Wednesday, February 28, 2018

So Wonder Woman wants to become a joke?

I didn't get that impression from the film WONDER WOMAN -- with people like Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen, it seemed like the film wanted to be serious.

But now comes word that they want Cheetah -- in the follow up film -- to be played by . . . Kristen Wiig.


She's a one-note performer.  Even in drama, she's trotting out her SNL skit moves.

She's incapable of playing anything but a mugging Kristen Wiig.

Then there's the issue that she's box office poison.


An eternity ago.

GHOSTBUSTERS lost money.

Everything else was an outright bomb.

There's no reason to hire her.  She brings nothing to the table.

Worse, her hiring means we're now into the Joel Schumaker period of BATMAN -- where people are cast just so we can giggle -- Ahnuld as Mr. Freeze, Jim Carrey as the Ridler, no real acting required.

So now Wonder Woman's going to be camp?

There are many women who could play Cheetah and be fantastic in the part.

1) Nicole Kidman.  She would be great and hasn't done a superhero flick since BATMAN FOREVER.  (She was supposed to be Princess Diana's mother in WONDER WOMAN.)

2) Halle Berry.  She could have fun with it and still present a real threat.

3) Kim Coles.  Kim could run with this part.  If you've seen her do stand up, you know how versatile she really is.

4) Anne Hathaway.  She made a fine Catwoman in the Dark Knight flick.  (Michelle Pfeiffer remains the ultimate Catwoman.)

5) Michelle Pfeiffer -- only possible strike against her?  She's the original Wasp in the upcoming Ant Man movie. 

6) Winona Ryder -- I think she'd have fun with it while also adding levels to the performance.

7) Reese Witherspoon.  She's an offbeat choice but it would probably work. 

8) Jennifer Garner.  Not a big fan of her but she can do physical and I think she'd probably dig her teeth in to demonstrate she can do more than the tired films she's been the lead in (she was good in JUNO and looks to be good in LOVE, SIMON).

9) Sarah Michelle Geller.  Buffy can do the fight scenes.  SMG can also do a great job acting.  Wonder Woman going up against Buffy would also create real interest in the sequel.

10) Maggie Q.  Can do the physical, can do the drama, has the right look for the fight scenes.

That's just ten off the top of my mind who could do a better job.

I'm sure you can easily think of ten more.

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

Wednesday, February 28, 2018.  A change in Iraq's May 12 elections, BURNPIT 360 has a message for veterans, Kevin de Leon is running for change, and much more.

Starting with BURNPIT 360 which has an important announcement for veterans:

21 Days Left to Comment on VA's Proposed Pulmonary Health Study 

The VA Cooperative Studies Program, which is part of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), is in the process of seeking approval for a new Burn Pit-related health study – “Pulmonary Health and Deployment to Southwest Asia and Afghanistan.” As part of this process, VHA is required to publish details about the kinds of information it will collect from study participants and to accept public comments on the proposal. There are still 40 days left to submit public comments on the proposed study via the Federal Register website.

What exactly will VHA study?

The aim of the 3-year study, according to VHA, is to characterize the impact of “deployment-related pollution exposures” on the respiratory health of Post-9/11 Gulf War Era veterans. Specifically, the researchers hope to conduct in-person pulmonary function assessments and informational interviews with 6,200 veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Djibouti. Using the (limited) data collected by the Department of Defense, they intend to create an “exposure grid” that identifies average PM2.5 levels in different areas of bases and over different periods of time. Then, by studying the health of veterans stationed in different areas of the grid, they will analyze the link between exposure levels and respiratory health.

Only 3 minutes to discuss health symptoms

The proposal open for public comment only relates to the type of information VA will collect from veterans and how much time they expect to spend collecting each type. The current proposal allocates a significant proportion of time to investigating non-deployment-related exposures such as veterans’ Health, Smoking, and Demographics (15 minutes) or their Civilian Occupation and Hobby exposure (5 minutes); while the proposal only sets aside 4 minutes for assessing the veteran’s Functional Health and a mere 3 minutes for discussing their Health Symptoms.

To see the full list of time estimates, you can visit the Federal Registry site where the proposal is posted.

The problem with spirometry testing

The only measure of lung function to be performed at the in-person assessment is spirometry, a pulmonary function test (PFT). Unfortunately, PFTs do not detect constrictive bronchiolitis, a life-threatening disease reported by a growing number of veterans exposed to burn pits. In one study, 38 out of 49 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who underwent a lung biopsy were found to have constrictive bronchiolitis, while the results of pulmonary-function (PFT) and cardiopulmonary-exercise testing for those same veterans generally fell within normal population limitations.

How to submit a comment

You can submit a comment on the proposed VHA study by visiting the Federal Register online and clicking the green box that says “SUBMIT A FORMAL COMMENT.” If you prefer to submit a written comment, mail it to:

Brian McCarthy
Office of Regulatory and Administrative Affairs (10B4)
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420

You can also e-mail documents or photos to or upload the documents with your comment on the Federal Register site.

The comments will be visible to the public while comments are being accepted. They will be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to determine whether VHA should receive funding for the study in its current form. The comment period ends on March 20, 2018.

What was burned in the Burn Pits? 

From 2002 until 2009, there was no regulation of what could or could not be thrown into the military burn pits operating across Iraq and Afghanistan. And no data was collected on which kinds of materials were burned in the pits. But veterans have reported tossing in everything from lithium ion batteries to plastic chemical drums, and the more than 1,000 toxins and known carcinogens detected in the air on Joint Base Balad show just how toxic such materials can be. 

Donate to Burn Pits 360

Burn Pits 360 needs your help!  The success of our mission depends on the generosity of individuals like you.  We ask you to consider a monthly donation to help us advocate for our community and its needs.
Connect with us Burn Pits 360 on Facebook

Burn Pits 360 is a community of veterans with burn pit-related illness, their families, and advocates with the common goal of exposing the harms of toxic burn pit exposure and obtaining benefits and policy change. Join our community and Like us onFacebook!

Weigh in while you have the chance.

Meanwhile there's a chance for change in California.

I'm running for the U.S. Senate because you deserve a seat at the table. Please join my campaign:

Turning to Iraq's elections . . . May 12th was supposed to be the day for national (parliamentary) elections and for provincial elections.  Supposed to be.  As noted in yesterday's snapshot, "There are claims floating around Arabic social media that provincial elections are being sidelined (until December) but that the parliamentary elections will take place May 12th."


XINHUA reports:

The Iraqi government on Tuesday decided to postpone the provincial elections to Dec. 22, 2018, months after the parliament elections.
The provincial elections were initially set to be held simultaneously with the parliament elections slated for May 12.

Saad al-Hadithi, spokesman of the Iraqi government, said the postponed date was decided at a regular meeting of the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the state-run Iraqiya channel reported.

And the government of Iraq explained it this way:

The Cabinet holds its weekly meeting in Baghdad, sets date for provincial elections, and discusses several draft laws

Hayder al-Abadi has stated that parliamentary elections must be held May 12th.  He is firm on that because he is up for election and wants to remain prime minister.

He has no record of accomplishment.  The only claim he has to run on is that he defeated ISIS but each day makes it more and more clear that ISIS remains active in Iraq.  So each day makes it more and more clear how hollow his claims is.

If he could have held the elections January 1st, things would have been a lot easier for him.

But each passing day exposes his lie.

And with the realization that everything done to 'defeat' ISIS -- by Hayder, by the US government, by everyone -- has accomplished very little -- if anything at all -- the cost paid seems more and more outrageous.

There's the physical cost.  All those innocent civilians killed by the US-led bombings, for example.  MIDDLE EAST EYE notes:

Estimates for the number of civilian deaths in the bombing campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq could be more than seven times higher than that given by the US-led anti-IS coalition, according to a monitoring group.
Investigations carried out by Airwars suggest that since August 2014 - when the campaign against IS was launched - until mid-February 2018, the coalition was responsible for between at least 6,137 and 9,444 civilian deaths.
So far, the coalition has admitted to only 841 "unintentional" civilian deaths, a figure Airwars attributes to the group's failure to investigate more than half of 2,400 "events" referenced in relation to civilian casualties.
"One significant reason for the gulf in numbers is that half of all allegations…have yet to be assessed by the coalition," said Chris Woods, the head of Airwars, to Euronews.

Will the increased numbers finally allow Americans to express outrage?  Or will we continue to treat it as something 'over there' and not at all important to our lives 'here'?

The 15 year mark for this never-ending war is next month.

Maybe it's time we tried to care about what our government has done and is doing in Iraq.

Hayder also has to deal with the fact that he's increased tensions.  RUDAW, for example, notes:

The Iraqi government tends to make promises with regard to outstanding issues with the Kurdistan Region, but only to later not honor them — including the “political” Iraqi-imposed ban on international flights, Masrour Barzani told Rudaw.

The head of the Kurdistan Region Security Council is on a visit to Washington, D.C., where he has held meetings with his US counterpart H.R. McMaster, and State Department officials.

Barzani described the relations between Erbil and Washington as "very good" despite their differences over the Kurdish vote on independence held on September 25.

The Iraqi government on Monday extended the ban on international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region until May 31, a decision described as "political" in nature by Barzani.

"It is true that there are talks between the Kurdistan Region — between us and Baghdad. In Munich ... we talked and I can say that we even reached an agreement on how to open the airports, but every day they find another excuse. It is clear now that the motive is political, not technical. There are no remaining excuses to close the airports for any longer," Barzani said.

It wouldn't appear to be a smart campaign strategy for Hayder but he's going with it.

It is difficult to shake the notion that Baghdad is playing with Erbil as the cat tortures a mouse. It is a sad indictment of Iraqi politics that this is seen as a bonus in the current Iraqi elections.

So few fall for Hayder's act:

Replying to   and 
Abadi is superior in convincing you that Kurds are corrupt yet he and the others in his band wagon are the reason your country have to beg neighbors for loans. Answer yourself as to how that feels. Is he not the reason for Iraq’s mess

New content at THIRD:

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:

  • Tuesday, February 27, 2018

    NETFLIX needs more new blood

    NETFLIX.  I’m mixed on the news of a new comedy special.

    But Mo’nique raised a valid issue about the lack of representation.
    And, equally true, the really big money keeps going to the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and David Letterman.
    I have no interest in watching either ‘comedian.’
    In cars or not.
    I’d like to see more funny specials.  That’s David Chappelle absolutely.  But it’s also Whitney Cummings and many others.
    Jack Whitehall is hysterical. 
    I only know about him from NETFLIX (and Mike).  NETFLIX should be finding more comics like that – not more British comics, more hilarious comics.
    For them to offer up some of the tired White guys they have – Dana Carvey, Joe Rogan . . . – they really do need to be working on doing a Mo’nique special.

    I like Steve and Martin and I will watch.  But the next high profile comedy special they announce better feature someone that isn't a White guy who was popular in the 90s.

    New blood is needed.

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

    Tuesday, February 27, 2017.

    Starting with California and the race for the US Senate.

  • I'm running for the U.S. Senate because you deserve a seat at the table. Please join my campaign:
    We have all benefitted from the labor movement. Period. Now it is our turn to stand with our brothers and sisters. This is the fight for quality of life and the middle class. This is the fight for America’s working families.
    California Democrats overwhelmingly supported me this wknd because they know I have led & won on: ✅climate & clean energy ✅$15 min wage ✅equal pay ✅healthcare ✅immigrant protections ✅ gun control And they know I will bring the fight to Trump

  • Kevin de Leon has a strong record on labor issues which is why he's already received endorsements from the following:

    Teamsters Joint Council 42
    ILWU Locals 13, 63 and 94
    IATSE Local 80
    SEIU California
    California Nurses Association
    UFCW Western States Council

    And here's the SEIU endorsement in full:

    Sacramento, CA – The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California today announced the 700,000-member union’s endorsement of Kevin de León to represent California in the United States Senate. The endorsement was announced after SEIU California members from across the state participated in the union’s One Voice Town Hall, where members met with the candidates, asked their questions, and then made their selection for the candidate they’ll support now through November.
    “Kevin de León is a leader who speaks up for California values. His leadership on the most pressing challenges facing California stands in stark contrast with the dysfunctional political establishment in Washington, D.C.,” said David Huerta, Executive Board Member, SEIU California. “Kevin shouldered our fight for $15 minimum wage across the finish line, holds a strong record on environmental justice, and fought valiantly to protect our immigrant communities when the Trump Administration moved to openly attack them and divide families. He’s stood up for us and our California values again and again and now we are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder and endorse Kevin de León to be our next U.S. Senator.”
    “Kevin de León took the time to meet with SEIU members and spent a day walking in our shoes. He heard our concerns over growing inequality, and we heard his commitment to stand with us to fight injustice. It’s clear that he shares our dreams: to build a state and a country where every one of our children has the same opportunities to thrive, no matter where they were born,” said Michelle Melendez, Child Care Provider and Member of SEIU Local 521.

    “I am incredibly humbled to receive the endorsement of SEIU California. With SEIU members’ support, I am confident we can take the fight for our California values to President Trump’s doorstep in Washington, D.C.” said De León. “We must demand more of our elected leaders in Washington. Right now, it is clear they lack the political willpower to prioritize the issues we care on the floor of the U.S. Senate. It is time for new leadership that will fight tirelessly for fair and equal wages, a growing economy that generates good-paying jobs, and more opportunities for everyone. My whole life I have worked to defend our California Dream. That’s why I won’t be just another party-line vote in Washington. Instead, I will be the outspoken activist Californians need on the issues they care about most.”

    Kevin is running for the US Senate.  In June, California will hold a primary, the top two vote getters will be on the November 2018 general election for us to choose from.  Let's do our part to make sure Kevin gets the fighting chance he needs so we can get the fighting senator we need.

    May 12, elections are to take place in Iraq.  There are claims floating around Arabic social media that provincial elections are being sidelined (until December) but that the parliamentary elections will take place May 12th.

    Hayder al-Abadi wants to have a second term as prime minister.

    Because he's done such a bang up job?

    Today in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, over 45 million people need aid. That’s more than the population combined of: -Denmark -Singapore -Ireland -New Zealand -Portugal -Norway -Hong Kong

    45 million is also more than the population of Iraq, just saying.

    Who gets rescued in Iraq?

    Who gets protected?

    Not the people.

    WATCH: Two lions rescued from zoos in war-torn Iraq and Syria are being flown to a sanctuary in South Africa

    A lion from Iraq (and on for Syria) heads off to a sanctuary.  But there is no sanctuary for the people of Iraq.  Or for the four million Iraqi children in need of aid.

    Lions rescued from zoos in Syria and Iraq’s war zones are safe after arriving in South Africa

    Well at least Hayder defeated ISIS, right?


    Uh, no.

    NRT reports:

    Islamic State (ISIS) militants launched two attacks against Iraqi forces and Hashid al-Shaabi in south and west of Kirkuk late on Monday (February 26).
    NRT reporter in Kirkuk, Aso Ahmed, said ISIS militants attacked Iraqi Federal Police and Hashid al-Shaabi in the village of Albu Mohammed in Daquq district, south of Kirkuk.
    The reporter added casualties of the attack remained unclear.
    ISIS militants also attacked Iraqi federal police and Shia paramilitary in Najati village in the district of Hawija, west of Kirkuk. 

    NRT reporter said six members of the Iraqi forces and Hashid al-Shaabi wounded during clashes with ISIS militants transferred to a hospital in Dibis district in northwestern Kirkuk.

    And Fazel Hawramy (AL-MONITOR) reports of Kirkuk:

    Many distraught families in Basra were startled to learn that IS could still stage such a daring raid in an area that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared "liberated" in early October, and there were loud calls for a thorough investigation into the incident. How this group of PMU fighters fell into such an ambush and why no backup arrived on the scene to help them is not clear, but an investigation is underway and the government has launched an operation to clear the area of IS sleeper cells. It is not clear if this deadly attack is seen in Baghdad as a wakeup call to do something about the growing power of the IS militants in Hawija, which — on top of Erbil-Baghdad tensions — could bring further instability to the area.
    Oops! Hayder's one claim to fame appears to be crumbling.
    Cindy Sheehan discusses ISIS in the video below.

    And at a time when he's further angering the Kurds.

    With decision to extend banning international flights to Kurdistan, collective punishments, blocking constitutional budget share, militarizing disputed territories,Kurdish parties will remember these in post elections in Iraq & in supporting any candidates.

    Kurdish official says Kurdish parties will remember 's sanctions against Kurdistan region during election period. "Kurdish parties will remember these in post elections in Iraq & in supporting any candidates"

    On the topic of elections . . .

    Al-Haya Newspaper: Question of continued US presence in Iraq likely to be brought before Iraqi Parliament soon. In run up to elections, politicians want Iraqi PM to clarify number of US forces & their mission, & if there is an agreement for them to stay.
    In an effort to embarrass Iraqi PM & make US presence a major election issue. Many political parties want US out of Iraq.

    The US government kept Nouri in power to keep US troops in Iraq.  The same thinking is behind their continued support of massive failure Hayder al-Abadi.

    The May elections will require campaigning which may make it difficult for Parliament to raise the issue of US troops but, if it can be raised before the election, it can be used as a vote getter.  The majority of Iraqis want the US out of Iraq.

    On elections, FAIR's Adam Johnson makes a good point.

    which raises a whole new question & one liberal imperialist should take seriously: At what point in the US perma-occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, NE Syria should these countries participate in our Presidential elections and get some representation in Congress. Year 20? Year 100?

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS --  updated:

  • 10 hours ago