Saturday, January 26, 2019

Starship, Heart, Fleetwood Mac

Confession: "We Built This City" is a song I like.  I didn't mind Starship with the first album.  And I even liked a Grace Slick solo song.  "Every night I rock myself to sleep, every night I rock myself to sleep . . ."  I'm sure "rock" was supposed to refer to something else; however, I thought of that song when I read the following from BBC:

We know babies benefit from being rocked to sleep - now a study suggests it helps adults sleep better too.
Researchers from the University of Geneva built a special bed that rocked gently throughout the night.
They tested it on 18 young adults and found they woke up fewer times and slept more deeply than on a normal bed.
Scientists said the rocking motion resulted in a longer period of slow brainwaves which caused deep sleep, and improved their memory.

So, in the words of Grace, rock yourself to sleep.

By the way, my favorite song on that album was "Love Rusts When It Rains On Rainbows."  The hits were "Sara" and "We Built This City" and the album was KNEE DEEP IN THE HOOPLA.   The next album was the last for me. NO PROTECTION.  It had a hit song with "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" which I enjoyed for the shared vocals with Grace and Mickey Thomas.  I liked Mickey as a singer but there was far too much Mickey on the album and far too little Grace and, come on, she was part of Jefferson Airplane. 

I loved Jefferson Airplane.  I liked Jefferson Starship.  I had high hopes for Starship but after that first album, they lost me (and then they quickly lost Grace -- and I don't blame her).

I always loved Grace's voice.  She is one of the most underrated singers of the rock era.  Of the bands who found new life in the 80s, my favorite would be Heart.  I love Fleetwood Mac but there 80s output -- two albums -- was sorry due to Lindsey Buckingham tinkering and tinkering.  I don't need a rock song to sound like a music box.

Heart rocked.  Favorite songs they did from that time period would include: "What About Love?," "Alone," "All I Want To Do Is Make Love To You," "Who Will You Run To" and "never."  Of the non-singles, jy favorite Heart song is "Nobody Home" ("when you finally come looking, you'll find nobody home"). 

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, January 25, 2019.  The Iraq War continues -- with oh, so little attention from the media.

This morning at NYT's AT WAR blog, Melissa Thomas shares:

When the doorbell rang on New Year’s Eve four years ago, I knew something was wrong. It was 9 p.m. I was alone. I opened the door to three men in uniform. This was something I had imagined many times before, although in my visions they wore Army dress blues instead of the grays worn by the El Paso County sheriff’s deputies.
My husband, Maj. Christopher Thomas, left in the morning to go snowshoeing in the mountains west of Denver. When he did not return after dark I started to expect the worst. He was trained as an outdoor guide and had been to the summits of Mount McKinley, Mount Rainier and too many of Colorado’s tallest peaks to count. Yet the sun was down, and he hadn’t answered my phone calls or text messages all day.
Chris and I were both in the military. Between us we had six deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. We met in 2000 as cadets at West Point. He had previously served in the Army and was two years ahead of me in school. We went on our first date a few days before the Sept. 11 attacks: a picnic at a Labor Day concert by the academy’s band. He brought a blanket, sandwiches and a gorgeous smile over a sophisticated cleft chin. After Chris graduated that December, we kept up a long-distance relationship, including writing letters in 2003 during the invasion and early occupation of Iraq. Chris sent a marriage proposal in one of those letters, writing, “We don’t need a lavish affair, just a ceremony that lets us tell the world how we feel about each other, and that our family can come together to celebrate with us.” Then he jokingly offered to trade vows at home plate at Fenway Park in Massachusetts, where I grew up. He didn’t often show his emotions; I treasured his loving words.

Melissa Thomas and her late husband served in Iraq at the start.  All this time later -- the Iraq War turns 16 years old in March -- US troops are still being sent to Iraq.  Indiana's TIMES-HERALD reports:

Private First Class Kyle Montgomery, Bravo Company, 326th Brigade Engineer Battalion deployed, from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Jan. 5 to Iraq. He will be clearing IEDs and will be a primary gunner. In March of 2018 he graduated IAIT combat engineering at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and in June he completed 40 hours of combat lifesaver course.

He served as the primary gunner for the platoon sergeant during rotation 18-10 at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana. On Aug.3 he graduated from the Sabalauski Air Assault School 101st Air Borne Division (Air Assault) and earned the Army Achievement Medal as a machine gunner in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The Iraq War doesn't end, it just goes on and on.

My name is Penny Evans and I've just gone twenty-one
A young widow in the war that's being fought in Vietnam
And I have two infant daughters, I thank God I have no sons
Now they say the war is over but I think it's just begun

The Vietnam War dragged on for years and years.  One difference?  Each year the American people grew more and more vocal about calling for an end to it.  Of course, back then, the network news was the only televised news outlet.  You didn't have idiots like Rachel Maddow posing as reporters -- MSNBC presents her as a 'reporter.'  She's not.  She's a talk show host and she does not do "in depth reporting" -- or any reporting at all -- for that matter, no matter how many press releases MSNBC issues.  With all these hours to fill, the cable channels do not do reporting.  They'll do an interview and pass that off as reporting or news but it's not. 

And it's always about a 'hot' topic that's 'trending.'  It's not about issues that actually matter.  I doubt anyone watching an evening newscast in the US in, say, 1967, would have thought the day would come where the US could be at war (multiple wars today, actually) and the war wouldn't be a nightly staple on the news.  

But we don't have news.  We have feel good clips.  We have interviews.  We have opinions.  And the opinions aren't even on things that matter.  

The American people are shaped by their media.  I don't deny that.  But let's get honest about how willfully stupid so many are -- especially over here on the left.  The Iraq War continues but they'd rather bore you with any number of other topics.

NEWSWEEK proclaims that the only winner in the Iraq War, per the US military, is Iran.  And they do it on the 22nd of this week.  It's the report we covered on the 18th.  That day, NEWSWEEK was too busy with Jason Leopold's latest implosion.  It hadn't imploded yet, so they spent forever running with it.  But it did implode, didn't it?  Maybe the next time the US military releases a report that they've refused to release for years, NEWSWEEK focuses on that and not the conjecture of a reporter who has had one scoop after another explode in his face?

There are real issues at play here.  But the media is too busy playing to notice.  There are exceptions.  For example, the editorial board of THE TOLEDO BLADE observes:

Toxic smoke from open burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan may be responsible for sickening countless Americans who served there.
Just how many veterans may have suffered cancer and other illness caused by the burn pits remains unclear because military doctors are not even examining service members and veterans during regular medical exams to discover whether those who worked near the burn pits may have been affected by the toxic smoke.

A bill that would have required such screening died in Congress last year. Then, earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in a lawsuit filed by service members who claim their illnesses were caused by burn pit exposure.
[. . .]
In the case of Agent Orange the government dragged its feet for decades before acknowledging its responsibility and compensating victims for birth defects and other health issues related to the chemical. The U.S. must not repeat this mistake.

Supposedly, the answer is Congress.  Again.  And again and again.  They're noting one overruling by the Supreme Court.  But this issue has been going on forever.  What's going to change this?  Maybe some real attention.  Maybe the Court would feel more vested in doing the right thing if the American people actually paid attention to these issue and the media fully covered them?

Last week, Burn Pits 360 noted:

We're heartbroken right now...

Dear friend,

Today we got some very upsetting news. The U.S. Supreme Court made the decision to not take up the case involving a class-action lawsuit from many veterans against KBR, the corporate military contractor that was negligent in their burn-pits operations. This is absolutely a kick to many of our already suffering veterans, including myself.

I'll be honest -- we are coming across roadblocks at the judicial level, and a lot of it has to do with the lack of understanding and education on how burn-pits affect our veterans post-deployment. I saw it when recent local judges ruled against me when I sued to get my job back with a state law enforcement agency. Just because we suffered a setback, that doesn't mean we stop fighting.

I need your help -- I'm looking for 100 donors tonight to pitch in $10 right now so we can continue to put funding towards educating our legislators in D.C. If we can't win at the judicial level, then we will succeed at the legislative level, but we can only do it with your help. Please chip in $10 right now to help us pass meaningful legislation for our veterans this year. 
Thank you for your continued support.
CPT Le Roy Torres, U.S. Army, Retired
Texas Highway Patrol, Retired
Founder of Burn Pits 360

The useless cable talk shows have hours to waste.  A real shame they can't highlight issues that actually matter instead of the conjecture and gossip they specialize in.

Equally true, the evening news broadcasts have no reporters stationed in Iraq.  They don't cover the war (or the other wars).  Even though US troops remain there.  You'd think they'd at least manage to cover these wars until the troops came home.  Apparently, that's expecting too much -- despite all the profits ABC, CBS and NBC generate.  Once upon a time, they were expected to meet certain public needs.  Not anymore, clearly.

The media rushed to declare ISIS defeated and vanquished in Iraq (December 2017).  Maybe so they'd be able to stop talking about Iraq?  It seemed to tax them so, didn't it?  As we noted repeatedly, ISIS was not gone.  This morning, XINHUA reports:

 Iraq's security forces' increasing dependence on thermal cameras is now met by a new tactic from the Islamic State (IS) militants, who tried tinfoil cloaks to evade detection by the cameras.
"Thermal cameras played a major role in monitoring IS militants' movements in rugged areas in northern Diyala, such as Himreen mountainous area," Abu Ahmed al-Shammari, leader of Hashd Shaabi, told Xinhua.

According to Shammari, Hashd Shaabi foiled an infiltration attempt by IS militants four days ago in al-Safra area, some 90 km north of Diyala's provincial capital Baquba despite tinfoil cloaks worn by some of the extremist militants.

Other news?


The Iraqi Parliament failed on Thursday to vote on Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s new candidates for the education and justice ministries, respectively Safana al-Hamdani and Rakan Qader Wali.

Parliament voted Wednesday on the country’s general budget for 2019. On Thursday, it was set to approve the PM’s proposal for the two cabinet posts. However, Abdul Mahdi, who should have attended the session to present some clarifications about a decision by the cabinet secretariat general to restrict the powers of deputies, failed to show up. He did not give any reasons for his absence.

And he still hasn't been able to select a Minister of Defense or Interior despite the war continuing in Iraq.  He's a failure and US troops have to remain on the ground to prop him up.  It's the 'strategy,' US troops must repeatedly prop up these puppets until one finally takes.

No wonder the war never ends.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Wately and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated: