Thursday, July 28, 2022

Harry Styles and George Ezra


Ever wondered what pop music can teach us? Well, next year, 20 students at Texas State University will be able to take a history class all about Harry Styles. Yes, I mean that Harry Styles.


HARRY STYLES: (Singing) You know it's not the same as it was.

SUMMERS: But this class goes in more than one direction. Associate Professor Louie Dean Valencia just announced the full course title on Twitter. It's called Harry Styles and the Cult of Celebrity: Identity, the Internet and European Pop Culture.

And Professor Valencia joins us now. Welcome to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

LOUIE DEAN VALENCIA: Thank you so much for having me.

SUMMERS: I'm so excited to talk to you about this class. Tell us a little bit about what the curriculum looks like.

VALENCIA: Well, the curriculum basically is starting off with the year 2010, when One Direction is formed on "The X Factor," and it brings us to 2022. So the idea of the course is that we're really going to do a deep dive into the last 12 years. So the way I like to think about it is in the same way that we can study The Beatles to learn something about the 1960s, we can study the music and life of Harry Styles to know something about the last 12 years or so.

SUMMERS: I don't want to spoil your course, but can you give us some examples of what type of assignments you have in mind that students at Texas State who are in this class will be completing?

VALENCIA: Yeah. So Day 1, the first lesson that we're going to talk about is Big Mama Thornton and Little Richard. So we're actually going to start a little bit in the past to be able to situate the history of rock 'n' roll music and also the very important issues that are related to race and gender and sexuality. And the assignments are really built around not just listening to Harry Styles, but also having complementary readings and listening to other musicians who also influence Styles - also looking at different readings, such as Murakami. We're going to read some Susan Sontag. We're going to read some Alain de Botton - who all are major influences on Harry.

And let me note this release from George Ezra's team:

Both men have new albums -- I reviewed HARRY'S HOUSE here and GOLD RUSH KID here.

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

Thursday, July 28, 2022.  Moqtada al-Sadr orders cult to riot and take over Parliament, Lauren Boebert can't stop spreading hate, and much more.

Iraq today?  Protesters?  Demonstrators?  

Think about it, we'll come back to it.

Should we do a new feature?  TODAY'S IDIOT?  THE DAILY IDIOT would probably be a better title but I can't imagine having to deal with the nonsense of Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene on a daily basis. And it would be a daily basis because crazy takes no holiday.  If you missed it, the two women took time off from bullying a gay Canadian man on Twitter to mock US Vice President Kamala Harris.  Bully and hag Lauren finds it hilarious that Kamala introduced herself at a meeting.  This is what Bully Hag Lauren Tweeted:

Kamala Harris just introduced herself with she/her pronouns at an official event, She then clarified that she was a 'woman' sitting at the table wearing a blue suit. This is what happens when your speechwriter quits and you hang around with Geriatric Joe too long.

Maybe Bully Hag Lauren could focus on legislating and not try comedy?  For comedy to work -- pay attention, Lauren -- it needs more than an insult.  It needs grounding in truth.

Did Kamala do something shocking?  


Here's the White House's official read out of the Tuesday event:

Today, on the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a roundtable conversation with disability rights leaders to discuss access to reproductive health care. The meeting built on the Vice President’s engagements on reproductive rights with health care providers; faith leaders; constitutional law, privacy, and technology experts; advocates; and state attorneys general, and it followed recent meetings that the Vice President has convened with state legislators and local leaders in Indianapolis, Indiana; Richmond, Virginia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Orlando, Florida. Vice President Harris also convened legislators from Florida, Indiana, Montana, North Dakota, and Nebraska in Washington D.C. to discuss the reproductive rights challenges in those states.

Vice President Harris discussed how disparities in health care access continue to exist in our country for people with disabilities, and she conveyed that those challenges are being exacerbated following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. The participants shared stories of challenges that are disproportionately facing people with disabilities as it relates to reproductive health care and abortion access.
Vice President Harris emphasized the Administration’s commitment to protecting reproductive rights and shared how the Administration will continue to fight for the bodily autonomy and self-determination of all individuals with disabilities. The participants discussed how there is significant work to be done to fulfill the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Vice President Harris thanked them for their leadership in shining a spotlight on the need for equity and access. She spoke about the importance of coalition-building in the movement to protect reproductive care for all people. 

  • Dior Vargas, Disability Rights and Mental Health Advocate
  • Maria Town, American Association of People with Disabilities
  • Lydia Brown, President and CEO at Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network
  • Robin Wilson-Beattie, Disability Sexual and Reproductive Health Educator
  • Sam Crane, Legal Director at Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities

I don't see a thing wrong with what Kamala did.  What Lauren fails to grasp is that the meeting most likely had observers and that some of those may have needed verbal comments to participate fully.  I've  noted before that I've been at Congressional hearings and ended up signing for someone I've noticed present.  (They do make accommodations at Congressional hearings but they need to know ahead of time.)  In addition, there are people who need transcripts -- audio and video don't work for them -- due to challenges or disabilities.  For the record, it would probably be smart for all of us to do what Kamala did at any meeting -- for the meeting itself and for any record (written, visual, audio, what have you) of the meeting.   I'll publicly applaud Kamala for her actions.  

It's something, isn't it, to watch The Bully Hag Lauren get upset whenever anyone tries to be welcoming to all.  Apparently, in Lauren's world only some Americas -- 5%? -- are worthy of rights and dignity.  Lauren is and remains TODAY'S IDIOT.  That does, of course, explain how she dresses and her attempt to hide skin flaws by caking on make up.  It also explains how Lauren acts this way while maintaining that one day she'll get into heaven and how she wrongly believes she's exhibiting heavenly behavior here on earth.

Back to Iraq. 

Goons follow orders to attack an institution?

In the US we call it what it is: A riot.  In fairness, a number of idiots -- mainly in media -- call it a coup or an attempted one.  In the US, we even launch a media-geared Congressional investigation.  

But in Iraq, when Moqtada al-Sadr orders his goons to take over Parliament, they're just "protesters" and "demonstrators" -- read the press, that's what they're calling them.

IANS reports:

Hundreds of followers of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr broke into the Iraqi Parliament building in central Baghdad to protest against the nomination of Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani for the post of Prime Minister.

The riot police fired tear gas canisters and warning shots to disperse the protesters, but there were no clashes between the protesters and the security forces, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua news agency.

Many videos aired by TV channels and social media showed dozens of demonstrators inside Parliament building waving Iraqi flags and chanting slogans hailing Moqtada al-Sadr.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi urged in a statement the protesters to withdraw from the building immediately.

Al-Sadr told the demonstrators to end the protest in a tweet late Wednesday night, saying "your message has arrived... Go back to your homes safely".

They broke into the building on Moqtada's orders and didn't leave until he told them the message had been delivered and to go home?

It was a riot in a federal building and it was planned by, instigated by and overseen by Moqtada al-Sadr.  


CNN, you can't have it both ways though goodness knows you try to "Hundreds of angry protesters . . ." 

AL BAWABA notes:

Social media users compared the Iraqi protesters who stormed the parliament and the Green Zone to American Capitol rioters. #Iraq #Green_Area #capitolhill #Capitol

ALJAZEERA offers these bullet points:

  • The demonstrators, estimated to have been in the hundreds, oppose the nomination of a rival Iran-backed alliance’s candidate for prime minister.
  • Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, a former minister and ex-provincial governor, is the pro-Iran Coordination Framework’s pick for premier. Al-Sadr has rejected his candidacy.
  • “Al-Sudani just represents a very convenient excuse for Muqtada al-Sadr to voice his displeasure with the entire Coordination Framework and the political system in Iraq,” Marsin Alshamary, a research fellow the Harvard Kennedy School, told Al Jazeera. “He would have done this if anyone else were nominated. Al-Sudani actually represents one of the least controversial figures from the Coordination Framework.”
  • Protesters carried portraits of al-Sadr and chanted slogans in his support. They only cleared parliament and went home after he asked them to on Twitter, saying their message had been received.


Hundreds of protesters storm Iraq parliament in support of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr

Hundreds.  Apparently, even the cult was reluctant to show for this action.  Friday is a day of worship in Iraq.  So when Moqtada's cult comes out after Friday service, they're really not doing much at all but the international press always pumps them up.  On  a regular week day he can't even turn out thousands.

It's been nine months (almost ten) since Iraq held elections.  Still no prime minister or president has been named.  Moqtada failed repeatedly to form a government before finally throwing in the towel -- which is always his m.o. -- a few weeks ago.  

Maybe his cult should have been storming his headquarters months ago?

Ali Almikdam Tweets:

Nouri al-Maliki After the Sadrist protesters withdrew from the Green Zone, maybe that al-Maliki wants to show Muqtada al-Sadr that he is ready for any fight!!

Former prime minister and forever thug Nouri hits the streets with a gun after the Parliament is occupied.  


The move was described by Iraqi analysts as an attempt by Iraqi leader Moqtada al-Sadr to block the path of his rival, former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, or any of his allies, to head the government.

Sudani is closely linked to Maliki.

Well-informed Iraqi sources tell The Arab Weekly that Sadr fears the repercussions that his movement might suffer from the premiership of any figure who is loyal to Maliki.

Such repercussions might include the dismantling of the Sadrist security and political apparatus and the sidelining of Sadrists in government and curtailing their financial clout.

By sending his supporters en masse onto the streets, Sadr seems intent on avoiding his past mistakes dealing with Maliki. Sadrists have not waited long to apply intense street pressure on their movement's main rival with whom they see the showdown as an existential battle.

The Sadrists remember the operation launched by the Maliki government in March 2008 against the Mahdi Army militia led by Moqtada al-Sadr. The fighting at that time lasted nearly three weeks and ended with the surrender of the Mahdi Army and the defeat of Sadr.

What has further fuelled the Sadrists’ fears were the most recent audio leaks of statements by Maliki, in which he hints at a internecine Shia war to eliminate Sadr whom he describes as ignorant, spiteful and bloodthirsty. “He is a coward who robbed the country”, Maliki is heard saying about Sadr.

Let's turn back to the US and wind down with this from Jacob Crosse (WSWS):

As of this writing, 28 women have filed federal civil rights lawsuits alleging they were assaulted, raped and harassed at the Clark County Jail, located in southern Jefferson County, Indiana, last October during a “night of terror” overseen by indifferent and paid off prison guards.

In the lawsuits, the first of which was filed by 20 inmates in June, the second which was filed by eight more inmates this past Monday, the women allege that former corrections Officer David Lowe provided keys to at least one male inmate which allowed him and several other prisoners, under the watchful eye of Clark County jail officers, to enter the female pods beginning the night of October 23, 2021 and into early hours of October 24.

The lawsuit alleges that for over two hours jail security staff did nothing to stop the male inmates from going into the female pods and harassing, intimidating, assaulting and raping the female prisoners. The lawsuit alleges that despite the security cameras working and several security officers on duty, male inmates, with their faces covered, were allowed to freely enter the women’s cells and go on a rampage.

“Amazingly, even though there were surveillance cameras positioned in locations that showed the male detainees accessing the women’s Pods, and even though the incident involved multiple male detainees and dozens of victims over an extended period of time, not a single jail officer on duty that night came to the aid of the Plaintiffs and the other victims,” the most recent lawsuit states.

One of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit, known as Jane Doe 1, alleged that “multiple male detainees using the keys obtained from Lowe, entered Pod 4 (E) where they raped, assaulted, harassed, and intimidated Jane Doe 1, resulting in significant emotional and physical injuries, including but not limited to nightmares, bleeding, vaginal tears, and genital herpes.” The lawsuit says that multiple prisoners held her in place and told her to “keep quiet” while one inmate raped her.

Several other plaintiffs alleged similar injuries. While at least 28 women have come forward, one of the lawyers involved in the lawsuits says that there are more victims.

The following sites updated: