Yesterday, I noted kd lang's "Bird On A Wire" from HYMNS OF THE 49TH PARALLEL (link goes to my mom's review of the album). Tammy Renee e-mailed to say that "Love Is Everything" is the best track on that album.
That is a great song, great performance, great recording. I love every track on the album. But my favorite is "Bird On A Wire." But "Love Is Everything" is great too and I will gladly note it. This all started because, one Saturday night, C.I. did a post where she answered questions and one was the most overlooked album of the 2000s and she said this album by kd lang.
That's what made my mom listen to it. She hadn't gotten that album, my dad hadn't purchased it. Then this summer C.I. writes about it and we're all listening now. Unlike my parents I really only knew kd lang's "Constant Craving." I had no idea that she did amazing albums. But HYMNS OF THE 49TH PARALLEL is an amazing album. I urge you to stream it if you haven't heard the album because you will fall in love with it.
A little while ago, Tony Bennett passed away. kd lang sang with him. In his memory, she released "Because of You," a song that had been a hit for Tony in the fifties.
I wish she'd put out another album. I'm also listening to her DRAG a lot. I'll be going through all of them but HYMNS is my favorite.
Okay, politics . . .
The Doo-Doo hits the fan. Yes, more bad news for Doo-Doo Ron Ron DeSantis:
However, in a poll conducted in New Hampshire, DeSantis came fifth in the ranking. The poll comes from CNN and the University of New Hampshire. It conducted a similar survey in July. Back then, DeSantis scored 23%. In the latest poll, he slips to 10%. That’s a 13-point drop.
In the latest survey, DeSantis is now behind Vivek Ramaswamy (13%), Nikki Haley (12%) and Chris Christie (11%). If it’s any consolation, DeSantis is still ahead of Senator Tim Scott (6%). Former VP Mike Pence and the other candidates are all on about 2%.
“I mean, he was born into great wealth, I’m a blue-collar kid that had to work minimum wage jobs to get where I was,” Mr DeSantis said and highlighted that he volunteered to serve in Iraq while Mr Trump conducted business as a young man.
Mr DeSantis also boasted that he believes he could serve two terms as a president while Mr Trump would be “a lame duck on day one” and that he performed better in the Florida gubernatorial race than Mr Trump did in the 2020 election.
The sudden deviation from Mr DeSantis defending Mr Trump to the media comes after the Florida governor has spent parts of his campaign coming to the ex-president’s defence on policies and his criminal indictments.
All these months later -- and after he's lost all the media heat -- he decides to go after Donald Trump? Doo-Doo can't even do an attack right.
I'm late joining the gina & krista round-robin's roundtable so I need to wrap up but read Stan's "Talking the harm of ROLLING STONE's sexism and racism" -- he's talking about it with C.I. You really want to read that, trust me.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Two U.S. senators are urging the Biden administration to appeal to the Iraqi government to help secure the release of a Princeton University graduate student believed to have been abducted by an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq six months ago.
In a letter obtained by NBC News, Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, who both represent New Jersey, home to Princeton, conveyed their “grave concern” about Elizabeth Tsurkov’s plight in their appeal to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
About every 10 years, like clockwork, news articles pop up reminding New Jerseyans about that time in the early 1980s when Bob Menendez donned a bulletproof vest to testify against his former mentor at a federal corruption trial.
The story, when told by Menendez’s allies, is intended to portray the senator as a hardscrabble Hudson County politician who did what’s right in the face of the powerful Democratic machine — the same machine that nurtured him and launched his career.
It’s come up again and again because, well, Menendez has found himself the subject of similar investigations again and again — about once every decade. It happened in the 2000s, the 2010s, and it’s happening now.
It says something good that out of **100** US senators, only two were willing to waste time and energy on an issue that has nothing to do with the United States. If Israel and Russia want to save their citizen, then they can step up to the plate and work on that issue. Again, if Joe and Mohammed do have the meeting this week, it will be a brief meeting. They will have to be formally introduced, make some small talk to establish something of a bond. There will be no time for a wish list from either of the two. They will probably only address one key issue. And by address, I mean mention in passing. Then they may or may not do a photo op.
The two senators look like they were paid off to raise this issue. Maybe in the future, Cory, don't co-sign with someone who has a shady reputation.
Again, there are very serious issues to address and there's not time for something as silly as an idiot who chose to go to Iraq and make a spectacle of herself. There was no reason for that -- unless she's a spy.
Again, Iraq wants to institute the death penalty for the LGBTQ+ community, Cardinal Luis Sako has been stripped of his authority in Iraq (besides the importance to Iraq, Sako's Catholic and Joe's Catholic so it's a natural issue for Joe), Kuwait is rightly upset the their border in place with Iraq has just been tossed aside by Iraq's court, the list of worthy topics is endless. Some little idiot who wants to travel to Iraq despite the long post-invasion history of the country's animosity to Jewish people? She's not a US citizen, her countries need to make her case.
If you're not getting it, The Gulf Cooperation Council issued the following this week:
GCC Foreign Ministers issue statement after meeting in New York
18 September 2023.
The Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, have called on the Republic of Iraq, to take seriand urgent steps to address the negative effects of developments over the Khor Abdullah maritime agreement.
The Ministers made the call in a statement following a meeting held on Sunday, at the headquarters of the Permanent Delegation of the Sultanate of Oman to the United Nations in New York. The meeting discussed a ruling of the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court issued on Monday and published on Thursday.
The statement says the ruling is based on inaccurate, out of context, historical reasoning regarding the agreement concluded in 2012 between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of Iraq about the regulation of maritime navigation in Khor Abdullah.
The statement says the agreement was ratified by Iraq in 2013 and was deposited with the United Nations.
The Ministerial Council said that these developments do not serve relations with the GCC countries, and violate international charters, treaties and agreements, including UN Security Council Resolution 833.
In yesterday's snapshot, we note this body's joint-statement with the US State Dept. This may be minor to some but it's big news in Iraq and Kuwait. And it's a lot more important than someone who stupidly made the choice to go into Iraq and then was such a spectacle that she was kidnapped by a group believing she was a spy for Israel.
We noted climate change. ALJAZEERA has a video report, "Iraq's Water Wars Pt. 1," and they note:
“Far-right politicians like Ron DeSantis are championing draconian laws to ban books and the teaching of accurate multicultural American history in favor of upholding a homophobic, transphobic, and white supremacist vision of our nation,” the letter’s website, Artists Against Book Bans, reads. The website and campaign were spearheaded by the progressive political group MoveOn.
As artists, creators, entertainers, and activists, we recognize and are horrified by the threat of censorship in the form of book bans.
This restrictive behavior is not just antithetical to free speech and expression but has a chilling effect on the broader creative field. The government cannot and should not create any interference or dictate what people can produce, write, generate, read, listen to, or consume.
We cannot stress enough how these censorious efforts will not end with book bans. It’s only a matter of time before regressive, suppressive ideologues will shift their focus toward other forms of art and entertainment, to further their attacks and efforts to scapegoat marginalized communities, particularly BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks.
We refuse to remain silent as one creative field is subjected to oppressive bans. As artists, we must band together, because a threat to one form of art is a threat to us all.
We are calling on everyone to join us in pushing back against these book bans, support free and open creative industries—regardless of personal or ideological disagreements—and use their voice at the local level to stop these bans in their school districts. There is power in artistic freedom, and we refuse to allow draconian politicians to take that from us.
Great American Ghost
Guillermo del Toro
James Isaiah Muñoz
Jesse Ferguson / Gale
Jessica Marie Garcia
Joel McKinnon Miller
Layne Ihde Author
Luvvie Ajayi Jones
Michael Ian Black
Old Man Gloom
Sarah Sophie Flicker
Sedona Prince LLC
Shannon Downey (BACS)
Stick To Your Guns
Stray From The Path
SuburbanCrunchyGirl Andie Freeman
The Callous Daoboys
The Cybertronic Spree
Two Minutes To Late Night
War On Women
A report from the Florida Department of Education (DOE) has revealed that approximately 300 books were removed from schools across Florida during the 2022-2023 school year. Many of the books included LGBTQ+ content or characters, including This Books is Gay by Juno Dawson, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera, The Family Book by Todd Parr, And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, and Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings.
Despite all of this, Florida DOE spokesperson Caily Myers told NBC News that”Florida does not ban books.”
“We’re long past the point where we should be policing people talking about who they love,” Nobleman said in a telephone interview. “And that’s what I’m hoping will happen in this community.”
State laws restricting talk of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools have proliferated in recent years, but the clash with Nobleman shows schools may be limiting such discussions even in states like Georgia that haven’t officially banned them. Some proponents of broader laws giving parents more control over schools argue they extend to discussion of sex and gender even if the statutes don’t explicitly cover them.
Under DADT, which was enacted in 1994 by President Bill Clinton and in effect until 2011, service members who had other than heterosexual orientation could serve — as long as they kept it quiet. That led to years of discrimination, undue pressure, discharges and lost benefits.
More than 2,000 of those service members received general, other than honorable, or unknown discharge characterizations "that may have denied them access to veterans benefits, like home loans, health care, GI Bill tuition assistance and even some government jobs," Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said.
Out gay Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) and other Congress members marked the 12th anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) — the 1994 law that banned gay and bisexual service members from serving in the military — by proposing a commission to study the impacts that DADT had on queer and non-queer military members.
The proposal, introduced on Wednesday, coincides with an announcement by the Department of Defense (DOD) to contact military members who were forced out under the discriminatory policies and help update their discharge documents in order to restore their access to benefits that they lost.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) grilled the Executive Director for Suicide Prevention at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Matthew Miller, after an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report found that a 2021 veteran suicide was improperly handled. The report also found that VA employees interfered with the OIG investigation into the death. VA responded to the OIG findings by moving the executive director of the VCL to a senior position in the secretary’s office.
“We’ve passed accountability measures for people who don’t do their job,” said Dr. Cassidy. “And it sounds like interfering with an investigation of a suicide, which may have been inappropriately handled on a veterans’ crisis line, is incompetence.”
“It sounds like somebody was asleep at the wheel,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Now the question is was it just incompetence or was it just a cover-up.”
After being stonewalled by Miller, Cassidy called for VA officials to be held accountable.
“That veteran was ill-served, and there was as best as I can tell, an attempt not to hold people accountable,” concluded Dr. Cassidy. “And my gosh, that is a pattern.”
The OIG report published on September 14th found that the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) staff failed to take appropriate action with a veteran who died by suicide the same night he contacted the VCL. The VCL leadership then interfered with the OIG investigation, coaching staff prior to speaking with the OIG, according to the report.
The OIG also uncovered systemic issues, lack of standard operating procedures and policies for the VCL, and overall inadequate oversight. The report also discovered that the VCL Director for Quality and Training acted inappropriately and provided advice and information to the VCL responder prior to interviews with the OIG that potentially compromised the candidness of the interview.
This summer, Cassidy led the passage of a congressional resolution to support veterans struggling with mental health challenges.
Last year, the Senate unanimously passed Cassidy’s Solid Start Act to strengthen the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Solid Start program to contact every veteran three times by phone in the first year after they leave active duty. The program helps connect veterans with VA programs and benefits, including mental health resources.
Cassidy also introduced the Mental Health Reform Reauthorization Act of 2022 to reauthorize and improve Cassidy’s historic 2016 mental health reform package.