Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Janet Jackson and Shakespeare


Saw that at THE COMMON ILLS and wanted to share it here.  Janet Jackson was a huge part of music for me.  I enjoyed their ranking.  That said, I never listened to DAMITA JO.  I was not even aware of that album until UNBREAKABLE came out in 2015.  

My top five albums by Janet?  Okay, we'll work up to number one.








 Now let's talk Shakespeare.  Are you a fan?  I'm honestly not.  But I had to study his plays in high school (ROMEO & JULIET and HAMLET) and then in college (many, many more).  Though not a fan, I did learn many things from his writing.  And I'm glad that he was a focus of so many courses I took.  Why am I bringing it up?  Molly Sprayregen (LGBTQ NATION) reports:


A Florida school district has placed new restrictions on reading works by English playwright William Shakespeare in an effort to comply with Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s (R) Parental Rights in Education Act, informally known as the Don’t Say Gay law.

The law was expanded earlier this year to include all grade levels in Florida and ban schools from teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity under the premise that even older teen students aren’t ready to hear about LGBTQ+ identities and sexuality in school.

 Gaither High School teacher Joseph Cool told the Tampa Bay Times that because there is “some raunchiness in Shakespeare,” the Hillsborough County school district decided to limit students to only reading certain excerpts of his work rather than full plays.


That is beyond stupid.  Ron DeSantis is an idiot and is doing real damage to the state of Florida.  If you live in that state, start protecting your kids.  LGBTQ+ people are not coming after your kids, they are not trying to destroy your kids lives.  But Ron and all his programs?  That will destroy their lives, it will make them less educated and less valuable in the work place.  Ron's the one harming children.  If you live in Florida, it's time for you to reclaim your state.

 I don't do a lot of politics here.  If you're interested in reality on DeSantis, Mike has been covering that creep pretty much five times a week for months now so be sure to check out Mike's site. And if you're interested in what the hate merchants Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene are doing in their attempts to destroy the country, Elaine covers (and calls out) those two nut jobs on a regular basis. 

Lastly, two things to check out from Ruth:

The first one notes the passing of THE EXORCIST director and the second is her book review of two books about Elizabeth Taylor -- on the latter. also see "Books (Ruth, Ava and C.I.)" where she discusses the books -- and her ten favorite Elizabeth Taylor and ten favorite Jane Fonda films -- with Ava and C.I.

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


Tuesday, August 8, 2023. The Whore of Baghdad Jane Arraf gets fired again and idiots who don't know her work are outraged, Moms for Bigotry and their allies (Naomi Wolf among them) are targeting libraries, and much more.

Starting with THE NEW YORK TIMES which has fired Jane Arraf.

Arraf occupied what was once one of the most coveted foreign postings in journalism. But her unceremonious departure came as Iraq was marking the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of the country, and with it, the continued shift of American media attention and resources away from Iraq for conflict zones like Ukraine and the deep-pocketed Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Over the last several years, almost every major US outlet has scaled back its presence or pulled out of the country: The Times, which once had over a hundred people in its Baghdad office, has not had a bureau chief there for most of the year. The Associated Press’ Iraq correspondent was reassigned to Ukraine last year. While the Washington Post has a Baghdad bureau chief, the paper is in the process of closing down its physical bureau.

The moves are understandable. Major US news organizations have limited resources for on-the-ground foreign coverage, which is costly and often has a limited audience at home. With the US spending billions on the war in Ukraine, and with an increasing diplomatic focus on China, it makes sense that major US organizations have reoriented their international coverage to focus on these areas of national interest.

Late to the story and can't nail down the facts.  MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS walked away.  Pretty much everyone walked away following the election of Barack Obama in November 2008.  The press withdrew -- the only US force that did -- and they started in December of 2008 as they insisted the war was winding down.  It didn't, it hasn't.  ABC NEWS announced then that it was closing shop, for example, and that they'd cover any major news out of Iraq by re-running BBC NEWS reports.

As for the ridiculous claims that they have to leave to cover Ukraine -- they're not covering Ukraine.  They're part of propaganda effort, yes.  But they're not covering it.  Where is the investigative reporting coming out of Ukraine -- or US-based reporting on Ukraine?  There is none.  "Reading press releases from the Green Zone."  That's what we called THE NEW YORK TIMES early post-invasion coverage because that's what it was and all that's happening with Ukraine now is US reporters reading press releases and calling it "coverage."

As for Jane Arraf? 

I love how the press tries to protect The Whore of Baghdad.

Jane is a lousy reporter.  Her work does not stand up.  We made excuses for her for years.  Then came the youth uprising in Iraq -- no, not 2019.  We're talking thug Nouri al-Maliki was prime minister.  It was right before ISIS became visible in Iraq.  The thug had a protester shot and killed.  Several, actually.  But Arraf Tweeted in real time about one.  But 'forgot' to include it in her written coverage or on NPR.  Then the whore really showed her true colors a few weeks later when a protester was killed because the 'security' forces fired on the people -- Jane was on NPR justifying it, claiming these were peaceful responses.

She's an embarrassment who lied for CNN - -that was the point of Eason Jordan's now infamous column for THE NEW YORK TIMES "The News We Kept For Ourselves."

She has written nothing of value her entire time covering Iraq.  Grasp that.  Her fellow whores on Twitter are aghast that Jane was fired and go on and on about her 'experience.' She's in her fourth decade covering Iraq.  She's never broken a story, you grasp that right?

She started that under Saddam Hussein.  It's how she got to stay in the country -- by never reporting on anything that angered the Iraqi government.  It's what she has continued to do ever since.

Many people have broken stories covering Iraq since the US-led invasion -- Damien Cave, Alissa J. Rubin, Ellen Knickmeyer, Nancy A. Youssef, Leila Fadel, Dahr Jamail, etc -- but Jane is not one of them.  She never has been.  

She only covers what's already public.  And then she downplays violence against the Iraqi people.  

A protester killed when the 'security' forces fire a tear cannister into his head?  There's Jane on NPR insisting it was just a normal response.  

That's The Whore of Baghdad.

But her press allies want to pretend like she's suffering now and the victim.

First off, she was already under trouble for a 'report' she filed before the money issue arose.

Second off, as the NYT person in charge in Baghdad, it's not her job to lie to her employer.  They tell her X is all that's going to be paid, then X is all that's going to be paid.  She can certainly try to lobby them to change their minds, but she can't overrule them.  That's not allowed.  

THE TIMES has made their staff smaller and smaller and cut back over and over.  If Jane can't follow the budget regulations then she shouldn't be in the position.

(It's also rumore that Jane helped herself to some of the extra dollars.)

Money.  In the end, that's all The Whore of Baghdad cares about.  Four decades in Iraq and nothing to show for it.  She didn't even expose the (government) abuse of Iraq's disabled/challenged children.  No, that was CBS and, as usual, Jane's response was to come along after everyone else was covering it and to downplay it.

That's how she ends up staying in Iraq, that's why prime ministers of Iraq love her and embrace her.  They get her to moderate talks for them.  That's really not  journalist and her (mainly female) peers that are defending her?  They've never covered Iraq and they don't know Jane's own work.  They only know that she's been in Iraq since the 90s -- and gone through every outlet there is in her sorry and embarrassing career. 

There are real things to get upset over.  Jane Arraf getting fired by THE NEW YORK TIMES isn't one.  Nor was Jane Arraf getting fired by CNN.  Nor was Jane Arraf getting fired by THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR.  Nor was Jane Arraf getting fired by REUTERS.  Nor was Jane Arraf getting fired by NPR.  Nor was Jane Arraf getting fired ALJAZEERA.  Get it?  Let's stop pretending, after all these firings, that it's the outlets problem and not Jane herself.   

Let's move to another loser.  Tyler Kingkade (NBC NEWS) reports on one:

Wyoming Rep. John Bear, a Republican and chair of the state’s Freedom Caucus, said he’s pushing his state to leave the ALA [American Library Association] because he believes the association is full of Marxists who promote books that “create a sexualized child at an earlier age” and are “turning libraries into activist training grounds.”

“The ALA has allowed this political point of view to infiltrate every aspect of their training,” Bear said in an interview. “And their trainings are just completely full of things like, how to deal with parents who don’t appreciate the type of materials that are available to children in the library, how to deal with your state legislature or your local government.”

Bear’s sentiment has been echoed by his colleague, state Rep. Pepper Ottman, who claimed in a July 12 webinar that the ALA’s recommended reading lists were provided “to open children up to pornography” and to groom them for sex trafficking. And his wife, Sage Bear, is on a library board in Campbell County that recently fired its library director because she would not remove books that included LGBTQ or sex education themes.

These prigs and hate merchants never understand.  Americans don't want to be told what to do.  But John Bear, just another element of cancel culture, wants to dictate what people can read.  That never works out well.  This isn't an opinion, this is historical.  It doesn't end pretty for the prigs and hate merchants.  They become the joke (dirty joke) they deserve to be.  Americans are very opposed to censorship.  This is not a new development.  In 1956, STORM CENTER starred Bette Davis as a librarian being pressured to remove books from the library.   Run that up to the response to Tipper Gore.  To this day, the former Second Lady is reviled for her efforts to censor music -- and, yes, Tipper, your label system was censorship.  

What's really amazing is when people who should know better go along with these efforts.  Moms For Bigotry?  Their existence is expected.  That Naomi Wolf would get behind them?  I guess she's the Peter Hitchens of this century as she rushed to support banning and censorship and the overturning of ROE V WADE.  I think Naomi Klein's going to have a strong selling book based just upon the sections about the now hideous Naomi Wolf.   Naomi Klein's book is DOPPELGANGER: A TRIP INTO THE MIRROR WORLD is due out September 12th and addresses the world we live in today.  I'm reading through it now and enjoyed the section on Naomi Wolf -- I'm sure many people will enjoy it.  

The American Library Association notes these were the books of 2022 that faced the most banning attempts:

1. Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

Number of challenges: 151

Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit

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2. All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson

Number of challenges: 86

Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit

Shareable graphics: Twitter | Facebook

3. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Number of challenges: 73

Challenged for: depiction of sexual abuse, EDI content, claimed to be sexually explicit

Shareable graphics: Twitter | Facebook

4. Flamer by Mike Curato

Number of challenges: 62

Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit

Shareable graphics: Twitter | Facebook

5. (tie) Looking for Alaska by John Green

Number of challenges: 55

Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit

Shareable graphics: Twitter | Facebook

5. (tie) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Number of challenges: 55

Challenged for: depiction of sexual abuse, LGBTQIA+ content, drug use, profanity, claimed to be sexually explicit

Shareable graphics: Twitter | Facebook

7. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

Number of challenges: 54

Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit

Shareable graphics: Twitter | Facebook

8. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Number of challenges: 52

Challenged for: profanity, claimed to be sexually explicit

Shareable graphics: Twitter | Facebook

9. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez

Number of challenges: 50

Challenged for: depictions of abuse, claimed to be sexually explicit

Shareable graphics: Twitter | Facebook

10. (tie) A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Number of challenges: 48

Challenged for: claimed to be sexually explicit

Shareable graphics: Twitter | Facebook

10. (tie) Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Number of challenges: 48

Challenged for: drug use, claimed to be sexually explicit

Shareable graphics: Twitter | Facebook

10. (tie) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Number of challenges: 48

Challenged for: profanity, claimed to be sexually explicit

Shareable graphics: Twitter | Facebook

10. (tie) This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson

Number of challenges: 48

Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, providing sexual education, claimed to be sexually explicit

Shareable graphics: Twitter | Facebook

Spread the Word

Download the two-page 2022 Infographic

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The Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022 infographic was released as part of the 2023 State of America's Libraries Report on Monday, April 24. View the full report.

Find more data about 2022 book ban attempts here.

Reading is about education.  I have never called for a book to be banned and I never will.  That doesn't mean I read all books.  I had no interest in reading AMERICAN PSYCHO but I did not call for it to be banned.  We broke with WORLD CAN'T WAIT over this nonsense.  They were calling for a film -- one that they had not seen -- to be banned.  Whether they were being paid for that or not, I have no idea.  But Harvey Weinstein, who turned the Academy Awards into a blood sport, did pay a number of people to trash that film.  

I don't believe in banning.  I believe you can make the decision not to read something.  I believe you can make some decisions on what your children can and cannot read.  Some?  More often than not, your child is going to read it if you make it "no."  And you should be glad about that.  You should be glad your child is curious and independent and not just a little kiss-ass who will go through life doing exactly as told.  

I can remember being at a library when I was seven -- public library -- and reading when a librarian came over and told me I had to go back to the children's section and could not read the books from the section I was in.  I responded, "Tell it to my mother" and pointed the librarian towards her.  I never, ever again heard a word about what books I needed to read from the librarian.  My mother believed in reading and didn't believe there were any restrictions.  I also had reading problems (dyslexic but not diagnosed then) so my mother was fine with any book I read for that reason as well.  (And the book I was reading that so alarmed the librarian?  Agatha Christie's DEATH ON THE NILE.)

Every book, even a poorly written one, is an experience that can enlarge our understanding of the world we live in.  

  1. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
  2. Daddy’s Roommate, by Michael Willhoite
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
  4. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
  6. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
  7. Forever, by Judy Blume
  8. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
  9. Heather Has Two Mommies, by Leslea Newman
  10. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
  11. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
  12. My Brother Sam is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  13. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
  14. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  15. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
  16. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
  17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
  18. Sex, by Madonna
  19. Earth’s Children (series), by Jean M. Auel
  20. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
  21. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
  22. The Witches, by Roald Dahl
  23. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
  24. The New Joy of Gay Sex, by Charles Silverstein
  25. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
  26. The Goats, by Brock Cole
  27. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
  28. Anastasia Krupnik (series), by Lois Lowry
  29. Final Exit, by Derek Humphry
  30. Blubber, by Judy Blume
  31. Halloween ABC, by Eve Merriam
  32. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
  33. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
  34. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
  35. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters, by Lynda Madaras
  36. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
  37. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
  38. The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
  39. The Pigman, by Paul Zindel
  40. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  41. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
  42. Deenie, by Judy Blume
  43. Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
  44. Annie on My Mind, by Nancy Garden
  45. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
  46. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
  47. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat, by Alvin Schwartz
  48. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
  49. Cujo, by Stephen King
  50. James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl
  51. A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein
  52. Ordinary People, by Judith Guest
  53. American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis
  54. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  55. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
  56. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
  57. Asking About Sex and Growing Up, by Joanna Cole
  58. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons, by Lynda Madaras
  59. The Anarchist Cookbook, by William Powell
  60. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
  61. Boys and Sex, by Wardell Pomeroy
  62. Crazy Lady, by Jane Conly
  63. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
  64. Killing Mr. Griffin, by Lois Duncan
  65. Fade, by Robert Cormier
  66. Guess What?, by Mem Fox
  67. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  68. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  69. Native Son, by Richard Wright
  70. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies, by Nancy Friday
  71. Curses, Hexes and Spells, by Daniel Cohen
  72. On My Honor, by Marion Dane Bauer
  73. The House of Spirits, by Isabel Allende
  74. Jack, by A.M. Homes
  75. Arizona Kid, by Ron Koertge
  76. Family Secrets, by Norma Klein
  77. Mommy Laid an Egg, by Babette Cole
  78. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo A. Anaya
  79. Where Did I Come From?, by Peter Mayle
  80. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline Cooney
  81. Carrie, by Stephen King
  82. The Dead Zone, by Stephen King
  83. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
  84. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
  85. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
  86. Private Parts, by Howard Stern
  87. Where’s Waldo?, by Martin Hanford
  88. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene
  89. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
  90. Little Black Sambo, by Helen Bannerman
  91. Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
  92. Running Loose, by Chris Crutcher
  93. Sex Education, by Jenny Davis
  94. Jumper, by Steven Gould
  95. Christine, by Stephen King
  96. The Drowning of Stephen Jones, by Bette Greene
  97. That Was Then, This is Now, by S.E. Hinton
  98. Girls and Sex, by Wardell Pomeroy
  99. The Wish Giver, by Bill Brittain
  100. Jump Ship to Freedom, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Okay, I've read 61 of those books.  I wouldn't ban any on the list and I would recommend all 61 that I have read.  I'd recommend people read whatever they want.  As often as they want.  

On Moms For Bigotry, BUZZLOVING notes:

A spokesperson for the extremism watchdog group wrote that Moms for Liberty was the most prominent of 12 extremist “anti-student inclusion groups” mobilizing to “attack public education, ban books, and remove any curriculum that contains discussions of race, discrimination, and LGBTQ+ identities.” 

SPLC Intelligence Project Director Susan Corke added, “The movement is primarily aimed at not wanting to include our hard history, topics of racism, and a very strong push against teaching anything having to do with LGBTQ topics in schools. We saw this as a very deliberate strategy to go to the local level.”
The list includes Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters, and the John Birch Society, among others. SPLC added 11 more right-wing “parents’ rights” groups to the list of extremist groups.
[. . .]
According to SPLC, the group has risen to power by “intimidating and harassing teachers and school officials,” battling teachers’ unions, attacking corporations like Disney that are supportive of LGBTQ+ rights, and supporting and making use of laws like Florida’s so-called “don’t say gay” statute, which limits classroom discussion of gender and sexual identity.

Moms For Bigotry -- with Naomi Wolf's stamp of approval -- keeps pushing their war on 'woke' -- despite the fact that it's not helping any Republican Party candidate.  Katie Balevic (BUSINESS INSIDER) reports:

Some GOP candidates and lawmakers have assembled like a crime-fighting cartoon squad ready to take on woke-ism.

The problem? Voters don't really care as much about tackling "woke" issues as Republican candidates may think, new polling suggests. 

In fact, more GOP voters favored candidates who focused on law and order, a new New York Times and Siena College poll of Americans, with emphasis in Iowa — where voters will be the first to cast their ballots in the primaries. 

Marina Pitofsky (USA TODAY) reports:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ war on “wokeness” has been one of his signature political promises in the Sunshine State.

And DeSantis has vowed to carry that battle into the White House if he’s elected in 2024. But it may be hurting more than it’s helpingUSA TODAY's Savannah Kuchar reports.

Multiple billionaire backers have dropped their contributions to DeSantis’ White House bid over disagreements with his stances on a slate of social issues.

Deep-pocketed hedge fund CEO Ken Griffin pulled his financial support over DeSantis’ fight with Disney fueled by education policies, namely a law opponents have dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.”

Nelson Peltz, an investor and billionaire businessman, also took a recent step back from the DeSantis campaign, taking issue with the governor’s abortion position.

THE MAJORITY REPORT addressed Ronald's faltering campaign.

A battle over LGBTQ+ books in a Virginia county may cost teenagers their right to visit the public library.

The chair of the Board of Supervisors in rural Botetourt County has decided the best way to ensure “parental rights” in the tiny rural area, pop. 34,000, is to send parents to the library with their kids.

Acting on a campaign pledge made in June before a primary election, board chair Donald “Mac” Scothorn (R) announced a proposal at the board’s July 31 meeting to prohibit anyone under 18 from visiting the county library without adult supervision.

It’s the board chair’s solution to a long-simmering dispute over LGBTQ+ content in the county’s four public libraries, pitting Botetourt County residents associated with groups like Moms for Liberty against free speech advocates.

The “parents’ rights” activists have pursued their book-banning agenda at school board meetings, filing removal request forms at the libraries and publicizing what they believe is inappropriate content for minors on a website likely available to minors.

 Their war on intelligence, on books and on libraries goes to their ignorance and their strong desire to bring us all down to their level of stupidity.

The following sites updated:

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