Monday, June 20, 2022

Truest statement of the week

Felicia Sonmez demanded that The Washington Post live up to the highest standard — zero tolerance for sexism. She wouldn’t allow the organization to tiptoe around an issue our industry has tiptoed around for far too long. That’s why she’s no longer a reporter there. Or at least, that’s how it looks from afar.

In fairness, it’s exceedingly difficult to get the full story on a personnel issue. Privacy concerns make it difficult for an employer to be fully transparent. The Post told those who reached out last week it wouldn’t comment. I reached out to Sonmez but haven’t heard back.

According to a leaked termination letter, Sonmez was fired for, among other things, “maligning your coworkers online and violating the Post’s standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity.” That came after several days after an internal dispute spilled out onto Twitter when another reporter, David Weigel, retweeted a sexist joke, and Sonmez called him out for it. The termination letter also cited Sonmez’s “insubordination.” Sonmez kept tweeting about newsroom culture after executive editor Sally Buzbee sent an email trying to squash the public back-and-forth.

But insubordination is a tool of necessity, used by every trailblazing journalist or activist working to change an unjust system. Sonmez was an activist trying to improve an industry long saddled by sexism. Her sin was trying to raise the bar on how sexism is treated inside newsrooms and covered by the media.

She was relentless, uncomfortably so. It’s why she stood out on the day NBA superstar Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash. While other journalists were praising his basketball legacy, she reminded people about the complexity of Byrant’s life, including a sexual assault charge. For that, she was briefly suspended by The Post and pilloried by many inside the industry and out, for daring to speak an uncomfortable truth — precisely what journalists are supposed to do. For that, and because she spoke openly about her status as a survivor, The Post prevented Sonmez from covering sexual assault cases. It was an egregious decision that spoke volumes about just how deep the roots of sexism remain.

-- Issac J. Bailey, "Felicia Sonmez’s Firing Highlights the Limits of Progress For Women In Newsrooms The Washington Post sent a message: Be nice when a man displays a bit of sexism. Or be quiet." (NIEMEN REPORTS).




Truest statement of the week II

Be clear on this: Assange is a political prisoner, held for and charged with committing … journalism.

He exposed war crimes committed by US government forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other illegal schemes such as then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s attempts to have UN diplomats’ offices bugged.

The US government hates having its crimes exposed and, First Amendment be damned, tries to make examples out of those who dare display its dirty laundry.

While Assange obviously has more skin in the game than anyone else in this particular case, he’s not the real target. The real target is the next journalist who catches the US government acting illegally. The goal is to make that journalist think twice before telling you about it.


-- Thomas Knapp, "Free Assange? Yes, But That’s Not Nearly Enough." (ANTIWAR.COM).



A note to our readers

Hey -- 

Sunday!!! Where we are, on the west coast, anyway.

It's okay, check your breath.  We know you're shocked.  We are as well.

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? 


Issac J. Bailey gets a truest.

As does Thomas Knapp.

Again, drought is not good.  Trying curbing your enthusiasm over the lost city emerging.

Ava and C.I. tackle public affairs programs.

Group piece we all worked on.  (Editorial was a group piece as well.)

Dona noted that three community members had written about books and assembled them for this feature.

I hope Jess writes about music a lot more.

Ava and C.I. wrote this one quickly -- after checking with Stan -- to round out the edition.


This was the first piece we worked on.  :D

Popcorn, we all love popcorn.

What we listened to while working on this edition.

 Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.





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






Editorial: Iraq and climate change

2022? The year Iraq saw the signs of its future with climate change?

CNN gushed today over the finds in a newly emerged city. Not to rain on the parade but the reason we're seeing the ancient city is that the Tigris River has dried up so much that the city was visible again for the first time in centuries -- plural. That's not a good thing.

This is also the first year that Iraq's seen Lake Sawa dry up.

These are not good things for the Iraqi people.

And this is only going to get worse in the immediate future.

Another major sandstorm is predicted in the next few days. Iraq's seen these repeatedly this year. People have to go inside. Some that don't make it in time end up hospitalized. Iraq's always had sandstorms but they haven't been as frequent and as massive as the ones this year.

Temperatures are rising and the water is disappearing.

Trees are dying. Farmers are struggling to produce in these extreme conditions.

And as climate change really begins to hit Iraq, they are without a government. Back in October, elections were held. Eight months later, still no prime minister, still no president.

Iraq's facing an environmental crisis and they've got no real government to address it.

TV: There were never any standards

TV is all about pretend and we're not talking ONCE UPON A TIME.  The public affairs programming attempts to pass itself off as news despite the fact that it's a rare episode when any actual reporting takes place.  

Instead, we're stuck with dull talk shows featuring dull people.  


Mark Shields.  He just passed away on Saturday and the nation is supposed to be mourning.  THE NEW YORK TIMES tells us he was known for his wit.  In what world?

Dorothy Parker?  She was known for her wit.  When Katharine Hepburn opened on Broadway in THE LAKE, Dorothy Parker declared, "Miss Hepburn ran the whole gamut of emotions -- from A to B."  That's wit.

There was nothing witty about Mark Shields  There was a great deal soggy.  And there was a lot that was offensive.

On PBS, on the show that finally became THE NEWSHOUR, Mark popped up as a regular and eventually, in November of 1988, joined the Friday segment. As Ruth observed:


He started appearing on the program in November of 1978.  Ten years later, in 1998, he began participating in the Friday debate that the program still airs where a (centrist) Democrat and a (centrist) Republican offer up talking points from their respective political parties.  In the days when TV was very limited, this was a big deal.  Cable, back then, meant you did not have good reception in your area from a TV antenna so you paid for a cable connection which delivered whatever over the air stations broadcasted in your area.

That tended to be ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS.  If you were lucky, you might also have some independent UHF station that broadcast old movies and/or old sitcoms.  

Mr. Shields was part of the template for convincing Americans that two very limited opinions were, in fact, a full range of the political spectrum.

Truer words were never spoken.


He offered nothing on the big issues of the day instead always waiting for the Democratic Party to signal where they stood on an issue and then he adopted that. Ahead of the Iraq War, he never called it out, he never opposed it.  He fretted, in fact, that if Bully Boy Bush backed down to the United Nations (after he failed to get the approval of the UN Security Council) it would look bad for UK lapdog Tony Blair.  That's the kind of garbage Mark Shields provided on THE NEWSHOUR for years.  And if you think that's bad, you should heard him in the early days of the war. 


Mark's limited views weren't the only problem with his Friday 'debates.'  He played that little game from 1988 through 2020.  And he wanted to play it with a boy.   First up was David Gergen (through 1994) and then Paul Gigot (through 2001).  In fact, Paul left on September 14, 2001. So effected by the 9/11 attacks, he enlisted in the US military and served in -- no, no, we're joking with that sentence.  He stayed on at THE WALL STREET JOURNAL where he used his role to send others into wars.  This allowed Mark Shields to be paired with the dentally challenged David Brooks.

Of all the same-sex coupling on THE NEWSHOUR, this was the most enduring, with the two men gazing warmly into each others eyes for approximately 19 years. 

Of the same-sex coupling, some may try to argue that, "Shields started appearing in that debate segment in 1988 and that's how things were, that's just how things were."


No, it wasn't. 

The segment wasn't created by THE NEWSHOUR.  It was instead stolen from 60 MINUTES which called it "Point-Counter Point."  And, from 1975 to 1979, the segment featured Shana Alexander sparring with James Kilpatrick. The show THE NEWSHOUR stole it from managed to have a woman weekly for four years.  

The thing about TV public affairs programs (and TV news) is that it just gets worse each year.

Last week, we were reminded of that when Don Lemon decided to insult guest Philip Mudd, a paid CNN analyst, on air.  They disagreed about whether or not former US President Donald Trump could be successfully tried on treason.  Don, not being a legal expert, was wrong.  But Don, being Don, attacked the guest repeatedly.  He dismissed the legal issues and he dismissed the way it would look in public  He attacked the analyst ("You're wrong!").


In fact, Don did everything but shove his hands down the front of his own pants, rub it around his crotch, take his hand out and shove his fingers under Philip's nose.  


Don doesn't do that . . . on TV.


We watched this on the 'new' CNN.  The one that grown ups are supposed to be returning to.  


Last week really wasn't the week for CNN.  Ratings revealed that Brian Stelter  hit a ratings low he hadn't seen since 2019.  Suddenly, an asexual, rotund man with baby teeth was demonstrated to be as unappealing as we've always noted he was.  TV is a visual medium, after all.  Why CNN ever hired him to begin with is a mystery for the times.  Mystery for "the times,'' not THE TIMES.  He worked at THE NEW YORK TIMES where he typed up a lot of nonsense -- "said to" -- such and such network or streamer is "said to" be about to -- whatever VARIETY or THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER was reporting.  He'd grab that and type it up with "said to."  He wasn't much of a reporter for THE TIMES and he's been even worse at CNN.

Jim Acosta decided Saturday to make a bad week even worse.  He brought on Henry Winkler.  The Fonz.  From that bad TV show.  Henry's been fortunate to carve out a career via cameos and supporting roles.  He's a working actor.  He had TV stardom playing a character that is not any way recognizable as a human being.  And then, when the toy he was for children grew old, and the children grew up, he was the new Adam West.  

Jim Acosta brought him on to talk about Herschel Walker, the former football player who is running for public office on the Republican ticket.  Walker had earlier declared:

I think some of the biggest problems going on in our country today [is] we have so many celebrities telling people that they can't do it. Telling a lot of people, 'Oh, well, you got to feel bad for yourself, feel sorry for yourself.' Which is sad to me. They've done it, but they're telling you you can't do it and it's like, you did it, why they can't do it? I think they tell all the kids they can't do it, making our kids feel sorry for themselves.


Honestly, what the hell does that mean?

It's incoherent.  It says everything needed by making no real sense and requiring no rebuttal.  A rebuttal is just going to draw more attention to it and rally a number of people around Walker.


But Henry Winkler had to rebut and he had to prove Walker right and where do the loony tunes go these days?  Ask Fatty Patty: Twitter.


So Winkler Tweeted a response:


I need to repeat this again I am an American First with every right to an opinion . . . then I am an actor.  Got that Mr. Walker . . . Mr famous Athlete.


What a tough guy!  The only thing scary about the 76-year-old celebrity would be his eyebrows.


 Again, Herschel Walker's incoherent ramble required no comment.

 Most Americans wouldn't take it seriously.

But there was faded 70s star Henry Winkler Tweeting and making people scratch their heads and wonder, "Is Walker right?"


Where ever there is s**t to be stirred, there is Jim Acosta who decided to round out CNN's bad week by bringing Henry Walker on air to comment.  Was ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY too occupied with real news?


This is the sort of garbage that makes CNN look so bad.  It's supposed to be a new network.  It's supposed to be.  But instead it got caught up in a celebrity cat fight.  There are real problems in this country and in this world and, instead of covering those, Jim Acosta is recasting himself as Miss Rona Barrett. 


"Henry, don't help," we shouted and cringed as he spoke with Jim.


The general premise has always bothered me.  I always thought it was sow eird that so many people use this kind of tactic to say, 'Oh, you're on TV.  You shouldn't say what you think.' And I think that's the thing -- craziest thing -- I've ever heard.  And then when I saw Mr. Walker's Tweet, I thought to myself, first of all, we are, as a profession, we are uplifting.  It's number one.  Second, why wouldn't I have the same point of view to which he is entitled.  He's a celebrity.


If Herschel Walker looked like an idiot with his statement, Henry Winkler came off like a bigger fool.


First off, Herny, you don't "have the same point of view to which he is entitled."  You disagree with his point of view, you stupid idiot.  Stop thinking you're smart enough to make up your own lines.  Clearly, you need a writer.


What you meant was, "Second, why wouldn't I have the same right to share my viewpoint the way he feels he can?"  That's what you meant.  Learn to speak.  Actually, at 76, it's too late for you to.  You've been an idiot your whole life.  


Second, stop taking him on.  You prove his point that people like you are not smart enough to speak.


He's sharing his point of view, yes.  But he's not just a celebrity at this moment.  He's a candidate for the US Senate.  That requires that he shares his opinions.


If Herschel was dumb and Henry was dumber, Jim Acosta was the dumbest of them all for delivering this segment on a supposed news channel at a time when the country suffers from inflation, when Iraq -- eight months after an election -- struggles to form a government, when the UK government announces that they're going to hand over journalist Julian Assange to the US government, at a time when Yellowstone Park is still recovering from flooding, at a time when . . . Go down the list  And we're putting all of that on hold to bring on a 70s TV celebrity so that he can make inane and idiotic statements and we're going to call that "news."


There's a reason people long ago stopped trusting CNN. 


B-b-b-but there's alternative media, you know, independent media!


Good for you,  You still have hope -- false hope.  Without false hope, half the country would just roll over each morning and go back to sleep.

Where's the independence, please tell us?

A group of YOUTUBERS pose as 'independent.'  But they all bring on convicted sex offender Scott Ritter as an expert -- Scott who now will have his own YOUTUBE program to reach out and touch . . . young girls.  

When not parading a convicted pedophile on their programs as someone to trust (pimping that lie requires that they also don't inform their audience that Ritter was convicted in 2011), these 'independent' programs spend their time in a very strange manner.

The US government destroyed Iraq.  US soldiers remain in Iraq.  But Iraq's no concern for them.  They have no sense of responsibility when it comes to covering -- or just discussing -- what's taking place in Iraq today.  What's taking place?  Drought had hit the Tigris River.  Drought has hit Lake Sawa is drying up.  Trees are dying, gazelles are dying.  Climate change is impacting Iraq already.  Rivers are also drying up because of the actions of neighboring countries, such as Turkey building dams.  The Turkish government is also destroying trees.  It's been dubbed an ecocide -- though what passes for 'independent' media in the US can't be bothered with this.  Nor can they be bothered covering all the attacks the Turkish government is carrying out in northern Iraq (Kurdistan).  Turkish war planes bomb northern Iraq, drones attack the people of northern Iraq, Turkish foot soldiers are in northern Iraq in bases the Turkish government has established in violation of Iraq's national sovereignty (these are acts of war).  They claim they're killing terrorists.

Mirza Dinnayi notes a 'terrorist' the Turkish government killed last week:

A dirty war crime and a planned elimination of Yezidi minority. An air strike killed a 12 y Yezidi child in Sinjar. Salah was working in a small shop of his father in Sinuni. Such a shame for the international community generally and iraqi political powers to keep silent

Amberin Zaman (AL-MONITOR) reports:

The government of Iraq has yet to comment on a Turkish drone strike that killed a 12-year-old boy in the town of Sinune yesterday, the latest in a string of attacks in the Sinjar region of northern Iraq, adding to fury among Yazidis, a marginalized community that was subjected to genocide by the Islamic State.

Nobel laureate Nadia Murad, a Yazidi genocide survivor who was enslaved by IS, called Turkey’s attack “an act of terrorism.”

“Iraq has the ultimate responsibility to stop Turkey from attacking Sinjar,” said Murad Ismael, a prominent Yazidi activist. “The international community also has a moral responsibility towards Yazidis and the people of Sinjar. It is both painful and illogical that these attacks go [unaddressed] as if they are legitimate. It seems Turkey can get away with anything,” Ismael told Al-Monitor.

The UN condemned the attack without mentioning Turkey by name. “UNICEF is shocked at the killing of a 12-year-boy in an attack in Sinjar area,” the international body’s arm that deals with children said in a statement yesterday. “UNICEF calls on all parties to fulfill their obligation, under international law, to protect children at all times and without delay,” it added.

They claim they're killing terrorists.

What the Turkish government claiming they were targeting when they carried out their genocide last century?  When they carried out the Armenian genocide?

And there are so many other topics, so many other real issues.

But what does our 'independent' media choose to cover instead?

HARD LENS MEDIA, Jackie Hinkle, Sabby Sabs and others rushed to inform us that Ryan Grim was mean to Jimmy Dore (GRIM SMEAR! Sabby headlines it in a 25 minute 'report')  and that he didn't understand a joke.  Or Sabby Sabs -- a supposed African-American woman -- drops every issue to gush at length over Jimmy Dore's appearance on Tucker Carlson's FOX NEWS show.  Or Cenk and Jimmy are having words.  Or Jimmy --

Is this independent media or is this The Jimmy Dore Fan Club?

Navel gazing.  That's the kindest term for what they're 'covering.'

Sabby spent 25 minutes on "Grim Smear" -- Ryan's meanness to Jimmy Dore, for example.  And she spent 28 minutes slobbering over Jimmy's appearance on Tucker's show and a full hour interviewing him (we'll come back to that one).  In the same period, in fairness, we should note that she did cover a real issue: Medicaid Expansion.  She spent 20 minutes on that.  20 minutes.  


The interview?


Before we get to that, we need to drop back to our February 28th piece entitled "TV: Cringe-worthy TV" which focused on the strangely hostile interview with The People's Party's national chair Nick Brana.  That was strange.

But now that she's weakened him, someone might have been able to carry that party's presidential nomination, Sabby brings Jimmy Dore on . . . to discuss him running for president on The People's Party's ticket.  

Timing, right?  

We're supposed to trust these con artists who pretend to want to elevate the people but who instead keep elevating each other?  It's beyond a circle jerk and there are so many lies and so little ethics.

There never were any standards -- not in corporate media, not in 'independent' (aka beggar) media.  


Repulsive Hillary says transgender people do not matter

Hillary Clinton, the Queen of Repulsive. Sore Loser Hillary disgraced herself by lying repeatedly about Russia-gate -- her campaign paid for the Steel dossier, knew it was lies and the plan was to use it to dilute the public scandal of her e-mails and her being the target of a Justice Department criminal investigation. She misled the country and continues to do so.

So you'd think she couldn't get anymore repulsive.

You'd think that.

But Hillary has announced that the Democratic Party needs to ignore the rights of the transgendered. Per Hillary, it is more important to win this election.

She will sacrifice anyone for that, won't she? And she always has. Ask Juanita Broaddrick.

There will always be another election to focus on.

The answer is never to abandon arguing for a person's dignity or rights.

Ahead of Hillary's cry to drown the baby in the bathwater, NBC NEWS reported last week:

Inundated with threats during Pride Month, LGBTQ+ rights advocates and allies have been forced to cancel events and involve local law enforcement authorities after a group of white nationalists were arrested outside a Pride event in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.
California state Sen. Scott Wiener said he was at a supermarket Sunday when he was alerted by a staff member not to return to his home before calling police. Wiener, who had joked on Twitter about making “Drag Queen 101 part of the K-12 curriculum” in response to a tweet last week by a Texas state House representative announcing a bill seeking to ban drag shows in the presence of minors, had received an email saying there was a bomb in his house.
Bomb-sniffing dogs had to clear Wiener’s apartment before he went back in.
“There is a very orchestrated network of right-wing accounts and personalities to coordinate on whatever the current attack message is and who’s going to be targeted. And they have an army of social media trolls who amplify their messages,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s a very orchestrated attack machine.”

In this environment, Hillary announces that trans rights are not real rights, that they don't matter. And she wants to be seen as courageous?

She's an opportunist. That's all she ever was and all she ever will be. We'd all be better off if the media would ignore her and cover her no more than they do other former First Ladies. Earth to Hillary, you never got elected president -- and you never will.



Book talk



Dona: I thought we could do a book discussion. Thank you first off to Ava and C.I. who are taking notes for this transcript piece. Thank you to Betty and Ruth and Stan for participating. I want to start with Ruth because she read a book ("IF WE BREAK") that is actually in the news. IF WE BREAK is written by Kathleen Buhle who is Hunter Biden's ex-wife, his first wife, the mother of three of his children. Over the weekend, THE WASHINGTON POST suggested/insisted the book was not needed. That's what I mean about in the news. Ruth, would you like to reply to that.

Ruth: It is funny because my review, that I wrote4 on Thursday, reads like a reply to that review.

Dona: I thought so too.

Ruth: The book is not about Hunter Biden. He is in the book, he is part of the book. He destroyed his family. Yes, all that is true. But this is not about that. This is about Ms. Buhle hanging onto her sanity and raising her daughters and loving them in a deeply troubling period. That is what the book is about. I did not focus on Hunter in the review because he is not the story.

Dona: I thought of your review when I was reading THE POST's attack on the book. And I thought how strange that they are attacking the book as unneeded. Seems there are a ton of books that come out each year which are unneeded and that's not really the focus of the review from THE POST. Why this book?

Ruth: Because they did not cover Hunter Biden in real time in terms of his scandals. They ran with the 'leave him alone, he's a kid trying to recover from drugs.' No. He was a man of 50 when his problems were exposed by THE NEW YORK POST. He was a man of 50 with three daughters by his first wife. He left his first wife to sleep with his brother's wife. He was a crack head who was using and active in his disease. He lied to purchase a firearm. The Secret Service got involved -- though they lied to POLITICO and insisted that was not the case. He had strippers sodomize him. He got one stripper pregnant, kept her on the payroll for a year and then, when sued for child support, tried to deny that the child was his and insisted that he did not remember the woman. He was forced by a court to pay child support. He didn't want to reveal his finances to the court. That is because he had not properly paid the IRS. He is under grand jury investigation for that currently though his 'sugar brother' is saving his 'sugar ass' by paying millions in debt for him.

Stan: Which we are not supposed to note or comment on. As Ruth noted in "IF WE BREAK," if this were Roger Clinton getting millions while his brother was in the White House, the news would be all over it. Instead, they pretend like it is no big deal. It is a big deal.

Dona: And I'd argue a huge ethical violation.

Betty: I would agree but I want to back up Ruth's point. Hunter Biden is a character in his ex-wife's book. His actions cause tremendous pain and upheaval -- I'm less than half way into the book. But Ruth's correct, it's not about Hunter. "You're So Vain," the classic song written and recorded by Carly Simon, is not about James Taylor or Warren Beatty. It's about the way a man's vanity impacts one woman, almost destroys her, but she survives. I would argue the same is true of IF WE BREAK.

Dona: Gotcha. Now we're up to Colton Haynes' new book MISS MEMORY LANE: A MEMOIR. Betty covered the book in "Colton Haynes" and Stan did so in "My girlfriend is very happy."  Who wants to set up the book?

Stan: I'll do it. Colton Haynes is an actor. He was popular on TEEN WOLF -- which I did not watch. Then he played Roy on ARROW, which I did watch. Early on, some photos of him leaked and he rushed to deny that he was gay, early on while he was on ARROW. Then, a few years later, he came out. The book is about his life growing up and how, when he gets into the acting business, he is encouraged to stay in the closet. You could even argue he is forced to stay in the closet.

Betty: I would agree with that, forced. There was a lot of homophobia that he encounters. It's there early on with a manager saying he's coming off gay and that's not meant to be a good thing. But it's present even once he's a hit on ARROW. In fact, one of the reasons that he leaves is because someone in the cast is very homophobic to him.

Stan: And I wonder who that is?

Betty: I do too.

Dona: He doesn't name the person?

Betty: No.

Stan: There are a limited number of people it could be. First off, it's not Greg Berlanti who was the show runner. Greg is gay. It's not Stephen Amell who played Arrow -- read the book and that's obvious.

Betty: I would argue it's obvious who it is if you read the book.

Stan: I'd agree with that. I hope I've interpreted that wrong but it does seem rather obvious and there are a limited number of people it could be.

Dona: Care to share?

Betty: We'd hate to implicate the wrong person. But who we both think it is? It's very disappointing, if accurate. It does go to why ARROW didn't really get spin offs, however.

Dona: Has Colton been in anything since ARROW?

Stan: AMERICAN HORROR STORY in 2017. But then he returned for ARROW from 2018 to 2020. Since then, he did an episode of DOLLFACE on HULU this year.

Dona: We could argue and agree that writing the book took up some of his time. I also believe he got married --

Betty: And divorced. He and Jeff Leathem divorced in 2019 and their relationship is covered in the book.

Dona: Okay. My question was, has coming out hurt his career?

Stan: I don't know that it helped and I don't know that it hurt. He was a good looking guy on a comic book show. Justin Hartley? He was the same on SMALLVILLE where he played Aquaman. I believe he's straight, by the way. He went on, several years later, to play Victoria's gay son on REVENGE -- and was great in the role. A few years after that, he's a lead on THIS IS US. That took time. Tom Welling was the star of SMALLVILLE and he's not really had a trailblazing career -- again, he's straight.

Betty: And then there's Alan Ritchson -- again, believe he's straight. He played Hawk on TITANS and Hawk on some other shows in the DC universe. He's now playing REACHER, the title role, on AMAZON. He looks like Reacher should, per the book, not the movie with the shrimp Tom Cruise. He's tall and muscular. If Colton were going to be an action actor, he'd need to bulk up some more.

Ruth: I am reading the book. Almost to the end. I would also point out that whether or not he himself was being 'dramatic' offline, there were people who thought he was -- especially in the lead up to the wedding.

Betty: I remember that. Was that homophobia? It's a question I wondered at the time. A straight couple can share as much on INSTAGRAM in the lead up and that's treated as normal and people go 'oh' 'ah' and more in delight. There was a huge backlash to Colton and some of that was homophobic. And some of that came from the gay community, to be honest. Gay men calling him various insults like the s-word that rhymes with "rut." Did that hurt his image or standing? I don't know.

Dona: Stan, how about this, where is the ARROW cast today?

Stan: Amell stars as a wrestler in a new show HEELS on STARZ. David Ramsey has directed episodes of SUPERMAN AND LOIS. The only thing I've seen Emily Bett Rickards do is discuss that ARROW might come back. That's all I know.

Ruth: Katie Cassidy, David's daughter, has been announced as the director of DADDY ISSUES. That is a feature film. My friend Treva was a David Cassidy fan and she passed that on last month.

Dona: So, except for the star, no one's really landed any big acting opportunities. Although Katie Cassidy being set to direct a feature film is big news. But I'm reminded of Rebecca's "." In it, she called out Tom Hanks for arguing that if PHILADELPHIA were made today an out gay man would be cast in his role. That's not the case. Rebecca points out how HULU wanted credit for doing LOVE VICTOR but wasn't pro-gay enough to cast a gay actor in the role of the lead character, a gay man named Victor.

Betty: I don't get that. I really don't. And that actor is awful. They should have cast it with a gay actor -- an out gay actor.

Stan: Until that happens, I think we're going to see a lot of actors and actresses who come out suffering.

Ruth: Which is why Julianna Margulies should not have taken the role she did on THE MORNING SHOW.

Stan: But, on that show, they also have the closet case playing a straight woman. Maybe that balances it out?

Dona: True. And maybe someone should ask executive producer Jennifer Aniston what she has against casting lesbians? Okay, we're going to wrap up. Thank you all for participating. Thank you to Ava and C.I. for taking notes. This is a rush transcript. If you want to comment or have a suggestion or slam, e-mail us at

Jess' Music Take

Read Kat's "Kat's Korner: George Ezra and Rod Stewart prove the British are still invading" and wanted to weigh in. Outside of Fleetwood Mac, I find Christine McVie boring. My folks were big fans of The Mac. I remember they'd play them constantly. About every two years, they'd pull out Christine's solo album from 1984 (which was self-titled) play a side and then sigh because it was as bad as they remembered.

And it was bad. I have no idea how it sounded when it was released. But by the time I was born, it sounded pointless. She picked some songs. They really said nothing. And she threw it together and called it an album.

And she was lucky that it sold a few copies.

The album in the '00s didn't.

She has no vision.

Stevie Nicks has a vision. Stevie is her bandmate in The Mac -- though Christine's been talking trash about her of late. Not really smart.

Stevie has a vision in the band and she has a vision solo. She can pull together an album, like 24 KARAT GOLD, by digging through her catalogue of songs. And she'll be picking similar themes so that it's an actual album, like something the Beatles, for example, might have done. She's an album artist.

Christine isn't and never has been and I really don't think she understands the music business she's in. Not enough to be a solo artist.

So she's decided it's time for a best of.

And that she was re-recording.

We all thought it was going to be her Mac songs. That might have been interesting. Instead, she's not redoing. She's remastering. From those awful two albums. She's also including her original vocal on The Mac's "Songbird" but with new music. That's lazy. And she wrote a song for a film that bombed but even the people behind the bomb (AMERICAN FLYER?) knew enough to know her song was a dog so they didn't use it. She's now presenting it as a 'new track.'

That's lazy and greedy. Your two solo albums didn't sell. Nobody remembers any songs from it. And now you're putting that garbage together and calling it a best of?

Give it up.

This isn't art, it's commerce and greed.

As for all her bitter remarks about Stevie these days? I guess it must be difficult for a hack like Christine to work with a musical genius. As the song says, "It must have been cold there in my shadow."

I take music seriously. I'd rather listen to music than watch TV. I really haven't done an individual thing here but I think I'll start doing something. Jess' Music Take?

An industry that doesn't want to face reality (Ava and C.I.)

Industry bible VARIETY features a lengthy article about LIGHTYEAR's underwhelming performance in which Rebecca Rubin uses a lot of words but can't use the important ones. 


Stan wrote about the film on Saturday and noted that not only was he underwhelmed but so were his nephews (the reason he was seeing the film to begin with). Rubin notes the premise is confusing but doesn't note how pathetic the execution is.

She also refuses to address the fact that Chris Evans is a weak choice for a voice actor. Stan is right, there is nothing that screams about his voice. This is an animated kid's film. It needs a voice that delights and is one of a kind. Instead, kids are getting the equivalent of Tom Cruise in CAPTAIN PLANET and, no, that children's film did not go on to become a classic. As Stan notes, stand up comics tend to be the best voices to be cast in animated films:


His voice alone should have prevented him from being cast.  He does not have a distinctive voice.  Joan Cusack, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen -- they were perfect in TOY STORY movies because they have distinctive voices.  Same with Ellen DeGeneres as Dory in the Nemo and Dory movies or James Earl Jones as Mustafa in LION KING or Holly Hunter (THE INCREDIBLES).  The best ones are usually comedians -- they have a distinctive voice and usually a sense of comedy -- think Ellen, of course, and Tim Allen but also Whoopi Goldberg (THE LION KING, TOY STORY 3), Roseanne Barr (LOOK WHO'S TALKING TOO), Robin Williams (ALADDIN), Janeane Garofalo (RATATOUILLE), Woody Allen (ANTZ), Joan Rivers (SHREK 2, robot in live action SPACEBALLS), Jennifer Saunders (MINIONS and SHREK 2), Eddie Murphy (MULAN, SHREK films), Mike Myers (SHREK), Ray Romano (ICE AGE films), Kevin Hart (THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS), Chris Rock (MADAGASCAR movies, BEE MOVIE), Billy Crystal (the MONSTES INC movies), Kristen Wiig (ICE AGE 2, SAUSAGE PARTY, the HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON films, the DESPICABLE ME films), and Craig Robinson (THE BAD GUYS, SAUSAGE PARTY) to name just a few.

More to the point, the film emerged with a huge backlash.

The character of Buzz Lightyear has always been voiced by Tim Allen.

The actor has not passed away. But he has been replaced.

That angered TOY STORY fans just because it is Tim's role.

It angered a significant number of parents who fear that DISNEY replaced Tim as Lightyear because Tim is a Republican. DISNEY has fired Roseanne Barr for her support for Donald Trump and it cancelled Tim's LAST MAN STANDING when it was ABC's highest sitcom. It has repeatedly targeted Republican performers.

If they wanted to replace Tim after their own bad history, it was incumbent upon them to sale the whys of that action to parents. They didn't. They just ignored it until it finally flared up on social media late last week. They ignored it and VARIETY allows Rubin to ignore it.

She shouldn't have. You can't analyze the film's lack of success without acknowledging the fact that they drove off a significant number of potential parents by refusing to sell their supposed need to replace Tim Allen.

That active and sassy senior Joe Biden



From The TESR Test Kitchen



We like popcorn. We like it on the stove, in a popcorn popper, in the microwave, at the movies, you name it.

So Orville Redenbacher new avocado oil microwave popcorn caught our attention. 

We loved the Redenbacher popcorn with lime and sea salt, for example.

Big disappointment here? No avocado taste.

The avocado oil is vegan and that appears to be the chief benefit of the new product.

It's tasty, like his other popcorn, to us.

If you're vegan, by all means grab some. Otherwise? Probably stick to what you're already using.

This edition's playlist




 1) Harry Styles' HARRY'S HOUSE.


2)  Diana Ross' THANK YOU.


3) George Ezra's GOLD RUSH KID.


4) Chrissie Hynde's STOCKHOLM.   


5) Chase Rice's THE ALBUM.




7) Adele's 30.


8)  Janet Jackson's UNBREAKABLE

9) Dionne Warwick's SHE'S BACK.




 a park painting 11

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. 

 "Julian Assange (it's not just the media that's sil..." -- most requested highlight from readers of this site.

"Kat's Korner: George Ezra and Rod Stewart prove th..." a new album review from Kat where she covers George Ezra and Rod Stewart.  

"Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Joe Biden: One of a kind disaster," "Look, pressure does work," "THE UNIVERSE - Out of Nothing: Infinity," "Jimmy Dore wants to be president and monkeypox spreads -- which is scarier?," "Bette Midler, like her Tweet, has not aged well," "Dean Baker is disgusting," "c.i. raised the jimmy dore presidential run last week," "Idiot of the week," "Why I walked away from Jimmy Dore," "Lee Camp, Amy Schumer," "Graham Ellwood, Glenn Greenwald," "Graham Elwood, Glenn Greenwald and Sam Pizzigati,""Liars -- like Jimmy Dore, NEWSWEEK, Hunter Biden," "CIA Officer: How the Establishment Makes War Seem to Be Fun to Get Young People to Fight (1983)," "Sad," "Two liars: Jimmy Dore (and his cult) and Marc Elias," "Nonsense," "Jonathan Turley (on Nancy's performance) and Ava and C.I. (on the embarrassing Sandra Bernhard)," "Ranked choice voting," "Sabby Sabs, I knew she was a fake ass," "Sabby Sabs The White Man's Handmaiden," "Green Party news from California, Connecticut and ...," "Joe Biden responds to the speculation" and "THIS JUST IN! JOE BIDEN RESPONDS TO HIS CRITICS!" -- news coverage in the community.



 "Kat's Korner"  -- Isaiah pays tribute.


"Barbie?," "what is tom hanks smoking?," "if she had a friend, they'd tell her to shut up," "jennifer aniston is 1 dumb bitch," "The Originals has its revenge," "Made For Love," "14 Best Lesbian Movies Ever Made of All Time," "The media and pride," "One more reminder of reality with regards to Tina Fey.," "Mark Shields," "Those ladies of THE POO," "LIGHTYEAR," "Let's give some praise to Sandra Bullock," "AP erases Jodie Foster from history," "Amber Heard refuses to accept the jury's verdict," "Weekend Box Office" and "More flame wars from Charmed" -- TV and movie coverage in the community.


"FROM JUSTIN TO NOWHERE," "Rod Stewart's new vinyl album on sale at AMAZON for around ten bucks," "Rod Stewart's new album on sale for $10.67 (vinyl version) right now!," "Christine McVie leaves me unimpressed," "Diana Ross wows in England (THE GUARDIAN not so much)," "Pray for Mick," "Noah Weiland, Judy Garland," "Are you a Rod Stewart fan?" -- music coverage in the community.


"Tuna Nachos in the Kitchen" and "Asian Ramen Shrimp Soup in the Kitchen" -- Trina serves up two recipes.


"jimmy garoppolo" -- Rebecca answers an e-mailed question.


"IF WE BREAK" -- Ruth reviews a book.    





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