI
    Hosted by Maya Wiley, Henry Cohen Professor of Urban Policy and Management and Senior Vice President for Social Justice at The New School.

    Presented by NESRI & The Henry Cohen Lecture Series at The New School
    Note: This event was originally scheduled for Thursday 2/9 and was rescheduled due to inclement winter weather.

    Recommended Related Reading:
    MLK Reminds Us We Need a New Social Contract by NESRI
    Alive in the Sunshine by Alyssa Battistoni in Jacobin
    Beyond the Wage System by Kathi Weeks in Dissent

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