BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O JUST CAN'T SEEM TO GET THE ATTENTION HE CRAVES AS EASY AS HE USED TO. WHAT WITH MEN'S VOGUE FOLDING, HE'S LIKE A LONE ARUGULA LEAF SITTING A TOP A PLASTIC WRAPPED HEAD OF ICEBERG LETTUCE.
DESPERATE TO STAND OUT, YEARNING FOR EVER MORE ATTENTION, BARRY O HAS DECIDED TO GO THE REALITY TV ROUTE AND, AFTER FAILING LAST WEEK WITH HIS TALK SHOW, BARRY O HAS DECIDED TO DO A HEAVILY PROMOTED GUEST SHOT ON AMERICA'S MOST WANTED.
REACHED FOR COMMENT, BARRY O TOLD THESE REPORTERS, "THE PROBLEM'S NOT ME! IT'S MY HANDLERS! THEY DON'T KNOW HOW TO MANAGE A TALENT AS IMMENSE AS ME. THIS GUEST SPOT IS GOING TO TAKE ME IN A WHOLE OTHER DIRECTION, WAIT AND SEE! YOU'RE GOING TO HEAR FROM ME!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
This morning on the second hour of The Diane Rehm Show (NPR), Susan Page (USA Today) guest hosted for Diane and she spoke with the panelists Tom Gjelten (NPR), Susan Glasser (Foreign Policy) and David E. Sanger (New York Times).
Susan Page: Well Iraqis -- most Iraqis who are going to vote, go to the polls on Sunday, the first national election in five years. David Sanger, what seats are up?
David Sanger: Well an amazing number of candidates are up. Uh there are going to be 6127 candidates for 325 seats. So you could see a fair number of people who come in with one, two and even three votes if they, you know, get Moms and spouses to vote for them. You'll also see uh about 50,000 polling places. And I guess they must have all read those books about uh how Lyndon Johnson conducted polls in Texas in the 40s and 50s because not only are they writing this on special paper and numbering the ballots but the ballots then go into clear plastic boxes so that it gets a little bit harder to fiddle with. That said, the ingenuity of Iraqis with fiddling with uh ballots now may be as good as Americans have had at various points in our history. Uh, I think what you need to think about for this election are two things. First is it could be a long time before we see a serious result. When this happened in 2005, it took about five months to put the government together. Here it may not take as long but it could be a few months. And the second big question is: Does anything come up out of this that gets in the way of the American withdrawal strategy? And that is all linked to the divisions of Sunni and Shia, the levels of violence and so forth. For President [Barack] Obama who has already said that he's not out to make a Jeffersonian democracy and either Afghanistan or Iraq the big question is can he just stay on schedule.
Susan Page: Well what do you think, Susan, will he be able to stay on schedule with the withdrawal of US troops over the next two years or do you think that's in some peril?
Susan Glasser: Uh, well, you know, if I had a crystal ball for this one, we-we could all go home. But I do think that the election will be an intersting indicator. And what comes after it, as David mentioned, of just how riven is the political space in Iraq right now. There have certainly been some uh disturbing signs in the weeks leading up to the election that this is a highly polarized, highly sectarian environment going into the elections. Uhm, you know, there are signs of levels of divisions between Sunni and Shia that have probably reached their highest level of the last two years in the context of this campaign. So will renewed violence break out? What does it do to the potential unraveling of political space in Iraq? How much is the current prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki -- what is he willing to do to hold onto power over the next few weeks and months?
Susan Page: Tom, is there someone the US hopes emerges as the new leader of Iraq?
Tom Gjelten: No, I-I think what the United States hopes is simply stability. Uh, as David said, I think the, you know the prospect of divisions following this election is so unnerving that the United States would basically settle for any candidate that's able to keep the country more or less, uh, uh, on track and stable. I mean there seem to be -- You know, the good news is that all sectors of the Iraqi political spectrum are-are represented in this election. The bad news is that all sectors of the Iraqi political spectrum are represented in this election including some very violent, anti-American militia members. Moqtada al-Sadr who's responsible for a lot of the attacks even though he's currently living in Iraq, we think. His-his party is well represented. We've got an alleged former death squad leader who's represented. We have Sunni religious groups represented, Sunni secular groups, Shia religious groups, Shia secular groups. So everybody is represented but what that also does is it really is a recipe for what Susan and David are talking about, the kind of, the warring factions in the aftermath.
Susan Page: But I wonder if, to look on the bright side maybe, a second democratic election in five years, since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime, does it indicate democracy or an Iraqi form of democracy is really taking root? Or do you think that goes too far, David?
David Sanger: It represents an Iraqi form of democracy. We've had other moments in Iraqi history, including in the 1950s, when there were similar forms of democracy and they didn't last. I mean, Iraq is a place that, at various moments, has gravitated towards strong-man leaders and that could well happen again.
Echoing that thought are Ernesto Londono and Leila Fadel (Washington Post) who explain, "After the ballots are cast and counted, voters will have provided the first conclusive evidence of what kind of democracy is likely to take root in the heart of the Middle East -- if one does at all." Charles Levinson (Wall St. Journal) reports, "Iraq's leading candidates made final appeals to voters and an influential anti-U.S. cleric unveiled a unqiue election-day strategy, on the final day of campaigning for Sunday's national polls." Iraqi refugees will vote in the US, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, the UAE, Lebanon, Iran, Canada, England, Denmark, Australia, Germany, Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands. And in Iraq, Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) looks at the approximately 3 million young, first-time voters in Iraq who express frustration and note that their lives have been plagued by violence, unemployment and lack of basic services. The Iraq War started in March 2003 and that's seven years ago. 20-year-old Iraqis were 13 when this illegal war started. Arraf reports, "This should be an exciting threshold to a new future for young people. But a broad range of interviews reveal that for this generation, born into a decade of trade sanctions and raised in war, there is an overriding sense of frustration, fears about security, and the struggle to find their place in a country still emerging from conflict." Among the first time voters is Nada Hatem Farhan and Jane Arraf examines what the elections mean to her and her life: Not much at all. She's like to be an attorney or journalist but instead states she must become a teacher which is about it in terms of 'respectability' for women in her area -- but that's if she's able to go college. There is a push for her to get married to her cousin as soon as she finishes high school. At Inside Iraq, an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers notes that all the candidates are decrying foreign influence and foreign money in the process but that those who serve in Parliament refused to address the situation before the elections. The correspondent observes:
The parties that are ruling Iraqi now are the same, two were established in Iran, and that we can find an explanation because Saddam was hunting the opposition down and killing their beloved ones so they had to find a safe place to live and seek change, but what me and my fellow citizens cannot comprehend is why these parties still receiving money and show allegiance to Iran or other countries and then criticize the foreign support.
And the most important part, these parties didn't mind an invasion and called it a liberation in 2003, later they called it occupation and interference, and they keep forgetting that it is the foreign interference and invasion that brought the democracy to the country, so why Iraqis need to oppose foreign funds, when everything was and still coming from outside.
In other deveopments, Layla Anwar (An Arab Woman Blues) expresses her anger very clearly today over Zeinab Khadum Allwan (we covered her in Wednesday's snapshot) but she's confused George W. Bush with "Western feminists" and we won't play dumb, Layla, just because we respect you. Rage and scream and do so against "Western feminists" if you want but don't expect us to play dumb with you.
First off, there's nothing about a burqa in Zeinab's story as told by the BBC -- nor is she 'modestly' dressed. She's dressed in tennis gear, so why Layla wants to use shame of the human body and how the West has allegedly torn off the 'mystique' of the female form (that would be "the other" for all educated in feminist theory, that which is cloaked, that which is hidden) to try to score points is actually a mystery.
Let me be really clear before I go further, I've noted this before online. I've posed nude. I have no hang ups about being naked and anytime someone wants to play the shame game re: nudity, it's never going to work with me. So call that A and B. C, George W. Bush is not and never was the face of feminism. If the Iraq War was sometimes sold as 'liberation' for Iraqi women, that came from Bush and his supporters in the media. Western feminists, as a group, opposed the Iraq War. We won't be your sin eater on this, Layla. You're angry and you have every right to be. You can lash out at whatever grouping you want including Western feminists. But I'm not of the Chickie-baby-boom-boom 'school' who's confused a push-up bra and a party schedule with feminism nor do I stand still while hit with a two-by-four.
Feminists in the West have got to learn to fight back and that includes saying, "I understand your anger but your facts are wrong." And, Layla, your facts are wrong. No feminist in the US or England or Canada has hailed the Iraq War as a success for female liberation nor would they. What we have repeatedly noted in the West was that Iraq had a more progressive policy regarding women than any other country in the region and that the invasion actually set the rights of women backwards. In fact, Rebecca was just writing about that last night, before you posted your attack on Western feminists today:
it's women's history month and the recent history for iraqi women isn't a good 1. they were better off before the invasion. they had rights. they were not required to hide themselves away. iraq was a secular state. why is it that women are always the 1s to suffer in any society? it could be us in the united states to lose our rights. it's not as if we have an equal rights amendment in the constitution. even if we did, before the 2003 invasion, iraqis could point to their own constitution and show how women's rights were in it. the true story of women's history appears to be that every day we have to struggle and fight and that's largely just to remain in the same spot. forget getting ahead.
You can be angry, you can lash out any group you want to. But we're not going to play stupid here when you attack feminism and attack it with distortions. As for "you" have to watch? I watched. I watched and wrote about it on Wednesday. Two days later you show up? Welcome to the party, Layla, food's all gone but pour yourself a drink.
Layla's angry, she has every right to be. Her country's been destroyed. There's no band-aid for it. And while we'll understand that, I do not play the game where we're Western feminists so we turn the other cheek while some one attacks us with lies. (Ava and I wrote a piece calling out the refusal to fight back in November of last year.) Had second wave leaders stood up in real time, a lot of lies and distortions wouldn't have taken hold in the last decades. Layla's angry. It's a deep anger and it's completely understandable. And she can lash out if she wants at whomever she wants. But if that lashing out includes a distortion of feminism or feminists, I'm not going to play. I'm not your sin eater. You need to grow up and take accountability for your own actions and that includes knowing who your enemies are. I already raised my children, I'm not going to baby any grown up at this late date.
Turning to England where the Iraq Inquiry today took testimony from Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former UK Secretary of State (2007-2009) Douglas Alexander (link goes to transcript and video option). Brown became the current Prime Minister in June 2007, prior to that he served in Tony Blair's Cabinet beginning in 1997. John Chilcot chairs the Inquiry and he kicked things off in today's hearing.
Chair John Chilcot: It has been borne in on this Inquiry from the outset that the coalition's decision to take military action led directly or most often, indirectly to the loss of lives of many people, servicemen and women in our and the Multi-National Forces, the Iraqi security forces, and many civilians, men, women and children, in Iraq. Still more have been affected by those losses and by other consequences of the action. Given all that experience, I should like to ask right at the outset whether you believe the decision to take military action in March 2003 was indeed right.
Gordon Brown: It was the right decision and it was for the right reasons. But I do want, at the outset, to pay my respects to all the soldiers and members of our armed forces who served with great entourage and distinction in Iraq for the loss of life and the sacrifices that they have made, and my thoughts are with their families. Next week, we will dedicate at the national arboretum a memorial to the 179 servicemen and women who died in Iraq and I think the thoughts and prayers of us are with all the families today.
Sentences two and three might have taken some of the sting out of sentence one were it not for the fact that those assembled had already seen Gordon Brown strut into the room, glad handing and beaming as if he was going to a christening,
You walked into the party
Like you were walking onto a yacht
Your had strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf it was apricot
You had one eye in the mirror
As you watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed
That they'd be your partner
They'd be your partner and . . .
You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I bet you think this song is about you
Don't you, don't you?
-- "You're So Vain" -- words and music by Carly Simon
And that number one song, which Carly's re-recorded as part of her reimaging classic songs from her canon on Never Been Gone, never had a video. But Carly Simon and Iris Records are having a contest:
BE THE FILMMAKER TO CREATE THE FIRST AND ONLY VIDEO FOR CARLY SIMON'S CLASSIC ROCK SONG "YOU'RE SO VAIN" IN ASSOCIATION WITH AOL MUSIC'S SPINNER.COM
THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER WILL HAVE THEIR VIDEO PREMIERED AT THE 2010 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL, FEATURED ON AOL AND MEET CARLY SIMON IN-PERSON
Los Angeles, California. Thirty seven Decembers ago, pop songstress Carly Simon tore up the record charts with her single "You're So Vain." The song captured the number-one slot on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary charts, and to this day remains one of the most popular classic rock songs of all time. Perhaps more than any other track in pop music, the song's central mystery captivated the public. Ironically, even with all this speculation, the song has never had a music video to accompany it.
To coincide with her critically-acclaimed latest release, NEVER BEEN GONE, fans and filmmakers are invited to submit a music video to accompany the newly recorded version of "You're So Vain." If you'd like to add elements of the original 1972 version of the song feel free, but your video has to incorporate at least some of the 2010 recording, making the most of the new footage that can be downloaded here.
Carly will screen and judge all of the entries herself. The winning video will be featured on AOL Music's Spinner.com and screened at this years' Tribeca Film Festival in April, where the winner will also have the opportunity meet Carly Simon.
To help fans and filmmakers out, Carly has created a template of optional tools which can be utilized in the creation of the video including recently shot green screen footage, stills, video blogs and more all of which can be found and downloaded HERE.
You can submit your video from February 8th 2010 through April 15st 2010.
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"THIS JUST IN! BARRY O IS HAPPY!"