Thursday, December 10, 2020

Truest statement of the week

What do black people need most right now? The list is a very long one and includes living wage work, affordable housing, protection from killer police, relief from student loan debt, and the establishment of a publicly run health care system.

If the black political class have their way none of these issues will be addressed in any serious way. Apparently, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC ) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP ) are most concerned with human resources issues. They want to make sure that black people are appointed to cabinet level positions in the Biden administration.

It is fine for black people to be part of the revolving door of government that brings insiders to cushy positions in the White House. That is, after all, how the system functions. But it is another thing entirely for the attention of all black people to be focused on whether or not some already prominent and highly paid individuals become the new black faces in high places.

“The Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP are most concerned that black people are appointed to cabinet level positions.”

There are some 48 million black people in the United States and nearly all of them have been impacted by the many dislocations created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ironically named essential workers are in fact the most vulnerable as they must choose between earning a wage to survive or risking exposure to the virus. Then there are people who can’t work at all. They are unemployed and Congress did nothing to extend the additional $600 per week which ran out in July. The public sector suffers too as mass transit systems in New York, Boston, Washington, San Francisco, Chicago and every large city have announced disastrous cuts in service unless they receive emergency funding. The employed and unemployed alike will have a hard time getting to or looking for jobs. Of course, it must always be pointed out that COVID-19 has been far more lethal to black people, with death rates 2.8 times higher than for whites.

The worst and most deadly racial disparities involve law enforcement and the carceral state. It is still true that black people make up half of all those incarcerated in the country and despite being only 13% of the population, are one-third of all thoses killed by the police.

“Black death rates are 2.8 times higher than for whites.”

In the face of these crises why is appointment to high office such a priority for the people who claim to represent those who are suffering so badly? The black political class, the misleaders, are just doing what they were created to do. They give the impression of exercising black empowerment when they are in fact only promoting themselves. They will never speak to the myriad of issues that are crushing black life because doing so puts them in the position of biting the hands that feed them.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Freedom Rider: Black Demands for the Biden Administration" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

Whatever the scientific truths about coronavirus, state measures to control it undoubtedly have great potential for justifying state repression and surveillance. A friend of mine remarked that “it’s beyond the Patriot Act authors’ wildest dreams." In Africa, it’s been crudely weaponized to suppress elections, as witnessed in Uganda and Ethiopia. 

During the third week of November, Ugandan military police arrested pop star and presidential challenger Bobi Wine, alleging that his campaign rallies of more than 200 people violated state protocols for stopping the spread of coronavirus. They then shot dead 56 people protesting his arrest and arrested 836 with seeming unconcern that the virus might spread among them in jail.

This week police and military opened fire on Bobi Wine's campaign convoy in the Ugandan countryside. They struck and disabled the vehicle he was traveling in and injured several of his campaign colleagues. In a Ghetto TV video , shot by his campaign team, he could be heard shouting at police, as munitions exploded around him, “Why are you trying to murder me?”

Aljazeera then reported that Bobi Wine had suspended his campaign  because of the state violence, but shortly thereafter, he reappeared campaigning in a helmet and bulletproof vest. In another campaign video, he reported that police had ordered hotels not to admit his team and that they had therefore slept in their vehicles on the streets.

Earlier this year, in Ethiopia, the central government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed postponed this year’s elections  until 2021 because of the coronavirus, he said. Dissidents said, however, that he had used the virus as an excuse to buy time to consolidate power. The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) , which lost its brutal, minority grip on power in 2018, held regional elections anyway and then attacked an Ethiopian army base in the Tigrayan region, drawing an Ethiopian military response and sending refugees fleeing into South Sudan, where they risk contracting COVID-19 in crowded, makeshift camps.

As of December 8, Coronovirus Worldometer   reported that 207 people have died of COVID-19 in Uganda, four per million people, and that 1,766 people, fifteen per million, have died of the disease in Ethiopia .

In both African countries, these coronavirus mortality statistics are far lower than those caused by malaria and/or lack of health care. In Uganda, roughly 10,000 die annually of malaria; in Ethiopia, 883 died of malaria in 2016. Uganda has some of the world’s most shocking maternal death statistics , with 440 deaths per 100,000 live births. Both country’s electoral and social justice movements have far greater potential to lengthen and qualitatively enhance their citizens’ lives than their leaders’ crudely repressive coronavirus restrictions.

-- Ann Garrison, "Coronavirus Protocols as Tools of Repression" (BLACK AGENDA REPORTS).

A note to our readers

 Hey -- 


Early Thursday morning. 

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, 
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: When the press ignores violence



That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Hardworking Louisa Loveluck."

The point of the comic?

Moqtada al-Sadr, rotund goon and cult leader, ordered his minions to attack peaceful protesters.  He's the Charles Manson of Iraq.  On Twitter, Louisa Loveluck entered into a conversation about the coverage.  There was an observation that most outlets ignored the attack that left many injured and dead.

Not true, Louisa piped up, REUTERS, AP, AFP and ALJAZEERA covered it!

The problem with that?

She didn't cite her outlet: THE WASHINGTON POST.

She didn't cite it because they didn't cover it.  And that reflects back on Louisa.  She doesn't just work for THE POST, she is their Baghdad bureau chief.  And she didn't cover it.  

From the November 30, 2020 "Iraq snapshot," here's what Louisa ignored:

Friday saw an attack on the peaceful protesters in Nassariya.  This was an attack, it was not a ''clash.''  The protesters had been in al Haboubi Square for some time.  When Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered the Baghdad square attacked and the tents torn down a month ago, he attempted something similar in Nassaiya.  It did not fly in the city, it did not fly in the province (Dhi Qar Governorate).  Mustafa had to back down and the protesters continued their peaceful protest.  As Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) observed yesterday, "The coronavirus and violence against demonstrators has seen the moement slow elsewhere but it endures in Nasiriyah."

Friday, they were attacked.  The death toll has now risen to 16.  With over 80 more left injured that number could continue to increase.  

Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered the attack.  Dilan S. Hussein (RUDAW) reports that Moqtada told his cult to "clean up the 'atheism' that he said had taken over the city's streets" before sending them out on Friday.  They arrived at the square with loaded guns, in four-wheel vehicles and with props.  

 Basra journalist Mohammed Qasim Tweets:

#Muqtada al-Sadr’s militia mixed alcohol with the #Rainbow flag, meaning that homosexuals and #alcohol are corruption and must be eliminated, and this is a public violation of #human rights.

Moqtada gave the orders and then sicked his rabid cult on the protesters.  

This was a planned assault.  Not only does the Iraqi government need to disarm his goons, they need to put them on trial.  Equally true, it was not necessary for the cult to enter the town square (al Haboubi square) -- where the peaceful protesters were -- and have been for over a year -- in order to get to any destination. They chose to enter that square, they did so with props and they did so with guns.  And they chose to enter the square in "four wheel drive vehicles."  This was not a 'clash,' it was a planned assault.

A day after the attacks, his goons staged a show of support this weekend . . . in Baghdad.  They live in Baghdad.  In a slum known as Sadr City.  He's their grand hero but they live in a slum.  Maybe that should have the cult's first clue that Moqtada isn't so heroic and isn't leading them to a better life?  In Nassariyah, the turnout came from those who oppose Moqtada.

Flag of Iraq
| Manifestation contre Moqtada al-Sadr. A #Nassiriyah, les manifestants sont sortis par milliers. Ils ont repris la profession de foi et ont scandé « Nul divinité en dehors d’Allah, Moqtada l’ennemi d’Allah ». لا إله إلا الله مقتدى عدو الله

On Friday, after they killed and injured, Moqtada praised them on his Twitter feed.  RUDAW: "He then took to Twitter on Friday to thank his supporters for mobilizing." Then Tweets like this popped up.

The United Kingdom's Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Hickey Tweeted:

I condemn the violence against protesters in Nasiriya and other cities. There can be no justification for such senseless killing. I call on the Iraqi authorities to protect peaceful protesters from attacks, and to bring to justice those responsible.

The US Embassy in Iraq Tweeted:

The United States condemns the violence against peaceful protestors that took place in Nasiriyah, Dhi Qar today. These unjustifiable acts of violence have no place in a democracy. 1/2

The United States joins the international community in calling for those responsible to be held accountable, and for the government to provide protection for protestors and others engaged in the legitimate exercise of free speech. (2/2)


THE BAGDAD POST points out that the United Nations also called out the assault. Sensing the heat, Moqtada has attempted to back pedal.  John Davison of REUTERS Tweets:

Muqtada al-Sadr tells protesters to go home and for the government to do what’s necessary to keep security and deal with them, after his supporters began clashes that have killed at least 7 demonstrators in Nassiriya #iraq
Quote Tweet
مقتدى السيد محمد الصدر

And he's said to have fled the country, departing the airport in Najaf for Beirut.  That is his long-standing pattern -- flee the country whenever he thinks he might be arrested. 

TELESUR reports that Moqtada's cult used more than guns -- they also attacked the protesters with knives, batons and stones.  And the attack wasn't just in Nassirya.

TV: That disappointing flight attendant

 Kaley Cuoco is not a smart person.  We say that fully aware that she slagged feminism in REDBOOK a few years back and went on about how she needed to "serve" her man.  Apparently husband Ryan Sweeting ordered her to divorce him since they filed for divorce in 2015.  A year later, she was insisting she was a feminist and her words were misconstrued.  For the record, these were her words when she was was asked if she was a feminist?


Is it bad if I say no?  It's not really something I think about. Things are different now, and I know a lot of the work that paved the way for women happened before I was around. I was never that feminist girl demanding equality, but maybe that's because I've never really faced inequality.


When she decided to lie in 2016, she emphasized work insisting that she was paid equally so, of course, she was "a f**king feminist."  Again, she's not a smart person.


And that's what really comes through now that she's following up THE BIG BANG THEORY with HBO MAX's limited series THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT: just how dumb she is.

Her company is producing the series and, maybe if they weren't, it might be better?

At 35, Kaley's another stupid personality who never learned to act.  On the sitcom, she said her lines correctly and was surrounded by funny people so little thought was given to how little she was actually doing in each episode.  There's a reason that Mayim Bialik was nominated for an Emmy and Kaley never was. Mayim and Melissa Rauch created actual characters.  Kaley traded on her looks.  It's why she got the boob job in 2004.  

It's why she's so bad on THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT.

The mini-series is based upon a book by a man who ripped off Sidney Lumet's THE MORNING AFTER starring Jane Fonda.  Like Jane's character, Kaley wakes up in bed with a dead man.  The two characters also got blotto drunk the night before.  Both dead men were killed by a knife.  The women both clean up the scenes of the crime only to later realize that might have destroyed evidence that could prove their innocence.

Jane gives a performance, an incredible performance, one that was nominated for an Academy Award.  Kaley?  She recites her dialogue accurately.  That's about it.

Now we weren't expecting Kaley to offer a radical reworking of the type she's famous for playing.  We were expecting her to try to deliver convincing emotions.  

Watch Jane's horror when she realizes that the man in bed is dead and compare that to Kaley's reaction.  Watch all the levels and emotions Jane delivers in the immediate aftermath and watch how Kaley only has one note to hit and hits it over and over, a small child plunking away on the piano with one finger.

It's not a performance.

And that's why Kaley is so stupid.

Does she not survey the landscape?  Alyssa Milano can't get a real job -- or any job her husband doesn't strong arm someone into giving her.  Is that the future Kaley wants?  She better marry a CAA agent then.

She's really stupid.  Actors, good ones, can reach within and pull out something that has meaning for them and for the audience.  That doesn't necessarily make them smart.  

Intelligence doesn't always help either. Look at Jayne Mansfield.  Whether she had a genius IQ -- as she sometimes claimed -- or not, she was very intelligent.  That was a direct result of having a mother who was a school teacher and who demanded Jayne study and that she read -- and reading was the classics.  

By contrast, Marilyn Monroe wasn't considered smart.  But she gave moving performances that still marvel and move audiences too -- such as her Golden Globe winning performance in the classic SOME LIKE IT HOT, such as THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL where she steals every scene from Laurence Olivier, her Golden Globe nominated performance in BUS STOP, her BAFTA nominated performance in THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH,   the musical GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, the comedy HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE, the film noir NIAGARA and so much more.

Even at her finest, Jayne never lives up to any of those performances and she was never able to carry a film.  We're sure she would have scored better on an IQ test than Marilyn did.  We're sure she was more intelligent than Marilyn was.

But Marilyn had brains where they counted.  That's why there are no uncomfortable quotes about gay men attached to her the way they are to Jayne (for example, Jayne's remarks about her first visit to Hollywood and "swishy" men). She got the human condition and she studied it.  On the latter, unlike Jayne, Marilyn was smart enough to realize a real artist studies.  Marilyn went off to New York to study at The Actor's Studio.  Paula Strasberg served as her acting coach on her films after that.  Smart actors do that.  Lily Tomlin, for example, is constantly studying, constantly working with coaches.  Christina Applegate?  She started off with Uta Hagen and, much later in her life, returned to classes to explore levels and emotions she wasn't being asked to access in the roles she was being offered.  

Jane Fonda is a two-time Academy Award winner for Best Actress, seven Golden Globe Awards, two BAFTAs and on Emmy.  She's worked with various acting coaches over the years and, of course, was a member of The Actors Studio.  

Sandra Seacat is an acting teacher who directed one of our favorite movies of all time (IN THE SPIRIT starring Elaine May and Marlo Thomas) and look at the people who've studied with her: Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Reeves, Laura Dern, Melanie Griffith, Ryan Gosling, Meg Ryan, Aaron Eckhart, Vanessa Redgrave, Marlo Thomas, Harvey Keitel . . . 

Smart artists know they need to work and explore.  TV actors?  We like to pretend they're talented, that they're all Sally Field, John Travolta and Denzel Washington but the reality is that the bulk of them are Erin Moran, John Davidson, Lyle Waggoner, David Soul, Pamela Hensley, Gary Sandy, Joyce DeWitt, Lydia Cornell, Adrian Zmed, David Faustino, Joe Penny, Kirk Cameron, Beverly Mitchell, Anthony Clark, etc.  They assume that their moment in the spotlight is due to something other than luck and they refuse to do the work required to improve their craft.  

Not everyone is so lazy.  Christina Applegate played dumb blond on MARRIED WITH CHILDREN but there was a brain behind the performance.  That was obvious even on her follow up JESSIE and certainly when she played Rachel's sister Amy on two episodes of FRIENDS, as well as in her work on SAMANTHA WHO?, UP ALL NIGHT and DEAD TO ME. 

You'd think Kaley would want to be a success story.  But she's giving a flat performance in a role an actor should be providing a roller coaster of emotions.  THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT isn't a good show.  If she has any friends, they should steer her towards acting classes while there's still some interest in her career.  Jayne Mansfeld just wanted to be a legend and she was well known while she was alive due to various publicity stunts.  Kaley can't even claim that.  In fact, if she doesn't start studying soon, she's going to be the 21st century's Lauren Tewes, someone who was lucky to be on a hit show and never worked to really use that brief luck to become a better performer.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }