Thursday, December 11, 2008

Barbra Streisand, Margaret Kimberley

Last month, we did "10 Cover Classics" at Third and I wanted to highlight this section from it on our top pick, Barbra Streisand doing "If You Could Read My Mind:"

This Gordon Lightfoot song appears on Streisand's Richard Perry produced Stoney End. Rebecca recently turned Marcia on to Streisand and Dona told her she had to either purchase Stoney End right away or purchase this track off iTunes. Marcia loved it and Dona was the topic of an e-mail last here from a reader who felt she didn't share enough so we'll turn it over to Dona.
Dona: I love this song and grew up with Gordon Lightfoot's version. When we moved here [C.I.'s], Ty was already established here and had his room just perfect, and Ava and Jess had been out here almost as long so their room reflected them. Jim didn't give a damn about decorating our room and I just forgot about it until I had a late night freak out over the blank walls and the lack of any personal detail. At which point, I was whining to Ava and C.I. about how I wished Jim and I could pull together something pop-culture and blah, blah, blah, whine, whine. At the end of my long rant, C.I. said I could pull out photos from X number of photo albums and frame and hang those, plus there were vintage posters rolled up and not being used, etc. Ava said, "We'll make it 'funky'." She rushed off to the music room and came back with multiple vinyl albums she judged 'funky' to play on Jim's turntable while we worked on the room and two of them were Stoney End and Barbra Joan Streisand. At some point, C.I.'s putting Stoney End on the turntable and asks, "You want to hang up these posters too?" C.I. had the original posters for Stoney End and Barbara Joan Streisand and I said, "YES!" So that's what our room is -- Jim and mine -- some vintage photos and posters -- including an Airplane [Jefferson Airplane] concert poster, the Streisands and a lot of posters and photos of the [San Francisco] Giants. And those who feel the flip to CD and then MP3s is wonderful, you really need to know about the sort of things that used to come inside the vinyl albums. The Barbra Joan poster is almost as tall as I am and it is wider than I am. The song itself is three minutes and fifty-eight seconds of perfection. And if you've never heard it, you can click here for a YouTube video of it which features rare footage from Up The Sandbox and the filming of Up The Sandbox. The track has become one of my all time favorites by Streisand or by anyone and I felt that way the moment it came over the speakers of Jim's turntable. I was hollering, "Play that again!" When I go on the road with Kat, Wally, Ava and C.I., I always make sure I have this track in some format. And if that was enough 'sharing,' let me know and I'll try to do better.

Dona does have really cool posters up and one of them is of Barbra with a cap on, long straight hair, black and white and it's huge. I'm not sure if that's the Barbra Joan poster, but it's a really great one.

And you can enjoy that wonderful song by using the link for the video and getting gorgeous footage from when Up The Sandbox was filmed. This is behind the scenes footage.

I was on a Barbra kick today at work and the boss comes by and says, "Left in the Dark!" Turns out that was her favorite song when it was first released, she and her sisters would sing that together over and over planning to do it for the talent show (which they did do and she has that on video and plans to bring it for the Christmas show "but don't laugh too hard!"). She says her oldest sister had a Jeri-curl while she was trying to wear her hair straightened and she doesn't remember how her youngest sister wore her hair. Why that song?

"It was so dramatic and, when you're a teenager, who doesn't need the drama?"

For those who don't know the song, here's the opening part that's sung:

You don't have to sneak in the door
Just come on into the room
I've been lying in our bed in the dark all alone
And I've been wait and I've been waiting for you
There's been no reason to move
It's been as still as a tomb
I needed you oh so badly tonight
But I guess you had better things to do
I should have known that it was coming to this
But I must have been blind
I bet you've still got a trace of her love in your eyes
And you've still got her love on your mind
You swore you'd be with me at seven o'clock
Now it's a quarter to three
And whatever you got and whoever it was
I guess you couldn't get it from me
Whatever you got and whoever it was
I guess you couldn't get it from me

That's mainly just some very light piano chords being played while Barbra sings softly in a very high register. I really love this song. If I had to pick one favorite from the 80s, it would probably be this one with "We're Not Making Love" a close second.

And a big thank you to Rebecca for turning me on to Barbra.

"Left In The Dark Again" is just my favorite song today of any decade. I can't get it out of my head. It's really a gorgeous song.

Margaret Kimberley's "Freedom Rider: Obama is Not King" compares the genuine MLK with the fake Barack:

King's opposition to the war had been growing and on April 4, 1967, a year to the date before his assassination, he made his strongest comments in a speech at Riverside Church. He denounced the war in Vietnam, and the country's reliance on "racism, materialism and militarism." King's decision to speak out on Vietnam effectively severed his ties with the most powerful politician on earth. In comparison, Barack Obama fought tooth and nail to become the president, the person who righteous people end up fighting against.
Not only did King make the hard choice to discard his partnership with Johnson, but in so doing he brought down the wrath of previously supportive politicians, and of some of his closest confidantes. The NAACP
denounced King and disassociated themselves from his statement. Other SCLC leaders were angry that he chose to end his silence instead of compromising with the powerful.
Anyone who wins a presidential election does much more than compromise. The recent disclosure that the Obama campaign raised $750 million is proof. A would be president must spend years currying favor with wealthy, powerful people and promise them that the items on their agenda will always be front and center when policy decisions are made.
It is simply impossible to be both a fighter for justice and president of the United States. The two roles are diametrically opposed and inherently incompatible. The cheap artwork and mindless sentimentality that seeks to elevate Obama to the level of King and Malcolm X is an affront to the memory of those men who relentlessly fought powerful interests and paid with their lives in the process.
The proximity of the King Day celebration and the inauguration is a sadly ironic twist of fate. While Martin Luther King demanded that America behave as a civilized nation, Barack Obama is committed to preserving its corruption. The man who denounced war should not be seen in the same light as the man who vows to maintain "the
strongest military on the planet."

Doesn't that about say it all? Read the full column. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, December 11, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Iraq's latest buying spree, Punk Ass Liars for the Treaty Get It Upside The Head from al-Maliki's spokesperson (the sound you hear is a thousand liars trying to delete all their past commentaries and 'reporting'), and much, much more.

Let's start by remembering recent events. October 31st,
AP reported the puppet government in Baghdad's latest boo-hoo: Oil prices had dropped and their budget for 2009 had to be cut by $13 billion. The Guardian of London (via Iraq Directory) was writing that there was talk of raising production due to the drop from the expected $80 billion 2009 budget to the $67 billion budget. In 2008, they couldn't meet their spending targets and sat on a ton of money while infrastructure remained unrepaired and Iraqis suffered without electricity and potable water. This week they're on a spending spree. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency made several announcements yesterday [all links of announcements take you to PDF format]. DSCA announced: "On Dec. 9, the Dfense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 36 AT-6B Texan II Aircraft as well as associated support. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $520 million." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 400 M1126 STRYKER Infantry Carrier Vehicles as well as associated equipment. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $1.11 billion." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 20 T-6A Texan aircraft, 20 Global Positioning Systems (GPS) as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $210 million." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of (20) 30-35 meter Coastal Patrol Boats and (3) 55-60 meter Offshore Support Vessels as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $1.010 billion." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 140 M1A1 Abrams tanks modified and upgraded to the M1A1M Abrams configuration, 8 M88A2 Tank Recovery Vehicles, 64 M1151A1B1 Armored High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV), 92 M1152 Shelter Carriers, 12 M577A2 Command Post Carriers, 16 M548A1 Tracked Logistics Behicles, 8 M113A2 Armored Ambulances, and 420 AN/VRC-92 Vehicular Receiver Transmitters as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised could be as high as $2.160 billion." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 26 Bell Armed 407 Helicopters, 26 Rolls Royce 250-C-30 Engines, 26 M280 2.75-inch Launchers, 26 XM296 .50 Cal. Machine Guns with 500 Round Ammunition Box, 26 M299 HELLFIRE Guided Missile Launchers as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $366 million." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of (80,000) M16A4 5.56MM Rifles, (25,000) M4 5.56MM Carbines, (2,550) M203 40MM Grenade Launchers as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $148 million." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of (64) Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelters (DRASH), (1,500) 50 watt Very High Frequency (VHF) Base Station Radios, (6,000) VHF Tactical Handheld Radios, (100) VHF Fixed Retransmitters, (200) VHF Vehicular Radios, (30) VHF Maritime 50 watt Base Stations, (150) 150 watt High Frequency (HF) Base Station Radio Systems, (150) 20 watt HF Vehicular Radios, (30) 20 watt HF Manpack Radios, (50) 50 watt Very High Frequency/Ultra High Frequency (VHF/UHF) Ground to Air Radio Systems, (50) 150 watt VHF/UHF Ground to Air Radio Systems, (50) 5 watt Multiband Handheld Radio Systems as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $485 Million." That is over six billion dollars being committed "if all options are exercised" -- which is a little over 10% of their entire budget for 2009. There's always money to spend when it comes to weapons. And human life is always done on the cheap.

Bill Van Auken (WSWS) observes, "In Iraq, the death toll has risen to well over a million. An estimated 2 million more have been wounded and at least 4 million have been forced to flee the country or turned into internal refugees. In short, nearly six years of war and occupation hvae left more than 20 percent of the nation's pre-war population, dead, maimed, expelled or homeless." IRIN reports on Egypt's Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) and the American University in Cairo's Center for Migration and Refugee Studies survey of Iraqi refugees in Egypt which found, as stated by lead researcher Sara Sadek, "Lack of income is the main problem, followed by education." Meanwhile Christopher Watt (Maisonnueve) reports on Iraqi refugees in Syria, "In Damascus refugee circles, limbo is a popular word. The problems these people face often go deeper than uncertainty about their legal status. In the Sunni-Christian neighborhood of Jaramanah, where 100,000 Iraqis are said to live, a boy named Zaid is silent while his father, a former meachnic in Saddam's air force, describes a bus crash last year that left Zaid without his right arm and his face covered in scars. He shields them from view with a New York Yankees hat pulled down low. In a cruel irony, Zaid received his injuries on a visa run. The family had received its new stamps from Al Tanf border crossing east of Damascus, but on the road home to Jaramanah the bus driver lost control. They are seeking help in Canada, but the father believes his connection to the Baath regime could ruin Zaid's shot at plastic surgery and a better prosthetic." As the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres noted (writing in the Telegraph of London), "The refugee problem is a responsibility of the international community as a whole, and can only be effectively tackled by means of collective and cooperative action." And the issue of refugees (both Iraqi and non-Iraqi) inside Iraq?

Today the
United Nations Assitance Mission for Iraq released the following statement:

UNAMI SRSG Staffan de Mistura expresed concern about the situation of over 1000 foreign workers brought by international contractors currently in Baghdad Interntaional Airport. Mr. de Mistura said that "UNAMI takes the allegations of human trafficking by contractors in Iraq very seriously and is concerned about their predicament. The case in BIAP is one that has made public headlines but we are aware of other cases, some of which have reached relevant courts, and we hope will also be addressed in accordance with international labor law standards".
Mr. de Mistura stated that UNAMI has just conducted its own evaluation of the situation in BIAP which supplements the assessment conducted by Internaional Organization for Migration and others and coincides with their findings. He added that the relevant authorities and contractors concerned are expected to ensure that international labor standards are respected and enforced. Mr. de Mistura welcomed the indications that those directly involved are already looking into the issue and hoped it will soon be resolved, "so that the suffering of these people, whose hopes have been shattered and who have had to endure severe hardship and disappointment, is rapidly brought to an end."

This morning,
we were wondering which of Patrick Cockburn's personalities would show up next? Turns out it was Patrick Crazy Ass Cockburn. And if you doubt it, check this from Reuters: "Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesman for the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, said some U.S. forces could be needed for 10 years but told reporters that the terms of any extended presence would be negotiated between the next Iraqi and U.S. governments." Poor Crazy Ass Patrick Cockburn. You know what, if I had LIED non-stop about what the treaty said, if I was nothing but a FILTHY LIAR, I'd be hanging my head in shame. If I were, for example, Leila Fadel, I'd hide away for days (and maybe use some of that time to buy a decent bra). But if I was Patrick Cockburn and had just FLAT OUT LIED about the treaty this morning at CounterPunch, I think I would have to just state, "I am a worthless liar that no one should ever believe. Like everyone else in my crazy family, I have no grip on reality." Sucks to be one of the liars today. Poor babies. Poor, pathetic, useless trash babies. That's our topic for this evening. Lies the sort that Patrick, Leila and oh-so many others have trafficed in KILL. That's what's wrong with them. It's not like they're pretending they're still virgins or something personal. They're lying in ways that cost lives.

On violence, mass fatalities today in Iraq from a single bombing.
Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) notes the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan warned earlier this morning (when the death toll was said to be 30) that the "toll in today's attack is expected to rise." The BBC notes that the bombing took place "at a restaurant near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk" and that it was done by a suicide bomber. Hurriyet adds, "The bomber detonated explosives inside a Kurdish restaurant about 10 km (6 miles) north of Kirkuk, said Major General Jamal Tahir, police chief of Kirkuk." CNN reports the death toll is "at least 55" with one-hundred and nine people injured according to local police and that the name of the restaurant is Abdalla Kabab. PBS' NewsHour calls it "one of the deadliest attacks in Iraq in the past six months" and also notes 'at least 55" dead but with one-hundred and twenty injured before adding, "The bombing apparently targeted a high-profile meeting of Kurdish officials from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the party of President Jalal Talabani, and a group of Arab tribal leaders called the Awakening, who had gathered in an attempt to negotiate ethnic tensions in the region." Yaseen Taha and Adam Ashton (McClatchy Newspapers) quote Khadijah Mohammed whose sixteen-year-old son died in the bombing, "My son has become a body. He was invited by his friends to have lunch on the last day of Eid. He went out with them. He told me that they will have a nice time in this restaurant and reluctantly, we allowed him to go, and now he is just a body." Now picture that. The son is begging his mother to go Adballa Kabab. She is stating it is still too dangerous. At some point he brings up or maybe she remembers the reports of how violence is down in Iraq, of how David Petraeus says that's true and of how every news outlet she can think of has run with that garbage. Bad news 'reporting' costs lives. Own it, accept that the blood of the young men is on your hands if you've lied or pimped the illegal war. Not just before it started or at the start, but if you 'report' spin as fact, accept your responsiblity in this death and all the others. Operation Happy Talk kills, accept it. Mustafa Mahmoud (Reuters) describes an emergency room following the bombing, "Men and women clutched their wounds as they lay on gurneys, while medics and family members rushed about, shouting and wailing. A small girl around five years old was curled up quietly on a stretcher, her clothes bloodied." AP quotes Salam Abudllah who was wounded in the attack along with his wife, "I held my wife and led her outside the place. As we were leaving, I saw dead bodies soaked with blood and huge destruction." Aswat Al Iraq reports President Jalal Talabani stated, "With heartfelt grief, we have received news of the death and injury of a large number of innocent citizens in a cowardly terrorist operation that targeted a crowded restaurant on the Kirkuk-Arbil highway. As we vehemently condemn this heinous terrorist operation perpetrated by the vanquished terrorist remnants, we stress for our great Iraqi people, particularly the steadfast residents of Kirkuk, that terrorists will never be able to upset the fantastic security achievements made all over the country's province."

Turning to US politics,
Dee Dee Myers (Vanity Fair) observes of Barack Obama's speech writer and professional pig Jon Favreau (not the actor-writer-director) groping a cut-out of Hillary Clinton:

I can't stop thinking about this picture, and I confess I find it really upsetting. And, no, it's not because I don't have a sense of humor. I like to think I have a well-earned reputation for often irreverent, sometimes ill-advised humor. But I'm not laughing now.
And it's not that I was never young. My friends from college and in the years just beyond can testify that I did some things then that I wouldn't want to see on the Internet now. But I had a big job in the White House at a young age too; at 31 -- just a few years older than Favreau is now -- I became White House press secretary. And I knew instantly that the rules had changed for me, that I could no longer go to all the parties of the people just a little younger than me, who had just a little less responsibility, and expect to be anonymous. Clearly, Favreau should have understood that too. If he's old enough and wise enough and mature enough to write for the president of the United States -- and not just any president but one who seems poised to take words more seriously than any since Abraham Lincoln -- than he's clearly old enough and wise enough and mature enough to avoid getting his picture taken behaving in a way that is embarrassing to him, his boss, the secretary of state -- designate, his family, and, one hopes, a majority of 27-year-old males (though that may be too optimistic.) It's indefensible. But that's still not what's bugging me.
What's bugging me is his intention. He isn't putting his hand on her "chest," as most of the articles and conversations about the picture have euphemistically referred to it. Rather, his hand -- cupped just so -- is clearly intended to signal that he's groping her breast. And why? Surely, not to signal he finds her attractive. Au contraire. It's an act of deliberate humiliation. Of disempowerment. Of denigration.
And it disgusts me.

It is disgusting. And good for Dee Dee for speaking out.
Murphy (PUMA Pac) observes:

Every day that Jon Favreau continues to have a job as obama's chief speech writer is ANOTHER day that the office of the Secretary of State is undermined. Every day that the above image is in the news is another day that
creeps like Carville and Blitzer can convene all-male panels of sexperts and joke about how fun it is to gang up and sexually assault Hillary Clinton in effigy. (Wolf Blitzer, Alpha Epsilon Pi brother, along with Robert Novak and Jerry Nadler.Carville was a raging frat boy at LSU, where the motto is, "frat hard, frat often.")
We need to amp up our message. Columnists
ARE talking about this issue, but they are saying that women's groups have been strangely silent. We know that National NOW and Emily's List are keeping a deafening silence, but the good women at New York and Los Angeles NOW have spoken up. But still, the message is not being received.

Emily's List won't say a damn word. You don't get cabinet positions (or more of them) by speaking out. What about the pathetic Women's Media Center? They haven't said one word as usual. Yesterday, they had the nerve to write about human dignity while being silent on Jon Favreau. Ms. is just as bad with their Feminist Wire that managed to note violence against women has "increased attention in Angola" but fails to raise objections to Favreau and his friend/male lover's attempt to prove they can get it up by (at best) disrepecting women.

Independent journalist
John Pilger and Chris Martin won Best Documentary for The War On Democracy at the One World Media Awards and The War on Democracy is now available on DVD. Groundhog Day is a Harold Ramis film starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell and Pilger references it in his new column (New Statesman):

Obama's slogan is now "continuity". His secretary of defence will be Robert Gates, who serves the lawless, blood-soaked Bush regime as secretary of defence, which means secretary of war. (America last had to defend itself when the British invaded in 1812.) Gates wants no date set for an Iraq withdrawal and "well north of 20,000" troops to be sent to Afghanistan. He also wants America to build a completely new nuclear arsenal, including "tactical" nuclear weapons that blur the distinction with conventional weapons.
[. . .]
There is more continuity in Obama's appointment of officials who will deal with the economic piracy that brought down Wall Street and impoverished millions. As in Bill Murray's nightmare, they are the same officials who caused it. For example, Lawrence Summers will run the National Economic Council. As treasury secretary, according to the New York Times, he "championed the law that deregulated derivatives, the . . . instruments -- aka toxic assets -- that have spread financial losses [and] refused to heed critics who warned of dangers to come."
There is logic here. Contrary to myth, Obama's campaign was funded largely by rapacious capital, such as Citigroup and others responsible for the sub-prime mortgage scandal, whose victims were mostly African Americans and other poor people.

Yes, the greed. As
Elaine noted of the scandal involving who will replace him in the Senate, "I think the whole thing is poetic. Barack's home state governor accused of attempting some form of payment to appoint someone to replace Barack. It's all about greed and what was Barack's campaign run on but greed? He refused public financing. Broke the pledge on that. He took in overseas donation and has no way to prove that the donations came from US citizens. He allowed individuals to repeatedly break the legal donation limit. The greed that built him could break him and, in fact, it should." That's Illinois. In New York, the assumption is that, in January, Hillary Clinton will be confirmed as the Secretary of State and will leave the US Senate. That will allow the current governor (never elected to that post, as Ruth has pointed out) to appoint someone to serve the remainder of Clinton's Senate term. Caroline Kennedy wants the Senate seat. Marie Cocco (Washington Post Writers Group) wonders:

How can Democrats, who ridiculed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as an inexperienced political wannabe, now embrace the idea of elevating Caroline Kennedy -- who hasn't served a day in public office -- to Hillary Clinton's New York Senate seat? How, indeed, can the same "progressives" who opposed Clinton's election as president because they were repelled by the notion of extending the "Clinton dynasty" now be keen on perpetuating the Kennedy dynasty through an appointment?
As a longtime admirer of Sen. Ted Kennedy, I am embarrassed.
The iconic Massachusetts senator and others in the family are actively promoting John F. Kennedy's daughter -- who famously shunned the gritty political world for the sanctuary of public service through her private endeavors -- to take the Senate seat once occupied by her late uncle, Robert F. Kennedy, and now held by Clinton. A decision on filling the vacancy should Clinton be confirmed as secretary of state is up to New York Gov. David Paterson, who could be forgiven, in moments like this, if he fleetingly wishes that he'd not ascended to the office after predecessor Eliot Spitzer's indiscretions.
What, exactly, is the case to be made for Caroline Kennedy?

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