Sunday, February 08, 2015

Truest statement of the week

Wherever you see angry black people in motion, you'll find Democratic party elements doing their thing, protecting the careers of the elected and unelected members of the black political class from politicians to preachers and prison wardens, misdirecting black rage exclusively toward Republican targets, and pretty much limiting activism to voting, getting out the vote, lobbying Republican-dominated legislatures for what their Democratic colleagues want, and the occasional politely permitted daytime nonviolent march or die-in.

-- Bruce A. Dixon, "How 'Progressive Black Democrats'  in Your Town and Moral Monday in GA Fight For Us. Not." (Black Agenda Report).

Truest statement of the week II

Dr. Ulfkotte says the corruption of journalists and major news outlets by the CIA is routine, accepted, and widespread in the western media, and that journalists who do not comply either cannot get jobs at any news organization, or find their careers cut short. 

-- Ralph Lopez, "Editor Of Major Newspaper Says He Planted Stories For CIA" (Information Clearing House).

A note to our readers

Hey --

First, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

What did we come up with?

Yet another for Bruce A. Dixon who's become a "truest" champ.
And newcomer to the "truests" Ralph Lopez is also recognized.

The US and Iraq meet in Munich to plan war.  In Munich?
Ava and C.I. explain how NBC News' failure to retain a wall between news and entertainment allowed Williams to become a celebrity and a diva.

It's been awhile since we did a parody.  And we honestly thought we'd be doing one on Ms. magazine soon enough.  Instead, World Can't Wait lept to the front of the line.

This is a funny one and I'd love to tell you we created it.  But it truly was overheard at a bar last week.

Michele Kort's 'leadership' of Ms. has always been shaky but now it's hit a new low.
Maybe we should have gone with Tiny Tim?
Remember, stand next to John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham and you too can look like a hottie.

What we listened to.
Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker. 
Press release from Patty Murray's office. 
Press release from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. 

Press release from the Michigan Greens.

Mike and company wrote this and we thank them for it.

And that's what we came up with.


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

Editorial: The problem with opticals

Remember back when the Kool-Aid bloggers spoke of how smart Barack Obama was?  How he played three-dimensional chess?

As the reality has sunk in that Barack can only almost handle pick-up-sticks, they've stopped making that claim.

Probably a good thing too.

US Vice President Joe Biden just met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to plan war.

Just met with him.

Fruitful meeting with Vice President Biden in Munich. Shared determination to defeat Daesh and maintain unity of Iraq
72 retweets 80 favorites

In Munich.

You want to plot (further) war on Iraq and you do so . . .

in Munich.

Amidst the ruins of the Third Reich.

Yet again, the opticals escape the White House.

TV: NBC's Biggest Diva: Little Miss Brian Williams

Bitter rivals Bette Davis and Joan Crawford only completed one film together, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and, though things were semi-calm on the set, all hell broke loose after.  There were minor issues -- like Bette quoting the studio calling them "old broads" which Joan lodged an objection to.  But the real problem came when the Academy Awards were announced.


Three time nominee and one time winner Joan Crawford expected to be nominated for Best Actress.  As did nine time nominee and two time winner Bette Davis.

When the nominations were announced in early 1963, Bette got a tenth nomination and Joan got nothing.  The other four nominees were Anne Bancroft (The Miracle Worker), Katharine Hepburn (Long Day's Journey Into Night), Geraldine Page (Sweet Bird of Youth) and Less Remick (Days of Wine and Roses).  Joan immediately contacted Bancroft and Page offering to accept on their behalf.  Bette, confident she'd have her third Oscar, watched in dismay as Crawford walked on stage and collected the award on behalf of Anne Bancroft.

And then the rivalry was kicked up another notch as Bette Davis began telling people that Joan refused to hand over the Academy Award to Anne Bancroft.

As the years passed, she added details to the story and could soon be seen on TV repeating the story to Johnny Carson and countless others while never missing an opportunity to tell the story of how Joan Crawford refused to hand the Oscar over to Anne Bancroft for over a year after the ceremony, of how Joan traveled around on the Pepsi jet for 12 months refusing to give Anne her award.

The awards were handed out April 8, 1963 and Joan presented Anne (in New York starring on Broadway in Mother Courage) with the award May 6, 1963.

But that never stopped Bette from repeating the tale.  Even when confronted with evidence that her story of Joan refusing to hand over the Oscar for a year was false, Bette continued to tell the story and insist that it told better that way and it was a star's prerogative to 'embroider' a story so it would be more entertaining.

Though  her actions wouldn't pass a fact check, they are in keeping with diva behavior.

Which begs the question: When was Brian Williams christened a diva?

We kind of thought, being the anchor of NBC Nightly News and the managing editor, he didn't qualify for diva theatrics.  In fact, NBC finally bounced David Gregory from Meet The Press due to many reasons including diva-like behavior.

Maybe it should have been a wake up call?

For decades, Good Morning America was seen as a joke by CBS and NBC's news departments.  They chuckled over how the 'news' program, back then, fell under ABC's entertainment division and not news division.

And with people like failed actor David Hartman and struggling actress Nancy Dussault (she'd finally find fame in the 80s playing Ted Knight's wife on Too Close For Comfort) acting as hosts, Good Morning America was feather light on journalism credentials.

But while GMA spent the ensuing decades beefing up their journalistic cred, NBC used the ensuing decades to tear down their own.

There is MSNBC.

From the start, the network has been an embarrassment.  At one point, in 2003, things were so bad that MicroSoft was actively attempting to pull the "MS" off from MSNBC.  That's when Michael Savage was among the extremists destroying the network.  The radio host fancied himself an 'anchor' and part of a 'news' department.

The stooges on MSNBC now swing the other way but they're just as ridiculous when they claim to be journalists and reporters.  They're talk show hosts.

Talk shows are the most cheaply made public affairs program.

The cheap aspect is why NBC attempted, in 2009,  to do a talk show for their last hour of prime time, Monday through Friday and it was a disaster.

MSNBC is a disaster as well -- in far too many ways to detail.

But at its most basic, it's a disaster because it was a pro-Republican channel for much of Bully Boy Bush's occupation of the White House and it is a Democratic Party propaganda outfit today.

Network news is not supposed to be biased.

More importantly, it's supposed to avoid even the perception of bias.

MSNBC has destroyed that for NBC News.

So when NBC News makes a mistake (such as a poor edit on a 9-11 call),  the perception is that it wasn't an accidental error or an error by one person but part of a blanket of bias in the entire network.

MSNBC is a huge problem for NBC News -- and that's before you get to the issue of the ratings.

And, no surprise, this is what many have focused on in their discussion of Brian Williams moment last week where he had to apologize for lying -- and couldn't even get the apology right.

Travis J. Tritten (Stars and Stripes) explained what happened:

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted Wednesday he was not aboard a helicopter hit and forced down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a false claim that has been repeated by the network for years.
Williams repeated the claim Friday during NBC’s coverage of a public tribute at a New York Rangers hockey game for a retired soldier that had provided ground security for the grounded helicopters, a game to which Williams accompanied him.

Immediately, the uninformed and the suck ups attempted to rescue liar Brian Williams.

He just forgot!

He just misremembered!

He just  . . lied.

You can spin it any way you want but he lied.

He lied about it and he'd lied for years and, yes, his employers at NBC, had told him to stop lying.

Brian Steinberg (Variety) cut through the nonsense:

 What makes Williams’ admission worse, according to one person familiar with the situation, is that he had been counseled in the past by senior NBC News executives to stop telling the story in public. The advice, this person said, was not heeded.  One person familiar with current NBC News operations disputed that information.
Williams’ version of the story has never been allowed in NBC News programs, according to three people familiar with the unit. Indeed, in a March 2003 episode of “Dateline,” Williams described the helicopter trip accurately. “On the ground, we learned the Chinook ahead of us was almost blown out of the sky,” he said while narrating a report.

Get it?

He lied.

He was told by NBC to stop repeating the story.

He refused to do so.


Because he's not a journalist.

He's a celebrity.

And that's as much NBC's fault as it is Williams' fault.

We've explained this and warned about it repeatedly here.

Most recently, we did so last April with "TV: The slow suicide of NBC News."

As we noted then:

But while MSNBC has tarnished NBC News, the NBC News staff has destroyed their own image.
Is that a news term?
Because Andrea Mitchell can be seen every three months, across the country, on TV, snarling "Slut!" at a woman.
It wasn't funny when it aired.
It's 30 Rock.  Andrea learns Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) has had sex and mocks her and derides her with, "Slut!"
The show's now in syndication with most TV stations choosing to air the show five times a week with two episodes each day.  That means every 13 weeks, the show is back to the Andrea Mitchell "Slut!" episode.
Andrea Mitchell wasn't the first news anchor or reporter to appear on a sitcom.  We believe Walter Cronkite was the first, doing an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1974 while he was also the host of the CBS Evening News  (February 9, 1974, "Ted Baxter Meets Walter Cronkite," written by Ed. Weinberger).  But Walter didn't call anyone a "slut."
On that episode of 30 Rock ("When It Rains, It Pours," written by Robert Carlock), the news of Liz's alleged affair is spread by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams.
He appears on nine episodes in all, playing a vain network anchor named Brian Williams who spreads gossip.  Not only does he note Liz's alleged affair in the previously noted episode, in "!Que Sorpresa!" (written by Matt Hubbard), Brian Williams spreads gossip to Liz's staff -- the staff she supervises -- that she's pregnant. In both cases, Brian Williams doesn't just spread gossip, he spreads bad gossip -- in both cases, what he repeats is untrue. 
As a fleeting moment on NBC prime time, it may not be noticed.  Truth was, 30 Rock was watched by few people on NBC.  It's reaching many more viewers in syndication.  And every thirteen weeks, they see Brian Williams playing himself as a gossip and idiot.  (In one of the episodes, he plays a 70s broadcaster who is deeply sexist but not named Brian Williams.)  They also see him doing the "slow jams" with Jimmy Fallon.
Neither his 'comedy' 'acting' nor his 'slow jams' have a damn thing to do with news (nor did his Family Guy voice over) but it does have a lot to do with lowering the NBC News brand.   

In the last years, nothing Brian Williams has done has improved his standing as a journalist.

There have been no big scoops.

There have been no brave stands.

He didn't, for example, publicly declare solidarity with White House persecuted reporter James Risen.

All he's done is grab a paycheck for pretending to be a journalist when not doing acting gigs or slow jams on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

NBC asked for this, they begged for this moment.

They took a questionable journalist and made him an anchor.

That's not new.  We pointed that out in 2005:

NBC knew his "commitment" to the news before Tom Brokaw retired, it was on display in an interview with Jay Leno where Williams opined that, as a father, he felt a responsibility to airing apparent kid friendly stories. In another time, he would have been informed that the network was looking for a newsperson, not a parent. In our present time, it was cause to "oooh" and "aaawe" over Williams disowning a committment to the news. Williams is the younger, slightly more attractive Brit Hume. Translation, he's not a news person.

They made a person with a shaky relationship to journalism into an anchor.

Instead of working to brandish his image as a reporter or give him some credibility, they unleashed him into the world of celebrity where he was applauded for doing sitcom appearances, for voicing animated cartoons and for 'rapping' on The Tonight Show.

When he is caught lying, the public doesn't rush to his side.

That his apology was self-serving and a lie matters less to NBC than the fact that people don't trust him. Variety commissioned a poll on Williams.  Shelli Weinstein reports, "Seventy percent  did not describe Williams’ apology as sincere, with 60% believing that the anchor attempted to minimize the significance of his fabricated story in his apology."  And how many thought he should be fired or quit as anchor?


If he'd ever been seen as a journalist and not a joker, an entertainer, maybe some people would be standing by him now.

And if he weren't White Anglo, maybe he'd already been fired by now?

That's an avenue Richard Prince (The Root) explores:

"You know...Patricia Smith, Jayson Blair & Janet Cooke all got fired for being lying reporters. What will happen to Brian Williams? What do you think?" one African American Facebook poster asked, referring to three black journalists who left the profession after their fabrications were discovered.

Another veteran black journalist wrote, "I know that my career would have been permanently snuffed, crushed and disfigured had I engaged in ANY fabrication of the news. Not so for Brian Williams, who predictably won't be severely punished..."

Will he be punished?

It depends upon whether NBC decides he's a journalist or a celebrity.

If he's a journalist, he's out of a job.

He has lied repeatedly about his 'near miss' in Iraq.  He has lied even when NBC execs told him to stop telling that lie.

He can't be trusted behind the anchor's desk.

We also happen to believe Richard Prince has a very strong point that, were Williams African-American, he already would have been fired.

(Of course, were he African-American, he wouldn't have gotten the job to begin with because the only African-American news anchor or co-anchor of network evening news -- Monday through Friday -- is Gwen Ifill of PBS' The NewsHour.  The first and, so far, the last.)

But if he's just a celebrity, NBC may decide to keep him on and he can continue telling the lie about Iraq, expanding it, adding to it the way Bette Davis did.

Who knows, in the future, Brian Williams might even be immortalized in song.  Only instead of someone singing "she's got Bette Davis' eyes," as Kim Carnes did in the Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon song, they'll be singing, "He's got Brian Williams' lies."

Whatever NBC decides, the poll Variety conducted makes clear the public already knows where they stand: Brian Williams needs to go.  And  that's the sort of career tragedy that helps stir the melodrama and what's a diva's life story without a string of tragedies to wallow in?

The World Can Wait (Parody)

Turning a Mass Murderer Into a Pin-Up
by Larry Chip On My Shoulder Bigger Than Mt Everest

American Sniper is wrong for so many reasons.  First of all, the film is directed by Clint Eastwood.  Eastwood the eternal tease.  For years, the man has left me coded messages in his films.  In Dirty Harry, he said to me, "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?'  Well do you, punk?"  And in Sudden Impact, he said to me, "Go ahead, make my day."
Those are but two examples and, in fact the final scene of Pink Cadillac and at least two-thirds of Bronco Billy read like a mash note to me.  So one day, in the late 90s, in Carmel, I mosey up to Mr. Big Movie Star and say, "Let's get to it."  I pop open my belt buckle and reach for his and he's all like, "Son, I think you've got the wrong idea."
Oh, I did.  I thought he was for real and on the up and up.  Turned out he was just another little pud teaser.
Fade in, fade out, or something and it's 2015 and I see the poster for American Sniper and realize he's trying to send me another message.  I could blow him off but if I'm known for anything besides my devilish grin and rank b.o., it's my ability to forgive.  Everyone who knows me will tell you I am generous and kind to a fault.
Imagine my shock when the target wasn't -- even metaphorically -- my butthole.
No, the sniper is aiming at Iraqis.
As an anti-war Communist it is my job to not only call out the illegal war but also to condemn those who participated.  I don't mean people like Barack Obama, the president of the United States, no I'm too much of a coward for that.  But I can and will attack those the government sent into battle.
I think it's important to trash those men and women.  I think it's important to rip those assholes apart.  If I were part of the peace movement -- and not the antiwar movement -- I might feel that the enlisted were used as much -- and, yes, victimized -- as much as anyone else in this country.  If I were part of the peace movement, I might feel that empire is only brought down when citizens and soldiers unite.  If I were part of the peace movement, I might even get laid.
But as a member of the masculinist and misogynistic antiwar movement, I just say I'll take off my Depends and take a dump publicly on any American who served in Iraq.

Comrades Unite!
by Debra Sweet Cheeks

Comrades, hear my clarion call!  Or maybe it should be Claritin call because I have been feeling a little woozy and wheezy.  At any rate, it is time for us to take to the streets yet again in another of my brilliantly thought out protests of Hollywood.
James Franco is turning In Dubious Battle into a film and he is making Selena Gomez a co-star!!!  We know what this will mean: Tits and ass, tits and ass -- and maybe a few shots of Selena naked as well.  Mr. Franco may be very fond of his backside but it has left me indifferent all these many years.
As I thumb through my well-worn copy of the Cliff Notes to In Dubious Battle (I'm far too busy to have ever read the actual novel), I find no reference to Franco's dimpled cheeks, his crack or even a hint of his balls.
Where does this man, this masculinist, this hairy beast get off turning a classic Communist tract into a soft-porn film starring his dewy and supple form?

With that supple body . . .

Oh, hell, I'm calling an affirmation gathering!  Forget protesting In Dubious Battle!  We'll gather to affirm the sex appeal of James Franco.  Trust me, it's the politically smart thing to do.

by Sarah Lazare

The year is 2015, comrades, and we have one person and only one person to blame for all of our current troubles: Bully Boy Bush.
He is the reason for the current problems in Iraq.  He is the reason for The Drone War.  He is the reason the prison on Guantanamo Bay remains open.
Comrades, we must confront power at every turn and that means confronting Bully Boy Bush.
When I speak this truth, sometimes a heckler -- Robert Parry has told me that they must be neocons -- will holler out, "What about Barack Obama?"
Comrades, we must focus.  We must confront empire and the man who heads it.  We must call out Bully Boy Bush.

John McCain's A Mean Old Meanie
by  Ray McNutless

If you missed it, evil cat hater and longterm senator John McCain called Medea Benjamin of CodeStink  "scum."
Who is John McCain to attack poor defenseless Medea like that?
Those of us on the left -- or those of us in the CIA posing and pretending to be on the left -- must yell and scream like holler monkeys because this is beyond the pale.
Yes, Medea has spent years insulting John McCain and ridiculing him but she is a girl and, as such, off limits.  I have always maintained that girls are off limits unless they are rape victims and then I attack them as honey pots.
As a former CIA operative -- well I'm still semi-active -- I know all about honey pots.  September 8, 1962, I invented twerking in Cuba in order to get two rather burly and surly Russians ship workers to let me on board so I could confirm the first consignment of Soviet SS-4 offensive missiles had arrived.  20 minutes of twerking later -- plus a few reminders to the boys not to be so handsy -- and I had completed my mission.
But back to Medea, she's been called "scum" and that's a crime against humanity and femininity.  As a nutless apologist for George H.W. Bush, I am very concerned about femininity

[James Franco photos from his Instagram account.]

Drunk Literature

Overheard at a bar, an apparent nod to Comedy Central's Drunk History.

Woman: I never read Catcher in the Rye.  Does it involve rye bread.

Man: No, it's about gay sex.  Holden Caufield is a bottom -- a catcher.  Interestingly, it wasn't supposed to be titled Catcher in the Rye.  That was a typo.  It was supposed to be called Catcher in the Raw.

Woman: Wow.  I did not know that.

Michele Kort and Ms. don't think women can cover sports

We're yet again in the punching bag years for feminism, where one person after another attacks it.  Not just hackstresses on long running CBS sitcoms with tiny bits of talent, but institutions as well.

The latest to attack feminism was . . . Ms. magazine.


Last week, Anita Little gleefully announced on the magazine's blog:

As sports writer Dave Zirin points out in the upcoming issue of Ms., the NFL has a responsibility to use some of its vast capital–both economic and cultural–to address the problem of domestic violence. It  accounts for 48 percent of violent-crime arrests among NFL players, compared to an estimated 21 percent nationally, according to FiveThirtyEight writer Benjamin Morris.

Sports writer Dave Zirin?

Our own Ann rightly objected:

  1. Ann Wilson says:
    Dave Zirin?
    You’re doing sports and referencing Dave Zirin?
    Because there are no women who cover sports?
    I’m getting damn tired of Ms. magazine’s reliance upon men.
    We complain — rightly — that we are shut out of this discussion or that discussion.
    So why is Ms. not seeking out women sports writers?
    This is nonsense.
    Ms. needs to take a sabbatical and figure out how they define their purpose because this is not cutting it.
    • If you go through back issues of Ms., you’ll see that at least 90 percent of our writers are women. We do not “rely” on men to cover sports or any other issue–it just so happens that Dave Zirin has expertise on this particular issue about violence and the NFL, a topic we wanted to cover. And we don’t exclude men from writing for us. Ms. and the Ms. Blog has had lots of writing about sports by women–including this author.


Oh, Michele Kort, just shut the f**k up.

You're a hack and a liar who stole for your book on Laura Nyro and didn't provide credit.

You're a two-bit whore who begged online for help with your book -- your very bad book -- that had an eye at the keyhole to Laura's bedroom but couldn't write about music because you don't know s**t about music -- and when you got help, you couldn't even muster a thank you to all the people who gave you stories, who gave you references.

And now you do more damage, hiring a man to write about domestic abuse and sports.

And instead of admitting your mistake when confronted with it, you insist it's no big deal.

No big deal?

From page 32 of Women's Media Center's "The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2014:"

In Sports Journalism ... 90 percent male, 90 percent white; sports editor ranks have far to go 
Despite recording an increase in the number of women of color who are sports journalists, the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports ’ most recent report card, nonetheless, graded the more than 150 newspapers and websites it evaluates an F, overall, for the third time in a row for their hiring practices among women. 
For the second time in a row, the institute graded those organizations C+, overall, for their hiring efforts among minorities. 
Released every other year since its start in 2006, this Associated Press Sports Editors- commissioned 2013 report evaluated sports news staffing in 2012. 
"There continued to be a failing grade for gender in all five categories of sports journalism hiring," said Richard Lapchick, director of the sports institute, which also monitors hiring in major league sports. “It is encouraging that the APSE has continued to request the report knowing that the news would not be good. I applaud its determination to get better.” 
Lapchick noted the deleterious impact of ongoing cuts in the nation’s newspapers on hiring in general. But he lauded ESPN for being one of few news organizations that has increased its hiring of women and racial minorities. ESPN, along with The Sporting News, accounted for the bulk of female hires in sports departments. 
“ ... Of the 11 women who were sports editors at this level, six worked for ESPN and two worked for The Sporting News ,” he said. “If the ESPN and The Sporting News sports editors who are women were removed, the percentage of female sports editors would drop from 13.9 percent to 4.2 percent.” 

Also, compared to 2010 data, the report card showed that: 
* The number of female sports columnists slipped from 9.9 percent to 9.7 percent. 
* The number of female sports editors increased to 9.6 percent from 6.3 percent. 
* The number of female assistant sports editors rose to 17.2 percent from 10.5 percent. 
* The number of female copy editors/designers increased to 19.6 percent from 16.4 percent. 
* The number of women and people of color who were sports editors increased 7.4 percent, rising to 16.8 percent from 9.4 percent. 
* The number of women and people of color in sports reporter slots increased by 0.7 percent and now account for 23.9 percent of the total in that category. 
* The percentage of women and people of color who were copy editors/designers increased 6.5 percent and now account for 30.7 percent of workers in that category. 
* Of the 35 women who were columnists included in the survey, 23 worked for ESPN. Without those ESPN staffers, the percentage of female columnists would slip from 12.8 percent to 4.8 percent of all columnists. 

In this climate, Ms. decides to commission a sports report and they run to a man write it.

And a man who's already published by The Progressive and The Nation.

And when rightfully confronted by our own Ann, Michele Kort puts the "bull" in bulldyke by sounding like a traditional "Mad Man" excusing her own sexism in hiring with "it just so happens that Dave Zirin has expertise on this particular issue about violence and the NFL, a topic we wanted to cover."

First off, many women covering sports have expertise in that area.

Second, Dave Zirin doesn't.

So sorry, Mitch, long before you discovered hairy back Dave Zirin, Wally and Mike were following his work and applauding it (for example Wally and Mike both picked Dave's book as the book of 2005 -- nearly ten years ago).  They know this isn't his area of expertise.  They also know he does no long form journalism and writes on the level of a high school newspaper.

Poor Michele Kort, she's jut someone who not only holds women back but, when confronted with an error, refuses to take accountability for her actions.


For more on this topic, see Ruth's "What Ann said" and  Rebecca's "what ann said (ms. doesn't think women can talk sports)."


In his best homage to Judy Garland yet, Barack skips through Homeland Security.

Tweet to Remember

Don't think the Tweet was political.

Great to see the earlier tonight in .
13 retweets 16 favorites

No, Brett was just happy to participate in a by comparison photo.

Standing side-by-side with John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, Brett McGurk's bald spot isn't really much of an issue.  In fact, he looks almost like a teenager by comparison.

This edition's playlist


1) Carly Simon's This Kind Of Love.

2) Sam Smith's The Lonely Hour.

3) Nanci Griffith's One Fair Summer Evening [see "A few thoughts on Nanci Griffith's One Fair Summer Evening," "Nanci Griffith," "Is David Macaray insane?,"  and "About the songs on Nanci Griffith's One Fair Summer Evening"]

4) Diana Ross & the Supremes' Reflection.

5) Dashboard Confessional's A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar

6) Roberta Flack's Let It Be Roberta: Roberta Flack Sings The Beatles

7) the Beatles' Abbey Road

8)  James Blake's Enough Thunder.

9) Prince's Art Official Age.

10) Chrissie Hynde's Stockholm.

A View from the Bridge—migrants find betrayal and solidarity in Cold War US

This is from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

A View from the Bridge—migrants find betrayal and solidarity in Cold War US

A new production of Arthur Miller’s play A View from the Bridge in Bolton brings Brooklyn’s migrant community to life, writes?Dave Gibson

Barbara Drennan as Beatrice, Natasha Davidson as Catherine, and Colin Connor as Eddie Carbone
Barbara Drennan as Beatrice, Natasha Davidson as Catherine, and Colin Connor as Eddie Carbone (Pic: Ian Tilton)

Arthur Miller’s play A View from the Bridge was a brilliant response to the pressures of US Cold War politics. 

Right wing senator Joe McCarthy was leading a witch hunt against “Communists”. But Miller refused to testify  against his fellows—unlike his friend Elia Kazan who’d previously produced his plays.

Kazan tried to justify this betrayal in his film On The Waterfront, which presented collaborating with the state against corrupt union bosses as a good thing.

Miller’s play remains a devastating reply. 

His hero Eddie Carbone is a Brooklyn docker, who lives with his wife Beatrice and adult niece Catherine.

Red Hook is a close knit immigrant community in Brooklyn, New York. There’s a particular hatred of anyone who betrays “illegals” to what’s known as “The Immigration”.

This latest production at the Octagon makes full use of the theatre’s arena stage to display Red Hook’s community spirit—in particular, its anger at treachery. 


Two of Beatrice’s Sicilian cousins are smuggled illegally into the US, and stay with the Carbones. Marco and Rodolpho have come from Italy’s poverty stricken south to work and support their families. 

The production explores the sexual tension in the Carbone’s household. Eddie has unspoken desires for Catherine, which begin to affect his relationship with Beatrice.

The production’s power comes through exploring these passions. Things begin to come to a head when Catherine develops an attraction for the single Rodolpho.

This makes Eddie become increasingly emotionally unstable.

Miller’s narrator is Alfieri, a local lawyer, who provides commentary on events from the beginning.

He tells us that he was powerless to the stop the “bloody course” of events, after Eddie dobs his rivals into the authorities.

It means that we know the play’s end from the beginning.

Director David Thacker’s latest Miller production is as powerful a take on the play as I have ever seen.

It brings out the humour and warmth in the Carbone household, and also gives Eddie some humanity as he struggles with his inner demons.

A View from the Bridge

Directed by David Thacker 

Octagon Theatre, Bolton BL1 1SB

Tickets from £17. Until 14 February

VETERANS: Murray Votes to Pass Clay Hunt Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill

Senator Patty Murray

Senator Patty Murray is the former Chair of the Senate Budget Committee and serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (which she also chaired).  Her office issued the following yesterday.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Tuesday, February 3, 2015                                                            (202) 224-2834
VETERANS: Murray Votes to Pass Clay Hunt Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill
Suicide prevention bill now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature
Murray: “We simply must do more to ensure the men and women who have served our country get the physical, mental, and emotional support they need when they come home”
Washington state is home to over 600,000 veterans

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray voted to pass the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.  Senator Murray is an original co-sponsor of the bill, which would require the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish an annual third-party evaluation of VA’s mental health care and suicide prevention programs, promote greater collaboration with community mental health resources, and create a pilot program to attract and retain Department psychiatrists.  The bill is also designed to combat veteran suicide by improving the quality of care at VA facilities and creating a strong base for future mental health initiatives. This bill passes at a critical time when suicide rates continue to rise among female veterans who use VA care, and the rate of suicide has skyrocketed to 79 per 100,000 among male veterans ages 18-24 who use VA services.

“Every day, twenty-two American veterans die from suicide, so as a country, we simply must do more to ensure the men and women who have served our country get the physical, mental, and emotional support they need when they come home,” said Senator Murray.  “This legislation will help the VA continue taking steps to make sure it is doing everything it can, from prevention programs to improved recruitment of mental health providers, to giving our nation’s heroes the care they deserve.”

Throughout her career, Senator Murray has been an advocate for service members, veterans, and their families. In 2012 Senator Murray passed the Mental Health ACCESS Act which improved access to the VA’s mental health support services and care. According to a VA report published in 2013, over 25 percent of all suicides in Washington state were identified as veterans, among the highest group of states reporting suicides by veteran status.

The Clay Hunt bill passed the House on January 12th, 2015. Now after Senate passage, it heads to the President’s desk for his signature.
Leah Kennebeck
Deputy Press Secretary
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray

Veteran suicide prevention bill goes to President’s desk for his signature

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued the following:

Gretchen Andersen
Press Secretary
Tel: 212-982-9699

Washington D.C. (February 3, 2015) – Today, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, critical legislation that increases access to quality mental health care and combats veteran suicide. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), who spearheaded the bill, applauds members of the 114th Congress for the legislation’s swift, bipartisan passage and calls on President Obama to honor our nation’s commitment to our veterans with an urgent signing ceremony at the White House. The historic legislation is named after Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran Clay Hunt, a Marine sniper who died by suicide in 2011. More than 20 veteran service organizations and partners such as the American Psychiatric Association support the legislation.

Introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the bipartisan bill has a total of 53 cosponsors – 30 Democrats, 21 Republicans and two Independents. A full list of co-sponsors can be found here.

“We are extremely grateful for the Senate passing this bill and all those who have worked so hard on it. While we are a little bittersweet, because it is too late for our son Clay, we are thankful knowing that this bill will save many lives,” said Susan Selke, mother of Clay Hunt. “No veteran should have to wait or go through bureaucratic red tape to get the mental health care they earned during their selfless service to our country. While this legislation is not a 100 percent solution, it is a huge step in the right direction.”

“This is a tremendous day for our community,” said IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff. “For too long the crisis of veteran suicide has been hidden in the shadows. This bill gives many veterans the new hope they so desperately need and demonstrates that our leaders are willing to give veterans the care they deserve. We call on President Obama to demonstrate his commitment to our veterans with a public signing ceremony. After being blocked by a lone Senator last session, our veteran members are relieved that we are now a huge step closer to reversing the trend that has taken far too many sons, daughters, friends and loved ones from us. We thank Senator McCain and Senator Blumenthal for their leadership in combating suicide and for reintroducing this vital bill. While we are thrilled about today’s vote, all of us must remember the sobering reality that necessitated this action: the invisible wounds of war and our nation’s initial failure to treat them.”

Earlier this month, the U.S. House unanimously passed the House version of the measure, H.R. 203, sponsored by House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) and Reps. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).

Developed by IAVA and its allies on Capitol Hill, and driven by qualitative and qualitative data from IAVA’s annual member survey, the Clay Hunt SAV Act will:

Increase Access to Mental Health Care and Capacity at VA to Meet Demand
● Requires the VA to create a one-stop, interactive website to serve as a centralized source of information regarding all VA mental health services for veterans.
● Addresses the shortage of mental health care professionals by authorizing the VA to conduct a student loan repayment pilot program aimed at recruiting and retaining psychiatrists.
● Extends Combat-Eligibility for mental health care services at VA for one-year, providing for increased access for veterans that may be suffering from conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Improve the Quality of Care and Boosting Accountability at VA
● Requires evaluations of all mental health care and suicide prevention practices and programs at the VA to find out what’s working and what’s not working and make recommendations to improve care.

Develop a Community Support System for Veterans
● Establishes a peer support and community outreach pilot program to assist transitioning servicemembers with accessing VA mental health care services.
Over the past 10 years, IAVA has grown to become the leading advocate for veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The organization has put top issues for veterans on the map and jump-started historic changes, including passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, funding for health care at the VA, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, efforts to combat veteran suicide, and, in 2014, a national focus on the high VA disability claims backlog.

Note to media: Email or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.

Michigan Greens Urge "NO" Vote May 5 on Sales-Tax Hike, Transportation-Funding Shift

The Green Party of Michigan notes the following:

Ecological Wisdom      *  Social Justice
Grassroots Democracy  *  Non-Violence

Green Party of Michigan

**  News Release  **
**  ------------  **
  February 2, 2015

For More Information, Contact:
Fred Vitale, GPMI Chair
    (313) 580-4905

Art Myatt, GPMI Vice-Chair

Michigan Greens Urge "NO" Vote May 5 on
Sales-Tax Hike, Transportation-Funding Shift
    The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) has taken a unanimous stand
urging Michigan citizens to vote NO on Tuesday, May 5 and reject a
Constitutional amendment which would raise state sales and use taxes
from 6% to 7%.

    The amendment is part of a plan passed by the Legislature at the
last minute in December's lame-duck session that would also shift
transportation funding and delete higher education from eligibility for
school-aid funds in favor of job-training programs.

    But GPMI Vice Chair Art Myatt of Pleasant Ridge notes the amendment
itself is the only thing the Legislature couldn't easily change later if
the people vote yes.  “The importance of bills to be triggered by
passage should depend on how much you trust the Legislature, and any
future Legislatures, to actually work for policies you approve.”
Despite promises made to schools and cities when the sales tax rose from
4% to 6%, tax cuts, tax breaks and revenue reallocations by the state
government combined with falling property values resulting in dropping
property-tax revenues made their financial problems as bad as before.

    This time, more funding of public transportation is promised – but,
Myatt points out, it is not guaranteed to last even to 2016, much less
the decades building good public transportation infrastructure would
take.  “We could wind up with a 7% tax rate and poor, underfinanced
public transportation, just as we now have a 6% tax and financially
stressed schools and cities.”

    Myatt urges a NO vote based on what the amendment itself would do:
  raise the regressive sales and use taxes; exempt gasoline and Diesel
fuel from those taxes; and end using school-aid funds for higher
education – for no stated reason – but instead use the same taxes to
fund “public community colleges, public career and technical education
programs, [and] scholarships for students attending either public
community colleges or public career and technical education programs”.

    Myatt has created a comparison of the text of affected sections of
the state Constitution, as they stand now and as the amendment would
change them, at:

    GPMI's platform calls for a different approach.  "Whatever fuel our
internal-combustion engines use, the exhaust pumps more carbon dioxide
into the atmosphere.  Efficiency helps – but to reduce our contribution
to climate change, we need to do less driving and much less flying.
GPMI supports building a good network of efficient public transportation
while minimizing use of destructive road salt."  Other Green policy
ideas include prioritizing maintenance of existing roads and
infrastructure ahead of building more, and taxing Diesel fuel at the
same rate as gasoline – high enough to pay for that maintenance.

    Tom Mair of Traverse City, a 2014 GPMI County Commission candidate,
makes a timely comment.  “It's Groundhog Day – a reminder that even wild
animals know we'll be facing six more weeks of winter potholes and road
salt, then more road repairs once spring comes.  Only our legislators
seem determined to ignore the past, and doom us to repeat it – and pay
for it, too.”

    John Anthony La Pietra of Marshall, GPMI's Attorney General
candidate in 2014, objects to dropping school-aid funding for higher
education.  "Job skills are important, but they shouldn't be the main
purpose of public education.  If you only ever learn enough to do a job,
you won't know how to exercise your rights as a citizen – or how to
enrich your life and your community."

    And Sherry A. Wells of Ferndale, a 2014 Green candidate for State
Board of Education who is running again for 2016, adds that a Michigan
School Business Officials newsletter
( says added tax
revenue raised by the plan does not mean there will be more money for
K-12 classroom education.  In fact, there may be less.

    For more information about GPMI and its values, visit

You can also “like” the Green Party of Michigan US Facebook page

and follow GPMI's Twitter feed @MIGreenParty

    #  #  #        created/distributed using donated labor

Green Party of Michigan  *  PO Box 504; Warren, MI  48090  *
313-815-2025  *


 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.

"When will Brookings have Kenneth Pollack committed.." -- most requested highlight of the week.

"Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. reports on Congressional hearings she attended.

"Sam Smith" and "Yea for Aretha!" -- music coverage in the community.

"Martha White's Yellow Cornbread in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers some advice.


"The CIA and the press" -- Mike calls it.

 "Net Neutrality" -- Trina notes Senator Patty Murray on net neutrality.
"It takes him a little while -- and then some" and "THIS JUST IN! STILL LEARNING ON THE JOB!" -- Cedric and Wally note Barack is still learning on the job -- or we're pretending he's learning.

"The needed explanation" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Tim Wise and other nuts" -- Ann takes no the nutsos.

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