Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Danforth Prince and Darwin Porter's Lana Turner: Hearts and Diamonds Take All

Lana Turner.  The name conjures stardom.  I grew up seeing Imitation of Life, to cite only one of her films.  She was a movie star in the 40s through the end of her life in the 90s.  Known around the world.  But did we know her?

Especially shocking in her list of scandals?  When she was dating gangster Johnny Stompanato and he ended up dead.  Danforth Prince and Darwin Porter argue in their book Lana Turner: Hearts and Diamonds Take All that Lana stabbed him to death and, knowing she would go to prison, took the advice of 'handlers' and let her daughter Cheryl take the fall.  They note the many holes in the story as well as the fact that the crime scene was cleaned before the police got there and that others -- such as gangster Mickey Cohen and Stompanato's family -- believed that Lana killed the man.

If so, she let Cheryl take the fall.  And pay the price.

Could a mother do that?  Even to save her own skin?  

In Madam X, Lana played a mother who sacrifices all for the man who doesn't know she is his mother.

In real life, Lana was married to Lex Barker when Barker began molesting Cheryl.  Cheryl told her grandmother the truth.  There's a sense throughout many passages after Lana learns the truth that Cheryl wasn't telling the truth.  And, later in the book, when Lana finds another guy she likes, she accuses teenage Cheryl of trying to steal the man from her just like before -- meaning Barker.

Cheryl lived for any moment, as a child, that she could spend with her mother.

Lana lived for fame and clothes.

Yes, I could see Cheryl doing the crime and letting Cheryl take the fall.

It's an interesting book that wraps up too quickly -- the 70s, 80s and 90s require much more length and coverage.  And, on Falcon's Crest, don't just tell me that she and Jane Wyman did not get along, give me examples.  

Other than that, I highly recommend this book.  Rebecca's offering her take tonight as we continue our pattern of doing a summer read together each year.


Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Wednesday, July 27, 2022.  Iraq makes its case to the United Nations Security Council, the political stalemate continues in Iraq, JACOBIN produces a groaner, and so much more

Let's start with JACOBIN and I'd honeslty probably let this pass without comment were it not for the fact that JACOBIN can't stop pimping war on Russia.  Eileen Jones, you're not the embarrassment that IN THESE TIMES has (their JUSTICUE JUDY review was a non--stop mess of errors) but you're not the writer you think you are either.  Your review of RESPECT was fairly spot on -- with many of the same points Ava and I had made weeks before.  But you don't know the industry so don't try to write about it.

Eileen wants you to know that NETFLIX bet big on THE GRAY MAN and NETFLIX lost.

What the hell is she talking about?

She's trying to write what industry papers were writing about ahead of the film streaming on NETFLIX and right after it started streaming.  The angle the industry papers were going with.

And had she published it then, it might have been less embarrassing.

By which point, the industry wags were silenced by reality.

NETFLIX is not losing -- big or otherwise -- on it.

And industry wags were stupid to have thought they would.  It was a bunch immature and ahistorical idiots who wrote that garbage to begin with.  Eileen saw it and ran with it.

At some point, the casting is not going to work.  We saw that as the 70s progressed.  But it is still new in streaming and the casting alone was going to make THE GRAY MAN a success globally.  You grab a variety of well known actors from various regions and put them in one film together.  It does well in the global market.

The $200 million price tag?  Does seem high but NETFLIX, as Jane Campion has already noted, is not going to stop making movies or stop making big movies.  It's going to be new talent and small films that will likely suffer as a result of any financial issues NETFLIX may face (that's a whole other story -- their financial woes -- and one Ava and I have covered in one story after another for years now).  

The Russo brothers are a team NETFLIX wants to be in business with for prestige and for hit potential.  It's the deal they made and it paid off.

The film is huge on NETFLIX.  The numbers came in and it's huge.  That's why the sequel to THE GRAY MAN was announced yesterday morning

Eileen and JACOBIN don't know the industry and shouldn't write about it.  They look like idiots.  Had Eileen just written the review trashing the film that she wanted, she might have been better off.

Should the film be trashed?  

Alfre Woodard is wonderful in the film.  Ryan Gosling was the perfect pick having already demonstrated in THE NICE GUYS that he worked very well with a child actor.  Everyone delivers a strong performance.  Were I casting it, I would've said no to Chris Evans.  He does a strong job but Captain America's not going to be easily accepted in the role he's playing -- maybe that's why he wears that mustache in the film.  I understand his need to break out of type casting but, at present, he's too associated with Captain America and I think it would have been better with a different actor.  That said, casting Chris in the role is part of the reason the film's a hit.

And, Eileen, it is a hit.  There will be a sequel.  People are streaming it like crazy.  You didn't understand the casting model and you didn't understand that some industry wags were finally smelling blood in the water with regards to NETFLIX (it's been bleeding for years) so you wrote your silly piece that made no sense.  Stick to reviews, not reporting, because your attempt at reporting blew up in your face because you didn't understand the models being used, industry jealousy or even industry terms.  That's how you end up writing a piece claiming NETFLIX has lost big on THE GRAY MAN when the film is a hit for NETFLIX.  Your entire premise was disproven by the time your piece was published.

That said, I do say "thank you."  Better readers at JACOBIN should read your garbage than the other garbage that's promoting war on Russia.  And if you're not getting how stupid the pro-war garbage they're publishing is -- try substituting "Florida" for "Ukraine" and "the United States" for "Russia" and see just how weak the case they're making is.

At JACOBIN's idealogical foe (WSWS), Andre Damon reports:

Behind the backs of the American public, the US military is preparing a provocation against China aimed at instigating a conflict that could lead to a full-scale world war between the world’s two largest economies.

This provocation comes in the form of a planned trip to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the third-ranking figure in the US government.

Despite US President Joe Biden’s publicly stated concerns about the provocative nature of the trip, New York Times journalist David Sanger, an unofficial spokesman for the US military/intelligence apparatus, reported Tuesday that “US officials said the planning for Ms. Pelosi’s trip was moving ahead.”

By all indications, sometime next month, the octogenarian grandmother of nine will strap herself into a C-130 cargo plane, possibly accompanied by an escort of F-35 fighters and supported by US aircraft carriers, and tempt fate by landing on Taiwan, amid warnings by Chinese military officers that they will “stop” her from entering the country.

This level of recklessness is a testament to the deep crisis and disorientation of the US political establishment, which is desperately lashing out in all directions in the face of an intractable social, economic and political crisis.

The dispatch of Pelosi, the highest-ranking US official to visit the island in a quarter century, is aimed at further undermining the one-China policy, which has been systematically dismantled by the Trump and Biden administrations, who have encouraged Taiwanese separatism as they have stuffed the island to the gills with weapons. Now, provocatively, Washington is acknowledging publicly a rising number of US military personnel on Taiwan. 

Turning to Iraq, last week's attack by the Turkish governmenti continues to dominate the news.  MEDIA LINE reports:

Six mortar rounds were fired Tuesday night at the Turkish Consulate in Mosul, in Iraq’s Nineveh province, landing nearby. There were no reported casualties and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. It comes six days after a resort in Duhok province, in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, was bombarded in a suspected Turkish artillery attack that killed nine tourists and wounded dozens of others. 

We'll note this Tweet:

Two rockets landed in the vicinity of the consulate, inflicting material damage, as reported by several media outlets, including Iran's state-affiliated Fars news agency and the GardaWorld Crisis24,

There was an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council yesterday regarding last week's attack.   AP reports (it's not identified as AP by ASHARQ AL-AWSAT but it is AP):

[Iraq's Foreign Minister Fuad] Hussein said the Iraqi government is “sure” the Turkish military was responsible for the attack. He pointed to the findings of its investigation that Turkey's army has bases in the area near the resort, PKK fighters have not been in the area for the last month and the Turkish army uses 155 mm artillery projectiles whose fragments were found at the scene.

Hussein added that many people in the area “gave us enough information about the activity of Turkish soldiers there.”

He called on the Security Council to urgently adopt a resolution demanding that Turkey withdraw what he said were about 4,000 combat soldiers from Iraq, and halt incursions into Iraqi airspace. 

Hussein said that Iraq has issued 296 official notes of protests to Turkey since 2018 in response to the neighboring country’s continued violations on Iraqi land, which he numbered at 22,742 cases, calling on the council to issue an emergency decision obliging Turkey to withdraw its forces from Iraq.

The Iraqi foreign minister stressed that there were no agreements between the Iraqi and Turkish sides which would allow the latter to roam Iraqi land under the pretext of targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as they have claimed.

Iraq’s demands before the council were listed by Hussein, which included obliging Turkey to withdraw its forces from Iraq, the formation of an international independent team to investigate the attack and hold the perpetrators responsible, asking the council to include the Iraq-Turkey situation in its agenda, and obliging the Turkish government to compensate for the losses and damages caused by the attack.

If the Security Council takes a pass, Iraq appears ready to address it themselves.  MEHR NEWS AGENCY reports:

An Iraqi Parliament member announced that the Iraqi Parliament is reviewing passing a law on expelling Turkish forces from Iraqi soil.

"The Iraqi parliament is determined to determine the task of the case of the illegal presence of Turkish army forces in the areas of northern Iraq, which is considered a clear violation of its sovereignty," the source cited.


The Coordination Framework, an umbrella parliamentary bloc including all Iran-backed Shia factions, formally nominated Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani to be the new Iraqi prime minister, Iraqi state media reported Monday. 

"Today, the leaders of the Shia framework met in positive conditions and they unanimously agreed to nominate Mr Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani for the [Iraqi] premiership," read a statement released by the Coordination Framework. 

Al-Sudani, 52, is a Shia Iraqi lawmaker from the south-eastern Maysan Governorate. He has a Bachelor's degree in agricultural sciences. He has held several posts and ministerial portfolios in the Iraqi government, including the governor of Maysan, the minister of human rights in 2010, and the minister of labour and social affairs in 2014.   

Doesn't that end the stalemate?  No.  As ARAB WEEKLY notes:

The attention of Iraqis has shifted to the disagreement between Kurdish forces over the nomination of the country’s next president, after the Shia camp within the Coordinating Framework managed to reach an agreement on the selection of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani as its nominee for prime minister.

Iraqi political analysts say that the approach of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) could scupper any deal with The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) to agree on a nominee for the presidency because the KDP is not looking for a compromise with the PUK and continues to pressure the pro-Iran Shia political alliance, the Coordination Framework in a way that some descibe as an "attempt at blackmail"...

You can't jump to the prime minister.  A prime minister-designate is named by the president.  Once named, the designate has 30 days to form a Cabinet which is the test that proves the designate is up to the job and, if so, can move from prime minister designate to prime minister.

By custom, the president is a Kurd.

The forming of a Cabinet in 30 days has never really been held and that's why Iraq's governments have been in disarray from the start.

So what might be considered is how much does the Constitution have to be followed?

The Constitution is clear that a president is elected and the president's first job is to then name a prime minister-designate.  Could Iraq use the existing president to name a prime minister-designate?  It probably could attempt to but doing so would make the KDP angry and probably lose their votes.

Another step around the impasse?

The Coordinating Framework could nominate, in front of Parliament, a person for the presidency.  By custom, it would need to be a Kurd and it would need to be someone popular enough to get the votes.  There is no rule in the Constitution that says the PUK and the KDP get to work out who the president of Iraq is.  They can be bypassed.  But you're going to need a very popular nominee to do that. 

So, at present, the political stalemate continues.

We'll wind down with this:

I need you to take action on the Equal Rights Amendment today, Common Ills.

The Equal Rights Amendment prohibits discrimination based on sex. Given the devastating Supreme Court decision to repeal Roe in late June, it is even more obvious that the ERA is needed more than ever.

We MUST act now to enshrine the ERA in the US Constitution.

Tell your Representative
you support House Res. 891

The US House has already removed the original time limit set on the ERA. Now the House is in the process of advancing House Res. 891, which expresses the sense of the House that the ERA to the US Constitution is valid. This means that the ERA has already been ratified.

The wording of House Res. 891 was intentionally modeled after language used to confirm the validity of the very important 14th Amendment and it’s Equal Protection Clause.

179 members of the House have already signed on to the resolution as co-sponsors. We need 218 total co-sponsors, the majority of the House, to sign on to House Res. 891. That has to happen as quickly as possible. To do that we need your help.

Your job is easy! We need you to urge your Representative who is pro ERA to become a co-sponsor of this historic House Res. 891. As well, please ask your Representative to urge other members of the House to become a co-sponsor of House Res. 891. To show its importance, Speaker Pelosi has become the leading cosponsor, along with chief co-sponsors Jackie Speier and Carolyn Maloney.

Tell your Representative
you support House Res. 891

We can do this!

Photo of Eleanor Smeal, President

Ellie Smeal

P.S. Please help be a part of this historic moment by reaching out to your Representative today!

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