Today, the US Defense Dept announced the continuation of bombing Iraq:
Strikes in Iraq
bomber, fighter, remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery
conducted 25 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s
-- Near Al Baghdadi, one strike destroyed three ISIL weapons caches.
-- Near Albu Hayat, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Kisik, nine strikes suppressed an ISIL fighting position and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Mosul, three strikes destroyed 17 ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle bomb facility.
-- Near Ramadi, five strikes
struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed seven ISIL
fighting positions, six ISIL heavy machine gun positions, three ISIL
buildings, an ISIL vehicle, cratered two ISIL-used roads, and denied
ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Sinjar, two strikes
destroyed seven ISIL assembly areas, three ISIL weapons caches, and an
ISIL command and control node.
-- Near Tal Afar, four strikes struck destroyed six ISIL bunkers and denied ISIL access to terrain.
Task force officials define a strike as
one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic
location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore,
officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon
against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft
delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon
systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of
making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly,
officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft
employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or
the number of individual munition impact points against a target.
The bombings that began in 2014 continue as 2016 begins.
No real progress.
Even the lies begin to cave in on themselves.
Since Monday, the whorish press has insisted Ramadi was liberated.
But it's not.
And if you still doubt it, SPUTNIK reports that "at least 11 members of Iraq's countertrrorism forces have been killed in the city of Ramadi party liberated from the Islamic State" -- no, not yet liberated.
Where is the progress?
DEUTSCHE WELLE reports, "The United Nations has said that violence in Iraq had claimed the lives
of 980 Iraqis in total in December 2015. The number was up from 888 in
November." They also note the UN counts 7,989 deaths for the year.
The current prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, also a Shiite, has given
much lip service to inclusion but has made little headway in changing
Iraq’s sectarian equation. “All these things have to move in harmony.
. . . You can’t simply focus on the military and ignore political
factors,” said the senior administration official, who spoke on the
condition of anonymity to discuss internal assessments. “Our diplomats are working day in and day out” on Iraqi political
reconciliation, the official said, “but in some ways it is even more
difficult. . . . These are existential questions that the Iraqis are
Some in the press are trying to portray this as Iraqi outrage. It's some Shi'ites in Iraq that are outraged.
Which doesn't mean it's not an issue.
And it will be a big issue.
But note that the likes of Nouri felt no compulsion about killing non-Shi'ites via executions when he was prime minister.
It's over, I'm done writing songs about love There's a war going on So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove And I'm writing a song about war And it goes Na na na na na na na I hate the war Na na na na na na na I hate the war Na na na na na na na I hate the war Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)
The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4497.
Isaiah looks ahead at the start of 2016 and offers "Whatever Happened To Hillary Diane? AKA American Horror Story." A dejected Bill Clinton insists, "If I went in the East Wing . . ." A cackling Hillary cuts him off with, "But you are in the East Wing, Bill. But you are." Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.
"Donald Trump is a jerk," Jeb Bush declared in December of 2016. "You cannot insult your way to the presidency."
Braying and/or just dumb, 2015 was The Year of the Ass. In fact, showing one's ass basicaly became the new high-five, punch-in, back slap, social greeting.
Jeb was blissfully unaware as he insulted Trump for . . . insulting others. Blissfully unaware, but he was far from alone. Some dropped their drawers, some were pantsed but visions of butt cracks danced through everyone's heads as a chorus line of asses high-kicked their way through the year.
Anyone know when the Green Party holds its national convention?
August 4th through 7th, 2016.
And what will they be doing at this national convention down in Houston, Texas?
Selecting their presidential nominee.
So back that ass up a bit and explain how Amy Goodman was able to declare Jill Stein the Green Party's 2016 presidential nominee . . . on the June 22, 2015 broadcast of DEMOCRACY NOW!?
When one thinks of all the time that the braying ass Goodman has put in castigating the corporate media for attempting to shape the outcome of elections via their coverage, it's rather sad to see Goody doing exactly the same.
Eeyore, Amy, eeyore!
And what was this rush to crown Dr. Jill Stein really about?
2012 saw Stein run an embarrassing campaign. The years since saw her struggle for any form of significance.
In certain ways, she's like former presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
Both Stein and Nader suffered from laryngitis as US President Barack Obama pursued The Drone War, his war on whistle-blowers, his continued war on Iraq, his continued war on Afghanistan, his new war on Libya . . .
None of these crimes and actions led to one significant protest or column from either leader or 'leader.' If Jill was less embarrassing than Ralph, it's only because she didn't produce a book that seemed to attest to her addiction to a Milton Bradley board game.
After all, what was 2009's ONLY THE SUPER-RICH CAN SAVE US but the text equivalent of Milton Bradley's MYSTERY DATE?
Still, Ralph could rightly counter, that's one more book than 'intellectual' Jill Stein's ever produced.
But the reality is that not everyone's been biting their tongues since the dawn of 2009.
For example, Democrat Barack being sworn in as president in January 2009 didn't silence the 2008 Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney.
On every issue, on every crime, Cynthia's strong voice has been heard in the last years: Libya, empire, media representation, unarmed citizens gunned down by US law enforcement, etc.
If you didn't know where former US Congresswoman Cynthia stood, you just weren't paying attention.
Or, then again, maybe you were paying attention -- to racist, so-called 'independent' media which treated 2015 as a coronation for Jill Stein.
No one, during all of these fawning interviews, thought to ask Jill why she felt she deserved the 2016 nomination.
Apparently, like Hillary Clinton, she just felt it belonged to her.
Over on the Democratic Party side, it was a yawn and a tired been-there-done-that-bought-the-t-shirt -- and, for some, used it as a cum rag.
Or was no one supposed to notice that the only party where an African-American and two Latinos were declared candidates for a politcal party's presidential nomination was the GOP?
That must be it, right?
That is what The Cult of St. Barack has hissed any time some Republican has publicly disagreed with their own personal savior -- that the person had to be racist.
Never mind that Democrats and Republicans are supposed to be opposed on most issues.
It just had to be racism.
So, turnabout being fair play, it's surprising that the Republican Party hasn't noted the sour grapes silence over their diversity this go round.
It's surprising the media hasn't noticed how Barack's election in 2008 and 2012 appears to make the Democratic Party believe that they no longer have to even field a candidate of color on the national level anymore.
In 2008, when the faux liberal magazine THE NEW YORKER ran a cover parodying the trash talk aimed at Barack and Michelle Obama, Aimee Allison had a meltdown over KPFA airwaves and called for -- on the home of free speech radio -- the equivalent of book burning -- she called for people to burn copies of THE NEW YORKER.
But 2 young, Cuban-American girls are rendered as monkeys on the pages of THE WASHINGTON POST and no one's overly alarmed?
I guess we really have become post-racial --
Unless we want to get honest about the ugly alternative: We don't care about fairness or about diversity unless you're a member of our team.
If you don't play on our side then we can tell any lie we want about you -- which, after all, is the operating principle behind both FOX NEWS and MSNBC.
Hypocrisy, thy first name is Amy Goodman.
But many, many more names quickly follow.
Many, many names.
Monday, December 28, 2015, for example, story after story, broadcast after broadcast, found the US news media trumpeting that Iraqi forces having liberated Ramadi.
The dictionary defines liberation as "freeing from enemy occupation."
So, just as a woman is either pregnant or she's not, an area is either liberated or it is not.
In the coverage, if you waded through, buried near the end of the report,you might discover -- might -- that reality.
Then again, depending on the news outlet, you might not.
Even while they were reporting Ramadi had been liberated, US Secretary of State John Kerry was declaring, "While Ramadi is not yet fully secure and additional parts of the city
still must be retaken, Iraq's national flag now flies above the
provincial government center and enemy forces have suffered a major
The refusal of news outlets to report accurately and/or fully meant we can look to further blending of news and gossip and psychic abilities.
Though who knew the two could be cross-bred further?
Especially after the year's final broadcast of ABC's THIS WEEK?
Ava and I observed Sunday: As bad as MEET THE PRESS was today, Andrea can take comfort in the fact
that it wasn't ABC's THIS WEEK where Jonathan Karl handled hosting
He apparently did his entire prep while standing at the urinal before the show.
That would certainly explain why viewers felt pissed on.
Karl presided over the "powerhouse roundtable" -- a rather weak assembly
of a neocon, a corporatist rightest, a corporatist leftist and a
This dweeb trust was used to comment on events of the week?
No, of course not.
They were too busy offering their predictions of who would win Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Then they were galloping off to November 2016's general election.
This served no one.
This was utter crap.
A complete waste of time.
Andrea didn't go deep into any issue but she did cover issues.
ABC was more concerned with broadcasting political coverage via The Psychic Network.
Dispensing with experts and facts, Jonathan Karl brought on the self-proclaimed "powerhouse roundtable" and wasted minute after minute having them predict who would win what primary.
ABC News, you've found your new bookie!
You just haven't found anyone interested in news which is, after all, events that have taken place which shape our lives.
Shape our lives?
Did someone say Ms. Troll has returned?
[Image is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Ms. Troll" featuring Robin Morgan.]
Ms. Troll hosts WOMEN'S MEDIA CENTER LIVE WITH ROBIN MORGAN -- a show with a title that clues listeners in that Morgan's going to lie from the very beginning.
It's taped ahead of time.
Why in the world would you call a taped show "LIVE WITH ROBIN MORGAN"?
Do facts matter at all?
Not on this show which exists mainly for Robin to bray non-stop.
She spent the end of the year mainly informing listeners how much she loathed Muslims and the religion of Islam. She took to referring to countries as being part of "the Muslim world."
Mainly, she wanted to use the D-term for the Islamic State.
Even Barack realizes it was a mistake for his administration to use it.
The White House is trying to walk that back currently.
The Islamic State needs to be defeated.
That's not going to happen with bombs or guns.
They can kill fighters, yes.
They can't kill recruits.
Bombs and guns can't kill the reason that the Islamic State rose from al Qaeda.
The Islamic State was embraced by some Sunnis in Iraq, tolerated by others and ignored by still more.
Because Nouri al-Maliki's Iraq was actively persecuting Sunnis.
They were being kicked off payrolls.
Sunni men were being rounded up and imprisoned on false charges.
And if Nouri's forces couldn't find the Sunni men they were looking for?
They hauled off a parent, a child, a sister, a wife.
Hauled off and threw in a prison.
Where they were disappeared.
And Nouri over saw mass executions -- even while public appeals were being made to halt executions, Iraq spent each year setting records for the number of executions the government carried out.
And why the refusal to implement a national reconciliation bill?
Many saw it as Nouri executing every imprisoned Sunni he could before the bill went through.
As events in Syria nurtured their hopes for a political comeback,
Sunni Arabs launched an unprecedented, peaceful protest movement in late
2012 in response to the arrest of bodyguards of Rafea al-Issawi, a
prominent Iraqiya member. It too failed to provide answers to
accumulated grievances. Instead, the demonstrations and the repression
to which they gave rise further exacerbated the sense of exclusion and
persecution among Sunnis. The government initially chose a lacklustre, technical response,
forming committees to unilaterally address protesters’ demands, shunning
direct negotiations and tightening security measures in Sunni-populated
areas. Half-hearted, belated concessions exacerbated distrust and
empowered more radical factions. After a four-month stalemate, the
crisis escalated. On 23 April, government forces raided a protest camp
in the city of Hawija, in Kirkuk province, killing over 50 and injuring
110. This sparked a wave of violence exceeding anything witnessed for
five years. Attacks against security forces and, more ominously,
civilians have revived fears of a return to all-out civil strife. The
Islamic State of Iraq, al-Qaeda’s local expression, is resurgent. Shiite
militias have responded against Sunnis. The government’s seeming intent
to address a chiefly political issue – Sunni Arab representation in
Baghdad – through tougher security measures has every chance of
worsening the situation. Belittled, demonised and increasingly subject to a central government
crackdown, the popular movement is slowly mutating into an armed
struggle. In this respect, the absence of a unified Sunni leadership –
to which Baghdad’s policies contributed and which Maliki might have
perceived as an asset – has turned out to be a serious liability. In a
showdown that is acquiring increasing sectarian undertones, the
movement’s proponents look westward to Syria as the arena in which the
fight against the Iraqi government and its Shiite allies will play out
and eastward toward Iran as the source of all their ills. Under intensifying pressure from government forces and with dwindling
faith in a political solution, many Sunni Arabs have concluded their
only realistic option is a violent conflict increasingly framed in
confessional terms. In turn, the government conveniently dismisses all
opposition as a sectarian insurgency that warrants ever more stringent
security measures. In the absence of a dramatic shift in approach,
Iraq’s fragile polity risks breaking down, a victim of the combustible
mix of its longstanding flaws and growing regional tensions.
Iraq’s main threats, however, are self-inflicted wounds caused by
its political leaders. The 2010 Iraqi elections and the ensuing
political crisis divided the nation. Rather than create any form of
stable democracy, the fallout pushed Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki to
consolidate power and become steadily more authoritarian. Other Shi’ite
leaders contributed to Iraq’s increasing sectarian and ethnic
polarization – as did key Sunni and Kurdish leaders. Since that time, a brutal power struggle has taken place between
Maliki and senior Sunni leaders, and ethnic tensions have grown between
the Arab dominated central government and senior Kurdish leaders in
the Kurdish Regional government (KRG). The actions of Iraq’s top
political leaders have led to a steady rise in Sunni and Shi’ite
violence accelerated by the spillover of the extremism caused by the
Syrian civil war. This has led to a level of Shi’ite and Sunni violence
that now threatens to explode into a level of civil conflict equal to –
or higher than – the one that existed during the worst period of the
U.S. occupation. This struggle has been fueled by actions of the Iraqi government
that many reliable sources indicate have included broad national abuses
of human rights and the misuse of Iraqi forces and the Iraqi security
services in ways where the resulting repression and discrimination has
empowered al-Qaeda and other extremist groups. As a result, the very
forces that should help bring security and stability have become part
of the threat further destabilized Iraq.
And some blowhard, braying asses like Robin Morgan want to wonder how Iraq got to its current state?
More importantly, she wants to use the D-word when referring to the Islamic State.
She explains on air that it's important to mock them.
Important for whom?
Free speech means every braying ass can cry eeyore-eeyore! over and over.
But free speech doesn't mean every utterance is a word of wisdom.
And all Robin's offering is stupidity.
Repeating, the Islamic State rose for a reason: the persecution of the Sunnis.
They were embraced, tolerated or left alone by a number of Sunnis because?
Sunnis felt threatened and persecuted.
So mocking this group -- a Sunni group -- is not going to help demolish its support.
Westerners using the D-word may actually drive some Sunnis to support the group, they may see it as further evidence of the disrespect Sunnis are receiving.
Again, free speech means Robin Morgan can use any word she wants.
Common sense doesn't dictate that she should.
And in the charged atmosphere where the Islamic State has benefited from the scorn and abuse Sunnis have suffered, I'm just not convinced mocking a Sunni group -- even a terrorist group -- is the way to go for non-comedians.
Robin's candidate for 2016 is, of course, Hillary Clinton.
It's a strange choice for someone supposedly concerned with peace.
Hillary's record was tiny in 2008.
She had a term and two years in the Senate to judge her by.
That's really it.
First Spouses aren't allowed to be people, they're appendages of the president.
So all she had going for her was the Senate.
And some could -- I did -- look at her 2002 vote for the Iraq War and say, "Okay, it was a mistake. She needs to be more honest about it, but it was a mistake. We all make mistakes."
Then, following a 2008 campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, she took the post of Secretary of State.
And, from the start, a number of her supporters in 2008 (again, I was one) were leery.
It turned out, we were right to be leery.
I have no problem explaining why I can't support Hillary this go round.
And, check the archives, it's all in there in real time.
For example, Barack transferred the Iraq mission from DoD to State in the fall of 2011.
And Hillary's State Dept stone-walled Congress.
They refused to present their plans for Iraq, they refused to break down their budget request.
Check the archives, I was at those Congressional hearings and I reported on them.
Hillary's State Dept refused to answer Congress, refused to submit reports, acted as though they were above Congressional oversight.
Among the biggest critics in Congress at that time was US House Rep Gary Ackerman -- a Democrat.
Millions were wasted in just the first nine months State was over Iraq.
And no one wants to talk about that.
No one wants to talk about Hillary implementing a training program for Iraqi forces that they did not want, that they publicly rejected before it even started, that they did not show up for.
No one wants to talk about how she oversaw turning over US property in Iraq to the Iraqi government -- at no cost.
The December 9th snapshot
covered some of that day's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing and
the testimony offered by the Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs Gen Paul
Selva and by the Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. The following day, we continued the coverage noting this exchange.
Senator Bill Nelson: So go over to Iraq. Is that anti-sectarianism?
Is it working with the forces on the ground that we're supporting from
the air? Secretary Ash Carter: Well first of all, uh, Prime Minister Abadi,
I've spoken to him frequently. I'll have the opportunity to speak to
him in the coming days uuhhhh when I-I too will be visiting our-our
troops in theater. Is-is committed precisely to that kind of vision
for Iraq. I believe him. I've talked to him. Senator Bill Nelson: Do you think that's working? Secretary Ash Carter: Whether he can pull it off in Baghdad, that is
obviously a difficult matter for him. We are supporting him in that
regard because we, uh, believe that the alternative -- which is further
sectarian division, civil war, cleansing and so forth. We've seen that
before. And if he can keep his vision of an Iraq which as he called it
is decentralized. So it's not everybody under the thumb of Baghdad
because he knows the Sunni and the Kurds won't go fot that. But still
the ability to retain an integral state that keeps peace within its
borders -- that's what he's committed to -- Senator Bill Nelson: Right. Secretary Ash Carter (Con't): -- that's the end state we also want in Iraq. Senator Bill Nelson: Right. So it's possible with Assad leaving
Syria, you could get Syria under control but everything could go haywire
in Iraq? Secretary Ash Carter: There are two separate dynamics. They're
different dynamics. There's one thing I'll-I'll mention that I
mentioned to you when I was with you six-six weeks ago and has
subsequently come to pass. I was talking about the importance of
getting the town of Sinjar. You're talking about The territory but-but a
lot of that territory is empty it's the towns that matter. The
critical crossing of Sinjar. Now what is Sinjar? Sinjar is a place in
between Mosul and Raqaa. And to cut ISIL into it's Syrian branch and
stop from cross-feeding is a, uh, the objective, uh, of taking Sinjar.
And so in the end the political end states are different for Syria and,
uh, Iraqi absolutely.
That exchange should alarm for so many reasons.
But chiefly due to Carter's insisting of Haider al-Abadi:
We are supporting him in that regard because we, uh, believe that
the alternative -- which is further sectarian division, civil war,
cleansing and so forth.
Yeah, that belief allowed the White House go overrule Iraqi voters and
give Nouri al-Maliki a second term as prime minister in 2010.
And Nouri al-Maliki took Iraq to the brink of destruction in his second term.
While the US government went along with him because of their fears of
"the alternative." Ruled by fear, the US government joined Nouri in
corruption and persecution.
US House Rep Beto O'Rourke: There's so much in
those countries -- I'll just use Iraq as an example -- that we do not
control, cannot control and will not be able to predict when it comes to
the political outcomes and so when we say we are going to set
conditions on our aid, when we say we are going to set conditions on our
military presence, do we really mean that? Is that a viable threat?
Will we really walk away from Iraq if the government there doesn't meet
those conditions? And I think that's an important question because if,
in fact, we will not, then I wonder what the motivation is there for
the Iraqi government to take the very important and very difficult steps
to integrate these other minorities -- whether they be Kurds, whether
they be Sunnis -- into a functioning government -- decentralized or
otherwise? Secretary Ash Carter: Uh, first
of all with respect to the first part of your question, uhm, the -- It
-- The -- Your point gets back -- is exactly the military and the
political going together. In addition to the -- The only end state that
involves the lasting defeat of ISIL is one in which there are --
whether there is local governance that cannot be once again supplanted
by ISIL. That's why once again the political and the military go
together -- that's the heart of the strategy and that's why enabling
committed, capable forces who can make victory stick is the other part
of the definition of victory, critical -- US House Rep Beto O'Rourke: Yes. Secretary Ash Carter (Con't):
-- to the strategy. With respect to the leverage, I'll start there in
Baghdad but the leverage involves offering to do more for those who are
pursuing the same objectives and withholding our support from those who
are taking a different path or not going down the path they're supposed
to. So we find alternatives, we find people that can act. If-if-if the
people that we're dealing with are not capable of -- because we have to act and we will find such forces that are capable.
Nouri al-Maliki was rewarded by the White House with a second term when
he'd done nothing to bring Iraq together. And after Barack Obama gave
Nouri a second term in 2010, Nouri went on to further persecute the
This happened while Hillary was Secretary of State.
And in 2008, she had called Nouri a thug -- in a public hearing.
So she can't claim ignorance of what Nouri truly was.
She made the decision to support him.
And that decision took the tragic and criminal state of Iraq and only made it worse.
She needs to be asked about that.
She especially needs to be asked how much abuse, as president, she'd tolerate from a foreign leader before cutting off US support because this White House let Nouri carry out one crime after another from 2010 through 2014 before Barack finally pulled US support in the summer of 2014.
She needs to be asked, since she's claiming she's so pro-woman, what she did as Secretary of State to improve the lives of Iraqi women?
The answer is not a damn thing.
Because of this, because of Libya, because of an addiction to regime change and so much more -- all part of her record thanks to her awful tenure as Secretary of State -- is reason enough for me not to vote for.
But it causes Robin Morgan not a moment of doubt.
2015 will lead into 2016. So is it any surprise that, as the year ends, it appears very likely that the two major party candidates who'll be competing next year will be Hillary and Donald Trump?
What else, honestly, what else could The Year of the Ass produce but a match off between each major party's biggest ass?
The founder of ROLLING STONE was bi in San Francisco in the 60s but up and moved the magazine to the Big Apple and hid behind his 'wife' until 2011 - even though he and his live in male lover were outed in 1995. It was the '00s when the nearly sixty-something Jann could finally be honest enough to publicly admit he'd built a life with a man.
Ralph Gleason, his one-time mentor, used to marvel over Jann's penchant for dishonesty and self-hatred.
It's that self-hatred that led Jann to publish, in early 2003, the homophobic attack and myth -- "bug chasers" -- of gay men actively seeking out the HIV virues.
Jann's self-hatred and long pretense also explains ROLLING STONE's long aversion to women. For example, early on ROLLING STONE published a volume of their first ROLLING STONE INTERVIEWS (a second volume would follow in the 90s) and women really were ignored. Because the magazine never interviewed women?
No, because Jann was busy trying to play 'manly' to dispel rumors of his gay reality.
A closeted man can work overtime to damage the lives of gay men and all women.
The Beastie Boys -- who hit with LICENSE TO ILL the same year Janet hit with CONTROL -- are in the Hall but Janet still isn't.
Jann will not change. A few years ago in an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS, Jann could finally publicly acknowledge that he lived with a man (Matt Nye, since 1995) but he still couldn't call himself "gay."
His discomfort and closet hiding means we all suffer.
And we're just going to have to wait these types out.
It was like that with segregationists, remember?
They really believed, for example, that a Whites only water fountain was needed.
Today, the idea's offensive and absurd.
But even after the Civil Rights Movement put an end to that, there were still people who believed in that and we just had to wait for them to die off.
As women were yet again ignored in the latest round of inductions for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (five acts inducted, not a woman among them), it's clear we'll just have to wait for Hall founder Jann S. Wenner to die off.
It's so clear that even Jann should see it from his closet, Janet had the album of 2015. No one else came close. It's the album Prince should have released -- focused, alive, grinding. It was a trimphant return for Janet and a powerful reminder that the Jackson name still means a great deal in music.
Ringo wasn't the best songwriter in the band -- not with John, George and Paul to compete with. And, honestly, he probably was the biggest question mark when it came to solo careers. But in 2015, he reminded everyone of what he offered best: Joy. POSTCARDS FROM PARADISE is a joyful album. John was the confessor, George was the philosopher and Paul was the drone churning it out (when, working with Elvis Costello during the "My Brave Face" period, Paul finally discovered anger, it seemed like a revelation -- so bland was his output). Ringo gets bragging rights for 2015 for this solid and joyful album.
A strong footed return lacked only one important element: Timing. January albums always get sleighted. Either you're like me and just not wanting to weigh in on anything for at least a month after a year-in-review or else you weigh in but can't offer any real perspective because it's the first album -- or at least first big album -- of the year. It's one of the ten best of 2015 and that would be more evident if it had been released a little later in the year.
2014's internet sensation released an album in 2015 which more than demonstrated Grand was no flash in the pan. "Back To California" is, in many ways, an awkward song -- it's supposed to be. Like a real artist, Steve doesn't pretty it up but let's the awkwardness off the chain and ends up with a deeply moving song. He's a singer-songwriter in the best sense of the term and this album should be the start of a long and glorious discography. "Stay" will lift you up on even a really dark day.
Jeff Tweedy and company? If 2014 found U2 proving Thomas Wolfe a truth teller that YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN, 2015 found the Chicago-based band under scoring Arundhait Roy's THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS. Albums are small things these days -- as Spotify's Beatles streaming list made clear. But for true music lovers, there's also the satisfaction of a real meal and STAR WARS was just that. Wilco's shaping up the be the band that the world counts on. That's a lot of weight to carry but, as STAR WARS makes clear, the band's a heavy hitter.
Disc one is just the 2014 album. But disc two? As Elaine's rave noted, it's reason to buy the set all over again. You get him dueting with Mary J. Blige on "Stay With Me," him covering Whitney Houston ("How Will I Know?") and Amy Winehouse ("Love Is A Losing Game"), singing "Lay Me Down" with John Legend, and more. It's not just a tide-me-over-till-the-new-album bonus disc, it's a revelation all on its own.
This collection only featured two new songs -- so one new song per disc basically. But it managed to be among the year's best as Carly dug through her early output (largely stopping with the mid-80s) and the remastering allowing even the most devoted Carly listener to rediscover the music. What was supposed to serve as a musical companion piece to her best selling memoir BOYS IN THE TREES ended up working as a glorious stand-alone.
Once upon a time, I liked rap. I liked it when it was funky and alive. I liked it when it captured something real. Around the time millionaire posers -- Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, et al. -- began churning it out, it was a genere I no longer bothered with except for Kanye West who can create ecstacy or just be infuriating but who always writes about life experiences. Dak-Ho was the first to tell me to listen to Kendrick Lamar's album. Then, a few weeks later, Cedric was telling me I had to listen. Still I resisted. Burned too many times. And I'm no purist. I'll give 50 Cent his due to this day. But rap -- at least in the male solo field -- has seemed like a dying genre. If you feel that way too, it's probably time you forced yourself to listen to TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY -- language and misogyny warnings apply -- because it will blow you away. Choice cut? "King Kunta."
This album is another example of poor timing. Released at the end of Octorber as though it were Sony's annual Barbara Streisand holiday offering or Neil Diamond's latest product rushed out so shareholders can get those Christmas bonuses, what the album instead needed was time to buil. I love it. I haven't had time to go beyond that. An album this complex needs repeat listens. And when you're dashing to Thanksgiving with the folks, finishing holiday shopping, showing up at various holiday parties and dinners, you've usually got Christmas tunes blasting throughout. So there's really not time needed to give a late fall release the attention it deserves. This should have been issued in the spring.
Rickie Lee closes out my top ten with an album that stands as not just one of the year's best but also one of her own best. And that's really saying something -- FLYING COWBOYS, her self-titled debut, PIRATES, THE SERMON ON EXPOSITION BOULEVARD, TRAFFIC FROM PARADISE, etc are a lot to live up to. But THE OTHER SIDE OF DESIRE kicks off with "Jimmy Choos" and never lets up.
at the end of the year, we look back at the 10 hottest guys.
reader dave n. e-mailed 'why?'
reader joe felt 'no 1 really cares which guy is the hottest.'
joe, dave n., it's okay.
it's my 10 hottest guys.
not every 1 can make the list.
maybe you'll make it next year.
don't worry about it so.
joe's so worried he might not make my list (you didn't, joe) that he's
become a conspiracy theorist and insists that my list are part of a
'feminazi plot to weaken men. this can be traced directly to the second
wave feminists of the 70s.'
while i am a feminist, i trace my own list back to her.
that's joan crawford.
from 'the damned don't cry.'
and in 1951, she gave her top 10 favorites to 'silver screen' - clark
gable and william holden made her list and she notes 'in fact i like
holden so much i'm putting him on the list twice.'
so without further adieu or time taken to note and assuage male paranoia, here's my list.
in his dreams, even jay-z looks like drake - in his dreams.
6) james franco
baby franco. not since marilyn monroe headed off to lee strasberg's
actor studio has an eye cupcake suffered so for art. franco's not yet
done his immortal turn in a film like 'some like it hot' but his work in
'the interview' and 'this is the end' prove that he's getting there.
Visibility and exposure describe Jaimie Alexander's Jane Doe on NBC's BLINDSPOT.
The nude scenes are 'necessary,' you understand, because she's been tattooed by someone with various clues.
The important clue on the series premiere was tatooed behind her ear
which calls into question her repeated full body nudity throughout the
As does Sullivan Stapleton who co-stars as jagged teethed FBI agent Kurt
Weller.and managed to be fully clothed throughout -- even late at night
at his own residence. Stapleton is, after all, the actor credited with
saving the film 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE -- not via his acting but due to
his various states of undress throughout the film.
Sullivan's so wrapped in clothes, you'd never even know he had chest
hair were it not for the fact that it creeps up to his throat.
the show needs to stop wrapping all that goodness up. share it a little, sully.