Saturday, November 06, 2021

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "That Moment Nancy Can't Live Down"



Isaiah's latest THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "That Moment Nancy Can't Live Down."  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi declares, "As I told Wolf Blitzer, 'We feed them.'  And we also?  Evict them.  Because, think about it, you go to a party and you eat, you drink but then you have to go.  Unless you're in Congress.  If you're in Congress you stay for life."  Isaiah archives his comics at THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS.

Was Mustafa the target of an assassination attempt? If so, by whom?

Big event in Iraq.  Whether it's been reported accurately or not is another question.

Everyone's saying the attack was aimed at Mustafa al-Kahdimi, the prime minister of Iraq.

US State Dept spokesperson Ned Price issued the following statement:

We are following the reported drone attack targeting the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister Kadhimi. We are relieved to learn the Prime Minister was unharmed. This apparent act of terrorism, which we strongly condemn, was directed at the heart of the Iraqi state. We are in close touch with the Iraqi security forces charged with upholding Iraq’s sovereignty and independence and have offered our assistance as they investigate this attack. Our commitment to our Iraqi partners is unshakeable. The United States stands with the government and people of Iraq.

Alistair Jameson (INDEPENDENT) reports:

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi survived an assassination attempt with armed drones that targeted his residence early on Sunday.

Seven of his security guards were injured in the attack, which occurred in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone area.

AP notes, "Two Iraqi officials told The Associated Press that seven of al-Kadhimi's security guards were injured in the attack with two armed drones which occurred in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone area. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give official statements."  THE GUARDIAN reminds:

Protests turned deadly on Friday when the demonstrators marched towards the Green Zone and there was an exchange of fire in which one protester was killed and dozens of security forces were injured.

Al-Khadimi ordered an investigation to determine what sparked the clashes and who violated orders not to open fire. Some militia leaders have openly blamed al-Kadhimi for Friday’s clashes and the protester’s death.

Al-Kadhimi, 54, was Iraq’s former intelligence chief before becoming prime minister in May last year. He is considered by the militias to be close to the US, and has tried to find a balance between Iraq’s alliances with the US and Iran.

That would be the only real reason to attack Mustafa.

Otherwise, he doesn't really matter.

He was never really elected and on one thinks for a moment that he'll have a second term.  His brief term has been a nightmare and he's failed at everything he's attempted.  (Including re-election.)

The violence would play like an attention-getting stunt carried out by his supporters (possibly US supporters).  The only real reasons he'd be attacked -- he is an outgoing prime minister?  

To destabilize the country further or for revenge.  Those are the only two logical and workable motives to target him now.

Who wants revenge?  The militias.

Where'd the drone come from?

Was it used by the Iranian-backed militias?  Was it a drone from Iran?

If so, this is what some consider payback for his disenfranchising the militia members.  A large group of them were prevented from voting.  This was due to the electoral commission and many of the militias believe that the commission was acting on the orders of Mustafa.  If you're new to this detail, October 10th, Iraq voted.  The Friday before, the security forces voted.  Security forces voted early because they were being deployed by the government on October 10th to protect polling stations.  They would not be in their own neighborhoods to vote.  The Iraqi government, under the pervious prime minister, made the militias part of the government's security forces.  They were disenfranchised.  That's one of the reasons they're calling out the vote, one of the reasons they're objecting to it.  The press keeps lying.

The western press keeps insisting that there is no evidence of any irregularities in the vote.  There may or may not be additional irregularities but the fact that a large number of people were disenfranchised is not in dispute.  The electoral commission made that late ruling publicly, right ahead of the vote.  We covered it in real time.  To pretend this didn't happen is to lie.  I don't understand how lying about this helps anyone. 

I am not pro-militia.  I opposed for years the notion that they should be made a part of the security forces.  After they were, I continued to oppose it.  Even now, I think they should be expelled from the government forces.

That is my opinion.

My opinion does not change reality.  Reality is that they are security forces under the present system and that they were denied the right to vote in large numbers.  

That could be a motive for revenge.  

There are other people who want revenge on Mustafa.

And there are people who want to de-stabilize Iraq which would be killing the prime minister right now.  Right now, this a chaotic period.  There's still no final vote count -- no official one.  No one knows who will step forward to be named prime minister-designate.  You could do a lot of damage to the system right now by killing Mustafa.  

There are many who want to damage the system.  

So revenge and chaos are the two most logical explanations to an attempt on Mustafa.  If indeed, this was an attempt on Mustafa.

Kat's "Kat's Korner: No, Diana Ross, Thank You" went up earlier.   The following sites updated:


Kat's Korner: No, Diana Ross, Thank You

Kat: Diana Ross has released THANK YOU and it's a great album -- one that allows us to look at the shortcomings in the system.

Such as?  It's been called Diana's 25th solo studio album released by the media and that's not accurate.  I may have repeated it myself online, that false claim.  I mentioned it to C.I. and she rolled her eyes.  Huh?  "Kat, THE WIZ."  Immediately, I knew two things (a) that it was a lie and (b) how the lie started.

This is Diana's 26th solo, studio album.  

Back in 2016, I wrote "Kat's Korner: Diana Ross releases a masterpiece (belatedly)."

She brings each song to life.

"Wonder Wonder Why" may be one of her strongest performances and, even if you're a fan of "Is This What Feeling Gets?" from the original soundtrack for THE WIZ, you'll love her version here even more.

Oh, and that's the thing.

This is not Diana's tracks from the film soundtrack being repackaged.

In 1978, she went into the studio with Suzanne de Passe and Lee Holdridge to record these thirteen songs.  In the years since, only "Home" has been released (in 2001).

And that's how you know Motown was over by the 80s.


These were not expected to be huge sellers or even strong ones.

The point was to make clear that Diana could handle more than top forty.

The point was to make clear that Diana was an artist.

This album was supposed to have been released in January of 1979, following the release of the film in October of 1978 (the film's soundtrack was released in September 1978).

The digital booklet notes:

When the film wrapped and Ross returned to Los Angeles, producer/arranger Lee Holdridge received a call from Motown.  "We've got to have her do some cover versions of these songs," he was told with some urgency.
"We literally ran into the studio in a great hurry to do this," Holdridge says.  Luckily, this was not Holdridge's first time working with Motown or Diana Ross.  "I did all the orchestrations and arrangements for the film MAHOGANY, and 'Do You Know Where You're Going To' was a big hit for her," he adds.  "So she knew exactly who I was.  We knew all the keys and stuff like that, so we tried to emulate what some of the film tracks were like.  Diana was excited about it."

Months later, Cher would star in her ABC's CHER .  . . SPECIAL featuring a 15 minute segment of her playing all the parts in the musical WEST SIDE STORY.  But before that happened, Diana should have been presented to the public playing all the parts from THE WIZ.

And the film could have been rescued somewhat by the album being released.

As it headed to the second-run houses, the dollar theaters, DIANA ROSS SINGS SONGS FROM THE WIZ could've provided incentive to check out the film.  It would have also telegraphed just how strong a singer, how great an artist, she is.

As she demonstrates on "Don't Nobody Tell Me No Bad News" and on "Believe In Yourself," she could have easily played the role of either Evillene or Glinda The Good Witch in NBC's broadcast last year.  Her medley of "You Can't Win"/"Slide Some Oil"/"(I'm A) Mean Ole Lion" argue she could have handled the roles of Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion as well.

Do you get it?  DIANA ROSS SINGS SONGS FROM THE WIZ is a studio album.  It was recorded for a January 1979 release.  It didn't get released until 2015.  Like BLUE.  Diana recorded that album in 1971 and 1972 but it didn't get released until 2006.  CRAPAPEDIA rightly counts BLUE as a studio album.  But DIANA ROSS SINGS SONGS FROM THE WIZ is wrongly listed by CRAPAPEDIA as a "compilation" album and appears wrongly listed with various best of and greatest hits albums Diana recorded.  These are not recordings from the film soundtrack of THE WIZ.  These are recordings of those songs done by Diana in a studio after the film for an album.  Every song on this album was recorded after she had completed THE WIZ and was intended for this album.  It was Diana taking on the entire soundtrack and she did a wonderful job.

But she's a woman and she's African-American so CRAPAPEDIA doesn't give two s**ts about the truth.

I care about the truth.  Sometimes I'm a little slow on the take.  So when I read Friday's snapshot, a point C.I. was subtly making went right over my head.  I nodded along and thought I got it.  Then I talked to Ann (read her "I'm really tired of the every day racism.") and really got the point.  Brit critic at THE GUARDIAN was utilizing racism to dismiss Diana -- her new album and her accomplishments.  He was doing it by resulting to the sexist and racist criteria that allowed the male created the rock canon that tossed in a few tokens but otherwise excluded all women and men of color.    Ann's documented it far beter than I could so make a point to read what she wrote and grasp what we allow and what we ignore encourages racism.

THANK YOU, the 26th solo studio album by Diana Ross, is an amazing accomplishment.  And, if we include compilations and her work in the sixties with the Supremes, this is at least her 123rd album.  

That's a lot to compete with.

Is it Diana's best album?  

No, I don't think so.

I think THE BOSS is her best album.  That 1979 album features the title track, "It's My House," "I Ain't Been Licked," "No One Gets The Prize," "All For One," "Once In The Morning" and "Sparkle."  And, for me, it's Diana's finest album.  It's gorgeous -- the vocals are so powerful and crisp, the musical arrangements are perfection.  

THANK YOU?  Out of Diana's 123 or so albums, I would rank it . . . number two.

I have loved THE BOSS since I first heard it in 1979.  That's a lot to compete with.  And I also love her 1980 album diana, 1984's SWEPT AWAY, 1985's EATEN ALIVE, 1992's THE FORCE BEHIND THE POWER, 1999's EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY, 1970's DIANA ROSS, 1971's SURRENDER, 1976's DIANA ROSS, 1972's soundtrack to LADY SINGS THE BLUES, 1989's GREATEST HITS LIVE, Diana Ross & The Supremes' 1968 REFLECTIONS, 1993's STOLEN MOMENTS: THE LADY SINGS . . . JAZZ AND BLUES, 1994's DIANA EXTENDED: THE REMIXES, 2020's SUPERTONIC MIXES, 2015's DIANA ROSS SINGS SONGS FROM THE WIZ, 1966's THE SUPREMES A' GO-GO, 1967's THE SUPREMES SING HOLLAND-DOZIER-HOLLAND, 1968's DIANA ROSS & THE SUPREMES SING AND PERFORM FUNNY GIRL, 1977's AN EVENING WITH DIANA ROSS, 1994's A VERY SPECIAL SEASON, 1973's TOUCH ME IN THE MORNING . . .

Against all of those albums and many more, THANK YOU ranks number two as the best Diana Ross album of all time.

It's that good.  It's that great.  It's truly wonderful.

Thirteen tracks of perfection.  Keyon Harrold's trumpet on "Just In Case" is moving and layered and nearly as textured as Diana's vocals on the song.  The music doesn't compete with Diana.  On every track, it enhances her vocals.  And it's real music.  The way some critics are describing the album, you'd think it was Madonna in the '00s.  As Ava and C.I. observed in the 2006:

The fear, for many, with Madonna was that, at age 80, she'd still be slithering across the stage, in her panties. After "Justify My Love," Erotica, dripping wax on a bound Willem Dafoe in Body of Evidence and the Sex book, that fear seemed valid for some. Us, we would have preferred that she pursue that track. It would have been interesting. Instead, the same fawning and thoughtless critics that led her to believe she was gifted and talented, stage managed her into something else: boring.

That's pretty much all she's been now for over a decade. Boring.

We blame the critics who applauded her 'soft' side move.

They're the 'thinkers' that were seeing 'meaning' where there was none for most of Madonna's career. (In better days, Madonna laughed and sneered at them. Choosing to embrace them has killed any excitement in her career.) They're the type who, as early as the Who's That Girl tour were seeing 'empowerment' in the performance of "Live To Tell" where, for the song's ending, Madonna slumps then stands erect. They penned over-thought, embarrassing praise like this:

". . . a pose that suggest surrender and desolation, and then . . . as if recovering her strength and courage through an act of titantic will . . ." (We'll be kind and not name the 'author' of that crap.)

People, she just stood up. The really bad rewrite of Joni Mitchell (lyrics) with the drone that would dominate in her later music had come to an end. She needed to do something on stage. (Another nitwit saw in that brief moment the battle against AIDS. We'll spare you his tripe.)

It was that kind of crap that led her away from actual songs ("Cherish," "Like a Prayer," "Holiday," "Angel," "Dress You Up," etc.) into what she is today: 'inspirational.'

With her more recent work (heavily on display in the concert NBC broadcasts) grafting banal lyrics onto the never ending wump-wump beat of a drone, some saw the influence of the Kabbalah. While she does now repeatedly present herself as the modern day Aimee Semple McPherson -- it's Church of the Madonna. Don't blame Kabbalah, these days it's all about her.

There was a time when that might have made for an interesting tour and, certainly in the past, she's been able to mount stage shows that grappled with the tensions between sexuality and spirituality, conventionality and iconoclast. These days, she's just another boring celebrity and who would have ever thought you could say that about Madonna?

Sister Madge's following eats it up, they pay hundreds for a ticket and (due to ticket pricing more than anything) the last two tours have been seen as financially successful. Anything resembling art (even pop art) long ago left the building, but there are people across the country, around the world, willing to waste a couple of hundred to listen to her dither on, with the drone behind her, about how tough it is to be Madonna.

The drone.  The lack of anything resembling music, let alone music that pops.  "Let's Do It" pops on Diana's new album.  It's a stripped down track with fluttering lines and strong percussion. 

The piano work by Charlie McLean on "I Still Believe" is right up there with the piano on "More And More" and Valerie Simpson's piano work on THE BOSS.  The song also features some of Diana's deeper register.  She really has a great lower register and I'm always surprised she doesn't feature it more.  Yes, I love it when she goes to the top of her range and, yes, that work clearly influenced Michael Jackson.  But she's also got a gorgeous lower register.  1982's "Fool For Your Love" is one of the few songs where she really resorts to the lower register for the entire song.

Diana co-wrote that 1982 song, by the way.  She also co-wrote 1982's "So Close"  and "I Am Me," 1984's "Fight for It" and "Swept Away," 1983's "Girls," 1987's "Shockwaves"  and1999's "Hope Is An Open Window."  

I mention that because one prissy critic wants you to know Diana co-writes nine of the thirteen tracks and he (you knew it was a 'he,' didn't you?) insists she's not really been a songwriter and really just previous co-wrote 1981's "Work That Body."  Uhm, no.  

She and the other songwriters do a great job on THANK YOU.  Those writers include her oldest daughter Rhonda Ross who wrote, all by herself, the delicious "Count On Me"  -- another song with great piano work and with a vocal from Diana that really delivers.

I love the background vocals on "Come Together."  I love all the extra touches and flourishes that go into this album to make it so special and wonderful.

In Betty's "WHO IS THE GREAT EARTHA KITT? (and thank you, Diana Ross!)," she notes:

I also highly recommend Diana Ross' THANK YOU. A fantastic album. I am loving it. It is wonderful and I cannot praise it enough. If you like Diana, you are going to love this album. One of the songs features a syncopated vocal like on "Now That You're Gone" (diana album) or "Not Over You Yet" (EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY album). I love all the songs and even the ones that I loved as singles work so much better on the album in the context of the other songs.

She's talking about "In Your Heart" and it's really something with the syncopated vocal, the drum rumbles, the caressing musical notes.

I love this album.  I love the title track, I love "If The World Just Danced" -- all of it.  

I love the lyrics, I love the vocals.  In the album notes, Diana explains THANK YOU Is a "songbook of love."  That's truly what the album is.  It's a celebration and reflection of what we have and what we can have.

"The Answers Always Love" probably sums up the album.

Diana Ross' THANK YOU is an album you don't want to miss.  It's everything a musical album should be.


[Note: For this review, I used C.I.'s advanced copy of THANK YOU.  I have paid for my copy, it's just been lost in transit, see my "Once upon a time AMAZON revealed they were a liar" from Friday.]

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Sugar: The Sinister Sweet



Leisurely reads. Quirky tips. Meet your weekend BFF with the lowdown on the coolest art, culture, food, travel, TV shows, music and more.

Nov 06, 2021TODAY

“The best way to deal with temptation is to yield to it,” as the late Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, once told me. Although he wasn’t specifically talking about sugar, such a devilish source is only fitting when talking sweet, sweet sucrose. No substance seduces us more, which is why it’s in just about everything you eat and drink. But what if you could get that sugar high without getting left high and dry? Witness some saintly sugars within, the kinds that could cure cancer, Alzheimer’s and even COVID. Plus, consider some tasty alternatives, so that next time your sweet tooth rears, you’ll be able to say, confidently: “Get behind me, Satan!”


1 - A Tool in the Fight Against Aging

About 85 percent of proteins, including those behind diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, have proven elusive to the drugs that could actually kill them. Enter a bunch of geniuses at Harvard who are using sugars to crowbar their way in, helping drugs stop deadly diseases on a cellular level. In their study, these scientists point out that sugar often gets a bad rap as “evil,” “toxic” and “poison,” but it is actually essential to the body’s process of determining what is friend or foe. Using a “pencil/eraser” tool to add or remove sugars from proteins, scientists are now able to put sugar under the microscope, which could help people better understand the sweet stuff’s potential medical uses going forward.

2 - ...And Against Cancer!

A team of crack researchers at Portugal’s Instituto de Medicina Molecular have figured out how to boost T-cell counts in their fight against cancer cells. Their secret ingredient? Sugar. It sounds like an answer the Willy Wonka lobby would cook up, but if it works, who are we to shove away the chocolate cake? But you’ll want to avoid adding fats while “fighting cancer,” as the scientists found these new avenues of sugar metabolism in gamma-delta T-cells are hampered by clogged arteries.

3 - ...And Against COVID!

Is sugar a friend or an enemy? Scientists still aren’t sure — although its potential damage to your liver is no laughing matter. That’s a major reason why the World Health Organization suggests eating no more than 25 grams, or six teaspoons, of it daily (the average American, the worst offenders by far, average 17 teaspoons per day). Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Computational Science simulated the COVID-19 virus invading human cells and discovered that glycans (sugar molecules) have something to do with the structural changes that make it both easy and possible for the coronaviruses to invade. If you can figure out how they got in, you can keep them out. So, friend or foe, we need to better understand sugar to combat the virus.

4 - A Safer Replacement

A sugar substitute called Supplant, a name that now seems inevitable, is here. Made of plant waste material, it was invented in Cambridge, England, and funded by Silicon Valley with $24 million in seed money. It is ostensibly better for you than other sugar substitutes and better than sugar by far, the founders say. You can perform your own taste test, but Supplant has already gotten approval from the European Union’s notoriously strict version of the FDA — for use as a sweetener and as a probiotic with tangible health benefits.


1 - Allulose and Tagatose

It’s human nature: As people are told to eat less sugar, demand for a similar sweetness will rise. Shares for substitutes in a potentially $100 billion market are anticipated to boom as the pseudo stuff replaces the real thing, which is less healthy primarily because it carries too many calories and wreaks havoc with your blood sugar levels. While the aforementioned Supplant seems like it could be an exciting competitor, Allulose and Tagatose have already hit the starting blocks (though it is still prohibitively expensive to produce them). Which is why Hershey and other candy bigwigs are investing in Bonumose, a Virginia-based startup with a technology that could pave the way for mass market adoption of sugary substitutes. Hoping to reach markets by 2022, all they need now is to put some distance between search results and questions about their safety.

2 - DouxMatok

Companies are under a lot of pressure to reduce the amount of sugar in what they sell. But Israel-based food tech company DouxMatok (and Nestlé ) have gotten slick in a way that makes me smile: They’re just going to focus on maximizing the efficiency of the sugar they’re already putting in your food. Sort of like making a more potent heroin. “If you can improve the efficiency of the delivery of sugar within a cake to the taste receptors, you will be perceiving a lot more sweetness with less sugar,” said the CEO of DouxMatok Eran Baniel last year. So, don’t work harder, work sweeter?

3 - And the Simplest Alternative: None at All!

How much of flavor is based on sugar in the first place? Apparently not enough to make a difference. Which is why confectionery trade mags are calling flavor innovations that eschew sugar on the way to your taste buds one of the top trends of 2021. The cynically minded will point out this high-minded shift may actually just be a response to market demands: 91 percent of consumers say they are “at least a little influenced” by sugar reduction claims, according to Innova Market Insights research.

4 - Treating Symptoms Could be the Cure

We all get weak, but handling what happens next is what it’s all about. The people who pay attention to such dietary temptations are bullish on alpha lipoic acid (ALA), and for good reason. ALA helps balance your blood sugar by supporting insulin sensitivity and how we use glucose, with researchers saying it may help with weight loss and diabetes. Our bodies already produce the acid naturally, but they could use a boost from dietary supplements that pack as much as 1,000 times more of the acid than is found in food. So, repairing the damage while you’re doing the damage. We’re in!


As He Talks Sustainability, Appropriation, Trump and Bourdain 



1 - A Green Alternative

You get high, you get hungry. But getting hungry and eating garbage is not necessary. And if you’re getting high via cannabis edibles, you don’t need to harm your health in the process. Which is why sugar-free cannabis edibles have become a thing, from Olala’s infused sodas to ZootRocks candies sweetened with sugar beets and Stevia. So now, you can get high and stay healthy … at least until you crack open that bag of Takis. The munchies win again.

2 - A Healthy, Fresh Friend

What is erythritol, outside of a sugar alcohol used as a sugar substitute? Well, the folks at Clean Plates have a few ideas, taking you for a deep dive into the food additive that delivers a cool, minty sensation, particularly at high quantities. Keto friendly, paleo friendly, even diabetic friendly, we’re starting to just think this is the friendliest sugar sub we’ve ever met. Plus, the name is tasty: All hail, erythritol, the Greek god of baked goods?

3 - Supercharged on Monk

The monk fruit is a smallish, round Southeast Asian fruit. The sweetener made from it has no calories and is 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar. Which sounds like a problem, not a solution, to me, but what do I know? That level of sweetness could seem saccharine, and perhaps it is — especially if people overindulge, as people tend to do. However, zero calories is still zero calories. Find the sweetener in products like PureLo, Purefruit and Monk Fruit in the Raw, among others.

4 - Date Night Every Night

My sophomoric self was laughing all the way to Trader Joe’s over this whole “date paste” thing, only to realize that it’s just a paste made out of dates. Medjool dates. Not nearly as funny. But still pretty sweet. Which is, after all, the point of any true sugar substitute. Delicious, and natural, add it to a piece of toast and call it a day.


1 - Sugar Cane Economies Slow

With the sugar-alternative market swelling and populations of folks generally hip to the fact that less sugar is better, it seems like there would be consequences. Like, say, economic downturns in the American South and the Caribbean, locales that have typically fueled the growth and refining of sugar cane. But that doesn’t appear to be the case, as sugar is simply finding new uses and new markets. So if we’re not eating the sugar, where’s it going? Well, you’re reading the words of a man who just bought some sugar-based face wash.

2 - Skeletons in the Closet

We’d be remiss if we didn't remind you that sugar itself is still bad for you. Like really bad for you. Consider that those who took in 25 percent or more of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those with less than 10 percent in their diets, according to a Harvard study conducted over 15 years. You may just forget that fact, given the way the sugar business has prevented the world from digging deep into its crystalline secrets. But even if we knew how bad it was for us, would it stop us from eating it?

3 - Just Desserts

Sweet treats made without sugar or dairy. This taste-good tale is from Bon AppéSweet, a maker of artisanal, sugar-free gelato and chocolate, started by a woman of color who just won a massive award (and $700,000 in investment) for her creation. We’ll take two scoops!


“Sugar does make people happy, but then you fall off the edge after a few minutes, so I’ve really pretty much cut it out of my diet. Except for cupcakes. I like those.” - David Lynch


Have any sugar horror stories? Or maybe you’ve found your own novel way to safely enjoy some sweets? Share your thoughts, shoot us an email at!



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