Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rebecca offers up the 10 most f**kable men of 2013

Rebecca did a top ten. for 2013.  She called me to tell me and we're re-posting it here right away with her permission.  there's a nude bottom below but i think we're all mature enough not to gasp - unless out of passion.  This will be at the top for an hour and then I'll repost another piece which will be here for an hour and then the usual year end pieces. 

10 most f**kable men of 2013

iwana e-mailed suggesting this topic as a theme.

you know i'm so there.

1)  chris mckenna

as kat's 'the homophobia of people magazine' (about their awful pick this year for sexiest and how they've never picked an openly gay man as sexiest of the year), kat writes:

Who would I have picked as the sexiest man of this year?

I don't know.  Off the top of my head?

I'd say Chris McKenna who plays the father in the Citi Thank You Cards commercial.

He's with a friend and his teenage daughter comes running up about a Katy Perry concert?

Have you seen it?

Have you seen him?


Even the wrinkles under his eyes are sexy in that commercial.

He's probably the hottest man of the year.

amen to that!

chris mckenna is the 'flashdance' song 'he's a dream' come to life:

Right now, ask me if I care, look, it's coming closer, oh I'll swear
He's got to be the toughest guy I've ever seen
I can't believe he's lookin' at me
He's a dream

2) oliver hudson

in 'The nonsense women endure (Ava and C.I.),' ava and c.i. pointed out:

We got into a huge fight with one friend with the show when we were asked what our biggest critique was?

Oliver Hudson.

Yes, he's the only real reason to watch the current season of Nashville.

But our point was why wasn't he in this show?

Why wasn't he cast in the Michael Richards' role or as the son?

Kirstie, regardless of where her weight is, remains an attractive woman.

Why is the show so opposed to attractive men?

After Cheers, Kirstie starred in the sitcom Veronica's Closet.  It ran three seasons.  It would have had a longer span if it hadn't embraced ugly.  Ron Silver was butt ugly and scared viewers off when he was added in season two. By the time the producers faced that fact, the show was exiled to the Siberia of NBC Monday nights.

The show needs some man pretty.  And considering how butt ugly destroyed Kirstie's previous show, we did strongly suggest, they find some man pretty and do so quickly.

Oliver Hudson could offer that and so much more.

And Oliver is a great example of where Kirstie could go.

Rules of Engagement was a very bad and iffy show when it popped up.  Only Megyn Price seemed to have a firm grip on her character.  But as the show continued, Oliver's Adam and Bianca Kajlich's Jen became stronger characters and lifted so many scenese -- so many diner scenes, so many scenes.  Oliver Hudson's Adam is probably the great male sitcom character of the '00s.  You won't hear that from The Water Cooler Set which only lusts after trends and which hates sitcoms anyway.

But Oliver created a breakout character, a male character that TV had not seen before.  He first got a hold of that character when Adam had a playground confrontation with a school bully (a kid).  In that early season one episode, he clicked as the character and everything that followed was about sharpening and building that character.  The chemistry with Kajlich helped as did her skills, the rolled eyes, the side looks, they all allowed Hudson to play shades of embarrassment and discomfort.

how right they are.

i didn't watch 'rules of engagement' until that went up. i'm now watching it in syndication and, yes, oliver hudson's himbo adam is an amazing creation.  oliver's very talented.  on 'nashville' as well - which i'm now streaming for him.

and on top of everything else, he apparently tweeted his naked and fine ass this year.

what's not to grab onto?

3) channing tatum

magic mike

oh, yeah.

'white house down' i've watched 13 times on bluray.  and he's the reason.

he's so sexy.

i think he's even sexy between films when he gets chunky. it's a special kind of sexy he has.

4) karl urban.

  • the star of 'almost human' is super sexy.  and he's got that big butt and those thick hips so you know that no matter if he's working with a long wand or something more average, he's going to be pumping seriously and getting in there.

    adam levine is such a dainty little thing, a wisp of a person, that you just know he needs to have 12 inches or more because he doesn't have the strength or the stamina to get in there and work.

    i'm sure karl is at least average - at least.  but if he were just 3 inches, he's got the body to slam it home.

    i sometimes ignore the plot of the show and just watch hims move.

    5) aaron rodgers.


    the quarterback would be higher on my list if he came out as gay.

    i'm not joking.  my first husband was gay.  i didn't know that when i married the guy.  when c.i. tried to tell me the man was gay, i blew her off.  i find a number of gay men very sexy.

    i'm happily married, i'm not going to be sleeping with any of the guys on the list.  this is all in my head and fantasies and if a man is gay that doesn't mean i can't fantasize.

    i wish actors could grasp that.

    i think a lot more would come out if they could grasp that reality.

    6) chris pine.

  • omg.

    is there anything not sexy about him?

    chris pine oozes sex.

    i don't care what he's playing, he just can't stop oozing sex.

    if 'people' had any brains, they'd have him shirtless on every cover.

    7) zachary quinto.

    Zachary Quinto
    Zachary Quinto 2011.jpg

    for decades, some 'star trek' fans have imagined kirk and spock having sex.

    i'd argue that j.j. abrams got it right when he cast pine and zachary quinto in the roles.

    zach was hot as syler - i used to cover 'heroes' here - go back to the archives.  he is hot today.

    he is proof that the fantasy factory of hollywood continues regardless of whether an actor is gay or not.

    i've got a husband and zach's got a boyfriend.  we're never going to have sex.  it's not happening.

    but that's not why we fantasize about film stars.

    we really - unless we're stalkers - don't expect to have sex with a film star.  but it is so nice to fantasize.

    zachary is some good fantasy material.

    8) and then there's tom.

    Tom Hardy

    british actor tom hardy is so talented.

    but, if i'm honest, he's been so talented in a lot of bad movies.

    but i will watch each and every 1 because he's so sexy.

    yes, he's probably going to end up 1 of england's great actors.

    i don't dispute his talent.

    but the reason i keep watching is he's 1 fine piece of sexy.

    9) george michael.

     George Michael

    he will be your father figure ... only if you're damn lucky!

    i actually didn't feel any heat from george during wham.  i liked the group.  i sang along with the audio cassette.

    then came 'faith' and i still didn't feel it.

    he was good looking.

    but he did nothing for me.

    then came 'listen without prejudice.'

    he wasn't trying to be cute, sexy or good looking.

    and damn, did he hit me hard.

    i knew he was gay (he and c.i. are friends - i knew george was gay when i wasn't attracted to him) but even that didn't make him sexy to me in the 80s.

    but when he finally struck me as sexy, it never stopped.  geroge is sexier right now for me than he was in the 90s and he as very sexy then.

    10) drake.

  • are you offering anything more than a tour?

    drake.  the 1st time i saw him was on an awards show and he was presenting, not performing.

    but omg and good golly molly.  he had so much presence.

    having since seen him perform, i can agree he's very talented.

    but most of all, for this list, he's very, very sexy.

    so that's my 10 for the year and i could easily give you 10 more.

    happy new year!

    let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

    [. . .]

    Iraq snapshot

    Tuesday, December 31, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, another journalist is killed in Iraq, Nouri's attacks continue, we take a look at how little he's accomplished in over 7 years as prime minister, and more.

    NINA reports Omar al-Dulaimi was shot dead in Ramadi today while he was covering the clashes between Nouri's forces and militants or rebels.  NINA notes he was "a graduate of the Department of Information in the faculty of Arts, University of Anbar, and worked as a reporter for one of the local agencies in Ramadi."

    Yesterday, The Committee to Protect Journalists published a report by Elana Beiser on the deaths of journalists in 2013 which noted 70 journalists were killed around the world in 2013:

    At least 10 journalists were killed for their work in Iraq­, nine of them murdered, and all during the final quarter of the year. Unidentified gunmen opened fire on cameraman Mohammed Ghanem and correspondent Mohammed Karim al-Badrani of the independent TV channel Al-Sharqiya as they filmed a report on Eid al-Adha holiday preparations in Mosul in October. It is unclear why they were targeted; the station has attracted ire from both Iraqi authorities and anti-government militants.

    As the year ends, the number of journalists killed in Iraq this year stands at eleven -- at least eleven.

    The year winds down and so does Nouri al-Maliki's second term as prime minister.  What has he accomplished?

    Not a damn thing.

    Every October, the heavy rains come to Iraq.

    Every year.

    It's the raining season.  It's not a surprise.

    And if you're on your second term as prime minister, it's especially not a surprise.

    When heavy rains fall in most wealthy countries, the water moves along via the public sewage systems.

    If you don't have them, the water doesn't move along.  Instead the water pools.

    A home that comes down in the midst of storms?

    That's probably not Nouri's fault.  That's the effect of the rain (most likely).

    But when, for example, rain water -- after the raining stops -- is knee high in Baghdad?

    That's on Nouri al-Maliki.

    Top photo on this Al Mada page of photos is of the flooding in Baghdad.

    al mada

    Iraq brings in billions of dollars from oil each month and yet Nouri can't address public services. The crumbling infrastructure has not really been updated since the 70s.

    Iraq has another water problem.  Having any.

    This is going to become a very pressing issue for Iraq in the 21st century if it's not addressed.

    An intelligent leader aware of the rainy season would have been prepared to work the heavy rains to his or her advantage.  That would require constructing water towers.  The basin issue?  That's what the whole region's going to be fighting over.  If I were in charge of Iraq, every major city would have a water tower.

    In a largely useless interview on Morning Edition (NPR -- link is text and audio), this exchange took place between host Steve Inskeep and AFP's WG Dunlop:

    INSKEEP: We understand that as we were arranging this call, there were power outages in Baghdad. How regular are city services at this point?

    DUNLOP: It really varies by area and time. But ultimately, there's not 24-hour power. Many Iraqis have to supplement government-provided power with private generators - either buying generators themselves, or buying lines from local neighborhood generators.

    Nouri's first term started in 2006.  And it's 2013.  Yet he's failed to fix the electricity.

    Unemployment remains at record highs in Iraq, it's one of the reasons people have protested for over a year. Nouri's failed to provide jobs.

    As we've repeatedly noted, every few months Iraq's importing nurses from other countries.  The way you create jobs?  Fast track medical training.  You provide an education for those in need of jobs to become nurses and doctors -- both are heavily needed in Iraq.

    But Nouri didn't do that. He didn't do that in 2006 or any time since.  We've noted that he needs to do this since at least 2009.

    In November, in search of a campaign issue, he brought it up once and then dropped it.

    Also in November, All Iraq News reported, "Iraq has occupied the (130) position globally in terms of economic development indicator in accordance with the general prosperity and welfare world annual pointer of 2013. The report, which was issued by the British Institute (Legatom) in London including (142) countries, is considering many pointers such as the happiness and satisfaction of the people of the country and their ability to plan for better future as well as the financial fortune."

    He has been prime minister for over seven years now and he has nothing to show for it, nothing to point to with pride.

    He has no accomplishments.

    In 2007, he agreed with the White House to a set of benchmarks.

    He failed at them.

    He failed at them while Bully Boy Bush was in the White House and he's still not accomplished them.

    One of them we still hear the foolishness of reporters on.  That would be the oil and gas law.

    How long would it take to count up all the 'reports' from news outlets over the years that have told us that Iraq was about to pass an oil and gas law?

    Vivienne Walt (Time magazine) noted:

    Among the key "benchmarks" for progress in Iraq set by President George W. Bush in January of 2007 was the passage of a new Iraqi oil law. But almost three years on, the controversial legislation setting terms for foreign investment in the country's oil sector, and for distributing its revenues, remains stalled in the legislature. And Iraqi politicians admit it's unlikely to pass before the current parliament is replaced following Iraq's general elections next January.

    And she noted that in October 2009.  It's still true.

    The January "general elections" she's referring to did take place . . . in  March of 2010.  

    Which is why we try to say "scheduled for April 30th" about the supposed upcoming elections. 

    Iraq did have elections this year.

    This was more failure for Nouri.

    The press runs with the poor showing of his State of Law as evidence that his popularity is on the wane.  I don't make that argument.  I do think he's far less popular but these were provincial elections and they're more local elections.

    So what do I mean it was a failure for Nouri?

    The Kurdistan Regional Government is (currently) three provinces in northern Iraq.  They held their elections in September.  That's fine, the KRG is semi-autonomous.

    But Iraq has 18 provinces and that still left fifteen.

    One did not vote.  That left fourteen.

    April 20th was the day of elections . . . for twelve provinces.

    Nouri is deeply unpopular in Anbar and Nineveh Province.

    Guess which two weren't allowed to vote in April?

    You got it.

    In Novmeber, the State Dept's Brett McGurk told Congress, "In the Sunni majority provinces of Ninewa and Anbar, provincial elections had been delayed due to security concerns. We were clear from the outset that this decision was unwise, and pushed to ensure the elections took place, which they did on June 20."

    Clear from the outset?

    On that -- at least on that -- McGurk told the truth.

    In March of this year, Al Jazeera reported the following

    Kerry's visit also addressed democratic reforms and upcoming elections which are threatened by sectarian tensions.
    The secretary of state has told Iraq's parliamentary speaker the US believes Iraq is facing a serious crisis and is in danger of going backwards, according to an official at the talks.
    Iraq's parliamentary speaker told Kerry that a decision earlier this month by the Iraqi government to postpone provincial elections next month in two Sunni-majority provinces due to security concerns is unconstitutional.
    The statement said the speaker pointed out to Kerry that security during the last elections four years ago was much worse, and described the delay as a "political decision".

    Following this discussion, Kerry says that Maliki agreed to revisit a cabinet decision to delay elections in two Sunni majority provinces next month.

    Al Jazeera goes on to tell you that the elections were delayed in the two provinces for security reasons.


    That's a lie and part of the continued lying that outlet does for Nouri.

    The most violent province was Baghdad -- as cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr pointed out.

    It wasn't about violence at all.

    Pressed on that, Nouri suddenly announced the delay was because they couldn't prevent voter fraud in those two provinces.

    Okay, we noted 17 provinces finally voted -- not 18 -- and that the KRG currently is three provinces.  What are we talking about?

    The province of Kirkuk -- both the KRG and Nouri's Baghdad based government insist that Kirkuk belongs to them.

    If only there was a way to resolve the dispute.

    Oh, wait, there is.

    Article 140 of the Constitution.  It demands that a census and referendum be held to determine the status of Kirkuk.

    Nouri took an oath to the Constitution at the start of both of his terms of prime minister.

    But he's never implemented Article 140.

    The Constitution demands it be implemented.  It was supposed to, per the wording of Article 140, have been resolved by the end of 2007.

    Nouri blew the Constitution off.

    In 2010's parlimentary elections, Nouri's State of Law lost to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.  Allawi should be prime minister today.

    If Nouri didn't have the votes of the people how did he get around it and get a second term?

    Because Nouri refused to step down.

    An election took place in March of 2010.

    For over eight months, Nouri refused to step down.  He lost to Iraqiya and he refused to step down.

    Instead of urging him to honor the will of the Iraqi people, the White House backed him and brokered a legal contract, The Erbil Agreement.

    The pitch the White House used with the leaders of Iraq's various political blocs was, "Nouri's prepared to drag this on for eight more months.  Nothing is happening.  Parliament can't meet.  There are no sessions, there is no Cabinet.  Iraq cannot survive 8 more months of this.  The country needs your leadership and your maturity.  Be the bigger person and let Nouri have a second term.  If you agree, we can draw up the contract, a legally binding contract with the full backing of the US government, and make sure that, in exchange for Nouri getting a second term, you get something your constituents want."

    For the Kurds, what they wanted was Kirkuk determined.

    Nouri was so desperate for a second term -- and he's such a liar -- that the Kurds could have probably asked for Kirkuk in that negotiation and he would have agreed to it.

    But they asked for Article 140 to be implemented.

    That was stupid.

    If the Constitution requires Nouri to implement it and he's refusing to do so, why would you think a United States brokered contract would make him implement it?

    He never intended to.

    He used The Erbil Agreement to grab a second term and, once he had that, he refused to honor the legally binding promises he made in that contract.  And the White House pretended that they'd never heard of The Erbil Agreement -- so much for the contract having the full backing of the US government.

    KRG President Massoud Barzani spoke in DC April 5, 2012 (covered in that day's snapshot and the April 6, 2012 one).  Among the statements he made?  This:

    As far as the second part of your question, the Erbil Agreement.  In fact, the agreement was not only for the sake of forming the government and forming the three presidencies -- the presidency, the Speakership of Parliament and premier.  In fact, it was a package -- a package that included a number of essential items.  First, to put in place a general partnership in the country.  Second, commitment to the Constitution and its implementation, the issue of fedarlism, the return of balance of power and especially in all the state institutions,the establishment in [. . .] mainly in the armed forces and the security forces, the hydrocarbons law, the Article 140 of the Constitution, the status of the pesh merga.  These were all part of the package that had been there.  Had this Erbil Agreement been implemented, we would not have faced the situation that we are in today.  Therefore, if we do not implement the Erbil Agreement then there would certainly be problems in Iraq.

    Nouri created the ongoing political crisis by refusing to honor The Erbil Agreement.

    In fact, the White House -- Barack Obama -- created the ongoing political crisis by refusing to honor the will of the Iraqi people and brokering an extra-constitutional contract to give Nouri a second term.

    The administration's inept and clueless on Iraq.

    They've never understood it.  Vice President Joe Biden does have an understanding.

    But he's repeatedly overridden by the likes of Samantha Power. (She and Susan Rice were the ones insisting to Barack that Nouri had to have a second term.)

    Barack's clueless on Iraq.  That's why his first US Ambassador to Iraq was the idiot Chris Hill.

    We covered Hill's Senate confirmation hearing in the March 25, 2009 snapshot and the March 26th one.

    In his opening remarks, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair John Kerry pointed out the importance of Kirkuk:

    First, resolving the status of Kirkuk and other disputed territories. Arab - Kurdish tensions run high in Kirkuk, which remains a potential flashpoint for violence, and meaningful efforts to reach agreement on Kirkuk's final status cannot be put off indefinitely. In Mosul, a strong showing in recent provincial elections by an anti-Kurdish coalition illustrated rising tensions there, as did a tense military standoff in Diyala province last summer between the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga . If progress is not made in defusing Arab-Kurdish tensions while American forces remain in Iraq, the window for a peaceful resolution of Kirkuk and other disputed territories may close.         

    However, the never-should-have-been-confirmed Hill insisted in that hearing that Kirkuk was"just an old fashioned land dispute."

    Isaiah's  The World Today Just Nuts "The Pig-Pen Ambassador" from April 5, 2009 would mock that comment.

    The Pig-Pen Ambassador

    People ask two questions about that coverage. Did John Kerry really yawn while Hill was speaking?  Yes, he did.  I noted he was tired.  Even so, he openly yawned as Hill yammered away, wide mouth yawn and no attempt to hide it or cover his mouth was his hand.  Second, was Isaiah's comic fair?


    Chris Hill may have cowlicks or he may just be messy but his hair was sticking up and out and his shirt had a food stain on it, a prominent food stain.

    This is how the lazy slob presented himself to the Senate Committee in what was a job interview.

    That goes to his stupidity as well.

    If you're blowing Kerry on the importance of Kirkuk, you're making a mistake.  If you're blowing off the importance because I'm the one saying it, let's drop back to the July 26, 2011 snapshot for more on this issue:

    Of greater interest to us (and something's no one's reported on) is the RAND Corporation's  report entitled "Managing Arab-Kurd Tensions in Northern Iraq After the Withdrawal of U.S. Troops."  The 22-page report, authored by Larry Hanauer, Jeffrey Martini and Omar al-Shahery, markets "CBMs" -- "confidence-building measures" -- while arguing this is the answer.  If it strikes you as dangerously simplistic and requiring the the Kurdish region exist in a vacuum where nothing else happens, you may have read the already read the report.  CBMs may strike some as what the US military was engaged in after the Iraqi forces from the central government and the Kurdish peshmerga were constantly at one another's throats and the US military entered into a patrol program with the two where they acted as buffer or marriage counselor.  (And the report admits CBMs are based on that.)  Sunday Prashant Rao (AFP) reported US Col Michael Bowers has announced that, on August 1st, the US military will no longer be patrolling in northern Iraq with the Kurdish forces and forces controlled by Baghdad. That took years.  And had outside actors.  The authors acknowledge:
    Continuing to contain Arab-Kurd tensions will require a neutral third-party arbitrator that can facilitate local CMBs, push for national-level negotiations, and prevent armed conflict between Iraqi and Kurdish troops.  While U.S. civilian entities could help implement CMBs and mediate political talks, the continued presence of U.S. military forces within the disputed internal boundaries would be the most effective way to prevent violent conflict between Arabs and Kurds.
    As you read over the report, you may be struck by its failure to state the obvious: If the US government really wanted the issue solved, it would have been solved in the early years of the illegal war.  They don't want it solved.  The Kurds have been the most loyal ally the US has had in the country and, due to that, they don't want to upset them.  However, they're not going to pay back the loyalty with actual support, not when there's so much oil at stake.  So the Kurds were and will continue to be told their interests matter but the US will continue to blow the Kurdish issues off over and over.  Greed trumps loyalty is the message.  (If you doubt it, the Constitution guaranteed a census and referendum on Kirkuk by December 31, 2007.  Not only did the US government install Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister in 2006, they continued to back him for a second term in 2010 despite his failure to follow the Constitution.)
    Along with avoiding that reality, the report seems rather small-minded or, at least, "niche driven."  Again, the authors acknowledge that as well noting that they're not presenting a solution to the problems or ways to reach a solution, just ways to kick the can further down the road and, hopefully, there won't be an explosion that forces the issue any time soon. ("Regional and local CBMs have the potential to keep a lid on inter-communal tensions that will, without question, boil beneath the surface for a long time.  They cannot, however, resolve what is, at its heart, a strategic political dispute that must be resolved at the national level.") Hopefully? Page nine of the report notes that the consensus of US military, officials, analysts, etc. who have worked on the issue is that -- "given enough time -- Arab and Kurdish participants will eventually have a dispute that leads to violence, which will cause the mechanism to degrade or collapse."
    The report notes that, in late 2009, Gen Ray Odierno (top US commander in Iraq at that point) had declared the tensions between Arabs and Kurds to be "the greatest single driver of instability in Iraq."  It doesn't note how the US Ambassador to Iraq when Odierno made those remarks was Chris Hill who dismissed talk of tensions as well as the issue of the oil rich and disputed Kirkuk.

    This can't continue.  Kirkuk needs to be resolved.

    To the Kurds credit, when they had leverage in 2010, they only asked for Article 140 to be implemented.  All they asked for with regards to Kirkuk was for the country's Constitution to be followed.

    That's not going to continue.

    People can only be ignored and blown off for so long.  The issue needs to be resolved.

    If the current violence diminished or even disappeared tomorrow, the issue of Kirkuk would continue to jeopardize the future of Iraq.  It has to be addressed.


    Let's go today's violence.

    National Iraqi News Agency reports that a Baghdad shooting left a police member injured, a Baghdad car bombing left one person injured, another Baghdad car bombing left 1 person dead and five more injured, two more Baghdad car bombings left 4 people dead and ten injured, yet another Baghdad car bombing left eleven people injured, a clash in Ramadi left three Iraqi soldiers injured and one police member injured as well, Jurf al-Sakar home bombings claimed the lives of 7 Iraqi soldiers and 2 military officers, two people were injured in Falluja by sniper fire, a Mosul home invasion left a wife and husband dead, Baghdad Operations command announced/boasted they shot dead 2 suspects4 people were shot dead in Ramadi by a sniper, and in another Ramadi shooting 1 person was dead and two more injured

    Staying with violence, Nouri attacked peaceful protesters yesterday.  He was able to do so because he has the backing of the White House.  That backing includes the White House decision to supply Nouri with weapons.

    Last week, Erin Evers (Human Rights Watch) weighed in on the latest arming Barack has elected to do:

    So the United States has delivered 75 Hellfire missiles to Iraq, The New York Times reported, to help Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki fight Al-Qaeda’s regional affiliate, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The US has already sent Iraq reconnaissance helicopters, and plans to deliver more aerial drones and F-16 fighter planes in 2014, the article said. The Hellfire air-to-ground missiles and reconnaissance drones, along with US intelligence, are meant to “augment limited Iraqi ability”to locate and strike Al-Qaeda militants, the article said.
    The US focus on new weapons seems to be missing the point about the security problems facing Iraq. There’s little evidence that Iraq’s failure to improve security in the country stems from a lack of weapons, but rather from its short-sighted approach to corruption and sectarian politics, and a counterterrorism strategy that targets Sunni Iraqis amounting to collective punishment.
    Corruption is deeply entrenched in the security forces, and Maliki has at best turned a blind eye and at worst encouraged the graft to his own advantage. Many people in Baghdad  – including military officers, and advisers in the Prime Minister’s Office – have told me that there is a system for buying positions in the army and police, with set prices for each rank.
     Shia militias interested in escalating sectarian warfare ahead of elections have infiltrated the security forces, which are filled with men whose only loyalty is to the officers they’ve paid for their positions. In the last six months there have been at least four prison breakouts and numerous  attacks on government buildings and security installations that would have been impossible without help from within the security forces.
     Maliki has also blatantly encouraged sectarian policies, visually apparent in the Shia flags and slogans that cover virtually every SWAT and army vehicle in Iraq.
     Al-Qaeda effectively exploits Iraq’s main problem, the gulf between the Shiite-led government and the minority Sunni population. The Iraqi army and police are just as likely to turn any new weapons and capabilities against the Sunni population at large, rather than against those posing  imminent threats to human life.

    US President Barack Obama should be doing more to address the human rights issues underlying Iraq’s security problems. He needs to take the Iraqi leader to task for his abusive and sectarian policies and his failure to curb corruption.These failures have helped strengthen Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and won’t disappear without ending the discrimination and abuses.

    Violence continues today as Nouri's forces continue their Anbar attacks.  While the press reports this, they do not report numbers.  Presumably, in a few days a toll will be given.  As noted in yesterday's snapshot, 44 Sunni MPs resigned Monday over Nouri's attacks on Anbar and Nouri's Saturday dawn raid on the home of MP Ahmed al-Alwani who was illegally arrested while  5 people (bodyguards and family) were killed (this included his brother) while ten family members (including children) were left injured.  Al Jazeera reports today:

    Tariq Hashemi, Iraq's exiled Sunni vice president, has also resigned in protest, and called on the government of Saudi Arabia for help.
    "Enough is enough," Hashemi told Al Jazeera. "Everyone has a cause, but we face two main problems. We lack a unifying project and a country that supports our cause."

    Kim Sengupta (Independent) adds of the violence and the MPs who have resigned:

    The MPs also demanded the release of Ahmed al-Alwani, a colleague who was arrested in Ramadi at the weekend amid violence in which his brother and five guards were killed. The government stated that he was wanted on charges of terrorism without specifying what they were.
    Support for the Sunni stance had come from some Shia public figures, including Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical cleric who was a vehement opponent of the presence of American and British forces in his country. Sheikh Abdul Malik al-Saadi, an influential Sunni cleric, has asked the Shia tribes in the south of the country not to send their sons to participate “in this blatant aggression on their brothers”.

    World Bulletin reports that the resignations were in response to a Sunday call from Ayad Allawi that MPs resign over Nouri's targeting of Sunnis.  (Allawi, the leader of Iraqiya, is a Shi'ite.)

    State Dept friends have repeatedly called to tell me Iraq came up in the briefing yesterday.

    Thank you.

    I knew that yesterday.   We didn't have room.  We don't have room today.  In the January 2nd snapshot it will be noted.  We never had room to note the death threat on Ayad Allawii  in Jordan last week.  There's a ton of things I'd love to note -- including ripping apart an 'analysis' that can't seem to support itself with facts.
    We don't have room.  That's how it goes sometimes.  I wanted to note Nouri and the Constitution today -- how he refuses to follow the Constitution -- not just Article 140.

    No room.  No time.

     The coverage of Iraq is minimal today.  And yet events in Iraq are so numerous that an overly long snapshot can't even cover it all.  When this started, the snapshots, in 2006, the term 'snapshot' was used because there was so much Iraq news that we couldn't cover it all.  There is so much less coverage in English language media of Iraq today -- however, the news making events out of Iraq have -- like the violence -- soared.

    All that we have not had time to cover this year?  That goes to just how much is taking place in Iraq, a thought to end the last 2013 Iraq snapshot on.

    Lie Face, the would be voice of Black America, has a White mother

    Melissa Lie Face.

    nation bullpen

    That's her standing next to the nose challenged Katrina vanden Heuvel in Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Nation Bullpen" from December 2, 2012.

    When we first encounter Melissa, the little liar was appearing on Democracy Now!

    She was working -- and had been for nearly a year -- for Barack Obama's campaign.

    That's the main reason she was in New Hampshire in January of 2008.

    And she went on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman --- who knew she was working on Barack's campaign -- the two had already appeared on Jesse Jackson's radio program together.

    But the unethical Amy Goodman introduced her as, "Melissa Harris-Lacewell is a professor of politics and African American studies at Princeton University. She is leading a group of Princeton students in New Hampshire to volunteer with the presidential campaigns of their choice. She joins us now from New Hampshire."

    That was January 7th.

    Amy  Goodman's a whore and her work doesn't stand up and some day people will look at her 2007 and 2008 Democratic Party campaign coverage and see how she whored while pretending to be fair and ethical.

    Ava and I covered her garbage in real time and I'll just note briefly:

    1) Goodman would bring on Barack supporters --whether she identified them as such or not -- and allow them to praise Barack in segments that had nothing to do with the primaries or running for president.  It would just 'spring up.'

    2) Some of these people were already working for Barack's campaign but would be allowed to pretend they were undecided.

    3) No Hillary supporter was allowed to be on a segment by themselves.  They would always be paired with a Barack supporter.

    4) Hillary attackers -- especially from The Nation magazine -- were brought on for segments devoted to nothing but attacks on Hillary.

    5) No such segments existed for Barack. Even when he put homophobes on stage at a campaign event -- gay 'recovery' advocates, etc -- Amy Goodman refused to cover that.

    6) When she had on Barack and Hillary supporters, Goodman would ask Hillary supporters about Iraq but not Barack's supporters.  Barack wasn't in the Senate in 2002 when the Iraq War authorization vote took place -- a fact Patricia Williamson (The Nation) and Ruth Conniff (The Progessive) frequently 'forgot' -- but he was in the Senate in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 and he voted for funding the war over and over.  The record's much worse than just those votes but we'll leave it there.

    Amy Goodman is a cheap little hustler.  This is the woman who chose to publish in Larry Flynt's Hustler magazine despite the misogyny of that magazine.  She has never apologized for that (Noam Chomsky did issue an apology) and would still be doing so if the pushback hadn't been so great.

    She's a hustler, she's not a journalist.

    She knew Melissa was working for Barack's campaign.

    She knew that was a needed disclosure.

    She chose to not to make it.

    January 14, 2008, seven days later, Melissa was back on Democracy Now! and this is how Amy Goodman billed her, "Melissa Harris-Lacewell is Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University. She is the author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought. She is at work on a new book called For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Politics When Being Strong Wasn’t Enough. Melissa Harris-Lacewell is a Barack Obama supporter. She joins us now from Princeton, New Jersey. "

    If you've never heard of those books, Amy wasn't lying about that, it's just no one buys Melissa's bad writing and that the title of her 'new book' was changed when it was finally finished and published in 2011.  The writing was hideous and Princeton had already wanted out of their association with Melissa because she is Lie Face.  With a lot of editing and re-writing and with friends pulling in favors, Yale agreed to publish the book which went on to sell poorly.  It's title was now Sister Citizen and it's subtitle was the For Colored Girls . . . rip-off.  The whole book was a rip-off, in fact, and we'll get to that.

    Third party friends, Socialists and John Edwards supporters were telling Ava and I throughout 2007 that Amy Goodman was deliberately skewing her coverage to endorse Barack.  And Ava and I wrongly defended Goodman.

    I was wrong, I have no problem saying that.

    When Melissa Harris-Lacewell now Perry first appeared on Democracy Now! January 7th, all hell broke loose in terms of people calling us and telling us we had to write about it.  That's when they backed up their claims of unethical coverage with proof of Goody and Lie Face's relationship -- which went beyond being guests on Jesse Jackson's radio show together.

    And that's why Ava and I wrote "TV: Democracy Sometimes?" and we waited on one detail that was pertinent.  This is from that piece:

    Obama's mother was one of those White women Harris-Lacewell seems to have a problem with. Probably one of those second-wave feminists that Professor Melissa just knows were holding everyone back. See, despite Harris-Lacewell's repeated use of the term of "Black" to describe Obama, he is the product of an interracial union and he is bi-racial.
    On Bill Moyers last year, Harris-Lacewell 'explained' that anyone today who might have been a slave before the end of slavery in this country was "Black" in her book. Again, she's an allegedly educated woman (reading her books will not shore that claim up). One wonders if her screaming rant against Gloria Steinem wasn't in some way her screaming rant at Obama's mother, a White woman, for being White?

    Melissa was going around speaking for Black America.

    And, honestly, if she'd already pulled the crap that she later did to Tavis Smiley, we wouldn't have been so nice.

    But Ava and I discussed if we wanted to make it personal.

    Do we discuss Melissa Lie Face personally?

    Here she was a 'Black' woman insisting that she spoke for Black America, insisting to Black Americans who questioned Barack as Black since he was bi-racial and she was vouching for him as a Black woman but she was concealing that she had a White mother.

    Now she can still vouch for him if she wants to and acknowledge her White mother.

    She can say, "I consider him to be Black despite his White mother the same way I consider myself to be Black despite my White mother."

    Ava and I went back and forth over that and finally decided we'd avoid directly revealing that personal information.

    Did we make the right decision?

    With what she did to Tavis, I say no.

    (Disclosure, I've known Tavis for years and I love him.  You can't know Tavis and 'like' him.  To know him is to love him, he's an inspiring person.)

    We would be forced to deal with Melissa again in March 2008 with "TV: Goodman and Rose 'honoring' bad TV past."

    Charlie Rose brought Melissa on his show to be part of a live roundtable.

    The other participants were journalists.  They were not working for any of the candidates running for a presidential nomination.

    Melissa did not identify herself as working for Barack's campaign.

    Here's what Ava and I wrote in March of 2008:

    It's not journalism, it's not ethical, it's not academic. And where there is trash, there is Charlie Rose smearing his face in it. Which is how Melissa-Harris Lacewell showed up on his show last Tuesday. It was primary night in Rhode Island, Ohio, Vermont and Texas. The results from Texas would not be known while the show was broadcasting (live for a change) and the topic was the primaries. "Joining me tonight in New York," Rose would offer in that ding-dong voice he's so proud of, "Mark Halperin, editor at large of Time magazine, Errol Louis, columnist of The New York Daily News. And Melissa Harris-Lacewell, professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University. From Cleveland Connie Schultz, a columnist for The Cleveland Plain Dealer and in Washington David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times." See the problem? Harris-Lacewell is not a journalist. Nor was it ever revealed on air that she was an Obama supporter and campaigner. There was no one present from the Clinton campaign and Rose never thought audiences had a right to know that Harris-Lacewell was working with the Obama campaign.
    Had they been informed of that, there might have been a huge gasp around the country as viewers grasped that someone with the Obama campaign was threatening a Black-Out. She did just that, after snapping at Schultz, declaring Barack Obama had to be given the nomination and if he wasn't "you don't need these core constituents to vote for Republicans. You simply need them to not vote, to not show up, to not come out." As that point she was referring to African-American and "environmentalist green folks." The latter claim is hilarious because Bambi is backed by the nuclear and coal industry and Harris-Lacewell quickly dropped that issue stating, "There is a longstanding capture of the African-American vote within the Democratic Party." Note the choice of "capture" -- who's disempowering voters with their word choice. She continued babbling on and moved over to "Congresswoman Stephanie Jones" whose, Harris-Lacewell stated, "many constituents are calling for her to follow their lead once she gets to the convention". Stephanie Tubbs Jones is her name and, as usual, 'professor' Harris-Lacewell doesn't know her facts. Harris-Lacewell's referring to an astro-turf campaign that's been very successful in making members of Congress feel threatened but that may be changing due to the fact that we spoke with one member of Congress early last week to explain this 'spontaneous' 'uprising' was not, in fact, spontaneous and that, if he checked, he'd grasp that he'd been astro-turfed by people outside his voting area. He did just that. And by the end of the week, was stating (and we have permission to note this) that he's not announcing he's changing his support for Obama as a super delegate but that he will not be supporting Obama as a super delegate. He will also be speaking with other members of Congress who made announcements under pressure to advise them to check into whether they truly heard from constituents or were just the targets of astro-turf. We were informed of the astro-turf efforts by a student of a 'professor' who feels used and no longer supports Barack Obama and provided us with some background on how the 'movement' was built.
    Harris-Lacwell kept referencing African-American voters not voting if Bambi isn't given the nomination and we're not in the mood for her garbage so let's move on to the moment where she revealed on television how these 'spontaneous' pressure efforts work.
    African-Americans, Harris-Lacewell informed, have "even called on poeple like Tavis Smiley who generally who has great support among African-Americans a huge critique of his critique of Tavis Smiley's critique of Barack Obama." That is how she worded it (and we're taking that from the transcript faxed to us by a PBS friend who states it's also available for $9.95 at something called "VoxantShop.com"). Yes, she sounded like an idiot but she was lost for a reason, she was lost inside her own echo chamber. The windmills of her mind were creaking.
    Harris-Lacewell not only didn't disclose that she was part of the Obama campaign, she also didn't disclose, while promoting this criticism of Tavis Smiley, that she was a part of that. On February 15th, Harris-Lacewell posted "Who Died and Made Tavis King?" at her own website and it was picked up by many other websites though we don't find anyone who ran it in full. A pity because near the end of slamming Smiley, she shares she won't be watching his State of Black Union coverage, "I will be phoning Texas voters to remind them to head out to the polls on March 4." Poor Melissa, her campaign work is never done.
    Alleged disinterested party (if you catch her broadcast media appearances) Melissa opened her post with, "Does Tavis realize that Obama is trying to win an election?" She referred to Smiley's actions as "throwing a temper tantrum" and, though we'd agree she's an expert on how to do that, we think she's actually projecting on Smiley. She explains that Obama was too busy ("he was announcing his bid for US presidency") to attend 2007's State of Black Union conference and that he is this year as well (he's "busy trying to win Texas . . . Obama wins Texas; Hillary goes home.") It is a ridiculous post in which Melissa Harris-Lacewell makes clear that Obama is more important than any movement or than the African-American community with declarations such as, "But Tavis and company think Obama should spend precious hours chatting with them about their agenda."
    "Their agenda"? She calls Smiley a "Queen-Maker." We just call Melissa a LIAR. She attacks "the old guard Civil Rights leaders" who "are genuinely unwilling to cede power, believing that they have an authenticy claim based on their proximity to Martin Luther King, Jr." and it only gets worse from there. It's one long rant. She wonders if Smiley "is just jealous" and states there's no reason for Obama to take time out from his busy campaign (Lousianna -- the location for the 2008 State of Black Union -- is a Texas border-state) and that they should be happy to have his wife attend (Michelle Obama didn't attend). If you're remembering Harris-Lacewell's non-feminist smears of Hillary as First Lady, she wants to be sure you do by adding: "If Hillary can claim Bill's presidency as her experience, I am pretty sure Michell can talk to Tavis on the campaign's behalf."
    Has there ever been a more demented soul? On the right plenty and that's the thing, Harris-Lacewell, by most accounts, isn't even a lefty. She's a centrist (and a brat) and, considering where his real support comes from, that's really not a surprise, now is it?
    See, that's how the 'movement' works. On February 15th, Melissa Harris-Lacewell launches an attack on Tavis Smiley and, by March, she's appearing on The Charlie Rose Show and referencing attacks on Smiley without ever noting her own part in those attacks. It's an echo chamber and we're told she's been one of the most effective devisors of the echo chamber the Obama campaign uses.

    For those wondering about 'justice,' there was justice.

    Melissa isn't with Princeton anymore. They do believe in ethics.  That's why Lie Face left.  Presented with transcripts of the above three media appearances as well as Melissa's insulting remarks about Princeton students secured Lie Face's departure from Princeton.

    She used her latest husband's political connections to get her present job.  And she's having problems at that institution as well.

    When Melissa set herself up as the voice of Black America, she needed to disclose.

    She didn't.

    Melissa hates, hates what Ava and I've written in 2008 and since about her lack of ethics.  Of course, she does.  I don't blame her.  They are her own actions and she should take accountability but she did lose an Ivy League job as a result of her lack of ethics so we do get the occasional hate mail from Lie Face and that's fine.

    We exposed her, she's angry.

    Her White mother.

    Isaiah's planning a piece on that -- several comics -- in the new year.  He wondered if it was still pertinent?

    I said I thought so.

    But that was before Sunday or Melissa's apology today.

    On her bad TV show, Melissa and her guests decided to go after Mitt Romney.

    Romeny is a Republican, he ran on the GOP's presidential ticket in 2012.  One of his children (I think he just has sons but I don't know) adopted a child.  That child is now part of the Romney family.  Not an accessory, not a possession, a family member.

    And I'm being told on the phone (by an AP friend who called angry over what I wrote in yesterday's snapshot) that the baby's parents are Ben and Andelynne Romney.

    I don't really care.  I don't mean that in an insulting way but there's no reason for me to write about the child.  Neither parent is running for any office and people are entitled to their private lives.

    In my offline life, I've always been very private and walled off the press whenever possible.  (I'm referring to journalists doing pieces on me -- I walled that press off.)  I did not use my children as accessories for press coverage, for example.

    I am not accusing the Romney family of that, to be clear.

    I am noting that I do draw a strong line for myself on personal and public and always have.

    People get mad when Ava and I out someone as gay or their political leanings.

    Is it pertinent to the discussion?

    If so how is it pertinent?

    We debate it.

    And sometimes it is pertinent and sometimes it is not.

    Melissa's mother is now beyond pertinent.

    On her TV show, she elected to mock a Black child being raised by a White family.

    Now there was never a reason to mock Kieran.

    He is a child, he's an infant.

    But children don't need to be mocked by adults.

    Ava and I cover TV at Third.  Early on, in 2005, when we started we offered praise of child actors on a TV show.

    A friend who is a former child actress asked us not to do that again.

    She explained that while it was praise, if we covered children, we would most likely offer negative criticism.  Did we realize how that could screw up a child?

    If we were silent about the child but had a history of praising children, our silence would also send a message.

    She talked about how her parent followed all of her acting reviews and how they would be thrown in her face.  She talked about the damage that did.

    That's all it took. Ava and I have never again commented on child actors -- not even to praise them -- in our pieces and we extend that all the time to those who have recently turned 18.

    So if we won't even critique a child positively at Third, explain to me how Melissa thinks it's honorable to mock a child?

    Why would any adult do that?

    Who knows but people seemed to think that Trig Palin was an honorable target for mockery as well.

    Trig Palin is a child, I'm sure he's a beautiful child to be around and fills people around him with joy.  Just because he is a child, he should have been off-limits.  The fact that he's a special needs child should have only made him more off-limits to attacks.

    That didn't happen.

    And while 2008 candidate Barack was happy to whine about his own family being off limits, he never once called out the attacks on Trig or MSNBC's attack on Chelsea (who is an adult but I also felt that tasteless attack was out of bounds).

    Because it was 'acceptable' and 'funny' to attack Trig (it was not funny and those attacks still make me cry but, let's be really honest right now, those attacks happened because he is a special needs child) -- because it was 'acceptable' and 'funny' we now get Kieren being attacked.

    Melissa's guests spent Monday defending their b.s.

    I'm not going to name them.  They should be ashamed and hopefully they will be.

    One, an actress -- Excuse me, an 'actress.'  When you're well over thirty and your career is bit parts and a music video from 2001, when your bit parts consist of unnamed 'characters' (walk ons) and you're only acclaim is as a dancer, you're not really an actress.  And at your age, you really aren't a dancer anymore because the body's not forgiving of the passage of time.

    So right there, that adult who bills herself as an 'actress'?  She's got a lot of nerve mocking anyone.

    She's a failure who has a career of bit parts.

    At her age, if she wants to be an actress, she's going to have to go after character roles and she doesn't really have the chops for that either.

    Hard truths like that are for adults.

    If she were 17 and I saw no talent at all, I wouldn't comment.  If I knew her personally, I'd offer encouragement in terms of studying her craft and learning it.

    This failure lives on her ex-husband's money.  Which is hilarious.

    And she wants to mock anyone?

    I can understand why she's so bitter and hateful.  Failure can do that to a person.

    But that's no excuse to trash a child.

    The failure has insisted she didn't know what photos were coming up and she was just speaking off the top of her head and talking out her ass.

    I'm sorry, why on MSNBC are hosts and guests trying to be entertainers?

    Oh, that's right, they're not a news network.

    And you can't have it both ways.

    And they're destroying the NBC news brand with their b.s. (of which this is only the latest example).

    Melissa Tweeted an 'apology' today.


    She owes an on air apology.

    It's said that Melissa did not engage in the 'hilarity' herself.

    I'm sorry, she did engage.

    I've watched the brief clip.  It's brief in part because because she's so uncomfortable.

    And her laughter probably comes from being uncomfortable with the segment.

    She should be.

    But she's the host and she did know what photos were going to be used.

    She worked out a bad joke (she wants to see the Romneys and the Kanye Wests as in-laws -- it's a lame joke but she's a lame person) before the segment.

    She should have spent less time preparing her lines and more time acting as a host.

    That picture never should have been used for anything other than to note the Romney family is a large family or that Mitt has a new grandson.

    She never should risk a child being the butt of a joke.

    She risked it and it happened.

    And she needs to apologize.

    She was uncomfortable.


    Because it could have been one of her family pictures.  A family reunion on her mother's side, for example?

    And the failed actress guest could have been singing, "One of these things is not like the other . . ." about her.

    And Melissa's not a thing.  She has many failures but she's a person.  Not a thing.

    And so that song is disgusting to begin with in being applied to a baby.

    Melissa has a White mother she basically hides from the public.

    In early 2008, Ava and I drew a line.

    I think we were wrong to do so based on all that's happened since.

    But in January 2008, when we could have outed Melissa's White mother, we didn't.

    Even as she babbled on about how the 'intersection of race and gender' is ignored, she herself ignored that she's a living example of the intersection of race and gender.

    Now she's allowing her show to mock a Black child, an infant, because the child is raised by a loving family that's White?

    It's really time Melissa Harris Lie Face Whatever got honest about her own life and discussed it publicly.

    If she'd done so already, her guests might have shown a little more maturity.

    If people knew special needs children, I don't think Trig would have been mocked so but fear turned to hatred among many and led to the mocking of the child.

    Fear was on display in the mocking of Kieren Romney.

    If Melissa's own personal story was known, it's very unlikely any guest on her show would have made mocking comments.

    She's an adult, she's the host of a show.  She's responsible.

    She needs to issue a full apology, not a Tweet, and she needs to talk about her own experience as a child of a Black father and a White mother.

    She will insist she has and point to a few rare examples of this after -- incidents which took place only after Ava and I wrote repeatedly about her being bi-racial and only after Marcia, Betty, Stan and others amplified it noting that her tawdry life was like the subplot to Imitation of Life in reverse (a Black woman passes herself off as White and denies her own mother publicly).

    She really needs to get honest.  I've wasted for hours on this entry.

    Perfecting it?

    Hell no.

    Going back in and taking this and that out.


    Ava and I ensured Melissa didn't get tenure at Princeton.  We did that with a series of presentations we made.  And we noted in that in 2008.  I'm noting right now that I'm sitting on much more.  And I have no problem doing presentations to NBC News where I have many, many friends.  They're already pissed at what MSNBC prime time is doing.  A factual presentation, backed up with strong documentation, would send Melissa packing.

    I'm not interested in going there.  But I can.

    And the more she acts in harmful ways, the more likely I will go there.  Or the more likely I'll be writing here, look at the time and realize I can't wait anymore, I've got to post something and so I end up posting details -- factual details -- about Melissa's work or 'work' and she deals with the fall out.

    Maybe we even talk about that last book published over two years ago that no one's ever talked about -- not in terms of how it was assembled or its lack of proper attribution?

    The media needs to stop shying away from her White mother when her show is mocking the fact that a White family (the Romneys) are raising a Black child.

    Peter Grier's "Melissa Harris-Perry apologizes for Romney grandchild jokes: Sincere?" (Christian Science Monitor) is largely an attempt to write a balanced piece.  But the issue is a Black child was mocked because he has White family members.  Melissa having a White mother is pertinent to the discussion.

    I don't have four hours to waste online.  I've still got to work on a year-in-review (which will go early January 1st).  Some of you were very nice in e-mails yesterday saying you hoped I got some sleep or was having fun. (I hope that was sincere -- maybe I missed the sarcasm?)  No.  A make up artist was in the hospital.  An actress friend called me early Monday morning (I hadn't been to sleep yet, Third published Monday morning with the last piece going up around four in the morning).  She wanted to know if I'd heard the news?  I hadn't.  The woman's very nice and handled many of my TV appearances.  She always made me look great.  I know her family does not live in California. Though I hadn't seen the make up artist in a number of years, she was always there for me.  (The real 'couch' in the entertainment business isn't a doctors office, it's the make up chair.)  So I showered and dressed and went to Los Angeles.  I was there until her son arrived because she didn't need to be alone.

    I have to write the year-in-review.  I don't even have notes on scraps of paper.  This is going to be live microphone time.  That's not what I wanted.  I've done that once before and I didn't like the results.  (Which one?  It's the year-in-review that is strong but opens poorly, very poorly.  I'm not referring to 'style' or 'finesse.'  I'm saying the opening is boring as hell.)

    Melissa's actions actually feed in to the only thread I have for the year-in-review.  And I don't want to go into all of this in that piece.  So this entry right here is to cover it and, if needed, to do a sentence or two on this and provide a link to this larger piece.

    We have pieces going up today.  Martha and Shirley want me to read their piece and Ruth wants some help with editing.

    I need to get away from the computer.  Iraq will be covered today.

    The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

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