Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Emmys, Viola Davis more courtroom than action hero

I was asked about my diabetes.  My A1C's fine.  My feet less so.  I'm on a new medication for the diabetic neuropathy.  It makes me a little sleepy and also makes me feel kind of fogged in but the doctor says that's normal while my body adjusts.  Staying with questions, how could I insult Viola Davis and her jelly belly?  You know what, I can remember watching action movies as a kid and thinking, "He's way too old for this role."  That's true of Viola today.  57 years old and she wants to be an action hero.  Then get in shape.  Roger Moore was way too old to play James Bond in anything after 1977, for example.  That said, if Linda Hamilton wanted to play an action role, I'd believe her because she is in shape and because she also has already established that cred.  Viola trying to be action (don't bring up barking orders in SUICIDE SQUAD -- it's not the same thing)?  That's kind of like Meryl Streep wanting to be the lead in the latest PREDATOR film -- or Meryl Streep in the box office dud THE RIVER WILD.  That was an awful film as Meryl tries to be an action hero only to have the worst and geekiest actor in the world, David Strahtaim, show up in the last 30 minutes to save the day and make her look like an idiot.

Bruce Willis could do action, drama and comedy.  Some people can.  Meryl can't.  She's able to do melodrama but gets lost in drama.  She can't do action.  And she's iffy in comedy.  Goldie Hawn, for example, walks away with DEATH BECOMES HER.  Goldie is hilarious.  Meryl never really comes across in most films (a melodrama like THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY is her best genre).  You can fall asleep when Meryl's trying to do comedy.  Goldie's a pro and snaps you to life when she comes on the screen -- true even in that film SNATCHED.  And Goldie can do drama -- see especially CRISSCROSS.  

I just don't see Viola in the role.  Back in the 80s and 90s, Tina Turner could have done it.  

But battles really aren't Viola's forte -- talking people into a stupor?  That's her way.  Give her a court room monologue and she's in her zone.

The Emmy broadcast had the worst numbers ever.


Me neither.  The host was the goofball from SNL who's been too scared to leave the show that he long ago aged out of SNL -- Kenan Thomas who's been with the show since 2003 -- in January, he'll have been with the show for 20 years -- go home, old man, go home.  I believe his failed NBC sitcom made clear that no one's clamoring for him so I have no idea why they let him host.

Then there's the tired of being lectured to by awards show issue.  For a change, partisanship didn't appear to exist from coverage I've read.  Nice.  But you'll have to show us that consistently for us to believe it's gone.

By the way, check out Kat's "Harry Styles, stay out of US elections" and I'm right there with her.  Harry Styles, you are British.  Do not stick your nose into American elections.

And then there's the who-cares.  Who cares.  I looked at the nominations and noted I didn't give a damn this year.  Renee wasn't nominated for THE TROUBLE WITH PAM -- that was a worthy nomination.

Looking at the winners?  Big yawn.  

No point in watching.  

And I've got to say it one more time: Kenan Thomas?  Was Al Roker already booked?


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


Wednesday, September 14, 2022.  Climate change is destroying Iraq and a bunch of unqualified fools on the US court system are determined to destroy rights and liberties.

In the US, the court system has an all time low rating and that's because you've got a bunch of wack jobs unfit to serve -- that includes the likes of Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court but it's not just the Supreme Court -- it's the idiots and fools lower in the court system funneling cases on up to destroy the lives of many.  As Clarence made clear in his opinion in DOBBS, it's not just abortion rights that they want to end.  He's going after birth control and marriage equality.  

Last week a Federal Judge in Texas ruled unconstitutional an Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that US healthcare plans cover a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drug which prevents the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The judge made this reactionary attack on public health on the basis that covering HIV prevention drugs violates the religious freedom of the plaintiffs. The WHO says that HIV, which, left untreated, leads to the life-threatening AIDS syndrome, is still a major global health emergency with more than 40 million deaths worldwide to date.

The case was brought to court in 2020 by a group of Republican Party connected Texas Christian fundamentalists on the behalf of Braidwood Management and Kelley Orthodontics, arguing that the lifesaving drugs such as Tuvada and Descovy can “facilitate or encourage homosexual behaviour,” with the plaintiffs challenging the legality under the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. 

The Biden administration has announced it is “reviewing” the decision.  

US District Judge Reed O’Connor went further than just HIV prevention, however, using it as a launching board for a broad attack on the entire framework of coverage for preventative services recommended by the US Preventative Task Force which are covered by private health insurance at no cost to the patient under ACA rules. The American Medical Association and a coalition of 60 medical organizations have warned that the ruling could mean that “patients would lose access to vital preventive healthcare services, such as screening for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, preeclampsia, and hearing.'

In fact, this is one of the primary aims of the lawsuit. No doubt businesses would be thrilled at the cost savings of not covering preventative care for their employees, and as will be shown, the real plaintiff to the case is the Republican Party, one of the twin parties of big business in the US. As much as the American financial oligarchy has moved to dismantle public health, letting diseases like COVID-19 and Monkeypox run rampant, so too does it move to remove access to life saving drugs. As Lenin wrote, “Political reaction all along the line is a characteristic feature of imperialism.” Its attitude to public health is no different.

Since their approval in the last decade, HIV PrEP treatments have become one of the necessary measures required to prevent further transmission of the virus, with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) crediting its use with the decline in HIV diagnoses. Nearly 2.8 million people around the world rely on the drug according to the Global PrEP tracker database.

According to the Centers of Disease Control new HIV diagnoses decreased by 8 percent in the US from 2016 to 2019. 

Male-to-male sexual contact still constitutes the vast majority of HIV infections in the US. That said, 1 in 5 new HIV infections are among women, according to the CDC, with the vast majority being through heterosexual contact. HIV operates on objective biological laws; it does not ask if someone is a gay male before infecting them, contrary to the idiotic insinuations of the Republican Party Christian fundamentalists. In short, anyone can acquire HIV.

Your stupidity is not a  religious objection.

Insurance is to cover medical conditions.  You don't want to cover medical conditions?  I guess we can outlaw all of insurance then, right?  Certainly the Christian Science faith would be a reason to drop coverage for cancer treatment or really anything.  Per that religion, you can basically pray anything away, right?  

So I guess this CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR could announce to their employees that all health coverage was ended because their faith -- the faith of their founder -- was that disease is the cause of a person's estrangement with the Lord Jesus Christ, no health coverage -- other than prayer -- is necessary or needed.

Religious freedom means you can worship whatever you want and you can attend any faith assembly you want.  It's not supposed to mean that your crock pot fantasy that Jesus or whomever would object to property tax means you don't have to pay it.  By the same token, it shouldn't apply to insurance either.

If the people working for the homophobic Braidwood Management and Kelley Orthodontics  in Texas have religious freedom, it can also be argued that their religious freedom is being challenged and threatened by the decision -- they have the right to believe PrEP should be covered.  So isn't the decision siding with the owners challenging the employees religious freedom?

The case never should have been brought to begin with.

Medical care that's needed should be covered.  The homophobic and hateful people in charge at Braidwood Management and Kelley Orthodontics  should have been told that by the court.  They should have been told that they sound like hateful idiots who don't grasp that AIDS is a disease and that insurance is for treating health issues.  

Instead, an idiot on the court has encouraged them and now it will wind on through the system, possibly up to Clary Thomas -- Idiot of the Supremes.  

Braidwood's religious beliefs do not trump the religious beliefs of others or the rights of anyone to be free of religious dictates in the United States of America.

In a functioning society, people would have made reality clear to Braidwood -- both in the court system and at the clinic itself by refusing to utilize it and put it out of business.

Next up, the idiots at Braidwood sue over regulations on emissions because they don't believe in climate change or because they believe global warming is God's will and that efforts to mitigate it or slowing the end of times.

On the issue of climate change, AFP notes

The Middle East is heating at nearly twice the global average, threatening potentially devastating impacts on its people and economies, a new climate study shows.

Barring swift policy changes, its more than 400 million people face extreme heatwaves, prolonged droughts and sea level rises, said the report released ahead of the UN's COP27 climate summit in Egypt later this year.

The study found an average increase of 0.45 degrees Celsius per decade across the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean region, based on data for 1981-2019, during which the global average rise was 0.27 degrees per decade.

Without immediate changes, the region is projected to heat up by five degrees Celsius by the end of the century, possibly exceeding "critical thresholds for human adaptability" in some countries, the report states.

People "will face major health challenges and risks of livelihood, especially underprivileged communities, the elderly, children and pregnant women", wrote Jos Lelieveld of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the Cyprus Institute, which both provided support for the research.
The study covers the region stretching from Greece and Egypt in the west through to Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, and the Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates as well as Iran in the east.

We'll note these Tweets:

Iraq's famous Lake Sawa in southern al-Muthanna province is now completely dry. (Image: )
Lake Sawa in Iraq’s southern al-Muthanna province ceased to exist. (Image by @IraqClimate, March 2022)
Climate change leaves Iraq’s ‘breadbasket’ with less water, wheat, and farmers:
#Iraq is the world’s 5th most vulnerable nation to the effects of #climate_change, including #water & food. How this threat interconnects w/ other political and security challenges the country is facing? Read Policy Note:

Turning to other realities . . .


Anyone in the UK who imagined they lived in a representative democracy – one in which leaders are elected and accountable to the people – will be in for a rude awakening over the next days and weeks.

TV schedules have been swept aside. Presenters must wear black and talk in hushed tones. Front pages are uniformly somber. Britain’s media speak with a single, respectful voice about the Queen and her unimpeachable legacy.

Westminster, meanwhile, has been stripped of left and right. The Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties have set aside politics to grieve as one. Even the Scottish nationalists – supposedly trying to rid themselves of the yoke of centuries of an English rule presided over by the monarch – appear to be in effusive mourning.

The world’s urgent problems – from war in Europe to a looming climate catastrophe – are no longer of interest or relevance. They can wait till Britons emerge from a more pressing national trauma.

Domestically, the BBC has told those facing a long winter in which they will not be able to afford to heat their homes that their suffering is “insignificant” compared to that of the family of a 96-year-old woman who died peacefully in the lap of luxury. They can wait too.

In this moment there is no public room for ambivalence or indifference, for reticence, for critical thinking – and most certainly not for Republicanism, even if nearly a third of the public, mostly the young, desire the monarchy’s abolition. The British establishment expects every man, woman and child to do their duty by lowering their head.

Twenty first-century Britain never felt so medieval.

Wall-to-wall eulogies

There are reasons a critical gaze is needed right now, as the British public is corralled into reverential mourning.

The wall-to-wall eulogies are intended to fill our nostrils with the perfume of nostalgia to cover the stench of a rotting institution, one at the heart of the very establishment doing the eulogising.

The demand is that everyone show respect for the Queen and her family, and that now is not the time for criticism or even analysis.

[. . .]

At the height of her rule, 20 years later, British troops were given a green light to massacre 14 civilians in Northern Ireland on a protest march against Britain’s policy of jailing Catholics without trial. Those shot and killed were fleeing or tending the wounded. The British establishment oversaw cover-up inquiries into what became known as “Bloody Sunday”.

And in the twilight years of her rule, her government rode roughshod over international law, invading Iraq on the pretext of destroying non-existent weapons of mass destruction. During the long years of a joint British and US occupation, it is likely that more than a million Iraqis died and millions more were driven from their homes.

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