Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Truest statement of the week

In a CBS interview over the weekend, Acosta spoke about the dangers of Trump's rhetoric about journalists. An angry Trump supporter mailed pipe bombs, Acosta explained, to CNN "and other Democratic targets."
"And other Democratic targets" was clearly a slip of the tongue: CNN is not affiliated with any party. Acosta meant perceived Democratic targets. But the mistake (which he has made before) is nonetheless telling. Acosta has allowed Trump to set the terms of engagement. Trump paints the media as the opposition, and Acosta has accepted the mantle without wondering what he might be giving up in return.

This is most apparent when he uses Trump's tactics to justify his own combativeness: "I don't recall Trump ever apologizing for his behavior," he writes at one point. "Hey, if they can do it, my thought was, why can't we?" he writes at another. But I can think of lots of reasons, starting with the use of the words we and they.

-- Annalisa Quinn, "In 'The Enemy Of The People,' CNN Reporter Recounts His Time Covering President Trump" (NPR).

Truest statement of the week II

When I go into a Lowe’s or Home Depot store to buy plumbing or electrical supplies, I’m assaulted as soon as I go in the door by the smell of lawn chemicals. Plastic jugs of Roundup are stacked six feet high right near the entrance of these stores for easy grabbing by shoppers heading for the garden supply area.   At Costco, I found myself in line at the checkout counter behind a man who had a huge bag of grass seed that the label on the bag promised was already treated with “fertilizer and weed killer for a perfect lawn.”  The weed killer, I discovered on checking further, is of course Roundup.
Most of Europe has banned Roundup because of both a determination that is carcinogenic and because its widespread use has been linked to the decimation of the world’s bees, essential for the pollination of some 90 percent of all plants and of 30 percent of food crops, and Monsanto/Bayer has so far lost three major lawsuits levying a total of over $2.4 billion in punitive damages against the company for cancers found caused by their glyphosate herbicide. Yet despite all this, the American public wants its pristine green lawns, unblemished by dandelions and other transgressors like violets, buttercups and wild strawberries.

-- Dave Lindorff, "Americans’ Extinction Denial Syndrome" (COUNTERPUNCH).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Tuesday night.

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?


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

Editorial: Which friends, Tammy?


Link to headline article

So New Zealand says all of their troops will be out of Iraq by June 2020.

What does the US government say?

The forever wars that never end drain our spirit and drain our coffers.  But they keep going.

People like Senator Tammy Duckworth argue that these wars should not end.  She wants US troops to stay on the ground in Iraq for years to come.


She can't offer any honest explanation so she says we have to protect our 'friends' in Iraq.  Which friends?  The ones who target the Sunnis?  The ones who target the Yazidis?  The ones who targeted the Jews and led to all but one leaving Baghdad?

Which friends, Tammy?

The ones who oppose a free press?  The ones who destroy women's rights?  The ones who run secret prison and torture chambers?

Which friends, Tammy?

The US government should have pulled all US troops out a long time ago.  The failure of the US government to do its job stands as an indictment against our Congress which, please remember, 12 years ago was screaming for progress, insisting that measurable progress had to take place to justify keeping US troops in Iraq.

TV: If there's a way to screw up, NETFLIX will find it

If there's one lesson of 2019, it's that NETFLIX screws up everything.

JESSICA JONES?  It streams its last season next Friday.  It's an okay season but not a solid one and certainly not one that really wraps up Jessica's journey.  But none of the MARVEL shows wrapped up well, NETFLIX didn't let them, did they?  They just took an axe to them.

Just like they took an axe to ONE DAY AT A TIME.  CBS was interested in the show for their streaming service and HULU was interested in exploring it.  But NETFLIX -- which didn't want the program -- wouldn't let the show go forward.

And also axed?  FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE, SANTA CLARITA DIET, on and on it goes.  Where does it end?  Last week, it ended with the announcement of the final season of THE RANCH.


When you're asking people to pay in order to watch your programs, is it really a smart business model to keep cancelling the shows they watch?   Then again, how smart is a business model to begin with which, since 2012, has spent much more money than it has ever taken in?  A business model that now depends upon junk bonds?

Every month, the trades report some other big hire at NETFLIX but, thus far, none of these executives have done anything that's actually improved the streaming service.

Last Friday drove that home twice.  First off, TALES OF THE CITY.


Armistead Maupin's TALES OF THE CITY has now been responsible for four mini-series.  The first aired on PBS.  The fourth just aired on NETFLIX.

You have to be really stupid -- and NETFLIX is infamously ignorant -- to air that last Friday.

Laura Linney should sue.

Watching the latest installment, watching Linney's Mary Ann return to San Francisco, still uptight, still well meaning, still a bull in a china shop was watching an Emmy worthy performance.  Not Emmy nomination worthy, mind you, but a performance worthy of the award itself.

It probably doesn't stand a chance now because NETFLIX is so damn ignorant.

Had they released it two Fridays ago, on May 31st, it could have qualified for an Emmy this fall.  May 31st was the cut-off date for this year's Emmys.

Now there's a chance Linney will get nominated next go round.  There's a chance.  Not much of one, mind you.  Because by the time May 31, 2020 rolls around, her performance will be almost a year old.  Many voters will associate it with being a year old.  And the fresh punch it packed over the weekend?  That will likely be taken for granted.

When we asked a NETFLIX suit, "What the f**k were you'll thinking," we were told that it was released for Pride Month.  Armistead Maupin's classic was a major LGBTQ work.

We're not denying that.

But we're smart enough -- and we believe the LBGTQ community is as well -- to grasp that releasing TALES OF THE CITY one day before Pride Month would be a-okay.  It would be kicking it off one day early and it would allow all the actors doing such incredible work the chance of being recognized.

Linney deserves an Emmy.  You want to slap Mary Ann at times but that's the character of Mary Ann and Linney brings her to life and then some.  Charlie Barnett, Murray Bartlett, May Hong and certainly Olympia Dukakis all gave Emmy nomination worthy performances.

And if NETFLIX had done its job and known when the cut off was for the Emmys (the suit we spoke with was unaware that they had missed the cut off date by seven days), there would be a ton of nominations for the latest chapter in this much loved work.

Instead, a year from now, it will be a distant and fading memory and it'll be lucky if anyone gets nominated.

The bulk of the cast deserves nominations.

Ellen Page does not.

There are three scenes she's effective in -- three scenes in ten episodes.  They're crying scenes.  She cries very well.  Like a child actress, she can hit that note.

She can't hit any others, but she can hit that note.

There is something deeply pathetic and pathological in casting a 32-year-old actress as a 25-year-old.  There is a world of difference, as any young person can tell you, between 25 and 32 -- more of a difference than between 35 and 42, in fact.  Now a great actress could bee 32 -- or 42, for that matter -- and play 25.  But Vanessa Redgrave was not cast in the role, Ellen Page was.

She is the worst actress of her generation.  She never creates a character but always plays Ellen Page.  And what passed as charming for a child actress is now just empty for a professional, adult actress.  An Ellen Page performance is always the same accent, always the same way of speaking, always the same way of moving, always the same thin acting.  There are out lesbians who could have been cast as Shawna and made her a real character.

In a year from now, Ellen Page's latest pedestrian performance is what TALES OF THE CITY will be most remembered for, not the excellent acting on the part of others, not the wonderful scene where Charlie Barnett is seated with middle-aged White men and endures their racist remarks (Charlie's character Ben is African-American) and then has to listen to them refers to "trannies."  When he explains that is derogatory and that we should respect people's right to self-identify, an enraged White man wants to hector him.  The scene plays reals and beautifully -- the angry man countering Charlie delivers a strong performance as well.  And the scene is based upon some of the regrets that trail blazers always have for those who follow on the road that they paved with their blood and tears.  It's a very real moment and one of many.  It's too bad, however, that Ellen Page and her SAVED BY THE BELL 'acting' keeps destroying every real and genuine moment that TALES OF THE CITY delivers.

At least TALES delivers.

What can we say about DESIGNATED SURVIVOR?

Maybe that the ABC show should have been left cancelled?  Maybe that when NETFLIX is cancelling so many fan favorites, they probably don't need to be bringing in works from networks that no one was watching.

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR started off strong in the first season.  It was all over the map in its second season.  It was also anti-woman and it was a non-stop CIS gender White male parade.  Maggie Q's FBI agent Hannah was the only woman that mattered and the only person of color that did.  Maggie Q gave an incredible performance.  So, of course, season three and NETFLIX result in her being killed off (episode seven).

She was the only reason to consistently watch the show and now she's gone.

Is there anything to praise about season three which NETFLIX started streaming last Friday?

Anthony Anderson delivers a great performance.  He's a new character, the Chief of Staff.  He's about the only real reason to watch.

Hannah, early on, is fired by the FBI but hired by the CIA.  Why the president of the United States, played by Keifer Sutherland, didn't intervene to save her job at the FBI is anyone's guess.  But without Hannah, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR has no action scenes is nothing more than one of those male weepy soap operas (REGARDING HENRY, THE DOCTOR, etc.) that bombed repeatedly in the nineties.

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR in season three is a really bad soap opera.  How bad?  It's a moralizing soap opera.  Soap opera's people love feature a character to boo and hiss -- Alexis Carrington, Abby Ewing, etc.  There's no time for real villains when every script needs to include significant space for Keifer Sutherland to moralize.

And it's Keifer, not his character.

Someone needs to tell Keifer that his jowls need to be removed.  Those huge, lower fat portions on each side of his face are rather disgusting and make his pie-in-the-sky nonsense come off even more dated.

The show wants to preach centrism.  While identifying everyone you disagree with as a racist.

Season three has a plan where a biological weapon will sterilize people of color and allow the US to remain majority White for decades to come.  This is a plan that uses KKK types but is secretly funded by the Republican Party and seemingly involves every member of that party except for the presidential nominee.

The presidential nominee?  There is a Republican nominee, a Democratic nominee and then Kirkland (Keifer) running for re-election.  All three are White men.

It's 2019 and that's rather strange, isn't it?  That's before you even get to Aunjanue Ellis.  When DESIGNATED SURVIVOR aired on ABC, the actress played Vice President Ellenor Darby.  She pops up in one episode on NETFLIX to announce she's stepping down as Vice President and planning to run for the presidency.  Then we never hear of her again.

That's perfectly in keeping with NETFLIX's DESIGNATED SURVIVOR.  While on ABC, each season had a number of female directors.  Now that it's on NETFLIX?  All the directors are men.    And that really shows in the crap that makes it to the screen.

Peter Noah writes bad scripts, he always has.  He does here as well.  We especially enjoyed marveling over how awful Peter 'Woke' Noah managed to be in the tenth episode.

In this episode, new character Isabel (Elena Tovar) tells Emily (Italia Ricci) she was wrong to attack her for sleeping with Aaron (Adan Canto) and that women needed to stop blaming each other and start blaming the cheating man.

So 'woke,' Peter, so 'woke.'

Written just like a man who thinks he knows women but doesn't.

Isabel had every right to be upset with both Emily and Aaron as she originally was.  She should have stayed mad.  Emily slept with Aaron despite knowing that Aaron and Isabel were a couple and were talking marriage.

There is a world of difference between not blaming a woman who is a stranger and has no idea of what's what and in blaming a woman you work with, that your lover works with, who knows you are a couple and goes ahead and sleeps with the man anyway.

Both are betrayals.  But having offered no real scenes between two women (other than Hannah with her boss), 'woke' Peter felt this would play well.  It didn't.  It doesn't.

The whole third season is a fake ass piece of crap.  And NETFLIX wasted money to produce ten episodes of this crap while axing SANTA CLARITA DIET?

NETFLIX doesn't know what the hell it's doing.  That only becomes more obvious with each passing day.

TCM embarrasses itself

The pictures may have been only “based on a true story.” But they did justice to the essential truth of what happened on the ground. -

Uh, no, they didn't.


For some stupid reason, they're doing a ton of war movies to 'honor' D-Day.

These aren't documentaries.  This is more claptrap from Hollywood that turns war into a game.  The last thing the country needs it more war.

And no one watches TCM to watch war movies -- that's why the ratings drop whenever TCM airs one.  Their audience also doesn't really care for westerns.

They like comedies.

They like melodramas and a few dramas.

They like musicals.

They like suspense.

But they really don't care for war movies.

And we don't need the ridiculous Ben Mankowitz pretending he wears his Daddy's dog tags every day of his life.  We're not stupid even if Ben is.

Instead of the garbage they're currently pimping as 'real' and 'authentic,' maybe they could just air films that people really love?

Monsieur Beaucaire, for example, is a 1946 comedy classic starring Bob Hope that TCM never seems to find time for. Other films they could air? WHO'S KILLING THE GREAT CHEFS OF EUROPE? and another George Segal classic THE BLACK BIRD; Robert Altman's H*E*A*L*T*H, Delores del Rio's I LIVE FOR LOVE, Diahann Carroll's CLAUDINE, Goldie Hawn's THE DUCHESS AND THE DIRTWATER FOX . . .

There are so many films that could be aired.  Instead, TCM wants to pretend that (a) war is a game and (b) Hollywood war films are reality.

Summer song

Stevie Nicks' "For What It's Worth" -- a song of reflection, one you can review your summers too.

10 to watch

It's the summer and there's nothing to watch on TV!

Actually, there's quite a bit to watch.  Here are ten shows you can catch this month.

Speak your mind, J.

1) ANIMAL KINGDOM (TNT, new season airing now)

2) THE DETOUR (TBS -- new season debuts June 18th)

3) CLAWS (TNT, new season airing now)

4) IZOMBIE (THE CW, new season airing now)

5) ELEMENTARY (CBS, new season airing now)

6) WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? (THE CW, debuts June 17th)

7) BIG LITTLE LIES (HBO, new season airing now)

8) SIREN (FREEFORM, debuts June 13th)

9) ABSENTIA (AMAZON, debuts June 14th)

10) DRUNK HISTORY (COMEDY CENTRAL, debuts June 18th)

Tweet of the week

  1.   Retweeted
    NYT journalist sipped his Starbucks while my country burned. Never once tweeting about war in Syria. He never asked to interview me. Yet his article attacks me for accepting interviews to speak out against war in my country. This is west-left privilege. True racism.

Political video of the week

US House Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was a hit in NYC over the weekend.

This edition's playlist


1)  Mavis StaplesWE GET BY.


3) Dionne Warwick's SHE'S BACK.

4) Carly Simon's THE BEDROOM TAPES.

5)  Chaka Khan's HELLO HAPPINESS.

6) Rhiannon Giddens' THERE IS NO OTHER.

7) Sam Smith's THE THRILL OF IT ALL.

8) Ben Harper's CALL IT WHAT IT IS.

9) Cat PowersWANDERER.

10) Janet Jackson's UNBREAKABLE.

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