Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Diana Ross, Bernie Sanders


This is from Kat's "Kat's Korner: Diana Ross releases a masterpiece (belatedly):"

But if you still don't get that leaving Motown was the smart thing for Diana to do, listen to DIANA ROSS SINGS SONGS FROM THE WIZ.

You can argue from now until the next musical revolution/innovation whether Diana Ross should have played Dorothy in a live action film.

What's not open to debate is whether or not Diana can interpret a score.

And she does an incredible job here.

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.

"You Can't Win" will forever be identified with Michael Jackson's performance as the Scarecrow but damned if Diana doesn't put her own take on it.

And she runs with Aunt Em's signature moment "The Feeling We Once Had."  A brave and vital Motown would have issued that track as a single back in 1979.

A new Diana album is news.

A great Diana album is big news.

I downloaded it from Amazon and I am loving this album.

"Media Criticism not for the lazy (Ava and C.I.)" (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW):

Hillary's supporters more and more seem like their candidate: Tired.

In 2008, Barack Obama stole the nomination from Hillary in part because he won the inspiration battle.

Eight years later, Hillary still suffers from her inability to inspire.

It's what analysts are talking about when they talk about the "enthusiasm gap" between her and Bernie Sanders.

Bernie inspires.

Bernie's followers are passionate to change things.

Hillary's supporters tend to be more desperate -- while painting themselves as pragmatic.

They're scared and desperate and convinced that the uninspiring Hillary can win a general election.

But are they convinced or self-deluded?

Their actions would indicate they're deluded.

When they slam a newspaper for accurately quoting a candidate, they seem desperate.

When they repeatedly whine that the other candidate is not held accountable to their standards but they attack anyone who tries to hold their own Hillary accountable, they seem desperate.

She says a lot of things.

For instance:

  • Clinton campaign said it would win race in March; it didn't

  • Yep.

    She was wrong.

    Or lying.

    Apparently, she will now be debating Bernie in New York.

    But when the week started?

    She was whining that Bernie was being too mean.

    As Mike observed last week:

    The strongest thing Hillary has going for her is that people think she's tough and a fighter.
    So her inability to debate Bernie Sanders and her whining that he's not playing fair because he's saying 'mean things' about her?
    She looks like Cry Baby Clinton.
    Worse, it undermines her appearance of being tough and being a fighter.

    She did look like a cry baby.

    We kept waiting for the talking Barbie doll of Hillary that said, "Debating is hard."

    We also couldn't help but remember what Hillary said in 2008 when Barack was iffy on further debates, "You should be willing to debate anytime, anywhere."

    She lies and she lies again.

    And keeps getting caught out online.

    Ava and C.I. do a great job nailing down a number of things in their latest report.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Monday, April 4, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the UN releases fatality figures for March, new rumor of Haider al-Abadi being replaced as prime minister emerges, and much more.

    Haider al-Abadi is the current prime minister of Iraq.  He was installed by US President Barack Obama in August of 2014.

    He hasn't been very successful.

    He was supposed to come up with a political solution to address the country's various crises but he's been unable or unwilling to do that and Sunnis continue to feel persecuted because . . . they are being persecuted.

    This persecution began under the previous prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.  It led to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq.  It continues to fuel the Islamic State in Iraq.

    But Haider ignores that and so much more.

    Mainly, he ignores the Constitution.

    He took it upon himself, for example, to declare that Iraq had no vice presidents -- supposedly ousting three people out of their jobs.

    But they still haven't been removed.  And it was really against the Constitution to go about it the way Haider did.

    Ayad Allawi, Osama al-Nujafi and Nouri al-Maliki are the three vice presidents.

    Currently, Haider's attempting to circumvent the Constitution again.

    This time he wants to dispose of the Cabinet of Ministers and replace them with a new set of nominees.

    That notions has already run into hiccups -- see Saturday's snapshot.

    Another hiccup's emerged today.

    Parliament's declaring that they will vote yes or no on his nominees . . . in batches.

    Not all at once as he'd hoped.

    Other problems he's facing include talks of a coup and, more recently, talk that a foreign government is eager to see him replaced.

    ALSUMARIA reports Ayad Allawi is denying reports that during his visit with Frank Baker, the British ambassador to Iraq, the two discussed the need to replace Haider al-Abadi as prime minister.

    That Allawi had to deny it says a great deal about just how believable the rumor is.

    Baker himself Tweeted the following today:

    1. Good meeting with my friend to discuss parliamentary business and 's Cabinet reforms
  • Earlier today I met with to discuss the challenges facing the region and opportunities for -is

    The challenges?

    Still the same.

    Today, Iraq has been slammed with several suicide bombings.

    CATCH NEWS notes, "In one incident, a suicide car bomb killed five in Basra, the largest city in Iraq, while five others were killed when a convoy of the Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) was targeted in Mashahdeh town of Baghdad."  They note over 60 injured in the bombings while AP counts 29 dead.

    The latest wave of violence follows UNAMI releasing their totals (undercount) for March's violence:

    Baghdad, 01 April 2016 – A total of 1,119 Iraqis were killed and another 1,561 were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in March 2016*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

    The number of civilians killed in March was 575 (including 45 federal police, Sahwa civil defence, Personal Security Details, facilities protection police, fire department), and the number of civilians injured was 1,196 (including 50 federal police, Sahwa civil defence, Personal Security Details, facilities protection police, fire department).

    A total of 544 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (including Peshmerga, SWAT and militias fighting alongside the Iraqi Army but excluding Anbar Operations) were killed and 365 were injured.

    The overall casualty figures are up from the previous month of February, where a total of 670 were killed and 1,290 were injured.

    The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Ján Kubiš, expressed his deep concern at the continuing violence and loss of life and injury in Iraq.

    “I am extremely disturbed at the continuing loss of life and injury as a result of terrorism, violence and armed conflict. It is totally unacceptable that civilians should bear the brunt of violence,” Mr. Kubiš said.

    “My hope is that the proposed reforms will be implemented and will lead to an eventual normalcy in this beautiful country”, SRSG Kubiš added.

    Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 1,029 civilian casualties (259 killed, 770 injured). Ninewa 133 killed and 89 injured, Babil 65 Killed and 141 injured, Kirkuk 34 killed and 57 injured, while Diyala had 11 killed and 0 injured and Salahadin 6 killed and 1 injured.

    According to information obtained by UNAMI from the Health Directorate in Anbar, the Governorate suffered a total of 201 Civilian casualties (64 killed and 137 injured). Figures are updated until 30 March, inclusive.

    * CAVEATS: Figures for Anbar are updated until 30 March, inclusive. In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas. Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate and are noted below. Casualty figures obtained from the Anbar Health Directorate might not fully reflect the real number of casualties in those areas due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground and the disruption of services. In some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. UNAMI has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

    And the US Defense Dept announced/claimed:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 10 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Hit, three strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL recoilless rifle, and an ISIL staging area and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Kirkuk, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL assembly areas and an ISIL heavy machine gun.

    -- Near Kisik, a strike suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Mosul, two strikes destroyed an ISIL supply cache, an ISIL command and control node, and an ISIL tactical vehicle and suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed an ISIL weapons storage facility and an ISIL staging facility.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL supply cache.

    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.

    These bombings began in August of 2014 and have continued daily ever since.

    As peace 'leaders' in the US struggle to find their voice, the hawk side of the equation is at no loss for words.

    US House Rep Ed Royce is the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs  Committee and he has a new column arguing for more military action in Iraq and Syria:

    In December, we passed legislation – which is now law – to help strengthen our Visa Waiver program and ensure that foreign fighters who’ve traveled to Syria and Iraq do not have easy access to the U.S. And recently, I successfully pressed the administration to apply extra scrutiny to individuals traveling to and from Libya. This is especially critical given that an estimated 5,000 Europeans have traveled to fight on the front lines with ISIS in recent years.
    We’ve also passed legislation to require the administration to step up efforts to combat ISIS’ use of social media, declare ISIS atrocities against Christians and other religious minorities genocide, and – just last week – we passed common-sense legislation to help improve border security by establishing minimum standards for foreign countries at airports and other points of entry.
    Of course, we still have much more work to do. Especially as we are facing an enemy that is technologically sophisticated and always evolving. So I’m advocating for strong policies that give our pilots and special forces already on the ground the flexibility they need to ensure terrorists have no sanctuary. I’m also continuing to press the administration to get desperately needed weapons in the hands of the forces in Iraq and Syria – including the Kurds and Sunni tribes – that have been most effective in fighting ISIS, and step up training of African forces.

    Ultimately, however, it is the president who must lead the fight to defeat and destroy ISIS. President Obama is the commander in chief. Instead of offering up tired half-measures, he ought to be working with Congress on a new approach.

    As long as the peace 'leaders' in the US stay silent and refuse to call for diplomacy and for Iraq to craft a political solution, the only option the American people are being offered is war, war and more war.

    The hawks will win by default.

    Ed Royce was in Iraq today as Haider al-Abadi noted:

    PM Al-Abadi discussed developments w/ and who expressed their support for unity of Iraq


    Everyone's been Tweeting it would seem.  But some have Tweeted about more important things.

    يجب الاسراع بتحرير ورفع المعاناة عن اهلها فضرب فيها لا يعني تدميرها او ترك اهلها فريسة للجوع والعطش والسلطات غافلة عنهم.

    Vice President Ayad Allawi Tweeted a call for the quick liberation of Falluja.  He also noted liberating Falluja does not mean destroying its homes or leaving the people the victims of hunger or thirst.

    At least someone can note the people of Falluja.