Monday, November 26, 2018

Truest statement of the week

Migrant, a word coined by government types to lump together people fleeing for their lives, has a flightiness to it that I detest. It implies people in desperate circumstances have a choice to make — and they choose the convenience of fleeing. It is not so.
But most of all, this vague word keeps privileged, safe people detached from the view of life being sucked out of others.
With a vocabulary stripped from humanity, you can talk about “the migration issue,” as Hillary Clinton has done in an interview with The Guardian, and sound perfectly logical to herself as she encourages European leaders to withhold “refuge and support.” How easily she disregards those immigrants across the United States who voted for her when “embrace immigrants, not denigrate them” was her immigration platform in the 2016 presidential election.

-- Fabiola Santiago, "Thanks to Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ big secret is out: They too hate migration." (MIAMI HERALD).

Truest statement of the week II

In January the 116th Congress will swear in, this time with a Democratic majority in the House. Corporate Dems and even many self described lefties are still celebrating some kind of victory. But it ain’t so. The headline on a November 20 Roll Call article “On Medicare For All Democrats Tread Lightly” says it all. Now that Democrats control the House, they have no real intention of relieving the burden of 30 million uninsured, and tens of millions more carrying fake insurance too expensive to use, and still threatened by bankruptcy with any serious illness.

-- Bruce A. Dixon, "New Democratic House Leaders Steer Clear of Medicare For All" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Almost Monday morning on the west coast and we're finally done.

Let's 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, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
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 gets another truest.
We're getting sick of the US troops in Iraq being reduced to 'when will Trump visit them!'  Better question: When do US troops leave Iraq?
Ava and C.I. take on Channing Dungey, REAL COUNTRY, ABC and much more.

Will you be able to pass it?
We gave them months to correct this and they still haven't corrected it.  Oh, and, yes, they were informed the error months ago.
Our list of what to watch.
Cynthia McKinney.
People who don't know the difference between writing a song and producing a recording shouldn't be allowed to 'report' for any paper.
Continued coverage of the community's book coverage.
Diana Ross with a Christmas song.
What we listened to while writing.
Mike and the gang did this one and we thank them for it.


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

Editorial: This middle finger may be for you

The Iraq War hits the 15 year mark in four months.

If your big issue with regards to US troops in Iraq is, "Donald Trump has not visited them!"?

Well we've got a finger we're waving at you, the middle finger.

All this time later and you're whining that Trump hasn't gone to Iraq?

As opposed to loudly demanding all US troops out of Iraq?

If that's you, well f**k you.

Last week, the Iraqi Parliament again asked US troops to leave.  This news got far less attention than the constant whining that Donald has gone to Iraq.

TV: Things to ponder

To watch TV is to constantly ponder.  For example, viewers have made clear that they prefer sitcoms filmed before a live audience but networks continue to indulge lazy producers and actors as well as self-appointed 'hipsters' who really don't care for TV anyway.  And not only is there the issue of low ratings when new episodes are broadcast, there's the issue of syndication.  MODERN FAMILY, the biggest of the single cam sit'coms,' is floundering in syndication while KING OF QUEENS is a hit.  Repeating -- while KING OF QUEENS is a hit.  USA, for example, is praying that REAL COUNTRY takes off.


REAL COUNTRY is the latest singing talent show on television.  Why?  We're not being sarcastic.  Has any winner of these talent shows had a career?  Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.  Jennifer Hudson?  She didn't win the talent contest (she did go on to win an Academy Award).  Clay Aiken?  Hasn't hit the Hot 100 since 2004.  Daughtry?  Don't make us laugh.  The last album sold under 25,000.

REAL COUNTRY, we hoped, might be different.  Somehow AMERICAN IDOL, THE VOICE, etc had missed the mark.   Maybe they were wonderful TV -- we don't think so -- but they didn't live up to their purpose.  BBC's THE  BIG TIME, by contrast, appeared to grasp that they either delivered devastation or success.  In July of 1980, they went with the latter and Sheena Easton went on from THE BIG TIME to 5 US gold albums and one platinum one, and she had 15 US top forty hits (11 UK top forty hits).  To provide some context, sixties singer Leslie Gore had 10 top forty hits, Helen Reddy had 14 top forty hits and Natalie Cole had 12 top forty hits.  So for a pop career, Sheena Easton more than lived up to her promise.

But maybe the problem with the TV shows was crossover?  We'd been told that.  Too many were trying to have too many varied hits.  We didn't buy that nonsense.  We felt the issue was clear -- and Clive Davis knows this himself, listen to him talk about Taylor Dane -- pop singers have short careers.  Yes, there are legends like Diana Ross but those are the exceptions.  Pop singers have short careers because they are dependent upon others for songs.  And once they have a hit or two -- Taylor Dane, Clive's pointing his finger at you -- they don't want to listen.  They think they know hits -- even though they've never written one -- and they won't listen to the label.  After refusing to listen to the label, they are then surprised when the album comes out and the label doesn't want to promote them.

For us, the problem with these shows was that they were signing competitions in a time when artists were writing their own songs.  And we argued that repeatedly, have songwriters competing.  But we could be wrong.  So our hopes with REAL COUNTRY was that this would be something very different since the genre was different.  They weren't trying to find a pop singer, they were trying to crown a country singer.  Maybe it would be more authentic?

So far, it's not.   But USA is happy with the ratings.  And they're happy to send MODERN FAMILY packing from the schedule.  They think this is going to be a hit and are even more excited about their next reality show: TEMPTATION ISLAND.  Yes, they are going to try to reboot that cesspool that once aired on FOX.

Why?  Again, TV gives you so much to ponder.

Like Norman Lear.  Never the hero he wanted to be (or thought he was), he has to live with the fact that his most embarrassing moment was filmed back in 1979 and still exists for all to see.  GET TV re-broadcast it on Thanksgiving Day.  It was the 200th episode 'celebration' of the sitcom that made his fortune.   There was Lear, hosting bad clips from the overrated show and offering 'insight' -- or what he tried to pass off as insight.  No, ALL IN THE FAMILY was not Moliere and didn't need to be compared to it.  Nor did hosting the clip fest require him to dress it up with quotes from VOLTAIRE.  But he did that and so much more.  It only made the shallow series come off even more pathetic.

Lear was attempting to insist that this was a liberal show and this was that and blah blah blah.  It was a deeply conservative show and Archie Bunker was a racist.  He was also a homophobe and after hearing the f-word over and over in just one single clip. let's not pretend that Archie advanced a damn thing regarding equality.  And that's before you grasp how poorly women were treated on the show.

ALL IN THE FAMILY is an embarrassment.  Many viewers watched just to hear what racist thing the lead character would say.  They chuckled over him and embraced him.  And in the 1979 special, Norman Lear tried to dress the program up with high brow citations -- that had nothing to do with his gutter TV show -- and pretend that art was created.  It was not.  And that's why the show has had no real syndication life.  It pushed racism in its day and got away with it by pretending otherwise.  No one's buying that crap today.

No one's buying Channing Dungey's crap.  She was fired two Fridays ago.  We ignored it for two reasons last week -- (a) we hoped she'd be able to fool her family at Thanksgiving and (b) we were told to wait by ABC execs who were afraid, if we covered it, Channing might benefit from some wave of sympathy.  We said there would be no wave of sympathy and there wasn't.

We told you it was coming.  We told you she was screaming at assistants and people below her.  We told you the vice presidents and other brass hated her.  We told you she'd be out the door.

Her crime remains ROSEANNE.  You do not cancel the number one show on your network (the number one show on any network, in fact).  You don't do that.  You are the president of the network.  Your job is to salvage.

But Channing didn't want to.  She told Roseanne not to do any press, she said ABC was taking care of it.  She lied.  She had already decided to cancel the show and she didn't want Roseanne Barr talking.

Channing's job was to salvage the situation.  ABC had done that before.  There was Roseanne's performance of the national anthem -- which was attacked by many including the hideous George H.W. Bush.  ABC didn't dump her.

She brought in viewers.  She was the star of the number one show.  You didn't like her Tweet?  Fine.  Tell her to get off Twitter.  You don't cancel the show.

That's not what you do as the president of ABC.

You have to answer to the board, you have to answer to the stockholders.

Thanks to Roseanne's ROSEANNE, ABC had the number one show on TV and this was going to be used to try to build a winning schedule for the low rated network.

Channing was dead the minute she fired Roseanne.  It was only a matter of time.  As we reported here, the fall season was one disaster after another for her.  THE CONNERS?  Each episode has dropped in ratings just as we said it would.  And it started off with half the audience ROSEANNE had.  It is a bomb.  Sarah Gilbert is trash.  We're talking about her image.  She better pray they keep her on the CBS show because no one wants to work with her now.  For years, while she was in the closet, ABC wanted to fire her for being a lesbian.  But Roseanne Barr stood by her.  One Tweet scandal and Sarah is trashing Roseanne and attacking her?

Not only did Channing fail with watered-down ROSEANNE (THE CONNERS), she failed with TGIF -- and her programming also showed she was both stupid and tasteless.  TGIF is about families gathering to watch shows about families.  It's not about shoving your two lowest rated sitcoms -- that no one's wanted to watch in any of the years they'd already been on -- over to Friday and calling it TGIF.

Meanwhile, despite all the promotion of CBS' MURPHY BROWN, it was FOX's LAST MAN STANDING that was the big comedy hit of the fall.  "That's CBS and FOX!" Yes, but FOX wouldn't have LAST MAN STANDING if Channing hadn't cancelled it to begin with.  When cancelled, it was ABC's top scripted show.  But Channing didn't like the show's politics, so she cancelled it.  As FOX proved this fall, Americans love LAST MAN STANDING.  And Channing remains the reason that they love it on another network.

On ABC?  She gave them THE ROOKIE -- a series so bad it can't even match the ratings for the final season of CASTLE.  Someone should have seen the problem with building a show around Nathan Fillion just on the low ratings CASTLE had in the final season.  But that would have required someone with a brain.  Channing had no brain which is how she not only built a show around Nathan, she also ended up spending more money promoting the dog of show than any other ABC fall program.

Around the time the industry bibles -- always keen to play nice -- began to note the problems Channing had created for ABC, she announced she was adding an episode to the order of THE CONNERS and episode orders to THE ROOKIE.  This did what she had hoped, distracted the slow minded industry 'reporters,' but it only angered the board.  On what basis did she order another episode of THE CONNERS?  The board was furious -- not just because of the low ratings but also because of the huge cost in producing the series.

She spent a lot of money on THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT as well and that didn't work out very well either.  The non-funny show (filmed with no live audience, of course) started out with low ratings and went on to crater with each episode broadcast.  On any other network, it would be cancelled.  But this is the network that kept SPEECHLESS on the air for three seasons now (a show that pulls in approximately two million viewers -- about the same number that watches a college basketball game on ESPN).

Channing is a disaster.  She failed and will be remembered as a failure.  No one's lining up to hire her.  She's been floating rumors that Shonda Rhimes is interested in having Channing work for her at NETFLIX.  Shonda may be forgiving but those working with Shonda aren't and one of them told us that they would love -- love -- to have Channing work with them, "We need someone to fetch our water bottles."  Meaning, her enemies would love for her to come in, entry-level now that she has no power, and work because they've got a lot of hostility they'd like to work through.

Meanwhile, ABC suits are dancing with joy.  Channing was a backstabber and she couldn't program.  They're hoping that a new day has arrived and that ABC might finally stop being seen as the failure in the ABC-DISNEY-WARNER-ET AL mix.  They note that talent is interested in ABC again.  See, you don't fire Roseanne Barr.  Not for a Tweet.  When you do that, you scare talent.  Talent is told they have to deliver and they hope they can.  But when they're told that and they see Roseanne deliver (more than deliver!) and get fired?  It makes them wonder whether if they had, for example, a DUI in the middle of filming, would ABC kick them to the curb?  Would the network stand by them or suddenly turn on them?  Channing destroyed herself but, while she remained at ABC, she also destroyed the network.

John Stauber has a pop quiz

Answer if you can.

Who elevated ? Who pushed on ? Who enabled Bill’s sexual harassment? Who is the Prez choice of ? etc. ?

For any confused, the answer to every question above is: Hillary Clinton.

NPR doesn't know music and it doesn't do corrections


It's been two months since NPR printed the following:

Once she started to work with Laguna, Jett's audience grew. With the help of Laguna, Jett formed another band, The Blackhearts. In 1982, the band recorded a cover of the Arrows' song "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" which catapulted to the top of the charts. That year, the song peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for seven weeks. And yet, the band still couldn't get a record deal. So instead, the band members would print out album copies and sell them out of the trunk of their cars after gigs. 

It was wrong then and remains wrong.

Joan Jett had a record label.  It's a lie to pretend otherwise. JOAN JETT was released in 1980 and self-distributed.  Then Neil Bogart signed Joan to BOARDWALK RECORDS and re-released the album as BAD REPUTATION on January 23, 1981.  "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" was not on that album.  It was the title track of the album released November 18, 1981 by BOARDWALK RECORDS.  The single was released January 19, 1982.

Can you follow the above because NPR cannot.

The self-distributed album was 1980's JOAN JETT.  That year, Neil Bogart signed Jett to his label and, in January of 1981, re-released JOAN JETT as BAD REPUTATION.  At the end of that year, BOARDWALK RECORDS released the follow up BAD REPUTATION and, early the following year, they released "I Love Rock 'n' Roll."

NPR can't get anything right.

And they should be especially embarrassed because there's no way in hell that, in 1982, a song with no label behind it could top the charts for a week -- let alone seven.

10 Christmas movies not to miss

Here's are choice for ten Christmas films you should view in 2018.















Tweet of the week

Hey , why don't you just declare victory, end the wars and bring our troops home? The world will love you and the only people who will hate you are the same ones who hate you now!!! Blessed are the peacemakers.

Don't lie to Barbra!


Barbra Streisand's WALLS is shaping up to be her biggest bomb since 1984's EMOTION.  So, of course, she's out there desperately promoting it.  From an interview with her for THE DAILY MAIL, Chrissy IIley types, "Barbra has written or co-written seven of the tracks, including Walls, about physical and emotional walls that keep you in as well as out, and Don’t Lie To Me, which has the lyric, 'How do you win if we all lose?'."

Oh, Chrissy, you stupid idiot.  Learn to actually read.  You've confused production credits with songwriting ones.  Barbara did not write one song on the album by herself.  She does get co-writing credit on three songs.

Three is not seven.

And co-writing is not the same as having "written or co-written seven of the tracks."

Chrissy, you're a world class liar so you're the perfect writer to come spend  time inside Barbra's SOUR WALLS.

Read a book?


Readers have e-mailed us asking for more book coverage at community sites.  We've passed this request on.

So far, the book coverage includes:

"Chris Hedges' AMERICA: THE FAREWELL TOUR bids adie..." -- C.I. 
"Leslie Bennetts writes about something but it's not Joan Rivers" -- Trina.
"Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. reviews Michelle Obama's BECOMING (pair it with Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The Selfie").

"The Women’s Suffrage Movement is an awful (and rac..." and "Penguin's embarrassing and racist book on feminism" -- Ann and Elaine.

"Alice Isn't Dead" -- Marcia.



"When a book no longer pleases" -- Betty.


"Parker Posey's YOU'RE ON AN AIRPLANE" -- Mike.

"Sally Field IN PIECES" -- C.I. 

"Neil deGrasse Tyson and his superficial book" -- Betty.

"Alice Walker's The Chicken Chronicles" -- Marcia.

"The really bad book The Bridge" -- Ann.

"The Third Hotel by Laura Van Den Berg" -- Trina. 

"T.J. Berry's Space Unicorn Blues" -- Marcia.  

"HELLO GORGEOUS by William Mann" -- Stan.


"Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's and the Dawn of the Modern Woman Paperback" -- Ann.

"No one Peter Bogdanovich knows is ever gay" -- Marcia.

"Seymour Hersh meanders throughout REPORTER: A MEMOIR" -- C.I. 

"Dusty (by Karen Bartlett)" -- Marcia.

"Media critiques -- Nora Ephron's SCRIBBLE SCRABBLE" -- Mike.

"Judy Garland (the biographies)" -- Kat.


"UNCOMMON TYPES: Let's kill whomever taught Tom Hanks to type" -- Elaine.


"Anne Sexton: THE COMPLETE POEMS" -- C.I.

"Charlotte Chandler's MARLENE" -- Elaine.

"A sexist woman writes She's a Rebel and distorts music history" -- Ann.

"barbara ehrenreich's 'natural causes'" -- Rebecca. 

"Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook" -- Trina.


"Blackfish City" -- Marcia.

"THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES by Alice Walker" -- Ruth.

"Harry Belafonte" -- Mike.

"THE SAME RIVER TWICE (Alice Walker)" -- Isaiah.

"Dancing with Demons: The Authorized Biography of Dusty Springfield" -- Marcia.

"Good for Jimmy Stewart, bad for readers" -- Stan.

"Conversations with Toni Morrison" -- Marcia.

"Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream" -- Ann.

"He Ran All The Way" -- Trina.

And we'll also note Ann's "How a book store could stay alive in today's economy" about the book business.

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