Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Susan Sarandon and Leslie Jones

The ten best Tim Robbins' movies ranked?  

Huh.  He doesn't really have ten great films.  Now he can act, he's a great actor.  But most of his choices have been pretty poor.  The best film he was in would be Robert Altman's THE PLAYER, then BULL DURHAM and then ARLINGTON ROAD.  That's really it for me.  He's great in ANTITRUST, for example, but it's a cheesy movie.

He didn't act in DEAD MAN WALKING but he wrote the screenplay and directed it.  If we're going beyond acting, I'd absolutely put DEAD MAN WALKING on the list.  But I could see it being so much more interesting to note Susan Sarandon's ten great films.  So let's do that instead.


On WHITE PALACE, she and James Spader have never delivered more in a film.  That's an underrated gem -- maybe even a forgotten one.  And she's got many other great pictures -- THE CLIENT and TWILIGHT to name just two but those are my picks for her ten great films.


Now this is from DEADLINE:


You wouldn’t expect a memoir with “F*king” in the title to be all unicorns and rainbows.

Thus, it’s no surprise that comedian Leslie Jones’s new memoir, Leslie F*cking Jones, pulls no punches, particularly when it comes to the Ghostbusters reboot she starred in alongside Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, and Melissa McCarthy. Paul Feig directed the film 

Jones said in her memoir that Jason Reitman’s comments about her edition of the film series was a “pretty clear shout-out to all those losers who went after us.”  

[. . .]

“Bringing up the idea of giving the movie ‘back to the fans’ was a pretty clear shout-out to all those losers who went after us for making an all-female [movie],” wrote Jones.

 I like Leslie Jones and I don't care for Jason Reitman.

But I'm not able to back Leslie up on this.

Her GHOSTBUSTERS was awful.  She was the best thing about it.  But the film was awful.  Why was it awful because it was about 'girls.'  That made it awful.  I don't think any of the four female leads was under 30.  So there was no reason for them to play 'girls.'

Bill Murray was hot for Signorney Weaver in the originals and had sex with her.  

But there's not an adult in the 'girls' GHOSTBUSTERS.  It's all putrid and disgusting as you watch 40-year-old women try to play 15 year olds.  Now that could have been funny if the writer and director had made it about how pathetic these women who thought they were girls actually were -- see ROMY & MICHELLE.  But instead it was like we were watching a film heavily edited for TV.  

It was too fey.  

It really did suck.  Leslie was often funny in it.  The blond woman from SNL was often funny.  I love Melissa McCarthy but she was given nothing in that movie. And it was one more time that America didn't need to see Kristen Wiig.



Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Wednesday, September 20, 2023.  Senator Tommy Tuberville gets attention (not the kind he wanted),  Kuwait's not pleased with Iraq on the border issue, Moms For Bigotry are mocked online, the need to stand up to book banning, and much more.

There are many embarrassments in the US Congress but certainly one of the worst is "Coach" Tommy Tuberville.  Marcia's covered the senator at her site repeatedly in posts such as "Tommy Tuberville is a crook and Marjorie Taylor Green is just insane," "Why does Tommy Tubberville hate American soldiers?," "Why is Senator Tuberville trying to destroy the US military?," "Why does Senator Tuberville hate the American military?,"  "Why does Tommy Tuberville hate the US military," . . .

A sample from Marcia's site:

Tommy Tuberville.  Remember him?  He ran for the US Senate out of Alabama even though it turns out he lied about residency -- his primary residency was and remains Florida.  And he's the loon who wants everyone to call him "coach" and not "senator."  Apparently, he has some heavy times vested with images of half-dressed boys and letting go of "coach" would be letting go of those memories.  And mainly, he's known for holding up US military appointments.  He continues to do that:

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) has been drawing a great deal of criticism from Democrats — as well as from Never Trump conservatives — for holding up military promotions as a way of speaking out against abortion policies on women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Some evangelical Christian fundamentalists, however, have praised Tuberville for promoting the "pro-life" cause.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Zej Moczydlowski is among Tuberville's critics. In a scathing op-ed published by Military Times on September 13, the medic stresses that the Alabama senator's actions are harmful to servicemembers.


It's time to talk again of Senator Tommy Tuberville.  You know, the liar who has permanent residence in Florida but ran for the US Senate from the state of Alabama?  He's been blocking all military nominations and promotions -- leaving the country at risk.  What's the reason for his petty tantrum?  He doesn't like that women in the military can get abortions.  Some might point out that it's really not his business.  Others might point out that 'coach' never served in the US military.  But while risking national security, Tommy is enriching his own pockets:

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) recently purchased up to $250,000 worth of stock in telecommunications technology company Qualcomm Inc., a federal defense contractor, while serving on the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services and actively blocking hundreds of military nominations and promotions, new congressional financial disclosures indicate.

Qualcomm and its subsidiaries have been the recipient of several dozen defense and homeland security contracts during the past two decades, according to federal contracting records reviewed by Raw Story.

So that's the con artist we're dealing with.   Monday, the VFW issued the following calling the senator out:

WASHINGTON – In a letter sent Sept. 18, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is calling on Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville to lift his hold on the routine promotion of military general and flag officers.

“The line in the sand for the VFW is simple:  Political disputes must be handled by politicians – not within the ranks of the all-volunteer force. Sen. Tuberville’s hold on these routine promotions has consequences up and down the active-duty force that will take years to fix,” said VFW Commander-in-Chief Duane Sarmiento. “By sending this letter, the VFW is making our voice very clear – this is not the way Congress should do business.”

As of today, the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps no longer have confirmed heads of their services, with hundreds of other routine uniformed promotions stalled behind them, due to Sen. Tuberville’s refusal to allow confirmations to proceed without unnecessary bureaucratic procedures. VFW members have shared their own experiences and frustrations with how the force is being affected, to include key leaders and staff holding multiple collateral positions, stalled decision-making in critical areas, as well as delayed family and staff relocations.

“One of the VFW’s top national security priorities is preserving the all-volunteer force,” said VFW Washington Office Executive Director Ryan Gallucci in the letter. “At a time of military recruiting challenges, the instability caused by this hold will have far-reaching consequences for the brave Americans who volunteer to serve in today’s military and those who may consider future military service.”

This is not the first letter sent by the VFW on the issue. In July, a letter demanding the confirmation of critical military positions was sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Later that same month, VFW members voted at the 2023 VFW National Convention in Phoenix, Ariz., that preserving the all-volunteer force was the 124-year-old organization’s top national security priority.

“The VFW called on the Senate to resolve this matter earlier this summer and now we call on you directly to end this hold before we set the very dangerous precedent of harming American service members as leverage in Washington political battles,” said Gallucci.

In a survey conducted Sept. 7 – 9, VFW members overwhelmingly voiced that political civilian leaders should be held accountable for disagreements over policy, that politicians should not be able to harm the troops over political disagreements, and that political decisions that harm the troops will affect the decisions of VFW members in upcoming elections. Last week, VFW members took to Capitol Hill, sharing the results of the survey with their legislators, many of whom echoed their concerns over the hold having a dire impact on national security.

“Critics have said our survey seemed loaded, but to the VFW, the choice is straightforward:  Can politicians use uniformed service members and military families as leverage in political disputes? In the context of the all-volunteer force, the VFW says no,” said Gallucci when asked about the survey. “To promote the effective civilian control of our military, our nation has been very deliberate to frame the all-volunteer military as a non-partisan and trusted institution that transcends party politics.”

VFW members have also expressed their worries Sen. Tuberville’s hold on the confirmation process will not only affect those whose promotions are currently stalled, but also compel emerging leaders to leave the military for more suitable civilian opportunities.

“It’s easy to look at this issue and think that only generals are affected, but the military doesn’t just hire generals off the street,” said Sarmiento. “Generals start at the bottom and choose to grow in the military, just like everyone else who wears the uniform. If you’re a major, a captain, or an ensign today, are you sticking around to see if this happens to you to?”

The survey was completed by more than 7,000 VFW members representing every state and overseas territory where VFW members reside. Complete survey results are: 

  • Who should be held accountable for disagreements over policies in Washington, D.C.?
    • Political Civilian Leaders:  87%
    • Uniformed Service Members:  13%
  • Do you believe politicians should be able to harm the troops over political disagreements?
    • No:  91%
    • Yes:  9%
  • Will political decisions that harm the troops affect your decisions in upcoming elections?
    • Yes:  90%
    • No:  10%

“The world is still a dangerous place and brave Americans remain stationed around the world, intent on keeping these dangers far from our shores. This is why the VFW is calling on you to stop this dangerous game,” Gallucci concluded in the letter. “Games may belong on the football field, but not in halls of the U.S. Senate.”

He's been called out by many, including the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.  But the VFW letter does appear to have him unnerved.  Patrick Darrington (ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER) notes:

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, is causing division inside the Republican party and more criticism from military personnel as he continues his blockade of military nominations in protest of the Department of Defense’s abortion policy.

According to Politico, Tuberville’s hold has upset Republican congress members, particularly Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, a former Navy SEAL Officer. Crenshaw texted his allies that he is “at a point where I’m going to tear apart (if asked) coach/Senator/non-veteran Tuberville for personally attacking service members who have spent almost 30 years serving our country.”

Crenshaw also said that Tuberville’s actions are having “worsening consequences.” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said that Tuberville is “paralyzing the Department of Defense,” and creating a “national security issue.”

“The idea that one man in the Senate can hold this up for months — I understand maybe promotions, but nominations? — is paralyzing the Department of Defense,” McCaul said. “I think that is a national security problem and a national security issue.”

When not objecting to abortions the 'coach' objects to poetry so we need to note this from deep into Darrington's article:

“We’ve got people doing poems on aircraft carriers over the loudspeaker,” Tuberville said on the Ingraham Angle. “It is absolutely insane the direction we’re headed in our military.”
The Star-Spangled Banner our national anthem was originally written as a poem by Francis-Scott Key.

And the criticism is only increasing.  Martin Pengelly (GUARDIAN) reports:

A liberal group representing US military veterans took aim at Tommy Tuberville, the Alabama Republican senator holding up officer promotions in a protest over abortion, but also at party leaders who have not forced him to stand down, calling them “traitors” and warning: “Tight lips could sink ships.”
Presented in the style of a second world war propaganda film, a short ad from Vote Vets bemoans “an un-American assault on our military” by a “so-called American senator singlehandedly stop[ping] hundreds of military leaders from taking command”.

Turning to Iraq,  where recently the country's corrupt Supreme Court (they have so much in common with the US) overturned the the treaty regarding the maritime border between Iraq and Kuwait.  Over the weekend, THE ARAB TIMES reports:

The Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Arab World Affairs, Ambassador Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al-Bakr, held a meeting today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ headquarters with Ambassador Al-Manhal Al-Safi, who serves as the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to Kuwait.

During this meeting, Ambassador Al-Bakr formally delivered Kuwait’s protest memorandum.

The protest was lodged by the State of Kuwait in response to the content of a recent ruling issued by the Federal Supreme Court of the Republic of Iraq.

Yesterday, the US State Dept issued a statement ("The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states.") and this is the section on Iraq and Kuwait:

The Ministers stressed the importance of Iraq’s commitment to Kuwait’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and respect for international conventions and UN resolutions, especially UNSC Resolution 833 regarding the demarcation of the Kuwait-Iraq boundary.  They called for the complete demarcation of the Kuwait-Iraq maritime boundary beyond boundary point 162 and called on the Government of Iraq to expeditiously resolve the domestic legal status of the 2012 Kuwait-Iraq Agreement to regulate maritime navigation in Khor Abdullah and ensure that the agreement remains in force.  The Ministers renewed their support for UNSC Resolution 2107 (2013) regarding the transfer of the file related to repatriation of all Kuwaitis, including missing Kuwaitis, and return of Kuwaiti property, including the national archives, to the UN Mission to Iraq (UNAMI), and expressed their hope that Iraq will continue to cooperate to ensure progress in this file.  They called on Iraq and the UN to exert maximum efforts to reach a resolution of all the issues involved.

Meanwhile the hate group in the US, Moms for Liberty (actually Moms for Bigotry) is being mocked everywhere and it even has a website dedicated to mocking it.   Kate Briquelet (THE DAILY BEAST) reports:

When ex-South Park writer Toby Morton set out to lampoon Moms for Liberty with a parody website this summer, he expected to receive hate mail.

On Morton’s, visitors are greeted with swastikas encircling the “parental rights” juggernaut’s logo, a leadership page that boasts Hercules actor turned conservative pundit Kevin Sorbo as their minivan driver, and a listing of items the moms have “banned for fun” including the board game Sorry. “Those who are taught to say ‘sorry’ are weak,” the fake site for the far-right group declares. “NEVER apologize for your actions because your actions are probably warranted if you’re white.”

“I told myself that I never want to lose the original idea of why I started these websites, which was to make myself laugh and to troll people who deserve to be trolled,” said Morton, who has also crafted spoof sites for Republicans including Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, taking advantage of politicians who fail to snag all domains with their monikers.

But Morton didn’t anticipate how serious this project could be. Fans sent Morton a barrage of messages detailing how Moms for Liberty (M4L) was altering their school boards and more than a few tips about its particularly egregious members, who call themselves “joyful warriors.”

Funded and aligned with right-wing donors and organizations like the Leadership Institute, M4L has been at the forefront of a national movement to ban books (or even yearbooks) containing race, gender, LGBTQ themes, and sexual content. The group’s second annual summit in July attracted mass protests and campaign stops from presidential candidates including Donald Trump, DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Nikki Haley.

For Morton, what started as comic relief is morphing into a fundraising campaign, one that will create pages for each state. “My plan is to disrupt this hate group for as long as possible with billboards, pamphlets, background information and other tactics,” Morton said. “They have no interest in truly educating children and would rather actively prevent them from learning the true history of our country. I have a lot of support around the country so I’ll continue updating my website about this group in each state so people are fully aware.”

Moms For Bigotry are also Moms For Idiocy because only fringe-minded freaks support censorship.  Tipper Gore learned that the hard way.  The ACLU notes:

Ideas are powerful. That’s why intellectual freedom is protected by the First Amendments — and it's also why sometimes governments try to suppress them.  

For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has fought to make sure Americans have the right to read what they want. Despite our many victories, there are still misguided attempt to ban books. The American Library Association keeps track — some of the most frequently challenged books from 2015 include the best seller Fifty Shades of Grey along with Fun Home and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (both of which were turned into Tony Award-winning Broadway shows, by the way).

But you can’t keep a good book down. See the menu below for more on those “dangerous” collections of words.

PEN noted earlier this year:

Again, and again, the movement to ban books is driven by a vocal minority demanding censorship. At the same time, a 2022 poll found that over 70% of parents oppose book banning. Yet the bans continue. Many public school districts find themselves in a bind. They face threats and political pressure, along with parental fears and anxieties surrounding the books on their school shelves. School Boards, administrators, teachers, and librarians are told in some cases to “err on the side of caution” in the books they make available. Too often, they do just that.

These efforts to chill speech are part of the ongoing nationwide “Ed Scare” — a campaign to foment anxiety and anger with the goal of suppressing free expression in public education. As book bans escalate, coupled with the proliferation of legislative efforts to restrict teaching about topics such as race, gender, American history, and LGBTQ+ identities, the freedom to read, learn, and think continues to be undermined for students.

Below, PEN America updates its tally and analysis of book bans during the first half of the 2022-2023 school year, from July to December 2022. This research builds on PEN America’s 2022 report, Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools, which covered book bans from July 2021 to June 2022.

Key Findings: 

  • During the first half of the 2022-23 school year PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans lists 1,477 instances of individual books banned, affecting 874 unique titles, an increase of 28 percent compared to the prior six months, January – June 2022. That is more instances of book banning than recorded in either the first or second half of the 2021-22 school year. Over this six-month timeline, the total instances of book bans affected over 800 titles; this equates to over 100 titles removed from student access each month.


  • This school year, instances of book bans are most prevalent in Texas, Florida, Missouri, Utah, and South Carolina. These bans are driven by a confluence of local actors and state-level policy. The implications of bans in these five states are far-reaching, as policies and practices are modeled and replicated across the country.


  • Overwhelmingly, book banners continue to target stories by and about people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. In this six-month period, 30% of the unique titles banned are books about race, racism, or feature characters of color. Meanwhile, 26% of unique titles banned have LGBTQ+ characters or themes.


  • Due to cases where long lists of books are removed for further investigation, bans this school year are increasingly affecting a wider swath of titles, including those that portray violence and abuse (44%), discuss topics of health and wellbeing (38%), and cover death and grief (30%). This illuminates how censorship impacts a wide array of books, particularly as school districts respond to vague legislation by removing large numbers of books prior to any formal review.


  • The process behind book challenges and bans is evolving. During the 2021-22 school year, parent-led groups coordinated to advance book censorship. These groups pressured  districts to remove books without following their own policies, even in some cases, removing books without reading them. That trend has continued in the 2022-23 school year, but it has also been supercharged by a new source of pressure: state legislation. School districts in many states are reacting to new laws that dictate the types of books that can even be in schools, or what kinds of policies they have to follow to add new books and review their collections.


  • Books are more frequently labeled “pornographic” or “indecent.” Dozens of books were targeted for removal in the 2021-22 school year on the basis that they contained sexual content. But since last summer, this framing has become an increasing focus of activists and politicians to justify removing books that do not remotely fit the well-established legal and colloquial definitions of “pornography.” Rhetoric about “porn in schools” has also been advanced as justification for the passage or introduction of new state laws, some of which would bar any books with sexual content and could easily sweep up a wide swath of literature and health-related content.


  • The full impact of the book ban movement is greater than can be counted, as “wholesale bans” are restricting access to untold numbers of books in classrooms and school libraries. This school year, numerous states enacted “wholesale bans” in which entire classrooms and school libraries have been suspended, closed, or emptied of books, either permanently or temporarily. This is largely because teachers and librarians in several states have been directed to catalog entire collections for public scrutiny within short timeframes, under threat of punishment from new, vague laws. These “wholesale bans,” have involved the culling of books that were previously available to students, in ways that are impossible to track or quantify.

I’m an English teacher. 

That’s what I told myself and others for five years as I began working to make my community and state a better, more equitable place to live. Even after founding the Missouri Equity Education Partnership, I spoke in front of our state legislators and pronounced that I was “just an English teacher.”

It took me five years to arrive at the understanding that although teaching gave me some essential tools that prepared me for this work, I am an organizer. My driving purpose has been to teach and empower others to step into their role as organizers, too. As part of my work with Unite Against Book Bans, I hope to encourage others to embrace this potential in themselves.

When people tell me that they don’t know if they can be an organizer, I ask if they have the ability to do any of the following:

  • Create goals 
  • Think about action steps to achieve those goals 
  • Work with others collaboratively toward a common goal
  • Explain directions well to others
  • Accept constructive feedback
  • Collect and analyze data
  • Think critically about complex issues

Many times, their answer is yes to enough of those traits that they begin realizing they can use those skills to effectuate change in their communities. At this challenging point in our history, individuals willing to step up and use these skills are exactly what we need. We must address the challenges we face—not just book bans but anti diversity, equity, and inclusion policies; attempts to whitewash history; anti-LGBTQ+ laws; the removal of reproductive rights and affirmative action; and so much more. We need more people working together to ensure the future of our democracy. We need YOU.

So the next time you are faced with book bans— or anything else that will negatively impact your family, friends, and neighbors— remember that you have all that you need to become an organizer and advocate. Don’t forget to visit the Unite Against Book Bans Action Toolkit for resources to support your efforts.

The following sites updated:

  • Tuesday, September 19, 2023

    More SOUND OF FREEDOM scandals and Hasan Minhaj caught lying

    Has there been a worse film in 2023 -- worse than SOUND OF FREEDOM?  Putzes flocked to the film insisting it was their story.  Anyone who still thinks that might want to read this from THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER:

    The team behind Sound of Freedom has remained silent so far on new allegations involving Tim Ballard, who is portrayed in the movie as a hero by Passion of the Christ’s Jim Caviezel.

    Ballard, founder of the anti-child-trafficking group Operation Underground Railroad, rose to new levels of prominence this summer when the film turned into a sleeper hit that has grossed more than $182 million domestically and $210 million worldwide.

    On Monday, a Vice News report detailed anonymous allegations against Ballard relating to his quiet exit in late June from O.U.R., which he launched in 2013. His departure came as Sound of Freedom filmmaker Alejandro Monteverde and Angel Studios were readying the film for release over the July Fourth holiday.

    Ballard, a former Department of Homeland Security official, embarked on undercover overseas missions to fight child trafficking upon starting O.U.R. According to Vice, he brought women to pose as his wife on these missions and allegedly coerced them to share a bed or shower with him under the guise that these behaviors were needed to fool child traffickers.

    Vice also reported that an O.U.R. employee who traveled with Ballard on an overseas mission filed a sexual harassment claim against him.


    Tim Ballard, the real-life founder and onetime CEO of Operation Underground Railroad who is portrayed by Jim Caviezel in the indie hit Sound of Freedom, was the subject of sexual misconduct allegations and a related investigation involving seven women, according to a story published by Vice.

    It's one problem after another with that film.  I think it'll harm any chances at any awards when that time rolls around.  It's just had too much bad publicity.  

    Now remember when I asked a few weeks back if Hasan Minhal was the best THE DAILY SHOW could do?  ("Hasan Minhaj is the best we can do?") Well they really need to back away from making him the next permanent host.  Noor Noman (NBC NEWS) reports:
    Last year, when I saw Hasan Minhaj perform stand-up comedy in New York, he told a joke about how he came across a drunk white woman who was vomiting on the side of the street, and when he went to check if she was alright, she looked up and asked if he was her Uber driver. I rolled my eyes, turned to my friend and called bulls---.


    Turns out it probably was. 

    The comedian, a Muslim Indian-American, who has built a brand and career around autobiographical comedy with political overtones — often centering himself in stories where he is subjected to racism — turns out to have been lying. A New Yorker exposé, written by Clare Malone, found that his stories are often either wild embellishments or just never happened. He is the boy who cried racist wolf. And although Minhaj staunchly defended his lies and embellishments to Malone, claiming they reflect “emotional truths” that need to be addressed, he is instead hurting people of color — not helping them.

    Lying about racism does a huge disservice to racial and ethnic minorities, and it will likely only buttress white supremacy, an apparatus designed to belittle and deny racism as it is. Having a high-profile brown person build his career in part around fabricated experiences with racism will only feed into this narrative. 

    No surprise, Whoopi Goldberg has already rushed forward to defend him.  That would be the same Whoopi who defended Roman Polanski with regards to Roman drugging the girl and then having sex with her.  Whoopi announced on THE VIEW that this wasn't "rape-rape."  So it's no surprise she's rushing to defend Minhaj.  It does matter.  From Noor's column:

    In “The King’s Jester,” a 2022 Netflix comedy special, Minhaj tells the harrowing story of how he received through the mail some white powder, which he and his wife suspected was anthrax and which spilled all over his toddler daughter when Minhaj opened it. They rushed her to the hospital. It is just one example, he claims, of the targeted harassment he experiences as a result of his politics and work.

    But after Malone interviewed Minhaj’s doormen, his residence’s mailroom employees, security personnel hired through his show and his personal security guard — and after reviewing records from local hospitals and the New York Police Department team that’s tasked with investigating anthrax — Malone could find no evidence of the incident. When she challenged Minhaj on this, he admitted it never actually happened but did claim that someone had once sent him white powder (which, interestingly, he never informed anyone on his security team of).

    In his other Netflix stand-up special, “Homecoming King,” Minhaj tells the heartbreaking story of how the white girl who had agreed to go to prom with him ultimately rejected him and went with a white boy instead — something Minhaj only learned about when he arrived at her house, all dressed up and ready to take her to the dance, and the other boy was already there. Her family didn’t want her prom pictures to be with a South Asian boy, they said. In a sick twist of irony, he alleges, she went on to marry an Indian man.

    However, according to this woman, they were good friends at the time and the rejection never happened (she declined his invite before the prom), which Minhaj confirmed when confronted by Malone. Yet, disturbingly, he invited the woman and her husband to the Off-Broadway version of the show and did little to conceal their identities (projecting real pictures of them on stage, blurring out only the faces). What ensued for this woman was years of harassment and doxing, which Minhaj dismissed when she approached him about it.

    Again, it does matter. 





    Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snashot:"


    Tuesday, September 19, 2023.  Turkey kills three security force members in Iraq (three more injured), Iraq's prime minister meets with the US Secretary of State, Ronald DeSantis continues his war on education and wants to talk 'decency' -- no, he's not calling out Lauren Boebert for groping that man in public -- and much more.

    Starting with Iraq where an attack in Kurdistan has been carried out.  Salar Salim and Abulrahman Zeyad (AP) report:

    An airstrike on a military airport in northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region killed three people Monday, local officials said.

    The region’s counter-terrorism service said in a statement that the attack on the Arbat Airport, 28 kilometers southeast of the city of Suleimaniyah killed three of its personnel and injured three members of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

    Drone attack on the KRG?  Hmm.  Who could that be?  Who spring sto mind?  The government of Turkey?  

    Al Jazeera’s Abdelwahid said that Turkish drones have been hovering in the area for the past three days.

    “The Sulaymaniyah province is home to anti-Turkish and anti-Iran groups, and both these countries have been conducting air raids in and around Sulaymaniyah,” Al Jazeera’s Abdelwahid said, adding that we still do not know who is behind the attack.

    The government of Turkey has sent ground forces into Iraq and set up bases -- in violation of Iraq's sovereignty -- and under the pretext of fighting 'terrorism.'  Even when they're killing children, they insist they're killing terrorists.  When they attacked vacationers at a resort, they insisted it was to kill 'terrorists.'  The attack on Monday left three Iraqi military officers dead and three more wounded.  AFP reports:

    Around 5 p.m. (1400 GMT) Monday, “the drone entered Iraqi airspace, crossing the border from Turkiye, and bombarded the Arbat airfield,” which is mainly used by crop-spraying aircraft, said General Yehya Rassoul, spokesman of the federal armed forces commander in chief.
    “This attack constitutes a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty,” he said, adding: “Iraq reserves the right to put a stop to these violations.”
    [. . .]
    “These repeated attacks are incompatible with the principle of good neighborliness between states. They threaten to undermine Iraq’s efforts to build positive and balanced political, economic and security relations with its neighbors,” Rassoul said.
    [. . .]
    The United Nations mission in Iraq condemned the attack on Arbat airfield.
    “Attacks repeatedly violating Iraqi sovereignty must stop,” it said. “Security concerns must be addressed through dialogue and diplomacy — not strikes.”

    Because it was the PUK -- the political party of the Talabani family -- that was attacked, the Talabani family weighed in.  Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) notes:

    Bafel Talabani, President of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of the dominant Kurdish parties in northern Iraq, confirmed Monday's drone strike. He said those killed and wounded were members of the Iraqi Kurdish counter-terrorism force.

    "We strongly condemn the terrorist attack on the Agricultural Airport of Arbid in Sulaymaniyah, which resulted in the martyrdom and injury of six heroic Peshmerga," he said.

    Iraqi Kurdistan’s internal security forces, Asayish, said the counter-terrorism force was attacked and three members were killed during a training mission inside the airport.

    Iraqi Kurdistan's Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani condemned the drone attack and demanded the intervention of the federal government authorities to "prevent these attacks from recurring".

    Azhi Rasul (RUDAW) reminds, "In April a drone strike targeted a convoy carrying US military personnel, including Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) general commander Mazloum Abdi, near Sulaimani International Airport. Abdi blamed Turkey for being behind the attack."

    Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, prime minister of Iraq, is not currently in Iraq.  He's in the United States and he will address the United Nations this week.  

    REUTERS notes, "Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in New York on Monday and received an invitation from U.S. President Joe Biden to visit Washington, Iraqi state media reported." If they meet, it would be the first face-to-face between Mohammed and Joe.  MEMO notes, "Biden and Sudani have yet to meet since Sudani took office last year after being appointed by a coalition of parties, predominantly Shia Muslim groups close to Tehran. He has since walked a diplomatic tightrope between the US and Iran, two countries that in the past have fought out their rivalry on Iraqi soil." Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) adds:

    Last week, Assistant Treasury Secretary Elizabeth Rosenberg visited Iraq and met Mr Al Sudani and the Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq Ali Al Alaq.

    They discussed bilateral relations and measures taken by the bank to fight money laundering and terrorist financing, the central bank said.

    Washington has been pressing Iraq since last year to stop the flow of the dollar through the foreign currency auction run by the Central Bank of Iraq to countries under US sanctions, including Iran, Syria and Lebanon.

    The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has applied strict measures on requests for international transactions from Iraq, rejecting many and delaying others.

    The US State Dept issued the following yesterday:

    The below is attributable to Spokesperson Matthew Miller:

    Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani today on the margins of United Nations General Assembly in New York.  Secretary Blinken and Prime Minister Sudani renewed their commitment to continue strengthening the partnership between the two countries and reaffirmed the principles in the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement.  The Secretary also encouraged the Government of Iraq to continue sustainably developing energy resources and combating climate change and underscored U.S. support for re-opening of the pipeline with Türkiye.  The Secretary urged the Iraqi government to continue its cooperation with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to foster the KRG’s stability and resiliency.  The Secretary commended the Prime Minister’s commitment to judicial independence in Iraq’s recent conviction and sentencing of multiple individuals on terrorism charges in connection with the killing of U.S. citizen Stephen Troell.  The Secretary conveyed an invitation from President Biden to the Prime Minister to visit the White House soon and reiterated the U.S. commitment to assisting Iraq in achieving a secure, stable, and sovereign future.

    He asserts that as the first Iraqi leader since the U.S. invasion in 2003 to have spent his entire life within the country, he is better able to understand what Iraqis have been through, and to make changes.

    Every other prime minister after the toppling of Saddam Hussein spent years in exile or working abroad, but Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, 53, never fled Iraq, despite Mr. Hussein’s having ordered the execution of his father and other close relatives.

    “I am a product of the institutions of the state,” Mr. al-Sudani said in a recent interview in Baghdad, “and I understand the citizens and their priorities.” He described himself as part of “a second generation” of post-Hussein politicians, and said those with his background were closer to the people and understood that “the street wants a change.”

    Mr. Sudani’s assessment is born of 20 years of holding government jobs, from mayor to minister. During that time, he has managed to win over Iraqis of almost all political stripes, coming across as straightforward — even earnest — and pragmatic.

    But he faces formidable obstacles, given the challenges confronting Iraq. Among them are global warming, the persistent and growing influence of Iran, and the entrenched system of corruption in a country where a high percentage of jobs are in government, and where applicants often must pay a bribe or have a political connection even for low-paying positions.

    Meanwhile, THE MAJORITY REPORT spoke with Jessica Valenti regarding the right-wing attacks on rights are linked.

    In other news, Ronald DeSantis remains a fake ass.  Despite lying to Norah O'Donnell last week on THE CBS EVENING NEWS that he would treat all Americans the same, we all know that's not true.  The most recent proof?   In a column, attorneys and co-presidents of The League of Women Voters Florida chapter Cecile M. Scoon and Debbie Chandler (TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT) write:

    Across our spacious skies, amber waves of grain, and the purple mountain majesties of our great but struggling nation, many people and organizations are working to extend the fundamental right to vote to all lawful citizens. Special plans for expanding the foundational right to vote to all lawful citizens are being made for National Voter Registration Day on September 19. In the face of efforts to expand the franchise, there are several states focused on making it harder for citizens to vote and adding difficulty to registering voters, including here in Florida.
    In a 2021 ruling, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark E. Walker found that Florida officials have spent the last 20 years intentionally making registering voters and voting more difficult by creating a variety of prohibitions erroneously. Since Judge Walker's order, the Florida legislature has “gifted” Floridians with yet another nearly 100-page law with a slew of even more prohibitions, increased criminal penalties, and fines related to voting. This new government “fix”, also known as Senate Bill 7050, directly impacts any organization that wishes to register voters in Florida.
    The League of Women Voters, a more than a century-old non-partisan organization, whose volunteer members are dedicated to registering and educating voters, has made the difficult decision to change its way of doing business in Florida due to this newly enacted law. Dedicated volunteers will no longer collect completed paper voter registration forms and return them to their local Supervisors of Elections on a voter's behalf. Gone are the days when hundreds of skilled volunteers with paper registration forms, pens, and clipboards will register voters in neighborhoods and at community events. Senate Bill 7050 sets fines for even inadvertent errors so high, the League’s yearly budget could be affected.

    You know who works to suppress the vote?  People who don't believe in democracy.  People who don't respect the will of the people.  People named Ronald DeSantis.

    You know, people who use their political office to destroy your child's future.  My heart goes out to parents with children currently in The New College of Florida.  That was actually a good university prior to Ronald.  But his war on education has harmed the university and it will harm the future of the students -- in fact, parents and students should consider suing Governor Ronald.  Aneeta Mathur-Ashton (THE MESSENGER) explains:

    The New College of Florida saw a dramatic drop in its national ranking amid an ongoing conservative overhaul. 

    In its newly revamped ranking system report released Monday, U.S. News and World Report now lists the university, located in Sarasota, Fla., as tied for 100th place — a notable 24-spot decrease from its previous ranking.

    The trend, while startling, reflects a decrease seen across the map for universities located in the state — with the University of Florida dropping one spot, the University of South Florida dropping three spots, and Florida State University dropping three spots. 

    The drop in rankings comes amid a massive conservative overhaul that has been going on since January after Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed a new majority to the university’s board of trustees and tasked them with transforming the school into the "Hillsdale College of the South,” a private conservative Christian school in Michigan. 

    You know what probably didn't drop?  The tuition parents and students are paying.  They should sue Governor Ronald for the way he's destroyed their education -- both in terms of what they could be learning and also in terms of  how little their degrees will now be worth as the university had been turned into a national dirty joke.

    On Ronald and his war on education, Chauncey DeVega (SALON) observes:

    DeSantis' and the larger Republican fascist and white right's plans to erase the real history of Black America and the color line include teaching that white on Black chattel slavery was basically a type of jobs program and not a centuries-long institution of human trafficking, torture, rape, murder, war, dislocation, and exploitation on a global scale that killed many millions of Black people. Such a reading of history is inaccurate, based on lies and willful distortions of fact and historiography, intellectually dishonest, and is right-wing dogma and disinformation masquerading as "scholarship".

    Social theorist and cultural critic Henry Giroux, has correctly described DeSantis' weaponization of education in the service of a white supremacist fascist agenda as being an example of "apartheid pedagogy". In an essay at the LA Progressive, he explains:

    Apartheid pedagogy is about denial and disappearance—a manufactured ignorance that attempts to whitewash history and rewrite the narrative of American exceptionalism as it might have been framed in in the 1920s and 30s when members of a resurgent Ku Klux Klan shaped the policies of some school boards. Apartheid pedagogy uses education as a disimagination machine to convince students and others that racism does not exist, that teaching about racial justice is a form of indoctrination, and that understanding history is more an exercise in blind reverence than critical analysis. Apartheid pedagogy aims to reproduce current systems of racism rather than end them. Apartheid pedagogy most ardent proponent is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who has become America's most prominent white supremacist.

    Apartheid pedagogy is a form of white supremacy; white supremacy is inherently violent. Apartheid pedagogy is not new. Its roots can be traced back to slavery, the end of Reconstruction, and the Jim and Jane Crow terror regime and "separate but equal". Today's attempts by the "conservative" movement to reverse the gains of the civil rights movement are but a continuation of that centuries-long white supremacist political project to protect and expand white privilege and white domination over every area of American life. Apartheid pedagogy as seen in DeSantis's Florida is also part of a much larger global project as seen in Orban's Hungary, Putin's Russia, and other parts of the "Western" world, to end multiracial pluralist democracy.

    DeSantis' intent is irrelevant; racism and white supremacy are not a matter of intent but of outcomes and results. For example, DeSantis has supported gerrymandering, voter suppression, voter harassment, voter intimidation, arrests for largely non-existent "voter fraud", and other policies targeting the Black community in Florida as a way of keeping him and other Republicans in power. Rolling Stone highlights how DeSantis still refuses to publicly and in direct terms condemn neo-Nazis and other white supremacists and to disavow their support of him. One of DeSantis's senior campaign staff members was recently fired after he posted a campaign video online that featured Nazi imagery. DeSantis and his spokespeople claim that they had no knowledge of the staffer's white supremacist politics. Such a denial has no credibility given the larger pattern of white supremacist and other racist behavior by DeSantis and his administration and supporters. The white supremacist mass murderer in Jacksonville envisioned himself as a soldier in that global struggle. Signaling his devotion to that evil cause, he wore a Rhodesian army patch on his tactical vest.

    In other Ronald news, the man who dresses like he's standing in line at Sam Goody waiting to purchase Barbra Streisand's EMOTION album has the nerve to criticize the dress habits of others. Isaac Schorr (MEDIAITE) reports:

    Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis slammed Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) for wearing shorts and hooded sweatshirts inside the upper chamber of Congress on Monday, deeming his wardrobe “disrespectful” of the institution.

    “Did you guys hear the U.S. Senate just eliminated its dress code because you got this guy from Pennsylvania — who’s got a lot of problems, let’s just be honest — like how he got elected, well I mean he got elected because they didn’t want the alternative,” began DeSantis, inserting a veiled swipe at former President Donald Trump and Mehmet Oz, his handpicked GOP candidate into his critique of Fetterman.

    “He wears like sweatshirts and hoodies and shorts, and that’s his thing. So he would campaign in that — which is your prerogative, right? I mean, if that’s what you want to do,” he continued. “But to show up in the United States Senate with that and not have the decency to put on proper attire? I think it’s disrespectful to the body, and I think the fact that the Senate changed the rules to accommodate that I think speaks very poorly to how they consider that.”

    Fetterman dressed appropriately for his swearing in.  After that?  Well, the rules have been changed.  Don't like it?  Why is that?  Do you know his health?  I don't.  But I do know John has had health issues.  The change in dress code might be for that reason.  It might be just because Chuck Schumer thought the rules needed to be updated.

    What I do know is that ridiculous vest that Ronald wears constantly is a joke and manages to make him look both shorter and fatter.  Know what else I know?  He's calling out the Senate, Schumer and Fetterman for clothes and to toss out the word "decency."


    Decency?  Where is his condemnation of US House Rep Lauren Boebert?  Or does he think it's appropriate for her to act as she did in the video?

    She's a member of Congress who chose to go out in public on a date with her boyfriend -- while she's still married.  No, that divorce is not final.  The two are merely separated.  Not only did she elect to take another man out on a date but she was tickled pink when, in an auditorium filled with people (including children), her date groped her breasts and then she went to town on his clothed lump -- at one point in the video, she's not just grabbing his crotch, she's jerking him.  

    But Ronald wants to talk the 'decency' of John wearing shorts?  Not the groping display in public that was really offensive and would have been if it were two unknown people but is only more offensive because one of the two people is a member of Congress.

    I think Ronald's offended that John, even with health problems, is both better looking than Ronald and more real and sincere to voters than Ronald is.

    We'll close with this from Will Lehman:

    New content at THIRD:

    The following sites updated: