Monday, April 27, 2020


PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE aired on FXM over the weekend.  It's a Brian De Palma movie.

When I was in college, on campus, every Friday night, they'd have a movie and it would be on this huge screen.  One of the films was Clint Eastwood's IN THE LINE OF FIRE -- which is how I saw that film for the first time.  I love that film.  But it would be this mix of new-ish films and older ones.

And I'd never even heard of PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE until I saw it in college.

It's a film that came out in 1994 and was directed by Brian De Palma.  Paul Williams is the star and I doubt you've heard of anyone else in the film -- though maybe Jessica Harper.

He's like a Phil Spector music madman. And he steals the music of a man, destroys him, has him thrown in prison, etc.  That man becomes the Phantom and wants revenge.

Gerrit Graham plays Beef and plays him very well.  I wish he'd had a slew of follow up roles because he's very good in the role.  Jessica Harper can sing but I'm not sure she can act in the film.

But it's a Brian De Palma film so it's a visual stunner and it's also, I believe, a really great movie.  When we had it on our Friday movie night on campus, the film history professor gave an into before the movie explaining it was reviled by many in real time but people were starting to re-examine it.  It's a solid film, even a great one.

My favorite Brian De Palma film?  That's hard.  Probably BLOW OUT.


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

Monday, April 27, 2020.  Support for Tara Reade builds, calls for Joe Biden to drop out continue, one of the fallen is remembered in California, protests continue in Iraq, and much more.

After Friday's snapshot posted, hours after, this was added to it:

Ryan Grim has a scoop at THE INTERCEPT:

In interviews with The Intercept, Reade also mentioned that her mother had made a phone call to “Larry King Live” on CNN, during which she made reference to her daughter’s experience on Capitol Hill. Reade told The Intercept that her mother called in asking for advice after Reade, then in her 20s, left Biden’s office. “I remember it being an anonymous call and her saying my daughter was sexually harassed and retaliated against and fired, where can she go for help? I was mortified,” Reade told me.
Reade couldn’t remember the date or the year of the phone call, and King didn’t include the names of callers on his show. I was unable to find the call, but mentioned it in an interview with Katie Halper, the podcast host who first aired Reade’s allegation. After the podcast aired, a listener managed to find the call and sent it to The Intercept.
On August 11, 1993, King aired a program titled, “Washington: The Cruelest City on Earth?” Toward the end of the program, he introduces a caller dialing in from San Luis Obispo, California. Congressional records list August 1993 as Reade’s last month of employment with Biden’s Senate office, and, according to property records, Reade’s mother, Jeanette Altimus, was living in San Luis Obispo County. Here is the transcript of the beginning of the call:

KING: San Luis Obispo, California, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hello. I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington? My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.
KING: In other words, she had a story to tell but, out of respect for the person she worked for, she didn’t tell it?
CALLER: That’s true.

King’s panel of guests offered no suggestions, and instead the conversation veered into a discussion of whether any of the men on set would leak damaging personal information about a rival to the press.

Tara Reade has accused Joe Biden of assault.  Along with telling her brother and a friend in real time (both have verified they were told in 1993 when the assault happened), Tara had stated she told her mother who has since passed away.  Now we have the above.

The allegations are not going away and Tara's case is only getting stronger.

Daniel Ponti (SLATE) explains:

A video that has recently come to light from 1993 appears to show the mother of Tara Reade, who has accused former Vice President Joe Biden of sexual assault, calling the Larry King Show to discuss problems her daughter experienced while working for “a prominent senator.” The Intercept was first to report on the video and the conservative Media Research Group later quickly published the relevant clip. Reade then confirmed that it was her mother’s voice on the call. “I’ve been crying because I haven’t heard my mom’s voice in a few years. So it’s been a little emotional,” Reade told CNN. “I miss her. I miss her voice.” Reade’s mother died in 2016. 

Liz Peek is a name familiar to the community when wowOwow was an active website (Women On the Web, was what the site was known on).  She weighed in on Tara Reade this morning:

The liberal media has naturally tried to minimize coverage of the Reade accusation; she leveled the charge on March 25, but most major news outlets ignored it until April 12, fully 19 days later. Criticized over the delay, the New York Times’ editor Dean Baquet explained that the paper wanted to have enough information about the charge that readers could “understand” the story.
But the Times even edited its own story about Reade. It originally reported that, “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.” In later editions it dropped the last (and most damaging) part of the sentence.
Baquet explained, “The campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct.” Since when do newspapers run a story by a “campaign” for approval?
Nonetheless, the new video has given Reade’s allegations new legs. In part, that is because Joe Biden has a troubling history of inappropriately touching women – a record his backers ascribe to his “folksy” manner and old-fashioned “tactile” politics.
But, one also wonders whether Democrats are beginning to face up to what many have seen for months: Biden is not a strong candidate.

Daniel Molina (THE FLORIDIAN) observes:

In a recent interview with Vice President Biden, CNN’s Anderson Cooper discussed a wide array of topics, but one issue that was not addressed is the allegations aimed against him, This, Tara Reade says, made her lose respect for the journalist.
Speaking to Fox News, Reade expressed that “it’s shocking that this much time has passed and that he is an actual nominee for president and they’re not asking the questions.”
Reade added that Biden has “been on ‘Anderson Cooper’ at least twice where he was not asked.”
She further questioned, “if this were Donald Trump, would they treat it the same way? If this were Brett Kavanaugh, did they treat it the same way?”

Reade concluded that “it’s politics and political agenda playing a role in objective reporting and asking the question.”

CNN?  They finally mentioned Tara on air Saturday.  As Ava and I explained in "TV: Journalism isn't supposed to be melodramatic or provoke belly laughs," they did so because Ryan Grim reported Friday on the clip from the 1993 episode of CNN's LARRY KING LIVE where Tara's mother called in.  But they forgot to note that Ryan Grim had reported on the clip and instead acted as though CNN had just suddenly discovered the clip all on their own.

Over the weekend #DropOutBiden began trending.  Brandon D. Jones (ABC 14 NEWS) reports on Rose McGowan who has joined those calling for Joe to drop out:

The Charmed actress may perhaps not feel like a heavyweight who could inflict injury on a big political vocation. But because previous Biden staffer Tara Reade alleged that the prospect sexually assaulted her almost 3 decades ago, McGowan has turn into a 1-woman military contacting out the hypocrisy of Hollywood and media elites, in particular Alyssa Milano, who have backed the #MeToo and #TimesUp actions but are nevertheless supporting the presumptive Democrat nominee.
The actress has now added her voice to the #DropOutBiden groundswell, demanding this weekend in an excoriating community statement that the applicant stop the race. “Fellow citizens, use your electric power, use your social media voice,” McGowan tweeted late Saturday. “Tweet at Joe Biden to close his marketing campaign efficient right away.”
In her assertion, McGowan called out the mainstream media, women’s groups, LGBTQ information retailers, Oprah Winfrey, and even feminists like Gloria Steinem for their continued backing of Biden’s marketing campaign.

As support builds for Tara, the people notice not just the silence of the media and various celebrities but also the silence of Joe Biden himself.  March 24th is when Katie Halper's interview aired with Tara.  It's now April 27th and Joe Biden has refused to make any statement to the American people on this topic.  He has hid behind campaign staff -- hid behind female campaign staff.

Joe hides a lot.  He's got a lot to evade -- that includes the destruction of Iraq and the many dead.  34-year-old Diego Pongo was killed in Iraq March 8th.  Pongo was a Gunnery Sergeant in the Marines.

WTHR reports:

Due to coronavirus restrictions on large gatherings, his family couldn't honor his life with a formal funeral or memorial.
After Diego’s brother Andres and his wife Andrea posted online asking for support from the community, the city showed up in a big way.
Thousands of people drove past the family's home to pay their respects to the fallen hero.
Numerous emergency vehicles cruised by the home to honor Sergeant Pongo's life, too.

Meanwhile, at Carnegie Middle East Center, Oula Kadhum offers:

The Iraq protests are not a flash in the pan. Rather, they represent a historical turning point for a new generation that has tired of government ineptitude, politicized sectarianism, corruption, and an unequal society. As long as these symptoms persist in Iraqi society, so will the protests. The movement has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic however, though its spirit continues in smaller sit-ins in Tahrir Square in Baghdad and smaller gatherings in Nasiriyya and Basra. Those still holding the fort are helping to sanitize public spaces and distribute provisions to those in need. The message from these camps remains resolute: Once the threat from the coronavirus is contained the revolution will be back bigger and stronger.

Yet two threats represent the greatest impediments to the movement’s survival. First, repression by the state and militias continues, including the targeting of activists and assassinations. Only recently a female activist was killed in Nasiriyya. Second, the unknown longevity of the coronavirus will test the ability of the movement to maintain its momentum. For now at least the protests have certainly been stalled, but they most certainly have not been silenced.

Even with the coronavirus, protests continue in Iraq.  See "Editorial: Protests continue in Iraq" for more on that.

Meanwhile the third prime minister-designate this year, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, struggles as much as the previous two.  MIDDLE EAST MONITOR ONLINE reports:

Shia parties in Iraq have rejected the ministerial nominations of Prime Minister-Designate Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Sunday. The London-based website said that Al-Kadhimi had agreed to at least 12 ministerial nominees proposed by the Shia party officials.
According to one anonymous Iraqi MP, the leaders of the Shia parties met on Saturday night at the home of former Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, and then told the PM-designate that they rejected a lot of his nominees. The MP said that they would nominate new candidates for each ministry from which Al-Kadhimi can choose.
The same source claimed that Al-Maliki, the leader of the State of Law Coalition, and Hadi Al-Ameri, the head of Al-Fatah Coalition, are the “prominent obstacles” in the efforts to form a new government in Iraq.

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