Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Pointer Sisters

I miss the Pointer Sisters.

I think they were among the best vocal groups of the rock era and one of the eighties finer groups.

"Twist My Arm" is from the album CONTACT.

That album should have been a huge hit.  "Dare Me" -- the lead single -- was a great song and was a hit.  But "Twist My Arm" and "Pound, Pound, Pound" were not.

"Dare Me" was probably their last big hit.

But before CONTACT, they had a ton of hits.

"Automatic" was a great one but I think I will always love "Jump For My Love" even more.

"Neutron Dance," "He's So Shy," "Slow Hand," "I'm So Excited," "Fire," "American Music, " . . .

You can read about the group in Ruth Pointer's book STILL SO EXCITED.


For a review of the book, check out "STILL SO EXCITED (Ava and C.I.)."


The Pointer Sisters were as chameleonic as David Bowie, if not more so. The sibling group backed Grace Slick and Boz Scaggs, made stops at Sesame Street and the Grand Ole Opry, won a country Grammy, and appeared in the movie Car Wash, all before scoring four consecutive Top Ten Billboard Hot 100 hits in the mid-‘80s. From their early ‘70s releases on Blue Thumb through their ‘80s commercial run on Planet and RCA, the Pointers moved through boogie-woogie, bebop, blues, country, funk, disco, soft rock, electro-pop, hard rock, and several other subgenres as if they were all second nature. The sisters covered Willie Dixon, were covered by Elvis Presley, and released 15 Top 40 Hot 100 singles while sustaining a steady presence on the R&B, club, and adult contemporary charts.

Ruth, Anita, Bonnie, and June Pointer grew up in Oakland, California, daughters of a mother and reverend father who encouraged gospel singing and forbade blues and rock & roll. They developed their love for various forms of secular music through visits and slumber parties at the homes of friends, where they could listen to music and watch programs like American Bandstand and The Ed Sullivan Show. The sisters’ public performances were limited to church, but once they were older, Bonnie and June formed a duo and were eventually joined by Anita; they provided background vocals for a number of artists, including Grace Slick, Boz Scaggs, and Sylvester. While performing with Walter Bishop, they caught the eyes and ears of the Atlantic label, who released the Pointer Sisters' first two singles: 1971’s Honey Cone-like “Don’t Try to Take the Fifth” and the following year’s “Destination No More Heartaches.” Neither song charted, but the abundant potential was obvious.
By the end of 1972, the group was a quartet that also featured Ruth. The Pointers left Atlantic for Blue Thumb, where they released five eclectic albums: The Pointer Sisters (1973), That’s a Plenty (1974), Live at the Opera House (1974), Steppin’ (1975), and Having a Party (1977). Among the hit singles from these releases were the empowering “Yes We Can Can” (written by Allen Toussaint), “How Long (Betcha Got a Chick on the Side)” (a Toussaint-flavored song written by Bonnie and Anita with David Rubinson), and “Going Down Slowly” (a grinding take on Toussaint's “Going Down”). The most successful song of all was “Fairtyale,” a Bonnie- and Anita-penned departure into country music that peaked at number 13 on the Hot 100. This enabled the Pointers to perform at the Grand Ole Opry -- as the first African-American vocal group to do so -- and the song also won the 1974 Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. It was covered by Elvis Presley. The same year Having a Party was issued, the popular children’s television program Sesame Street first aired a classic animated segment called Pinball Number Count, which featured vocals the Pointers recorded several years earlier.
Between the release of Having a Party and the end of 1977, June and Bonnie departed from the group, with the latter initiating a solo career. Ruth and Anita signed a deal with producer Richard Perry's Elektra-affiliated Planet label, and June re-joined in time to record Energy (1978), which featured a cover of Sly & the Family Stone's “Everybody Is a Star” and the Toussaint-written “Happiness” (the group’s first single to hit the disco chart) but was otherwise rooted in rock, with interpretations of Steely Dan, Bob Welch-era Fleetwood Mac, and the Doobie Brothers, along with the second released recording -- following a version by Robert Gordon -- of Bruce Springsteen's “Fire,” a song intended for Elvis Presley. The Pointers took it to number two on the Hot 100 chart. The rest of the group’s years with Perry and Planet were extremely successful, culminating with 1983’s Break Out, an album that went multi-platinum due to a string of four state-of-the-art dance-pop singles. “Automatic,” “Jump (For My Love),” a remix of 1982’s “I’m So Excited,” and “Neutron Dance” all peaked in the Hot 100’s Top Ten. The women won two additional Grammys.
During the latter half of the ‘80s and the early ‘90s, the Pointer Sisters released five more albums on RCA, Motown, and SBK. 1985’s Contact, featuring the crossover hit “Dare Me,” was the group’s last album to go platinum. While they did not record any albums after 1993’s Only Sisters Can Do That, they continued to perform on an infrequent basis. Issa, Ruth’s daughter, provided backing vocals on the final album and joined as a full member when June left for health reasons. A victim of lung cancer, June passed away in 2006. The Pointer Sisters, however, continued performing throughout the rest of the decade.                

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, May 19, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, AP doesn't think the refugee crisis created by the slog is important for US news consumers (differs on the international scene), and much more.

forces have stormed the last two blocks in 17 Tamouz district NW , just a little more & it will be completely liberated.

Just a little more?

It's day 212 of The Mosul Slog.

Replying to 
Latest map update for west Operations after liberated Al-Qahira (Cairo) village south Qayrawan.

Meanwhile, does AP have a prankster in its midst?

That would explain this headline "Airstrikes fuel Mosul gains as Iraq pushes for quick victory."

It could also be explained by an urge to cover for empire and that motive would also explain the need to pretend that The Mosul Slog has two parts.

It doesn't.

There was not an operation to liberate the eastern half and an operation to liberate the western half.

That's a rewriting of history, revisionary tactics.

The Mosul Slog was not supposed to be a slog, it was supposed to be a quick operation, one expected to last only a few weeks.

That has not been the case.

Instead, AP splits it up into two because 100 days looks a lot more successful than the 212 days the operation has been going on.

How else do they make it look better?

Burying this:

Some 500,000 people have fled western Mosul since February and the United Nations warned another 200,000 may be forced to flee as the operation continues.
U.N. humanitarian coordinator Lise Grande called the numbers "overwhelming."

17 paragraphs into the article before you find the above.

The refugee numbers are "overwhelming."

And that's not the lede?

How does that happen?

AP should try to explain that.

Overseas, AP emphasizes the refugee crises and even makes it the headline.  But for US audiences, it's a different story.

's Releases VDO Showing Destroying 3 Humvees By Guided Missiles Near Tal Banat SW Of .

In a blow to the CIA, Nawshirwan Mustafa has died.  Idris Okuducu (ANADOLU AGENCY) reports he was 73-years-old and that he passed away "following a long illness."  Left out of the announcement is that the CIA provided him with seed money for Goran -- a political party that they hoped would make the Kurds easier to control.

Goran had increased in popularity in the last elections; however, this was in part due to the PUK falling out of favor as a result of the deceptions regarding Jalal Talabani's health.

Whether Goran can **retain** its lead over the PUK without Mustafa will be interesting to see.

(The Barzani's KDP remains the dominant political party in the Kurdistan Region.)

In the US, whistle-blower Chelsea Manning has been released.

Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released  military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested  Chelsea Manning (then known as Bradley Manning) and she stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (WASHINGTON POST) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (LOS ANGELES TIMES) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Chelsea had yet to enter a plea. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the November 2012 election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions.  INDEPENDENT.IE added, "A court martial is set to be held in June at Ford Meade in Maryland, with supporters treating him as a hero, but opponents describing him as a traitor."  February 28, 2013, Chelsea admitted he leaked to WikiLeaks.  And why.

Chelsea:   In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.

For truth telling, Chelsea was punished by the man who fears truth: Barack Obama.  A fraud, a fake, a 'brand,' anything but genuine, Barack is all marketing, all facade and, for that reason, must attack each and every whistle-blower.  David Delmar (Digital Journal) points out, "President Obama, while ostensibly a liberal advocate of transparency and openness in government, and of the 'courage' and 'patriotism' of whistleblowers who engage in conscientious leaks of classified information, is in reality something very different: a vindictive opponent of the free press willing to target journalists for doing their job and exposing government secrets to the public."

 Tuesday, July 30, 2013, Chelsea was convicted of all but two counts by Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge in his court-martial.

She deserves praise for what she did.  We do not, however, need to lie about what she did.

Hidden history of the Iraq war is Chelsea Manning leaks were totally decisive in securing a US withdrawal. Saved countless lives.

That's not hidden history, that's made up inventions.

It's also insulting as it implies the favorite western narrative of all time: The natives were too stupid on their own and needed a White savior to rescue them.

The occupation of Iraq was authorized under a UN mandate which was yearly.

Each year, the prime minister of Iraq would renew it.

Nouri al-Maliki came under tremendous pressure near the end of 2006 for renewing it -- pressure within Iraq.  He promised that he would put it before Parliament the next year.

In 2007, he renewed it and did not go before Parliament.

The Status of Forces Agreement was a three year contract for that reason -- he did not want to take the hit each year as the supporter of occupation in his own country.

Chelsea Manning did a heroic thing and the video of the attack on the REUTERS reporters probably woke a few up in the US.

However, this was not news to the Iraqi people.

They saw the foreign military do that (and far worse) in their country on a regular basis.  There was also the issue of Blackwater and other mercenary groups.

Chelsea did a great job and her actions were heroic.

But let's not pretend that the Iraqi people needed Chelsea -- seven years into the Iraq War -- to tell them how they were being treated on a daily basis.  It's insulting.

Also in the US, Carlo Munoz (WASHINGTON TIMES) reports on statements made to a think tank:

The U.S. may need to keep as many as 20,000 troops and other military personnel in Iraq, even after the Islamic State is driven out, to stabilize the country, the former head of the Pentagon’s policy shop said Thursday.
A postwar force of between 4,000 to 8,000 American troops “is probably sufficient” to help local security forces ensure security in Iraq as ISIS faces defeat in its final stronghold in Mosul, Eric Edelman, the Pentagon’s top policy official during the George W. Bush administration, said in an interview.
The U.S. forces would likely be deployed as advisers, not combat troops, to support Iraq’s police and military forces, he said.

We'll note this from South Central Michigan Greens:

South Central Michigan Greens
Calhoun, Hillsdale, and Jackson Counties Local
People and planet over profit.

UPDATED:  May 16, 2017

For more information:
John Anthony La Pietra, Calhoun County Contact/SCMiGreens

South Central Michigan Greens to Meet
at Albion Biggby's 5-7pm May 20

The South Central Michigan Greens will hold their monthly meeting on
Saturday, May 20 from 5 to 7pm in the meeting room at the Albion
Biggby's Coffee, 217 East Michigan Avenue.

The meeting had been scheduled for 2:30 to 4:30pm in the Elsie Munro
Room at the Albion District Library, but the plans changed after
water-main work on Superior Street was announced to begin on Wednesday.

The Green Party of Michigan local group was formed earlier this year. It
covers Calhoun, Jackson, and Hillsdale Counties, and has been meeting in
various places to reach out to the communities.

Planning an ongoing schedule of dates and places for future meetings
will be on the agenda.  So will discussion of issues and activities to
get involved in, materials on how to campaign for office and how to go
door-to-door to find new members and issues, and information about the
state party's opposition to a misleading ballot proposal.

For more information, please visit the South Central Michigan Greens
Facebook page -- or contact Calhoun County organizer John Anthony La
Pietra (269-781-9478;

NOTE:  East Michigan Avenue is north of the downtown construction zone;
Biggby's is a block and a half east of Superior Street, on the north
side of Michigan.  Those entering town from the EAST can Exit 124 off
I-94 onto Michigan Avenue and go west until they reach the coffeeshop.
Those entering town from the WEST can take Exit 121 south into town on
Eaton, turn left at the second stoplight to continue on Business Loop
94, turning right and then left again at the next stoplight which is
Michigan Avenue.

#  #  #

The Four Pillars of GPMI:
    Grassroots Democracy
    Social Justice
    Ecological Wisdom
For our Ten Key Values, add:
    Community-Based Economics
    Future Focus/Sustainability
    Personal and Global Responsibility
    Respect for Diversity

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fell On Black Days

As Kat's already noted tonight, "Chris Cornell" has passed away.

That is very sad to me.

From 2006's "Isaiah, Howard Zinn, Cindy Sheehan, Tina Turner, C...:"

Chris Cornell is doing the theme and I'm honestly more interested in that right now. I was a big fan of Soundgarden up through SuperUnknown. Then they followed that up with something that sounded to me like rehashed Bad Finger or some other generic 70s band and, of course, then they broke up. Cornell sings with Audioslave which I enjoy but wish they didn't sound so much like Rage Against the Machine (which is where most members of the band came from). I really loved Rage but I don't want Rage fronted by Cornell. The next two albums improved and I thought Revelations (their most recent one) showed a unqiue sound and not just the promise that had been hinted on previously. The Bond song is called "You Know My Name" and I'm hopeful on it but wish they'd brought back Tina Turner. I can hear Cornell hollering "You Know My Name" in my head but I think Tina could have given it more shading. Hopefully, I'll be proven wrong.

SuperUnknown remains one of my most played CDs from the 90s. "Fell on Black Days" is honestly a track I missed on initial listen and I have no idea how that happened. I was discussing it over the phone with C.I. shortly after it came out and was told, "Put the phone down and listen to that track." I did and it blew my away. I was more focused on "Spoonman" and "4th of July" and "Fell on Black Days" had sailed right over me originally. 

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursay, May 18, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues,

A new development . . .

: Iraq’s Prime Minister pens letter to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad calling for military cooperation to fight terror.

Iraqi PM ’s letter to Bashar al-Assad was delivered by Iraq’s national security advisor, calling to secure border.

Meanwhile, it's day 211 of The Mosul Slog.

IS 'on brink of defeat' after losing 90% of west Mosul: officers: Iraqi forces have recaptured nearly 90 percent of…

Day 211.

It was supposed to last mere weeks, remember?

But it was also supposedly launched to save the citizens of Mosul.

Not a lot of concern for those civilians these days.

Human Rights Watch notes:

 The Iraqi army and other local security forces have forced over 300 displaced families to return to west Mosul neighborhoods still under risk of attack by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), Human Rights Watch said today. The families, who had fled to the Hammam al-Alil and Hajj Ali camps for displaced people, are severely short of water, food, electricity, and medical assistance.
Displaced residents, camp staff in Hammam al-Alil, and three federal police officers said that families were returned to certain west Mosul neighborhoods to make room for newly displaced people from more recently retaken neighborhoods of west Mosul. But aid workers involved in camp management and United Nations assessments of camp capacity indicated that the camps still have space for new arrivals.
“People from western Mosul fled some of the worst fighting there and finally found safety, only to be forced back to areas still under ISIS fire,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “These families should not be forcibly returned to unsafe areas and areas that lack adequate water, food, electricity, or health facilities.”

The UN Guiding Principles on internal displacement state that all internally displaced people should be able to choose where they live and have the right to be protected against forcible return to any place where their life, safety, liberty, or health would be at risk.

The Mosul Slog slogs along.  What happens after?

Muhanad al-Saleh and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) remind:

 Sunni resentment over disenfranchisement and the rise of Shiite power after the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein fueled an insurgency and gave a foothold to al-Qaida. The U.S. military, backed by Sunni tribal fighters, largely crushed al-Qaida. But Sunni bitterness over continued discrimination by Shiites helped in the subsequent rise of the Islamic State group. Each time, the rise of militants only deepened Shiite suspicions that the Sunnis cannot be trusted.
U.S. officials backing Baghdad in the fight against IS have warned repeatedly that the same could happen again now unless the government is made more inclusive.

A prominent Sunni lawmaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, said Iraq could fall apart unless a "historic compromise" is reached.

Former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki oversaw the persecution of the Sunnis from 2006 to 2014.  He wants back in.  It's reported that he's attempting to state he's the only one who can prevent the partition of Iraq into three areas (Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurd).  Nouri did not want to step down in 2014.  It's interesting that he thinks he can be prime minister again, after two terms, considering the Iraqi Constitution.  But Nouri intends to stoke fear in an effort to be back as prime minister.

In a possible effort to stop Nouri's propaganda, there's already a response.  KURDISTAN 24 reports:

The Iraqi parliament speaker warned against plans to divide the country, stating that those who do not want to live as part of Iraq should seek a new homeland.
Salim al-Jibouri, the Iraqi Parliament Speaker, at a Turkman's Conference in Baghdad on Wednesday said that they are not against applying Iraqi constitution but they would stand against any attempt at dividing the country.

Jan Kubis, head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Ammar al-Hakim, head of the Iraqi Shia National Alliance and representative of Turkmen parties were also present at the conference.

Outside of Mosul, the violence continues.  Here are a few examples.

Nine civilians killed, 11 wounded in IED blast in Salahuddin


Baghdad: A body of unidentified man shot has been found in Sadda area in "Sadr City" east of Baghdad.

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, Jody Watley, GORILLA RADIO -- updated: